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Thursday, January 3, 2008

It's the bestest Predator movie ever!

click to enlarge avp.jpg

Since I volunteered to review Alien vs. Predator: Requiem for this week, I felt obligated to see 2004’s original Alien vs. Predator, a combined sequel to the four Alien films and two Predator movies. The fact that I’d never seen the first AVP is a testament to its rock-bottom reputation, especially considering that I’m a movie critic and a huge fan of the first two Alien flicks.

So I rented it from a Blockbuster franchise (which, believe it or not, also carried Atlanta filmmaker Bret Wood’s kinky indie flick Psychopathia Sexualis). And yeah, AVP was terrible, like a production made for the Sci Fi channel, only with (marginally) more money. Part of the problem is that it’s complicated and contrived, but not gracefully so, and its attempts to create an Alien/Predator “mythos” fall flat. Requiem at least doesn’t bother with complications; it just hits the ground running and doesn’t stop. It’s not that Requiem is a good movie, but it’s a lot better at being a bad movie.

Of the films that have involved the otherworldly hunter, the best Predator movie may not even be a “real” movie. “Batman: Dead End,” despite being only eight minutes long (including the credits), is a slam-bang action film that pits the Caped Crusader against the Predator, with cameos from the Alien and the Joker. (I learned about it when researching this article on fan films.) Sandy Corolla’s fan film debuted in 2003 at San Diego’s Comic-Con, although "unauthorized film" may be a better term than “fan film," with its connotations of Star Wars kids and basement special effects. Corolla spent $30,000 and used professional-quality sets, stunts and photography (on actual film, not video) to create a kind of calling card to show off his cinematic talents, which appear to be considerable. It’s ironic that an unauthorized film of the material can feel far more legitimate than Hollywood’s real thing.

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