Friday, December 28, 2007

Review: Alien vs. Predator: Requiem

About three years ago or so, there was an horrible comic book/video game movie entitled Alien vs. Predator. Fortunately for my sanity, I did not see this movie in the theatres but rather rented it when it was released on DVD. I say fortunately, because this movie was unequivocally bad. Poor story, poor acting, poor cinematography, everything about it was less than stellar. Especially when you compare it to the second Predator movie or the first Alien movie.

Christmas day 2007, a sequel to that bad movie got released. Oh, what did we, as the collective genre fandom, do that was so bad that Santa decided we needed this as our gift. I'd rather have gotten coal. That sequel was entitled Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. Amusingly enough, this movie had two directors and five writers. One would think with that many folks working on it, it would have been a better experience. I'd also like to point out that the word requiem is actually the Catholic mass for the dead, or a grand piece of music. My own opinion of things is that the requiem here is for our intelligence which this movie killed.

Anyways, the plot is fairly simple. Aliens pop up, Predator pops up, both start killing. Gore abounds. The story itself begins immediately after the first movie, with the Predator that had been impregnated there hatching his Alien (yes, I know that Predators are called Yuatja, and Aliens Xenomorphs, but that's too much geek for this early in the morning). From that point on, the story falls apart in ever more gore-filled, chest-exploding ways. And I mean that quite literally. The story line tosses away logic, common military operating procedures, and past continuity from the franchises associated with this movie. Personally, I believe it's that last one that really annoyed me in regards to this movie, especially the speed of the Aliens growing up, and the lack of the Queen laying face-hugger eggs. I'm also left wondering why just a single Predator come after the other ship sent its distress call?

So, for this story we have two cipher characters (the predator and the alien) and then a handful of human POV characters that we're supposed to relate to. I found it somewhat hard. After all, the characters we received were: the con, the little brother, a love interest, ex-military person, the idiot, the cop and the innocent. Sure, it's a fine place to start a cast for a movie like this, but that's what it should be, a start. Unfortunately, those archetypes are the be-all and end-all of the characterizations. There is no growth, no development, and in fact we get some character regressions. The most egregious examples of this would require spoilers, so I'll forgo them, on the off chance someone wants to make their eyes bleed by watching this movie.

Beyond the story, and characters, there is how the director/cameramen got this movie onto the celluloid (or its digital equivalent). For the scenes where there was enough light to see what was happening, it was fine. Unfortunately, those scenes were few and far between. Even the Predator's hunting tools made making out what was happening hard. Occasionally, the screen would switch to what the Predator's helmet would show: and frankly, it sucked.

Of course, the continuity issues, poor characters, and even the bad lighting, I could handle. It would have gotten the movie bad marks, but there was a few things which just sat ill with me. They were unneeded, unnecessary and frankly, in incredibly poor taste. The first was an Alien popping out of the chest of a twelve-year old boy. The second, was the "Queen" implanting eggs into a pregnant woman, and then those eggs popping out of her. I was somewhat ill, by the scene of them pushing against her stomach. I remember my wife's pregnancies, and I remember seeing little hands and feet push against the exterior of her stomach. It was an amazing, beautiful thing. We didn't need to see the Aliens killing/breeding in the humans in that particular state. We know the Aliens are evil incarnate, that was unnecessary. The final scene was a nursery. While we don't see the Aliens eating the newborns (I would have gotten up, left and demanded a refund at that) that action was heavily implied in the way the Alien bumped its head against the glass.

In the end, I could have enjoyed this movie. I doubt I would have ever liked it, but it could have lived in my memory in the same place I relegate those old, gore-filled SF horror movies, similar to The Blob or Army of Darkness. If the scenes I discovered in the paragraph above this one had not been there, I would have given this an incredibly different review. It would have been light in tone, amused at the gore, the violence, and the utter lack of intelligence stimulating content. Yet the writer/directors felt the need to attack children, to show us just how evil and inhuman the Aliens are in that regard. Maybe it is because I am a parent, but I found that content disturbing, and it did leave quite a sour taste in my mouth over the whole movie.

I have to give this movie a 0 out of 4.


Anonymous said...

I am eager to see the movie.... I say the first... it really did nothing for me in terms of fear, horror or thrill.... but alas I would like to see the nursery scene..... not because I am sick... although maybe I am.... my son is one of the newborns in that scene..... he was a month old at the time. Interesting.. we thought nothing of it at the time and had no idea what it would be when finished.. I guess I will ahve to see if I am disturbed by it...

Stephen Wrighton said...

That's cool that your son was one of the newborns, and if my son had been one, I'd probably have wanted to go see the movie as well.

Like I said, it's never shown that the babies are ate (unlike the 12 yo boy & the pregnant woman getting chest busted). I just felt that all those scenes dealing with young children were utterly unnecessary and actually a detriment to my enjoyment of the movie.

Anonymous said...

I am presently pirating the movie... yet another questionable activity (lol)... So I will reserve further comment till I have seen it.. here or on the silver screen.

Stephen Wrighton said...

Well, I would be highly interested in your thoughts on it after a viewing, so please don't hesitate to let me know what you think. :D

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