Hi guys, I am writing this prior to Alien Covenant and I ask where the aliens and predator films went wrong and why.
I’m going to assume, like me you have seen all the films and perhaps have read some of the books and comics for a greater understanding of this universe as a whole.
So to start, I’m going to skip Alien, Aliens, Predator and I’ll even throw in predator 2, these are all very good films in their own right and deserve some hearty praise.
I know so much has been said about all the aliens films to date so I want to try point out some of the more obvious story influences throughout the genre for better or worse.
Lets start on Alien 3. Its really controversial as this was supposed to be the Earth War story. I think a lot of fans were extremely disappointed that it was its own film and killing off fan favourite Hicks before the word “go”, it starts a little skeptical. David Fincher the director always said “real life isn’t fair and the unexpected can just happen” so his intent for gloom was there alright. When i saw this first in 1994, I remember outright not liking it, mainly for not being ‘Earth War’. However, I’ve had a 180 degree turn on my opinion now being older and the effort involved in the Bluray release where they have added in several scenes that were not in it before. There are even scenes that they had the actors come in and re-record lines. It really shines as a complete film now. What alien 3 does very well, is end the franchise of the Ripley character giving rise to a new generation of alien films… or so they should have done. Instead there was a bit of a mess in Alien 4.
So Alien Resurrection I think is largely responsible for creating some terrible errors in the future of the franchise. Namely cloning and giving rise to aliens looking like anything and anything can just be a genetic throwback. Even Ridley Scott falls for this horribly in the latest Promethius. So, when this came out I saw it in the cinema and I recall really liking elements to it. It was quite cool how the gang in it had a lot of character and personality. It feels a shame that they had to involve lots of incompetent background soldiers that all die stupidly. So, Alien 4 first off over uses a lot of CG instead of the rubber suits. This wouldn’t be so bad but they got the alien models somewhat wrong. They roar instead of the classic scream and hiss as previously heard. There is also the stance which is more like a T-Rex than a nimble alien. They also talk to each other which any comic fans know the hive mind know instinctively how to react to each other. Call it animal instinct or a psychic link that humans don’t posses. This was very evident in Aliens and Alien 3 with Ripleys unborn. Perhaps the most disappointing part of alien resurrection is there was never an Alien 5. It sets itself up for one as the ship is going towards Earth. there was a wealth of opportunity there to have the company capture Ripley again and go a step further. However, the money made from Alien 4 was to be used to go towards AVP…
So, Alien Versus Predator. I remember getting the comics back in 1992 and commenting to one of my friends that it was the beginning of the best franchise ever. I probably made some false hopes that I would one day be rich enough to make the comic into a film and be praised for sticking so rigidly to the storyline and faithful to the classic character traits.
I dont know where to start exactly, but AVP butchers so much iconic moments and generally there is a lot of background fluff that contradicts anything previous. Hearing people talk about AVP that have not read the comics they often say its a decent action flick. On face value, I guess I can agree with that. The fighting choreography is well edited, brilliantly lit and there is plenty of action to keep you engaged and interested. The tension is also there in droves so I dont think as a stand alone film its bad. However, its not a stand alone film. Its a film with several reference pieces to it and trying to blend the futuristic alien films to a present day predator film… honestly really doesn’t work. So I dont know where to start on why I really dislike it, but two factions really suffer in it. The humans are the most boring group of heroes ever. Honestly, you’ll barely remember any of their faces except that Bishop is leading them and there is a lesbian in the group and perhaps a ‘funny’ Scotsman. The main heroine is so unconvincing at having a personality, you almost hope she dies first. I dont know how she was cast as a natural explorer and survivor when she goes about looking like a glamour model. The Predators are the other group to suffer. It seems that their deadliest foe, the aliens are much more than a match for them. In the fluff, these guys know how the aliens fight and the use equipment that is impervious to their acid blood, as demonstrated in Predator 2. One alien taking two fully armed Predators was just daft. Any why did they leave the weapons in the breeding chamber again? Oh god, it just goes on and on with why the predators are the dumbest creatures about, not to mention they dont bother checking their own guy at the end of the film to see if hes infested… they are fully aware of this threat for thousands of years and well, its just careless writing.
So, my main problem with AVP is that not only does it write its one stupid fluff, but it write a far inferior story to the comics or book:Prey… which you should check out for sure! So, I’m going to leave AVP now. I should probably do an angry video at some point just pointing out how incorrect it is, but not today. It was nice to get a film in too long but it tried a little too hard to do its own thing. The ending fight with the alien queen is quite impressive. A little fast and reminiscent of Aliens at times though. Why did she have to say “You are one ugly mother Fucker”. That was probably the worst single line of the film. That line almost single handedly sinks it.
So, after the horror of AVP, AVP:Requiem is announced. I was very excited at this prospect.For starters, the trailer was really promising. Next it looked like the first time we were going to see an urban environment fight. I’ll cut to the chase.. Requiem just does everything wrong. Its poorly lit, horribly edited in parts, plays out as a teen movie, has mindless violence all over it and worst it just makes up how aliens breed, stupid dialogue and terrible story. I was close to walking out of the cinema and only one film has ever topped that for nearly walking out (£10 to anyone that can guess that film, its not obvious). I had almost given up on it all by now.
So, it took them 3 years to come out with ‘Predators’. I have mixed feelings about it overall. I actually really liked it but there was several parts where you just went”eh?”.
Laurence Fishburne for example, his introduction was great and he seemed like he was going to give the story a nice little addition, instead hes mental and makes the plot stupid for five minutes.
I liked the characters in ‘Predators’ a lot. All of them were different and unique and brought interest to the team. The Predators also had a bit of charm to them.The predators should have perhaps been a little harder to take down overall showing they were superior killers. Adrien Brody played a decent hero though.
There was one glaring thing that shouldn’t have happened though. They honestly didn’t need to have a plot twist in the end. It was already stretching your belief that they were on an alien planet surprisingly like earth. It had its stupid moments but overall it was an entertaining watch that kept well improved upon from the AVP films.
And lastly, Ridley Scott, the messiah and creator returns to try fix all wrongs with Prometheus.
Prometheus nearly feels like it could have a dissertation on its own. Sometimes I wonder if Ridley ever knew his creation would go so far. So, rather than reboot the series or tell everyone some part of the story didn’t fit, hes just added in a part hoping to open doors for what is possible and how so many odd creations happen. While I applause him for his efforts, its actually quite messy when you link it all up in the end.
The probable biggest flaw the whole series suffers is setting some of the series in the present world and some in the future. One example of this I was very disappointed with was the attention to detail in Prometheus vs Alien. Alien has a fantastic 80’s looking future whereas Prometheus is a little too unimaginative. I really thought he was better off making the 80’s version of the future again just to stay consistent.
A year after seeing it and several conversations I’m still unsure of what I think of it too. In that regard its probably good as I like to analyse the whole story arc rather than episode by episode, just like reading a comic or book.
So, Where are we then with it. The Franchise had an A+ opening and gradually fell quite hard to a low point with Requiem. Since then, its had two good films to reinvigorate itself. It could probably do with a good ending eventually and then have a reboot with a clearer goal but that would be well past my time.
I’m interested to know what you thought of this series too. Leave a comment below if you agree or disagree with me.
Thanks for reading