Updated: Aug 29, 2019
What's going on, you guys!! Today, I'm going to list all the things I love about the two Alien v. Predator movies! I didn't include them in my ALIEN Legacy series (which you can watch/listen to anytime on YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts!) because they SUCK. But. I do like some aspects of them and they deserve some credit because some people probably worked hard on them.
Welcome to the best seat in the house, everybody! So. Alien v. Predator. The first time there was any acknowledgement of the possibility of an AVP movie was in Predator 2. IF I am remembering correctly, that was before any comic books existed or anything, so that was the origin (in, like, mainstream media) if the idea. In the film, there was a Xenomorph skull on the wall of the Yautja ship with the other trophies from previous hunts. It was literally nothing more than a fun Easter egg. Just one sci fi franchise referencing another out of fun and respect. It was already referenced in fan art and discussions presumably, but that single shot (or maybe two or three), a franchise was born. Comic books and video games were rolled out (pretty much) throughout the 90s.
Rather early on there were talks of doing a movie. By the early 2000s, it finally made it's way to production. Paul W.S. Anderson wrote and directed the film. Anderson was widely (as far as I am aware) considered a good choice for the material. He directed Mortal Kombat, Event Horizon, and Resident Evil before that. Lance Hendrickson returned to play Karl Bishop Weyland, the CEO of Weyland-Yutani, the mega corporation from the Alien series. Hendrickson previously played a part in Aliens and Alien 3 as a synthetic named Bishop. The character is a fan favorite and Hendrickson has made a name for himself as a character actor, so there were some very good things going for the movie.
The good feelings did not last though. The film was met with so-so reviews. There aren't too many scathing, negative reviews and very obvious and detrimental problems with the film. The main problem is how mediocre and uninspiring the crossover between two of the greatest movie monsters ever. The design and time of the film is mute. It feels simple and cheap at times. The design and practical effects used for the Xenomorphs and Predators are very simple and cheap looking. Rubbery, not very interesting or detailed (compared to the previous films that depicted the creatures.) The film was questionably set in Antarctica in an underground pyramid. The Xenomorphs, even though they took down two Predators rather quickly and easily, are said to be depicted as weaker and worse than Predators. I can go on and on about what I don’t like about these movies. BUT this episode is about what I DO like.
Oddly enough, the best thing about this movie is the idea. Ever since the inception of Aliens v. predator content, it’s been a really cool idea. I mean, Predator introduced an alien creature that is so recognizable and COOL, that it immediately stuck. This was (probably) not a monster intended to start a franchise. Sure merchandising and other mediums such as comics would have come along, but the design of the creature and the execution of its first film was crazy. Alien is that, but times 89. The creature design and film it featured in was one of those films that deeply impacted cinema and science fiction and the impact will always be referenced and felt. So, to combine two absolute successes of cinema was a cool idea. Would I really want to ever see another AVP movie? No Is it an intriguing idea nonetheless? Yes.
I like the ancient aliens aspect for sure. It is a GREAT idea to tie in with, almost any mythology. I really dig ancient alien theories. Sometimes just for fun and to see how people are interpreting human history. Sometimes it is just plain funny to watch and read about. At other times, there are some really compelling theories and aspects of ancient alien theories and research. So this movie made the right move in going with this idea. Well, the other good (probably better) option is the two species meeting for the first time with humans caught in the middle. Still, this idea mixes well with the two alien creatures that were originally born with such simple premises in mind. It is an idea that would be used again (to better effect, in my opinion) when Ridley Scott crafted his Alien prequel movies.
I like the cast, mostly. I don’t really know any of the actors’ works outside of this and can’t really say that any of them are greatly written and amazingly portrayed, BUT I do think the cast was good. Lance Hnerickson was also a joy to have back. I prefer Peter Weyland from Prometheus and Alien: Covenant as the CEO and founder of Weyland Industries, but Henrickson was an interesting precursor to the idea. It is also very fanboy-ish to imply that the Bishop model synthetic person seen in Aliens and Alien 3 is based off of the founder of the company. The material in which they had to work with held them back. Like Obi-wan holding Anakin back. Fuck.
I LOVED seeing the Xenomorph Queen in action. I don’t think that anyone will ever top the work done on Aliens to bring the Queen to life in that film, so it stings a little bit to have a CGI Queen running around fucking Antarctica getting it’s ass kicked by a single, injured Predator and one, nearly frostbitten, human. STILL, it honestly frightens me to see The Queen chasing Lexi around. I mean, imagine that. That thing? Chasing me? With almost nowhere to hide? Fuck.
I think that is about it, really. There is probably more, but I don’t really have much more to harp on about. These movies are only memorable because of the names in the titles and for how horribly the studio bungled the idea to combine the two properties. I, like most people (I would say), can appreciate the first movie for the fun that it has. It is something that I can choose to watch every once in a blue moon, you know?
I will be publishing a follow up episode very soon. It will be about everything I like from AVP: Requiem. Eeesh. You can prepare for that trauma by checking out our previous, regular episode! You can subscribe to the YouTube channel and drop a comment on the video! Let know how YOU feel about the first AVP movie OR whatever you want to bring to the discussion! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, AND Twitter @backrowmovienews for updates on upcoming episode coming to you guys! Thank you for listening and watching and we will see you next time right here, on Back Row: Movie News!