Who cares if the movie is any good? The trailer is likely the best ever and undoubtedly the most violent
By Patrick Stinson, Contributor
As anyone who read my last review will know, I am a pretty big fan of monster movies. As anyone who knows me must come to understand, I bear a particular love of monster movies from Asia, which characterize their creatures as enormous, unstoppable, god-like beasts. Godzilla is of course the first and finest example of this form, and its many sequels and rip-offs have formed a sub-genre of their own. Occasionally, American filmmakers will try to ape this style—the currently-untitled upcoming project from J.J. Abrams (the first trailer for it played before Transformers) appears to be the latest example.
But American monster movies also have their own style. Usually, a more manageably-sized monster stalks the characters until they rally together and fight back. I would argue that Alien is the archetype for the modern American monster movie: though derivative of many works that preceded it, it was the first true blending of science fiction and horror, and it proved a significant commercial success. Its sequel, Aliens, was also successful and is generally considered one of the finest (and most-imitated) action films ever made. Though its further sequels are universally considered inferior, the series is notable in that all of them are filmed with artistry and seriousness…in short, they are all at least worth watching.
Hopefully, all this meta-analysis has distracted you from the fact that I don’t actually have a review for you this week. Just plain didn’t have the time. When I confessed this to the Matriarch of this fine paper, I threw in a joke about how I could do a review of an excellent trailer I had seen recently. She found this idea most amusing and bade me do so.
The trailer, if you hadn’t already gathered, is that of the upcoming film Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. This is a sequel to the most recent entry in the Alien series, which united the Alien—a bestial, insect-like killer—with the Predator—an intergalactic big-game hunter. The two franchises, both owned by 20th Century Fox, actually had been brawling in a franchise of comic books, novels, and computer games ever since Aliens and Predator first came out in the late 1980s, but not until 2004 did somebody make a movie out of it. To be fair, Alien vs. Predator had some good fight scenes, well-executed practical effects and actually made an attempt to unite the stories of the two franchises.
Nevertheless, the film was reviled. Ordinary people could quite fairly make the case that the movie sucked. Diehard fans of the two franchises made the further criticism that the film was a rather tame PG-13. All previous films had been much darker and gorier: the tamer rating was seen as an insulting attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator. In short, the movie alienated the very core of fans that it had to rely upon to succeed.
Movie studios, bless their greedy hearts, really do listen when money’s at stake. The trailer may be found at http://media.movies.ign.com/media/746/746237/vids_1.html. You’ll never see it in a theater because this particular preview is restricted to over-17s by the MPAA. Yes, the two-minute trailer is more violent than the last film in the franchise. The message that Greg and Colin Strause, the directors of the upcoming film, are sending to fans is that this one will be “very different.”
The trailer depicts a Predator ship crashing near a Colorado suburb. The ship has been overrun by Aliens, including the “Predalien,” a genetic hybrid glimpsed at the end of the previous film. Disturbingly, a young boy and his father appear to be early victims—they are attacked by larval “facehuggers” in the opening moments of the trailer, meaning that full-fledged Aliens will burst from their chests before long. The trailer next offers various shots of mayhem, including what appear to be some deliberate homages to shots from Predator and Aliens. The trailer earns its R-rating many times over: a man’s face is dissolved by an Alien’s acid blood, a Predator throws a weapon and nails a woman to a wall, and then proceeds to blow two people’s heads off at once…so consider yourself warned. There also appears to be a sub-plot about the military wanting to bomb the town to destroy the Alien outbreak.
The movie’s lead character appears rather similar to Ripley, Sigourney Weaver’s iconic character from previous installments. This is a little disappointing; I love strong women as characters but some creativity would be nice. Hopefully, the character will prove distinct from Ripley. However, in their interview with MTV, the Strause brothers claim that the real star of the film is a Predator. “We call him the Wolf internally because basically he’s Harvey Keitel from ‘Pulp Fiction.’ He’s the cleaner. He shows up and he’s not there for the trophies….If anybody gets in his way, he’ll just cut ‘em in half.” The Wolf is prominently featured in the trailer. He is seen to slice apart an Alien with a futuristic whip, wrestle two Aliens at once, and fight a duel with the Predalien.
If you consider yourself a fan of either of these franchises, I recommend catching this in the theater this winter. You could always wait for a proper review, but based on this trailer I can predict it delivers what the fans want in the area of action. As far as whether it will be a good movie…I honestly couldn’t tell you yet, but no doubt a large part of me will enjoy it either way.
Alien vs. Predator: Requiem does not exist yet, and this reviewer really needs to make more friends with the time, inclination, and resources to drive him to the cinema so that he may review a movie with actual plot and dialogue.