Alien vs. Predator (2004)
When this movie opened in theaters, it was destroyed by the fans, mostly upset that the carefully constructed mythologies had been chucked away for bad pulp thrills. I've had a long time to prepare for this kind of treatment to the Aliens, one of the most perfectly constructed movie monsters given a properly lengthy analysis in the first film. Predators have always been vaguely defined beyond a few basics, especially in regard to their weapons and the purpose of their hunts. (I'll go one step further and say there's never been a good Predator movie.) There's also never been a good Paul W.S. Anderson movie, but he has an aesthetic that can be occasionally fun.
That shot above is an example. The humans have walked into a sacrificial chamber where Alien eggs raise up from the floor. They open up and face huggers spring from them, flying across the room like a coordinated attack. Does this match up to previous face hugger behavior? Not at all, but it's a cool trap and it looks great as Anderson slows everything down, returning to normal speed when they land on a face. There are a half-dozen of these moments. It doesn't make up for the franchise destruction or the overall poor quality of the early digital photography, but I got those PWSA money shots I came for. Rating: ★ ★
- Violence against humans is shocking low, but Alien and Predator violence is quite graphic.