Alien vs. Predator vs. Bleah

My son is watching – not on purpose, just channel surfed and landed there – Alien vs. Predator II: Requiem on cable.

I’m carefully ignoring it, surfing the web and listening to Iron and Wine on headphones as I gave up on the franchise after Alien II.

Still, I catch glimpses of the movie out of the corner of my eye, and I do not get it. What’s the point? Gore, more gore, gruesome gore, slimy aliens doing icky things, and even more gore. And does not a single person have the sense to turn on a light switch? The whole film is shot so darkly that it’s almost painful to watch it.

I enjoy action movies, occasionally gory movies, even gruesome bits when it serves the story. I just watched Taken with the awesome Liam Neeson and enjoyed it very much. The bottom line is that there actually has to be a plot.

I must be getting old. Darned kids! Get off my lawn.

13 Responses to “Alien vs. Predator vs. Bleah”

  1. mattw Says:

    I have a morbid curiosity to watch AVPR, since I’ve heard so many people say how bad it is, but then I remember how many people have said how bad it is, and there are so many other movies that are deserving of my time.

  2. Vince Says:

    If stupid people didn’t do stupid things in most horror-themed movies, there’d be no movie. I’m not much of a horror movie fan (except for Vincent Price – I luv me some Vincent Price, and the original black-and-white Frankenstein, and the Mummy series with Brendan Fraser, especially the first one) or horror disguised as SF, either (I’m looking at you, Sci-Fi Channel). No much for gore, either. The Tim Burton version of Sweeney Todd okay but too gory in my opinion, and played too free with the songs (missing songs/missing lyrics) in my opinion. The version with Angela Lansbury was far superior and remains, as far as I’m concerned, the definitive version.

  3. Eric Says:

    I saw AVPR in the theater, and it was an unwatchable mess. The film looks like it was lit by flashlight, lit by a student of those old BBC miniseries of the early ’80s who never learned that part of the reason they looked so freaking dark on PBS or VHS was because of old issues with PAL-to-NTSC conversion.

    You’re not getting old: it’s simply a bad movie.

    The first AVP wasn’t bad; it wasn’t great, either, but (remarkably enough) it wasn’t the worst entry in the Alien franchise (sorry, David Fincher: if it’s any consolation, dude, I’m a big fan of most of your other movies and music videos). Heck, it wasn’t the second-worst movie in the franchise (sorry, Jean-Pierre Jeunet: hey, City Of Lost Children is one of my all-time-faves and I really adore Amélie). Sure, the first AVP is kinda dumb in a lotta ways, but P.W.S. Anderson went back to some of the original H.R. Giger/Dan O’Bannon concepts and worked in some cute inside jokes, and at least you can see most of the fight scenes.

    I can deal with a movie with no plot (you can argue, f’r'instance, about whether Run Lola Run really has a plot, but there’s no argument over whether it’s awesome, and if you say it isn’t, maybe you and I are done, professionally), but it has to bring something else to the table (in the case of Run Lola Run, what it brings to the table is pure awesomeness). An action movie with no plot might get by with some cool set-pieces and stunts (plot’s usually not a highlight of John Woo films, but the man knows how to put together stunts so ridiculous they become sublime).

    AVPR? The only thing that movie brought was pure suck. The only parts of that movie that didn’t suck were the ones that sucked a lot.

    Oh, and Iron And Wine? Awesome! Which album? I only have Shepherd’s Dog and He Lays In The Reins, but they’re both incredible.

  4. Bryan Says:

    I’ve never gotten the whole horror movie thing. I hated them as a kid and now I just have no taste for them. I do enjoy M. Night Shamalan’s movies, but I would call them more suspense than horror. Same with the first Alien movie. I never had any interest in the AvP movies…and after catching the same bits Jeri did last night, I’m not sorry. (By the way, I liked the first Predator too, but mostly for the bad Arnie puns and gags).

  5. Anne C. Says:

    I think you’re being a little lenient on Taken, since it’s plot was not much more than a straight line. However, it did have Liam Neeson in it, which means it started out on the plus side of the line, and could therefore afford to lose points for substance. :)

  6. MWT Says:

    Hmmm… the only experience I have with the Alien vs. Predator thing is the video games. They’re pretty cool multiplayer first person shooters. ;) I’ve not played, just watched other people.

  7. Jeri Says:

    Matt, there is that train wreck perspective on things so bad they draw your attention… just don’t invest much time or money in this one.

    Vince, I will admit that Jamie Lee Curtis’s early turn as the babysitter in Halloween II was my introduction to the heroine who acts like an idiot for 90 minutes, thus perpetuating the storyline.

    Eric, I liked Run, Lola, Run. And also the Bourne movies which were somewhat related in spirit, as well as leading lady. Iron and Wine? I have a mishmash, downloaded from iTunes, but mostly The Creek Drank the Cradle and Our Endless Numbered Days. I actually listened and downloaded after you mentioned him last fall ramping up to NaNoWriMo.

  8. Jeri Says:

    Bryan, I too like Shyamalan’s movies, although I’m afraid they’ve declined a bit in quality or maybe he’s become a victim of his own hype.

    Anne, you’re right, Taken‘s plot was pretty basic and linear and Liam made up for a lot. I’m looking forward to Clive doing the same for the plot of The International. :)

    MWT, I’ve never seen the video games but I can see the potential there – lots of gory stuff.

  9. Jim Wright Says:

    You ever read Calvin and Hobbes? Of course you did. Remember the Sunday strip where Calvin says the only thing more awesome than dinosaurs with guns, is Dinosaurs in F-14s?

    And Hobbes says, “That’s just stupid.”

    That’s exactly how the mixing of the Alien/Predator story lines hits me – T-Rex in F-14′s. It’s like little kids doing the whole plastic predator action figure battle with the alien action figure on the couch. Pew pew pew. When kids do it, well, they’re just being silly kids – when Hollywood does, well, they’re just making movies for silly kids. Alien? Predator? The plot is how many bimbos and grade-B actors can you shove through a meat grinder in 90 minutes – no thinking required.

    AVP, the Freddie and Jason movies, etc – banal, predictable, boring. Things get too slow, show some tits.

  10. mattw Says:

    But Jim, AVP has been successful in other mediums. There’s been AVP comics around for years, and (forgive me if I screw this up because it’s been a couple years since I’ve seen AVP) but at the end when the woman goes on to join the Predators, there was a woman in the comic that lived with the Predators and had been accepted by them.

    If you want to go even farther back, there was a skull in the trophy case on the Predators’ ship in Predator II that looked like a bleached xenomorph skull.

    If we look to the comics as far as where this and other franchises might go, I haven’t read them, but there’s also RoboCop vs. Terminator, and more recently, Alien vs. Predator vs. Terminator.

    Then there’s always the Batman vs. Predator series, which must have been popular enough to have two sequels in DC. There’s Superman vs. Alien and, I think, Batman vs. Alien.

    Of course, Batman vs. Alien vs. Predator. But then that’s already been done.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go roll a saving throw vs. ultimate geekery.

  11. mattw Says:

    Ok, I screwed up the link, so here it is again. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjp0I_okX0w

  12. Eric Says:

    I can understand the feeling that monster-vs.-monster sequels are bankrupt–Universal ground the concept into the ground and leeched out whatever value it might have had back in the ’40s. That said, Matt’s right: the AVP franchises shouldn’t have worked (being based on a sight gag in Predator 2), but the comics writers (for Dark Horse, if memory serves) did a decent job in the comics, and Paul W.S. Anderson did a decent job with the first movie. It isn’t great, but it’s an entertaining, mindless-but-not-quite-stupid hour-and-a-half or so.

    Too, I have to second-guess myself with what I said about bankruptcy and Universal: the Universal monster-vs.-monster movies were stupid and did kill franchises and were total crap. But the Toho monster-vs.-monster movies–i.e. Godzilla-vs.-everything–were entertaining and cool. If you don’t enjoy the sight of two giant monsters leveling Tokyo while they’re trying to level each other, there’s something wrong with you….

    Although, here again… Gojira is a surprisingly smart movie with some serious symbolism and heavy subtext going on. So even the Toho m-v-m movies, I guess, share some of the Universal m-v-m movies’ sins.

    But here’s the thing, too: sometimes it’s fun to see that twelve-year-old-fun stuff. The first AVP isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible, either (like I said, it’s the third-best Aliens movie, though that’s admittedly damning with faint praise; and it’s also the third best Predator movie, which is a problem). I actually saw Freddy Vs. Jason last Friday–hanging out with a buddy, and he rightly wanted to watch a Friday The 13th movie; it isn’t terrible, either. It’s not high art, by any means, and it isn’t the best movie from either franchise (though, like AVP with Aliens, it isn’t the worst, either). There are, surprisingly enough, some bits and pieces that were actually sort of clever.

    I don’t think anybody here would argue that there’s anything wrong with occasionally eating a greasy cheeseburger so long as you know it’s a greasy cheeseburger. I own Citizen Kane on DVD, not to mention several of Kurosawa’s masterpieces, The Maltese Falcon, Butch Cassidy and a few other prime steaks if I want something hearty and nutritious. And in terms of horror I have Scott’s Alien (the only film in that franchise I own or am likely to) and a Val Lewton box set that includes Tourneur’s Cat People, one of the most evocatively and beautifully-shot horror films ever made. What I’m saying is, I’ll defend the first AVP and Freddy Vs. Jason for what they are–a plate greasy sliders with a thick shake and a side of onion rings. Finger food, and unhealthy as hell if it’s all you eat or if you don’t know what real food is… but damn if they don’t taste pretty freakin’ good every now and again.

  13. Bryan Says:

    …and then of course, if you really like “vs.” stuff, there’s this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3Nqguav6nE