What The Film?! is a weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the plot holes Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by comedy writer Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.
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This Week’s Movie: 2004′s AVP and 2007′s Aliens Versus Predator: Requiem (part 3 of 3)
Lets start by saying this crossover movie started as a joke. In the end of Predator 2, Danny Glover finds himself on the Predator’s spaceship and simultaneously too old for this shit. He ends up in the trophy room, decorated in skulls of past kills, ranging from Tyrannosaurus skulls, to bizarre alien skulls, to even a skull from the Alien Queen and an Alien Drone. A visual gag. What about the Comic that came out in 1989? In the 80s and 90s, after the huge success of comics such as The Watchmen and Batman: Year One, comic companies were struggling to put as many violent and dark comic books together. Just because it was a comic doesn’t mean its any less of a joke. The Alien Versus Predator Versus The Terminator was also apart of this comic book line. Just because it’s gritty doesn’t mean it’s not a joke.
Alien Versus Predator opens with the Weyland company’s fancy Transformers looking Satellite discovering an odd heat signature under a mile of ice on a remote Antarctic island. They decide to send in a team to investigate, but at the same time, so does a team of Predators (DUN DUN DUN). Once arrived on the island, they find a hole already carved through the ice, a very wobbly hole that had been cut by the Predators with a laser. Why was it wobbly if it was done with such precision instruments?
As it turns out, the team sent into investigate have their own specific elevator type hardware that fits perfectly into the hole the Predators drilled. Convenient. They soon discover that there’s a huge pyramid underground, that Predators developed human society, taught them how to build pyramids, sacrificed humans to breed Aliens, and then hunted those Aliens for sport. Because this pyramid used to be in a warm climate, it used to be habitable by humans. This is fair, except for that island used to be warm about 100-300 million years before humans existed.
The whole movie is a cluster of characters you don’t care about dying in ways you don’t care about. Every single human gets killed off but one, who teams up with the only surviving Predator, despite this being helpful at any other point in the movie. The Alien franchise seems to thrive on doing things only when it’s done at a dramatic time instead of when it would make sense. Together they blow up the pyramid and escape to the surface, where they are confronted by the Alien Queen who has tunneled straight through a mile of ice in three minutes. The Alien Queen kills the Predator and is promptly thrown into the ocean where we never see it die, leaving the surviving human left alone on the island, presumably to die.
Lets get the good out of the way: the ratio of Robots to CGI is perfect. The Alien puppets are beautiful and well done. Casting Lance Henriksen as the head of Weyland was a smart choice that grounded this prequel/sequel into the same world as the prior Alien movies.
Now onto the bad: it’s a communications company that goes to this island to seek out what is causing the heat (a pyramid) and everyone brings guns, grenades, and assault riffles. It’s like they were fully anticipating to run into aliens or maybe subterranean penguin men. Every movie in the entire Alien and Predator franchises were all rated R, this is literally the only PG13 in the 30 years of these franchises existing. In Predator 1, 2, and Predators, people have masked their body heat from the Predators in creative ways by covering themselves in mud, dirt, and a fire extinguisher (that last one was actually Tremors 2, but it would work here too) and Ta-da, they become invisible to the Predator’s heat vision. In this movie, that rule is thrown out as people’s body heat show up through their expensive winter jackets that a specifically designed for the sub-zero temperatures of Antarctica.
Finally, while the movie sets itself up for a sequel, it does this twice. Not so much as it setting up a sequel as much as a plot point not addressed. The Alien Queen is thrown into the ocean and we never see it die. We know the Aliens can swim, due to Alien Resurrection, and we’re just left to assume that the Alien will die from drowning? It has an exoskeleton, so it’s not going to be crushed, plus it’s the edge of a small island, the waters aren’t even that deep to begin with. For all we know, the Alien Queen is still alive underwater, infecting whales with Face Huggers. That’s probably where Sharks come from, right?
Aliens Versus Predator: Requiem was supposed to be for the fans. They toned down the references to prior franchise installments and upped the violence up to an R rating, they even emphasized this by abbreviating the movie title on posters as “AVP:R”. The movie opens with the dead Predator from the first movie having an Alien burst out of his chest, which is how the last movie ended. This half-Alien-half-Predator (or “Nicolas Cage” as I’ve called it) destroys the ship, causing it to crash into a small mountain town, releasing the large deadly Nicolas Cage and several Face Huggers.
Oh man, this is it! This is it, man! This is the set up we’ve wanted since Alien^3 failed to give us this! Oh man! This will be great!
The movie plays a lot like 2007′s Transformers, having a good majority of the movie playing like an awful episode of Dawson’s Creek in order to save money on special effects (the budget was slashed due to the R rating). We follow poorly written characters and their poorly written problems for a good chunk of the movie. However, we do see a child have an Alien burst through his chest, so it’s not all bad. Just mostly.
There is a lone Predator sent in to clean everything up (the Bruce Willis of Predators, if you will), who spends the movie killing off anyone that sees him and destroying the bodies of any Alien, Face Hugger, or human who had been infected. He doesn’t clean up his own corpses though. At one point in the movie, a goofy comic-relief cop sneaks up on the Predator. Yes, this small mountain town’s Barney Fife manages to sneak up on a Predator. He is promptly killed, skinned, and his body is strung up like a decoration because Predators are also very counter intuitive.
The human characters we have no interest in. They’re cardboard cut outs that exist so we can have a human body count as the movie progresses. No one is interesting, no one is worth a damn. There are parts of the movie that exist purely for dramatic effect, like having doors chained shut for absolutely no reason. Other problems include the Predator being able to fire his weapon while cloaked, despite never being able to do that before or after in any other Predator movie. When shot repeatedly with bullets, the Predator seems to be completely unphased, shrugging it off, despite bullets taking quite a toll on Predators in the franchise before.
Ultimately, the Predator/Alien hybrid and the Predator sent to clean everything up meet at a hospital, and just as they’re about to kill each other, the government nukes the town, killing everyone except for a handful of people who escaped. The Predator didn’t even need to come clean up. Everything was nuked. Your movie was pointless. Lets put a countdown to when a nuke is being dropped on the warehouse in Reservoir Dogs and see how quickly we lose our interest in finding out who the Cop is. This movie would have been significantly better if they played it from one of the Face Huggers point of view, escaping the Predator sent to clean everything out. It would be like Baby’s Day Out, but really really violent.
The biggest issue with these movies, since they’re prequels to the Alien movies and sequels to the Predator movies lies in the continuity. The first movie ended with a lone woman being stranded in the arctic, that makes sense because she’s clearly going to die, but when you have a group of survivors escape a a big encounter like this, they either have to die or be thrown into solitary confinement for the rest of their lives. In the Alien movies, no one has any idea what the Aliens are. There is absolutely no record of any kind of that sort of thing existing. In order for these movies to make sense, the remaining survivors inevitably die or get thrown away for the rest of their lives. No one must know anything.
Guy Pearce (of Memento fame) has had his role in Prometheus (Ridley Scott’s Alien Prequel) as “Peter Weyland”, the founder of Weyland-Yutani. This news invalidates Alien Versus Predator’s Charles Bishop Weyland (played by Lance Henrikesen) being the founder of Weyland-Yutani. Prometheus has officially made Alien Versus Predator as no longer canon. Lets hope there’s a way it can make Alien Resurrection a bad fan fiction as well. The incredibly awesome viral video that they’re using to promote Prometheus can be found here.