Friday, 17 June 2011

AVP (2004)

There have been various “versus” films over the years; Godzilla vs Mothra; Kramer vs Kramer; Scot Pilgrim vs The World; Monsters vs Aliens; Joe vs the Volcano (no, seriously, with Tom Hanks and everything!); then in 2004 we got possibly one of the most awaited films in a long time: Alien vs Predator. To clarify; when I say “most awaited” I mean ever since we saw a Predator getting slapped around by Arnie in 1987, people thought “Wouldn’t it be cool to pit a Predator against some Aliens?!”. There were comic books, there were computer games (frickin scary computer games too!), and in Predator 2 Danny Glover finds a Predator trophy cabinet with an Alien skull in it. Surely eventually there would be a film? So please, do not confuse “most awaited” with “eagerly anticipated”. But surely an AVP film would be amazing vs awesome?!

I really want to like this film. Paul Anderson directed Event Horizon brilliantly; he’s British (Yay!); and he comes across as a nice bloke. His visual style is still great in AVP; great opening scene as the satellite looks like a Queen Alien; the interior of the pyramid is very detailed; and I really like the way the camera zooms out of one room to a wire-frame model before zooming into another room. The script is alright; I guess anything too involved could have seemed contrived; after all neither Aliens nor Predator are exactly The Usual Suspects. I seem to remember there was a level in the first AVP computer game called “Hunt”; I’m guessing that could be the inspiration for the plot. It’s the characters that really let the side down. Sanaa Lathan is presumably the strong female character a la Ripley (she sooo is not!); Ewen Bremner and Tommy Flanagan have sons (that’s all the back story they get); the only character that is interesting is Lance Henriksen’s, and that’s because he has a future rather than a history. The consequence is that we don’t really give a shit when they inevitably get killed (all a bit Sucker Punch).

But hey! There’s Aliens fighting Predators! And that’s what we really want to see right? All the action is pretty cool, great seeing an Alien swung round by its tail; (I’ll just skip over the part where the face-huggers impregnate in a matter of minutes and then the chest-bursters follow a minute later!). But anyway, everything looks really good, the cg is barely noticeable (only at one point I think I remember), and both Aliens and Predators look as though they’re really big and solid as they smash into things.

So, all good fun, really well made, designed and put together; great action; just rather let down by the one-dimensional characters that we don’t care about at all.