vs. Predator – Unrated Edition
It’s deadly killing machine against deadly killing machine,
and whoever wins, we lose.
A satellite owned by billionaire Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance
Henriksen) has picked up something weird: a pyramid buried thousands
of feet below the surface…of Antarctica. Naturally, they want
to head to the ice continent to examine things a little closer,
so they enlist a team of experts, including cold weather explorer
Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan), archaeologist Sebastian de Rosa (Raoul
Bova), and geologist Graeme Miller (Ewen Bremner). Not to mention
several other random soon-to-be-victims, mostly riggers and drillers
After a lengthy trip to the large ice rock, the team is puzzled
to discover that someone has beaten them to the punch. Upon their
arrival they find a large shaft already drilled in the ice, leading
directly to the underground pyramid. This is about the point at
which most logical people would leave well enough alone. But characters
in sci-fi/horror/action movies are very rarely logical…
Down the team goes. After taking their sweet time, they finally
enter the pyramid, awed by its size and scale, and by the fact that
it appears to have characteristics of at least three ancient civilizations.
Whether it be on purpose or not, the team eventually splits up (of
course they do!). Some stumble upon what appears to be a hi-tech
gun safe, while others come across a room full of eggs.
Oh, did we forget to mention that an Alien Queen is being held
captive in the pyramid, just recently awakened by…something…for
some reason? If you’re able to put two and two together, you
probably already know that the Predators will be showing up pretty
soon. Naturally, our human friends get caught in the middle of a
really hardcore battle. Or perhaps they’re there for another
Alien vs. Predator is the kind of film people will argue about
for years to come. The more open-minded individuals will appreciate
the effort that went into making it, and enjoy it for what it is:
senseless, mindless fun. Others will detest it for not staying 100%
true to both franchises and refuse to suspend their disbelief, thereby
creating a chain reaction that results in them wasting 100 minutes
of their life.
Fortunately, we fall into the former category. AVP is not a cinematic
masterpiece. Certain aspects don’t even make a lick of sense.
But who cares? We’re here to see the Aliens fight the Predators.
Some things must be mentioned, such as the far-fetched theory of
a pyramid thousands of feet below the surface of Antarctica, which
would have had to have been built millennia ago, before the continent
was just a big chunk of ice. This also would have been long before
humans ever came up with the idea of civilization. It also must
be mentioned that the alien gestation period seems normal in some
unfortunate souls, but is greatly accelerated in others, whatever
the particular scene calls for.
However, these are mere trifles, counteracted by all the fun tributes
to the series’ that are thrown (subtly and otherwise) into
the film – but we won’t spoil them for you here.
Paul W.S. Anderson has the thankless job of directing the movie
(and also wrote the script based on a story by himself and original
Alien creators Dan O’Bannon & Ronald Shusett). His work
includes such underrated flicks as Resident Evil, Soldier, and Event
Horizon, and as a talented filmmaker he’s managed to make
a better Alien vs. Predator movie than you could expect from most.
Sure there are holes, and it’s not going to win any awards,
but it’s a great-looking, fun movie that manages to look like
it had a bigger budget than it did. The sets are huge and elaborate,
the effects are phenomenal, and the action very well staged. It
even comes up with a pretty good (if not completely satisfying)
explanation as to why things are the way they are.
Alien vs. Predator rocks, despite what some naysayers would say
(which would probably be ‘nay’). It’s pure popcorn
fun. Certain folks should save themselves the agitation and just
stick with the original series’.
The Unrated version features 8 minutes of footage incorporated
back into the film. Other than a new opening (which was a deleted
scene on the original version), the new footage is unnoticeable
to someone who’s seen the film twice before. It’s hard
to say whether or not this is a better version, but it’s just
as good as we remember it and the “new” opening kicks
things off very nicely.
On DVD, AVP is just as good. Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen,
the sparkling video transfer features great use of dark elements,
a good blend of colors, and appropriately subtle fleshtones. Detail
is always perfectly visible, and the lack of light never interferes
with the action (unless it was the filmmaker’s intent). You
can choose between a 5.1 Dolby Digital or 5.1 dts audio track, and
both will give you a feeling of being trapped on all sides by monsters
that can kill you without a second thought. Even when there is not
much going on, the surround speakers always try and keep busy. Whether
it be the score, random dialogue, or just good old fashioned sound
effects, they’re always doing something, while the front channels
still handle the bulk of the work. It’s during the action
scenes that you can hear aliens, predators, and people screaming
or shouting or whatever it is that they do in such situations. At
one point we were forced to jump slightly as an alien leaped from
the back of the room into the TV, a bit that was very nicely done.
Pop in disc two and you’re treated to over two hours of making-of
material. Split into sections, the pre-production, production, and
post-production sections all feature additional making-of featurettes
focusing on a single aspect. In all, this is one of the better documentaries
of late. The “Licensing the Franchise” section includes
an AVP comic book featurette and a “Monsters in Miniature
by Todd McFarlane” featurette. Finally, we get a short HBO
special and a few trailers.
Alien vs. Predator, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
100 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby
Digital & dts 5.1
Starring Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner
Produced by John Davis, Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill
Screenplay by Paul W.S. Anderson, Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
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