Naturally, it's about at this point that those Darlin', Sportin' alien invaders who built the pyramid, and in fact, all the pyramids world wide, show back up to wreak a little havoc in your basic, traditional rite of passage. Not so bad, really, except that these alien invaders just happen to be those jaw-faced and Dread-Headed Predators we know and love/ loathe! And, of course, the rite of passage involves the battle of the century with a few newly born and incubated Aliens! The pyramid even has a cryogenically iced-down Alien Queen just for the purpose.
Sadly, the Predators are Horn-Swoggled at the revelation that there are modern-day humans trapped in the middle of this mess and are none too happy about it. Even less pleased are the humans themselves who, instead of simply blaming the Republicans, issue forth like Green Peace to do Battle with the Man! Or in this case, the Aliens and the Predators.
What follows is more exciting than a Pepsi and Pop Rocks blended Mocha Beverage with a shot of X-T-C.
The frequently computer animated Aliens look better than they ever have and they keep up with the Joneses when it comes to making every character their chow-time snack! The Blue-Black bugs are more akin to the original monster in the very first Alien film than they are to their sequel-running brethren.
The Predators also look better than ever, with more Variation in their look, and some great development. The Dreadlocks are also longer and much more Bad Ass.
The title rings true, when some of the coolest fight scenes you could expect are all thrown in with the poor humans mostly filling scenery and acting as plot motivators, like any old teenager in Freddy Versus Jason. It certainly does satisfy the Fandom aspect, especially with the fights the testosterone and D&D crowd are bleeding off.
However the film still manages to not simply be one long drawn out King Kong Versus Godzilla retread! Both series are treated with respect, and surprisingly, this Prequel fits well into both of them. The aspects of both Aliens and Predators are played well without feeling gratuitous or cheap. Alien Versus Predator works best in the homage area, but it also manages to break some new ground (although, let's be honest, the "new" ground is mostly new-to-film only, and was broken by the Comics a while back).
Lathan is no Weaver, but she's not bad. In a relatively solid cast that is mostly used for Set Dressing, Lex is written well, and acted very well (she's also none to hard on the optics). Aside from her, and maybe Weyland himself, many of the other characters are paper-thin. But they aren't there to deliver soliloquies... no, they're around to have their chests burst and their skulls polished. The movie is called Alien Versus Predator!
It's notable, however, how often director Anderson does not follow the predictable conceits that films with the word "Versus" in the title have made ubiquitous and obvious. His screen writing (from a "Story" he wrote with original Alien writers Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett) and directing are good, as in most of his films, and he manages to raise the film above the norm (as he did with Resident Evil... a game tie-in for Gandhi's sake). The set design is especially inspired. Not only does this look real, and look great, but it also pays a great debt to the imagery and feel of all six filmic predecessors (not to mention the innumerable alternate media appearances).
Aside from these standouts this is still in many ways a Monster versus Monster flick, and so much energy seems to have been spent on "cool" concepts that some logic falls by the way side. There's some great logic and ideas in some parts... then in others you owe your brain a bit of an apology as the ideas knock the logic crepe-flat. So to sum up, this is a good film, pretty smart, and a lot of fun. It's also better than expected, but in some of the choices and plot-gaps the expected holes and clichés do rear their oblong heads and scream like a Predator.
I almost wanted to give AVP four stars because it's so much better than expected. Taken for all with all, though, this is a solid Three and a Half Star out of Five film. There's more fun to be had here than at a Minnie Pearl Hat Sale, and there are more logical moments than expected... but then once the Bar is set, it's hard for all the rest of the moments to vault over it. Check out the fun of old Grid, the most menacing Alien in the film chasing Scar and Lex through the ice. You don't get this stuff in some Ronnie Yu film! So until a leathery egg hatches in front of me and I become the unwilling Mommy to a slithering caustic bug forcing its birth through my chest... I'll be seeing you in the next reel!
The major flaw in this film is there's no comment on the Affect this war might have had on the Hamster Population of Spaceship Earth!
But before you go and write to the ASPCA in Anger...
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