Sunday, 31 August 2014

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Requiem? requiem for what? a better movie? what does this title even mean here?? So after the somewhat dubious PG adventures of both species in the last movie, this time its back to a proper adult rating where the franchise belongs. I am now issuing a guilty pleasure alert to any readers, yes that's right a guilty pleasure red alert.

Following on from the first movie we see the Predator ship leaving Earth's orbit with the impregnated Predator corpse on board. Low and behold the naughty spawn bursts from within the dead Predator and pretty much immediately becomes a fully grown mature Alien/Predator hybrid, any previous movie lore right out the window there. A lone Predator picks up the distress beacon and comes to Earth to mop up and take care of the situation, the lone wolf Predator.

The first thing to hit you about this movie which really really sucks ass is the fact the picture is so damn dark. I believe this has been mentioned by everybody in the entire world because it is in fact genuinely badly lit everywhere. Most every sequence of other worldly action is too dark, you're watching shiny objects bouncing around and glistening in the shadows basically. Kudos for keeping the creatures hidden from view for as long as possible and trying for a brooding scary atmosphere but they went a little over the top.

Now the main thing that stood out for me with this was the Predator design and overall coolness factor. The movie on the whole is generally pretty poor but its saved by having a really badass Predator in the lead role. In the first movie the Predators looked like roided up or overweight goons with Milli Vanilli dreads down to their arses, their faces looked TERRIBLE! with big eyes, plus they were useless teens. This time our Predator (protagonist?? antagonist??) is slim athletic, has regular length dreads, no silly adornments, no fanfare, a few tough-nut facial scars, a scary face just like Stan Winston's original design and loaded to the teeth with weapons of carnage. This dude means business, he's got the classic looks and the moves to they got that right.

On the Alien side of things its funny because in the first movie they got these guys down to a tee perfectly, they looked awesome, right out of the Cameron sequel. This time around they just don't look right with their overly large (extended?) jaws and off shaped heads, when you see a full CGI Alien it looks fine but the puppet close ups are no way as good as the W.S. Anderson film. Then we have the Alien/Predator hybrid fiasco, what the hell happened here?! not even having Tom Woodruff Jr. inside could save this
monstrosity...hell I think he even helped design the thing! The really sad thing is the initial designs you see in the making of documentaries are actually really good, it just makes you wonder how on earth they settled on the version that was used. The head seemed way too big for the body, the jaw was too big and complicated, it clearly couldn't move well being too heavy and it had tiny Alien tails for its dreads! In short you could hardly make out what you were looking at, along with the overly dark picture this did not bode well.

I guess the issue with the plot is basically its meaningless because in the end everyone gets nuked so...there was no need for the Predator really. The shady government types were just gonna nuke the site from orbit anyway. Naturally there are many little nods towards the older movies spread throughout, some are brave attempts like the National Guard battling the Aliens in a rain soaked street at night. Nice minimal Alien usage and good editing there just like in 'Aliens'. There is plenty of rehashed old well known dialog from the first two classic movies, similar shots of the creatures, similar jump moments, the same classic sound effects actually all works well I think, especially with the Predator.

Its a sad state of affairs really because this film does have many positive points, it does fit into the Predator/Alien universe nicely, there are solid advancements for the creatures (mainly the Predator) and its a decent next step for the franchise. Yeah sure the characters are all bland cardboard cutouts that you don't care about and are merely there to be killed off slasher flick style. This is both a problem and not a problem really, OK I admit you expect a bit more but really? we know this franchise, we know its all about watching the space aliens kill humans in more cool and disgusting ways and we knew from the start it was never gonna be epic.

Yes the movie could have been greater with better casting, dialog and plot but the film does the job, it gives us an adult Predator flick with Aliens instead of PG-13 dribble. This was never gonna be on the same level as the Scott and Cameron movies because lets be honest you need a much bigger production to do justice to some of the better story concepts that we've seen in the graphic novels. Violence blood and gore doesn't make a good movie you say? you don't need extreme splatter only a solid plot? Well yeah a solid plot would be nice but the violence and gore is a must, doesn't matter how good the story is without that adult rating its just not a proper Predator or Alien movie.

Its a film of two halves, the Predator side of the story, I think, is executed really well and looks fantastic, I really wanted to see more of this guy. Yes of course most of the things we see him do are just rehashed ideas or slight extensions from the last Predator movies but it just looks so cool damn it. You can't deny there are some excellent hero poses for the Predator in this, he just oozes badassery with those twin shoulder cannons. On the flip side the Aliens are reduced to cheap slasher thrills, just tacky monsters that kill faceless people that no one cares about, real Friday the 13th/Critters B-movie type schlock. I told you at the start this was a guilty pleasure for me, I realise its bad in many areas but I also think its good in a few others...OK just the Predator then, but that is enough to lift it in my humble opinion. If you're an Alien fan then the first AvP movie is your bag, Predator fans I'm sure will enjoy this sequel more.