Alien Vs. Predator
What's next for Anderson? Maybe "Hannibal 2", in which Anthony Hopkins escorts a group of toddlers to Chuck E. Cheese?
Spoiler warning: There is a point in this film that is truly the cinematic equivalent of a 150-decibel toilet flushing. You can't miss it. However, to competently and completely deconstruct and ridicule this film, I need to write about it. Frankly, there's about as much chance that knowing this will increase one's enjoyment of "Alien vs. Predator" as decrease it, but I feel it's only fair to warn you that I intend to reveal just about every secret this film has to offer in the review below.
The most unexpected thing in "Alien vs. Predator" -- and in a way, its most brilliant -- is the "Oprah moment". The "Oprah moment", which I will define specifically as writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson's inexplicable desire to bring some humanity to an otherwise utterly inhumane endeavor, is also the moment of the previously mentioned toilet-flushing. Sure, it's entirely imagined, but there is truly a point in the film where the plot creates a giant sucking sound of such power that one is compelled to bow down and pay homage.
That "Oprah moment" is the moment when Anderson decides that the Predator needs a friend. Quite abruptly, the film becomes "Alien" meets "Predator" meets "E.T." meets "Close Encounters" meets "K-9" and we're flung out-of-control and into the abyss like an amusement park ride gone off its tracks. Seriously, Anderson apparently believes that the Predator just needs a buddy. What's next for Anderson? Maybe "Hannibal 2", in which Anthony Hopkins escorts a group of toddlers to Chuck E. Cheese?
Indulge me my plot explanation: A group of explorers, funded by Charles Weyland (Lance Henriksen) and led by ice climber and environmentalist Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan) discovers a huge pyramid two thousand feet underneath the ice in Antarctica. When they get down there, they find that it's the remnants of a long lost civilization that worshipped the Predator and where the Predator battled the Alien as a rite of passage. Naturally, the team awakens the Queen Alien, who starts laying eggs, and a team of Predators return for the hunt with the humans as the bait.
Without going into too much detail, two of the Predators are quickly offed, leaving a single Predator to battle the fast-growing Alien population. It seems that the gestation period for the Alien breeding has been inexplicably reduced to less than 10 minutes and the baby aliens grow to adult size in about 20 minutes. However, in this context, I admit this is nit-picking.
Now, given the lone Predator's long odds of defeating all the Aliens, it becomes obvious (at least to Anderson), that he needs something. Apparently, that does not include a bigger gun or more Predators. What he needs is a friend. As every filmgoer knows, those who don't know true friendship are lost, so giving the Predator a friend is the next best thing to giving him a puppy or a teddy bear. Being that Alexa is the last living human and manages to kill an Alien in front of the Predator, he rewards her with a shield made out of the Alien skull and a spear made from its tail during a ceremony that, and I swear, looked like a parody scene we're likely to see on "The Simpsons" in a few months.
Suddenly, Alexa and the Predator are buddies! Suddenly, every conceivable monster film cliché comes into play. The Predator sets off a bomb using his amazing alien technology. Don't you just love alien bombs? They're powerful enough to destroy everything within a 100 mile radius and just slow enough in doing it that the average human can outrun the shockwave. Suddenly, the winch that lowered the team into the cavern at a snail's pace is put in reverse and made to go 100 mph up to the top.
Fortunately, none of that matters because any sane person is laughing so hard at this new Martin and Riggs combo that seeing any of that is basically impossible through one's typhoon of tears.
"He doesn't like her complexion. She doesn't like his attitude. He doesn't respect her skills. She can't stand his hair. They're a team for the new millennium. They don't get along, but when it comes to fighting crime, there's nobody better!"
I just hope that when "Alien vs. Predator 2" comes out, the Alien gets a buddy too! It's only right.
To spread the word about this Alien Vs. Predator review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.