Saturday, August 21, 2004

The League Witnesses (and comments upon) Aliens vs Predator

Do you know when the last time was you checked your watch during a movie? I do.

It was about forty-five minutes ago when I was wondering how much more of Aliens vs. Predator I was going to have to sit through.

That was a seriously dumb movie.

Of course, I KNEW AvP was going to be dumb, which is why I waited until Jamie was safely out of the state before I went to go see it.

I've seen some seriously stupid movies in the theater. Here is a short list.

American Cyborg: Steel Warrior
Man's Best Friend
Street Fighter (not the Jackie Chan version, the Raul Julia version)
Out for Justice
The Relic
Event Horizon
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie
Deep Blue Sea
Halloween 6
Batman and Robin
Dracula 2000
Godzilla (TWICE!!!)

But even in these movies I never spent the duration of the movie saying to myself, "You know what would have created a more palpable sense of tension..? If X, Y and Z had happened."

I am not that smart. I shouldn't be able to out-screen-write the screenwriters while the film is going on.

Nor should I be able to say, "I'm no archaeologist, but their MO for exploring this site seems a little unorthodox. If even one of these clowns is a scientist, they would have put the kaibosh on this whole operation," or "Why are J, K and L even happening? That directly contradicts what we learned in the first six movies tied to these characters..."

Hey AvP screenwriters: Want to know a good way to build tension in a movie? I'll give you this tip for free... Don't use a huge, glowing, neon arrow to point to your "Ripley" at the beginning of the movie. Don't do it. The magic of movies where people get picked off one by one until only one remains is that you're not supposed to know who's gonna make it... Not so in Aliens vs Predator.

This was one lazy, sloppy movie. It was the kind of movie where you never actually catch anybody's real name, because it doesn't f**kin' matter. And stuff happens not because it's interesting or good, but because the movie has a sort of clumsy, tumbling momentum going, and if they look to the sides or back, the whole thing will just burn up the gears.

AvP was the kind of movie where rich-eccentric scientists bribe struggling scientists to join them, and then make silly, dramatic entrances. It's the sort of flick in which actors translate a roomful of runes in almost pitch black in about 5 minutes (no, seriously... 5 minutes). And actors are forced to spout well-worn cliches like "The enemy of my enemy... Is my friend!", only because the screenwriter and director can't trust their own audience enough to actually do some simple math.

I will say this: The Aliens effects looked okay, and the Predator guys looked pretty neat and had cool toys.

I will also say there's a shot at the end of the flick of some of the Predators in which the movie would have benefited from showing less of the Predators. Sadly, the shot makes it pretty clearly the "Predators" are just some dudes in (enormous) rubber masks.

If the rumor that this version I endured was a studio cut is true, and that the director really had some other footage up his sleeve is also true, I would be game to see the movie again to see the new footage. The League just has a hard time believing AvP was intentional.

It did occur to me we're sort of in the same boat folks were in back in the 1950's. Back then, the Universal monsters were tussling with each other regularly as the new creations filling the screen became progressively... sillier. There hadn't been any good horror franchises to come out in twenty years, so the money guys were green lighting Frankenstein meets Dracula , etc... Actually, I guess they literally did FvD with Van Helsing this year, but you get the idea.

I think we're going through that all over again. Which is good news, because it might mean some new, better movies will be coming along.

Anyway, that was $8.00 and 90 minutes of my life I'll never get back.


No comments: