* Directed by: Ridley Scott o Other movies he directed: Gladiator, Thelma and Louise (what really?!), Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood, Blade Runner, (and back in ‘04 rumored to be thinking about doing a Prequel to Alien). * Notable cast: o Sigourney Weaver (Ripley) o Ian Holm: Crazy ass robot
This is the only movie in the whole series that is actually a true horror movie. You never see the alien all that much, there’s lots of blood, lots of tension and really great directing and build up. This movie is just plain creepy. I own the Alien Quadrilogy DVD set, and on the extras they talk about the problem with people going to see Alien in the theaters and vomiting when the chest burster was born (if you haven’t seen it, this means exactly what it sounds like, an alien bursts from the dude’s chest, it’s really gross and horrible and a classic moment in sci-fi horror history)
Somehow word got back to the crew or actors on the movie that one theater “solved” the problem of people hurling. The solution? They simply cut out that scene all together. THAT’S how ground breaking this horror movie was. Up until Alien, there wasn’t a horror sci-fi flick like it. Basically, as far as most movie goers were concerned, they went form friendly christ figure E.T. that said “Phone Home” and “ouch” and “Elliot” to a demonic looking alien designed by weird artist H.R Geiger shaped oddly phallic looking and, before born, raped you then burst from your chest and then ate your friends. This...didn’t sit well with people...and they LOVED it. Like any good horror movie, there’s only one survivor, Ripley. In order to kill it, she blew it out to space. (keep this in mind for future reference).
There are two main evils in the Alien series, one is the aliens that eat people (or xenomorphs as they are referred to in the 2nd movie) and the evil company (think Umbrella corporation, only less...lame). In Alien, the company is simply referred to as, “The Company.” (can’t get anymore evil sounding than that).
* Directed by: James Cameron o Other movies he directed: Titanic (never saw it, broke the record for most money made, even without me seeing it), Terminator 1 and 2, Abyss, True-Lies and of course Avatar (Saw it three freekin’ times and it broke Titanic’s record for most money made, and most plots stolen from every other movie ever made, but basically just ripped off Fern Gully) * Notable cast: o Sigourney Weaver (Ripley, 50 years later and still looks great) o Michael Biehn (Hicks, but lets not forget he’s also the father of John Conner) o Bill Paxton (Hudson) “Game Over Man” + Side note, Paxton is to Cameron as John Ratzenberger (you know, the mail man from Cheers) is to Pixar. (well, kinda, Ratzenberger was in ALL Pixar movies, but Paxton was really only in Titanic, Aliens, Terminator, and True Lies. So, pretty much everything besides Avatar, bummer for Paxton) o Paul Reiser (company slime, you might remember him from Mad about You, a who about a nice guy with mean wife and he has to try to make it work) o Lance Henrikson (Biship, A.K.A. super nice android)
Fifty years later, Ripley has some issues. A) re-occuring nightmares of having a baby alien in her chest, B) legal issues blowing up a multi-million dollar ship in order to kill a man eating beast but missed it, 3) really bad bed head and sleep mouth.
So, a plan is set in motion to go BACK to LV426 (yes, that was from memory), the planet where they picked up the alien in the first one, and find out why all the people there who are supposed to be terraforming the planet are being lazy bums and letting themselves get eaten by aliens (silly civilians).
Now, as far as sequels go, this is probably THE best sequel ever. Terminator 2: Judgement day is pretty dang good, but I gotta say, this is just better and more fun. (Hold on, I forgot about The Dark Knight, I take it back, Dark Knight is the best ever). No, it’s not a horror flick like the first one, but it does a great job in blending action, story, character development (a bit), little twists here and there, and let’s not forget the Queen!
The evils here are the the aliens (yes, plural meaning more than one and now upgraded to egg laying queen status), and the Wayland-Yutani Corporation (remember the evil Company from the first one, now it has a name). And how does Ripley kill the queen in the end? Yep, by sending it out the air lock into space. (again, keep that in mind for later) What this movie lost in not being a horror flick, it made up for by adding kick-ass action, a ton of great aliens and special affects (1980’s special affects, but decent non-the-less), and characters you cared about besides Ripley, namely Hicks, Newt and Bishop. Kinda had a nice little family unit going on there. That leads into Alien 3, but before that, came the first Predator movie.
* Directed by: John McTiernan
o Other Movies he directed: Die Hard, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Last Action Hero, Basic (if you haven’t seen Basic, you should ‘cus of how come it’s so awesome ‘cus I said so) * Notable Cast o Arnold Schwarzenegger (Dutch, A.K.A. The Govenator, A.K.A. yet another politician that can’t keep his hands to himself or his wife) o Carl Weathers (Dillon, A.K.A. the black guy in Predator) o Jessy Ventura (Blain, A.K.A. the other Governor from Predator) o Kevin Peter Hall (Predator) + I note this guy not because I knew who he was and not because you should have, but we should keep note of people who can convincingly play an enormous alien bent on killing people and collecting their skulls AND play a lovable character like Harry from Harry and the Hendersons. + He’s been dead since 91, but if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, let’s all just agree to stay away form this dude’s grave.
If you still haven’t seen this movie, and you have an X chromosome, then you have to see it before you can claim you’re a man. Now, very few of us will ever look like any of the men in this movie,...and I’m ok with that. I’ve come to terms with it. My psychologist has informed me that we all have our strengths and weaknesses, my weakness is that I’m just physically weak.
This is the first time we are introduced to the Predator, but he doesn’t really start engaging with the main characters until half way through the movie. Before that it’s all setup, and that is a mark of a decent movie. A lot of setup but it still grabs you.
There are formulas that work for movies, and formulas that don’t. In this case, we have large, shirtless, muscular guys + jungle + mini gun + dude wearing mud to beat the predator. (Keep all these in mind for when I talk about Predators).
Just like Ripley, Dutch is the only survivor.
* Directed by: David f-ing Fincher o Other movies he directed: If you don’t know, then you’re not paying attention. Here’s just a few: Social Network, Benjamin Button, Panic Room, Fight Club, The Game, Seven, Zodiac. (So, dark, evil and brooding are his forte’) * Notable cast: o Sigourney Weaver (Ripley, still lookin’ good even without hair) o Charles Dutton (Dillon, you might know him from... a bunch of stuff, but specifically Mimic, later on him in a moment) o Charles Dance (Clemens, the doctor) + (side note: you might remember him as the villain from Last Action Hero who said the famous words “If God were a villain, he’d be me.”) o Lance Henriksen (Bishop, nice android with no body and half a head) o And...basically every British guy ever in the history of ever
This one is growing on me. When I share the Quardilogy (yes, that’s a word, shut up) with friends, the favorite is always Aliens. However, honestly, I’m beginning to like Alien 3 for the characters, dialogue, direction and set design. Looking at just those four, it’s probably the best one in the series. (This will get me hate mail, I’m sorry).
This one, however, is not for the faint of heart. It IS gory, and icky, and dark, and depressing. [Spoiler Alert!] It’s SO depressing, that the hero of our story, Ripley, the one person who had gone head to head (literally in this film) with the aliens dies in order to kill one. Now, you might be wondering, “What happened to that nice guy Hicks, and the cute little girl Newt?” Well, I’ll tell ya. The writers couldn’t figure out wtf they were gonna do with them, so they had them both die before the movie started. That’s what happened to them. And then, they put in a scene in which they opened up Newt’s chest to make sure she didn’t have an alien inside her. ‘Cus it’s not enough to write someone out of a movie, you have to mutilate their dead bodies to make sure that the actors know they’re NOT gonna be in the next one.
This one went back to the creepy formula of the first Alien with just one single alien. It takes place on a prison planet where their only weapons are scissors and F-words. (one of those are more affective against man eating monsters, but not by much, and they DO use both against it). If you pay close attention (and you probably won’t, so don’t bother reading this) you’ll notice that the alien eating everyone in this film acts a bit differently than previous encounters. Ripley even mentions that it “moves differently”. It is believed by fans that this is an effort to try to say that the aliens that are hatched take on characteristics of their host.
In this movie, the alien is hatched out of a dog, in previous movies the hosts had only been humans, so the aliens were mostly pi-pedal. In Alien 3, it acted a bit more like a dog, pulling at its meat to tear it off, crawling around on the walls and ceilings mostly. I liked this idea that the alien acts differently depending on the characteristics of its host. This lead to the pred-alien cross breed in AVPR (Requiem). But...I want to see more on that, perhaps Ridley Scott will explore this idea in the prequel project if he ever does it.
So...how did Ripley kill the aliens? The first one was killed by first dowsing the thing with liquid metal, but that didn’t kill it. Then, cold water was poured onto it, which made its exoskeleton explode because of the extreme temperature difference (I know, I think about this shit way too much). The queen, which was in Ripley’s chest, was killed by her jumping into a lake of fire with a not so subtle reference to being a christ figure/savior. This is the only movie with a lot of religious themes, so, if you’re into that, then you might like it. Also, if you’re into blood exploding onto people’s faces because a monster is eating someone alive next to them, then you’re really gonna love it.
And yes, as always, the Wayland-Yutani Corporation does what it does best, screw everyone and not care about anything besides the human eating monster.
A note on type casting. Charles Dutton, the black guy who plays Dillon dies a horrible death getting torn to shreds while swearing at the alien in an effort to try to keep it in the whole where the liquid metal will be poured in. Then, later in Dutton’s career, he does the same thing in Mimic, saving other people while sacrificing himself and getting torn to shreds. I like the guy, I hate to see him type cast like this, and honestly, I”m a little sick of writers or directors having black dude’s die us whities can live. Let me ask you this, when is the last time a white guy died so a black guy could live in a movie? Can’t think of one can you? Neither can I.
[Author’s note, I saw this in the theater with my father when I was 11. I’ve been a little off ever since. Ha, just kidding, I’m totally fine and well adjusted. I like butterflies and kittens and death and blood and...oh crap]
* Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet ( yeah, he’s french) o Other movies he directed: The City of the Lost Children (yeah...you didn’t see that one), Amelie (not even kidding), A Very Long Engagement (ok...) o [Um, what is the deal with the Alien directors all doing really successful love stories?] * Notable cast: o Sigourney Weaver (Ripley, dead and part alien and still looking good) o Winona Ryder (Call, the 3rd gen friendly android bent on killing aliens) o Ron Perlman (Johner, A.K.A. Hell Boy, or you might know him from Beauty and the Beast, the television show way back in the day) o Gary Dourdan (Christie, you know as Warrick on CSI and for his nice eyes) o Brad Dourif (Doctor, you know him as Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings)
Ok...this is where the Alien series takes a weird left turn to weirdland. And although I love him, I blame Joss Wedon. You know Wedon as the writer and creator of the Firefly series and Serenity (my favorite sci-fi series ever), Buffy, Angel, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (if you don’t know it, watch it, it’s awesome). Like I said, I love him and his work, but he is the one who apparently came up with the idea to have a cross breed human-alien. This is the weirdest weird thing ever from weirdland, the thing is just...creepy and unsettling. In fact, watching the Quadrilogy extras, they apparently created male and female genitalia for the thing, but in post production, they thought that was too weird and had to digitally remove it. (Best decision ever).
So...let’s recap the movie for ya. Aliens are brought back by resurrecting Ripley and pulling the unborn queen fetus out of her, breeding them, they get out, eat everyone, a new species is born, it’s creepy, Ripley kills it by...let me check...yep, by sending it into outer space because apparently that’s the only good way to kill an alien. However, thankfully, they put a new spin on death by space by adding the this twist: sucking it out through a window, intestines first, then an arm, then it’s body, and finally its skull, skin first though. Wait, did I say thankfully? I meant, “dear God, why?!”
This movie suffered from another major problem besides the weird ass plot. The director listened to the production company, instead of holding to his creative guns. Every other director until him stuck with their creative gut and wouldn’t let Fox push them around. But Jean-Pierre (probably ‘cus he’s french) admitted in an interview for the Quadilogy set, that he played ball with Fox and let them tell him what he should to do make a good movie. Now, he didn’t know this, but Fox has a bad record for what they think is good and what is actually good. (These are just a few shows Fox TV has cancelled that were pretty amazing, Firefly, Arrested Development, New Amsterdam, and Family guy at least twice). Now, it’s definitely possible that the movie side of Fox is run by different people than the television side...but they probably have the same ideas of what is good. When people who are worried about money have say in the creative process, it will suck. And they proved it with Resurrection.
Last but not least, the evil Wayland-Yutani Corporation is replaced by the military and, in a lame set of dialogue, it is explained that it was bought out by Walmart. Which...isn’t surprising to me ‘cus Walmart is pretty dang evil, they WOULD by Wayland-Yutani.
* Directed by: Stephen Hopkins o Other movies directed by him: The Ghost and the Darkness, Lost in Space and The Reaping * Notable Cast o Kevin Peter Hall (Predator, he got top billing on this one) o Danny Glover (Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, A.K.A. Sergaent “I’m too old for this shit” Murtaugh) o Gary Busey (Peter Keyes, only guy who knows about the first encounter with the Predator) o Bill Paxton (Jerry Lambert, in it ‘cus James Cameron probly pulled some strings)
This is NOT as good as the first one. Let’s take a look at the formula that made the first one fun: large, shirtless, muscular guys + jungle + mini gun + dude wearing mud to beat the predator. We have NONE of these elements in this one. Yep, none. Now, I like Danny Glover, he’s a good guy and he did do a decent job in this,...but...he’s no Schwarzenegger. And the city is no jungle, and a 9mm is not mini gun. (Side note, they call it a “mini” gun because it’s the smallest caliber gun that can be mounted on an attack helicopter).
There are other problems with Predator 2, in my opinion. One of them is the very needless sex scene towards the beginning. The fact that the decision was made to throw in some nudity and sex in this movie goes to show they weren’t confident in the story and action in order to get people to the theater. None of the other Predator, Alien, or AvP movies have a sex scene, and there is a reason for this, these movies are for adolescent boys who like violent movies. Now, I know what you’re saying, “But Nate, they’re rated R, those aren’t meant for kids!” Uh, yeah, I know. But think about this, who loves monsters, guns, violence, blowing stuff up? Ok, most men, but specifically boys. We can prevent them from seeing these movies in the theaters by requiring ID, but we can’t prevent them from seeing it at home. And they’re going to. But let me get off my soap box and just say that this wasn’t that great of a movie.
However, we did learn something new about the Predator. They seem to only attack those that pose some type of threat, so, if you’re not their prey and not holding a weapon, you probably won’t be attacked ‘cus you’re not that fun to kill. Also, at the end of this movie, Glover finds the Predator’s space ship and sees all the trophies from past hunts, including a banana shaped ALIEN SKULL! This 3 second easter egg/cameo of an alien skull was the inspiration to write a comic book for AvP, and two terrible movies. (If only directors wouldn’t inspire cross over franchises...they’re never good, unless we’re talking Freddy vs. Jason, that was gold...if gold were the thing growing in my bathroom).
(AKA: Franchise mistake #1)
* Directed by: Paul W.W. Anderson
o Other movies he directed: Death Race, Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Mortal Combat and...Event Horizon. + Looking at this list...I can see why this movie sucked ass. Now, I will admit, I did enjoy the first Resident Evil, and Mortal Combat was fun (when I was thirteen), but none of these...how do you say...are good movies. And...Event Horizon? Don’t even get me started. I’ll have to save my comments about that one later, but if you ever get the chance to see it...don’t...EVER. Not only is it not good, but it is evil, demonic, depressing, scarring, and just not...um...good for people who want to live a normal life. * Notable Cast: o Sanaa Lathan (Alex Woods, you might know her from Blade) o Lance Henriksen (Charles Bishop Weland, you might know him from Aliens and Alien 3 as Bishop, the friendly robot) o And other people that none of us care too much about, but are probably really nice people.
There are several issues I have with this movie. First huge issue I have with this movie was that it was Rated PG-13. This is wrong for one big reason, it totally admits that all these movies have always been for teenage boys and specifically tries to target them...while making a crap movie. Also, in order to save on time, they speed up the gestation period for the implanted alien after the face-huggers attack and the chest-bursters are born. In the original movie, it takes almost a full day for the thing to burst out of his chest at the dinner table. In the AvP movies (including the 2nd one) it seems as though it only takes a few hours...which is lame. Also, they make up some dumb archaeological crap about how the temple they go to has characteristics from ALL the major ancient civilizations...so, then, what happened was after everyone hung out in the northern arctic, the ancient people went and started their own separate cultures and for some reason picked one archaeological and cultural characteristics and ditched the other one’s. This doesn’t make any sense, is dumb, and they shouldn’t even tried to explain this (‘cus, when I tried to just now, it didn’t make any sense either).
Another problem is, if you noticed, they had the same actor who played Bishop in the Alien movies, play Charles Weland, you know, as in the Weland-Yutani Corporation. This is a lame attempt to tie this movie into the the original Alien series. Yes, it seemed the company knew about the aliens before the Nastromo (also from memory) landed on LV426 in the first movie. But...Charles Weland DIES in AvP...so how does that explain it? Also, if Charles dies, why would someone ELSE make an android in his image? Wouldn’t it make more sense if Charles made an android and call it Bishop in his OWN image?
Now, all those issues aside, I do have to admit...it was kinda cool to see Predators kicking Alien butt. However, the Predators all got their asses kicked and it doesn’t take too long for their only to be ONE freekin’ Predator left. Eventually it’s just one Predator and human chick left versus the Alien Queen, which makes for a pretty cool scene, I have to admit. Oh, and how did they kill the Alien Queen, you might ask? They sunk it to the bottom of the ocean. So, now we’re suppose to assume that the Weland-Yutani corporation found out about some weird alien species in an encounter ON EARTH in the arctic they might want to study for their weapons division a few hundred years later, and they tell Ripley and the rest of the people on the Nastromo to check out a beacon on a DIFFERENT planet. Why not just go to the arctic and see if there’s a huge ass Queen body at the bottom of the ocean? They apparently can survive a long time and then shocked back to life ready ready to lay eggs right off the bat, I’m sure it’s still fine.
Ugh. So many issues. I could say a lot more, but I just don’t care. It was a mistake to make a cross franchise movie like this, so they made another one.
At the end of this movie a cross breed, pred-alien baby burst out of a dead Predator on the spaceship. [Queue melodramatic, ominous and for shadowing music *buh, buh, buhhhh*]
(AKA: Franchise mistake #2)
* Directed by: Colin & Greg Stause o Other Movies they directed: + Skyline, but they’re more known for visual affects in X-Men 3, Wolverine, Avatar, and lots of others you can check out at IMDB.com o Notable Cast: + Reiko Aylesworth (Kelly, you know her from the series 24) + And...no one else. Seriously, check it out if you care, but there are no big names in this movie, not one. All were in tv before it, and most are probably still in tv afterwards...’cus it sucked.
The only reason they called this one “Requiem” to give it a nice “R” for “AvP:R” and not “AvP:2” because they wanted make it darn clear that we knew THIS AvP movie is rated R. It’s right in the title! Now, this is an effort to not make the same mistake for the first one that was Pg-13...but they went over board with the R rating.
Let’s talk about the R rating for second. [If you don’t want to be disturbed, you can skip this paragraph, I’m ok with that.] First of all, they had a kid get impregnated with a chest-burster, (this is the first time in alien cinema this was shown), towards the end, the predator alien cross breed queen thing orally rapes a pregnant woman and somehow converts her unborn child into 3 alien babies (this is the most awful thing every and I can’t believe they even put this in the movie, or why anyone thought this very offensive scene up), the cute girl who we now like ‘cus she’s “a real person” with “feelings” and is liked by one of the boys in the movie but also ‘cus she takes most of her clothes off in a needless pool scene, gets her face cut in half by the predator’s throwing star of death. And a shit-ton of alien gore. (And as we all know, a shit ton is more than just a regular ton).
Pretty much everyone we are encouraged to care about in the movie dies including the WHOLE damn town that is nuked. This is one of the devices the writers come up with why future Weyland-Yutani corp people can’t just find aliens on earth instead of LV426. The other plot device to take care of this massive plot hole is the Predator’s magic acid that completely gets rid of the alien carcases. (How does he know he got them all?)
The sole reason the Predator goes to earth is not because he wants to save humans from the alien-predator cross breed that crash lands in the forest outside a small town. But simply for the thrill of the hunt of a new alien. And...it REALLY kicks ass. Unlike the first AvP where the Predators kinda suck and get owned by the xenomorphs, this one kills dozens of them by itself. This is the one thing this movie gets right, if nothing else, the Predator kicks ass and chews gum, and it’s all out of gum. [Wait, do aliens have asses? Do they poop?]
Bottom line, this movie was just offensive by the level of over the top violence, therefor, it was much less enjoyable. In the end, again, they try to make a link between the AvP franchise and the Alien movies by delivering a Predator weapon to a Yutani family member. This is all well in fine, I respect the idea that the Wayland-Yutani Corporation needs to be at the center of the plot, just like the Umbrella corporation for Resident Evil and the rise of Emperor Palpantine in the Star Wars saga, but...eh, as a whole package it sucked, so I don’t really care.
* Directed by: Nimrod Antal (he he, nimrod)
o Other movies he directed: Vacancy and Armored. * Notable Cast o Pretty much everyone...specifically o Adiren Brody (Royce) + (you might know him from all the other movies you’ve seen him in, like The Village (remember, he was the retarded guy who went nuts because he found out there were no monsters), and the Pianist. He was also in Brother’s Bloom, King Kong, and apparently can sing, write, produce, compose, and run the camera...so, he’s a multi-talented, very muscular jerk) o Laurence Fishburne (Noland) + (You might know him as the new guy in CSI (hey that rhyms), Morpheus in the Matrix, Mission Impossible III, and oh yeah, that movie I hate, Event Horizon.) o Topher Grace (Edwin, you know him from as the main character in That 70’s show) * Alice Braga (Isabelle) o (You might know her from I Am Legend or Repo Men) * And most of the other guys you’ve seen from other shows and movies.
[Spoiler Alert] First thing you will notice about this movie, no Aliens, only Predators. This is NOT a sequal to the AvP movies, but a “reboot” if you will, taking place after the Predator and Predator 2 movies (I know, it’s hard to keep this all strait). Second thing you will notice is that it has ALL of the elements that we liked about the FIRST Predator movie that made it work: shirtless, muscular guys + jungle + mini gun + dude wearing mud to beat the predator. It even had the SAME soundtrack from the first one! So, basically what I see happening here is a few, smart writers looked at the franchise and said “ok, we like the Predator. But Predator 2 sucked and so did the AvP movies. How do we get this back on track?” Then some guy in the back raises his hand. “Ugh, why not just make the first one again, but with more Predators?” And... they said “yeah...that’s sounds dumb,but for some reason, it just feels right.” And it works. I don’t know how they did it, but it WORKS.
Brody is convincing as a bad ass, the Predators kick butt and are merciless, and even Topher is convincing as an annoying whinny guy who goes all creepy in the end. If you’ve never seen a Predator movie...you can safely watch the first one with Arnold and skip right to this one and not have missed a damn thing. I don’t own ANY of the Predator movies, but I am tempted to own this one and the original because it’s just FUN.
Predators is the first of a series of movies that separates these franchises out and “reboots” them, with more Predator movies and at least one more Alien movie called Prometheus, coming out in two weeks, supposedly a prequel. Hopefully a follow up movie will happen with Sigourney as Ripley again. I have high hopes for these sci-fi action/horror staples and I like where things are headed.
(This review has been published by the Duluth News Tribune)
Short Review: Unsurprisingly good. Well acted, well directed, fantastic script, action, special effects...best sci-fi movie in years. If yo...
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