AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) – Paul W.S. Anderson

Sure, Anderson does a fairly decent job on my guilty pleasure films, the Resident Evil series, not to mention Event Horizon, but he and those interfering types at 20th Century Fox screwed over what should have been a sure thing, and my next stop in the Sci-Fi Chronicles book… Alien Vs. Predator.

I saw this in the theatre on a free pass when it first came out, and actually wanted money back. It was the first time that I mocked a movie, openly, as I watched it.

And that is too bad, because I like some of the ideas; an ancient hidden pyramid (this is a favourite idea), ablossoming company that would come to be so important to the Alien-verse, and the pairing up of the biggest monsters to tackle the big screen in a long time.

It seemed like a sure thing, but a terrible script and no real big name actors, barring the always impressive and enjoyable Lance Henriksen (and I think Colin Salmon is a solid performer as well), hobbled this film right from the beginning.

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Sure there are visual nods to previous films, but that isn’t the kind of thing that can save a film. Yes, it’s cool that the layout of the altars mimics the hypersleep pods of the Nostromo, or that Weyland (Henriksen) plays with a pen the way Bishop plays with a knife. There are dozens of them throughout the film, but that doesn’t make for a good film, that just means you may like the series you are doing your best to bring an end to.

When an ancient, massive pyramid is discovered under the ice of Antarctica, Weyland organises a disposable team to explore it. They find themselves in the midst of a hunt, as Predators go through a rites of passage and hunt down the xenomorphs, with the team caught in the middle, and our hero, Alexa (Sanaa Lathan) ending up allied with the ugly mother…

In the end there is way too many terrible things about the film; the pacing, the story, the lack of characters (these are little more than interchangeable pieces of canon fodder), amongst others, that far outweigh the sheer coolness of the idea.

Unfortunately, the film did enough business to warrant a sequel, and will be the next stop I make with the Sci-Fi Chronicles. This movie could have been amazing. It had two awesome creations, two fantastic worlds to draw from, and an idea that had already been very well explored by Dark Horse comics.

Oh well.

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