AVP: Alien vs. Predator
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The sudden discovery of a pyramid frozen under the ice of Antartica results in the dispatchment of a team of scientists and adventurers to investigate. Once they enter the underground pyramid, the team comes face to face with an ancient battle between two alien species - a battle that will come to a head on Earth.
- Includes theatrical version and an extended version with a new beginning
- Deleted scenes
- Making-of featurette
- Dark Horse comic book cover gallery
- DVD-ROM: the first edition of the AVP comic book, AVP comic book background study, exclusive 16-page preview of the upcoming AVP graphic novel
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Am I the only one who was bothered by the fact that there was like ONE Predator in this entire movie?
The film has its fair share of deliciously claustrophobic sets, and so I'll throw credit where credit is due. It serves up some nicely manipulated chills and there are some jumpy moments and even some surprisingly edgy violent moments considering the rating (which is only one of the films hindrances) but overall the film cannot get out of its own way. The script offers some interesting connective tissue when concerning the relationship between the two species of alien, but it also seems to dumb down nearly everything else until it becomes just another generic science fiction movie.
Run of the mill.
I will say this; I'm thankful that this film stars the magnificent Sanaa Lathan. I seriously adore her in everything she does and will watch her in anything, even this half-baked creation. She is just perfection on the screen. Even while meandering through this films murky waters, she manages to make her presence believable and engaging. If a lesser actress had been cast, this film would have fallen apart rapidly (see `The Ruins' for an example of poor acting destroying a mediocre film).
While I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this movie (in fact, I refuse to recommend it since it really doesn't need to be seen) I will say that if you happen to stumble onto it you won't be completely devastated. It has some things going for it. It's not a horribly bad movie, it's just a big disappointment. Knowing what this movie could have been makes the experience so much less than rewarding.
Is AVP as great as 1986's "Aliens"? Nope. But I think comparing AVP to "Aliens" is to employ the wrong standard. AVP is not competing with that film, in much the same way that "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" was not competing with the sensational "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." No, "Star Trek VI" was competing with the largely reviled "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier." Similarly, AVP is really competing with the oppressively dark, fundamentally unappealing "Alien 3" and strangely goofy, utterly unexciting "Alien Resurrection"; the last Predator movie, 1990's "Predator 2," was released so long ago and did such middling box office that it hardly figures in the popular imagination anymore.
Some have complained about AVP's characters, arguing that they're mere sketches compared to the colorful, indelible personalities that James Cameron provided us in "Aliens," and John McTiernan gave us in "Predator." While true, it's worth pointing out that the original "Alien" "suffers" from the same "problem," so much so that a defensive Ridley Scott once said, "The characters in 'Alien' are as defined as they need to be, no more and no less." Just as the characters in "Alien" were largely, nay, archetypically defined by their professions and their professionalism (or lack thereof), the characters in AVP are defined by their jobs and the proficiency with which they do them.
Some have also complained that many of AVP's characters are dispatched too quickly. However, that's part of what makes AVP interesting. It's a real throwback to horror films of yesteryear, films that weren't afraid to toss virtually everyone to the wolves. Just when you begin to think, "Oh, Anderson's spent too much time developing this character, giving him/her good lines and telling us stuff about his/her past, to just off him/her," that person buys it. It's delightfully perverse, and it's what the horror genre has historically been all about.
Then there are the complaints about the film's storyline, with some asserting that it's too simple (e.g. humans find buried pyramid; humans enter buried pyramid; sh*t hits fan) and others arguing that it overshoots the mark (e.g. humans enter buried pyramid and discover that it's remarkably complex, revealing all manner of information about the origins of human civilizations, namely that the titular Predators, much like the Monolith from "2001: A Space Odyssey," made a marked impact on the future course of homo sapiens long ago). But I had few problems with the film's premise. Even the rather silly, pulpy quality of AVP's grander narrative conceits didn't bother me that much. (Then again, such conceits didn't really bother me in "Stargate" either.) And the simpler aspects of AVP's plot were its strongest suits, for they grounded the movie in a kind of gritty, easily understood "reality," the kind of reality that was very effective in John Carpenter's better actioners, from "Assault on Precinct 13" to "Escape from New York."
Yes, it's true that AVP never achieves the epic heights of "Aliens," the best film from either franchise, a film so complex and dynamic that it required a running time of 137 minutes to tell its tale. But "Aliens" was, and remains, an exceedingly special film. "Aliens" is the like the filmic equivalent of one of those outsized rock songs from the 1970s, such as Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven"; AVP, at approximately 100 minutes in length, is more like a Ramones tune: short but sweet.
In fact, two of AVP's biggest problems seem to be the result of breakneck-speed sloppiness: 1. the Alien lifecycle is inexplicably abbreviated, with chestbursters making their nasty debuts in tens of minutes rather than tens of hours; 2. the Predators' long-range weapons (e.g. spears and throwing stars) are acid-resistant, yet their close-quarters materiel (e.g. wrist blades and body armor) are not.
Regarding Issue One: I've read that Anderson accounted for this in the film, explaining that the Predators had injected bizarre hormones into the Alien Queen they'd captured to seed their battlegrounds, causing the eggs she produced to contain embryos that matured far more quickly than usual. This expository material was allegedly ordered cut by Fox because they felt it needlessly slowed the pacing of the film. If true, Anderson must be given a pass by the legions of angry fanboys who've ripped him a new one over this.
Regarding Issue Two: According to fanboys familiar with the AVP comic books, this is explained therein thusly: the Predators must earn every acid-resistant armament they receive. So if the Preds in the AVP movie didn't have acid-resistant wrist blades or body armor, that's on them. But it's also on Anderson to have somehow explained this in his film. However, I'm willing to let Anderson slide here, as the best characters in AVP to have provided this explanation were the Preds themselves, a decidedly taciturn group of individuals.
All in all, AVP did its job. With the exception of a handful of (de rigueur) overly-jittery/super-slow shutter-speed shots in otherwise well-made action sequences, AVP is a polished piece of work. Thanks to Anderson's direction, the ADI FX Workshop was forced to abandon the Mr. Hanky-looking design of the creature from "Alien 3," as well as the beastly, overly slimy appearance of the extraterrestrials from "Alien Resurrection," and provide the silver screen with its best looking xenomorphs since 1986. Moreover, if you can't bring yourself to buy it when Sanaa Lathan's Lex throws in with and throws down alongside the last-standing Big Ugly Motherf*cker, nor get certifiably juiced when the Alien Queen finally extricates herself from Predator-imposed bondage and goes on an angry rampage worthy of a T-Rex in a "Jurassic Park" movie, then I'm afraid AVP simply isn't for you.
The Biggest thing about this BD of AVP that is consistently not mentioned is that the BD contains BOTH the PG-13 theatrical cut AND the unrated directors cut of the film. Amazon only lists the disc as the PG-13 version, and even an external BD review site failed to mention the inclusion of the unrated cut. So if you've wanted to get AVP on BD and haven't due to a lack of the unrated cut, fear not, it's on the disc.
Video quality is good. It's not the best picture I've seen, but it's nowhere near the worst. Definitely better than the DVD 4/5 overall
Sound is good as well. Just like video, it's not the best, but it's not the worst. Choices are DTS-HD 5.1 (4-4.6 mbps) in English. French and Spanish in Regular Dolby Digital 5.1 (not HD audio). Overall a 4/5 for the DTS-HD track.
This review isn't about the movie itself, nor is it meant to be all-inclusive. My main reason for writing the review is that the unrated cut isn't advertised by anyone it seems in regards to being on the BD version and that is a big deal to me. Hope this helps.