Monster movies collide in ‘Alien vs. Predator’ | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Monster movies collide in ‘Alien vs. Predator’

Howie Nave

The Associated Press / Scientists investigating an ancient pyramid in Antarctica discover a war between two creatures in "Alien vs. Predator."

I love it when studio chiefs get together and try to come up with ideas that we, the movie-going public, will supposedly want to go see. What with so many sequels and prequels and predictable story lines, it’s amazing they ever come up with an original thought. So the idea of marrying movies together to form one new story is the oldest marketing ploy ever when the well runs dry. Some lame attempts include “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” “Dr. Jekyll vs. the Wolfman,” “Mothra vs. Godzilla” and, more recently, “Freddy vs. Jason.”

Now we have “Alien vs. Predator,” and as corny as it may sound, it isn’t all that bad actually.

The first “Alien” ranks as one of the most terrifying sci-fi flicks ever made and also launched the career of Sigourney Weaver. The first “Predator” was also pretty terrifying and starred two future governors: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura. Both movies introduced us to their alien creatures by not showing them to us right away. They were more or less hidden and camouflaged until the end, when we saw them come out of the shadows.

“Alien vs. Predator” is set in the present day in Antarctica. A team of archaeological scientists, while on an expedition to discover an ancient pyramid under the ice, make an even more terrifying discovery. The operation is financed by billionaire robotics industrialist Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen). Fans of the “Alien” franchise will make the connection with Lance Henriksen’s name (and character) right away, but here’s a brief background for you: Bishop was the android in “Aliens” and Weyland Yutani the corporation in the “Alien” universe. In “Alien 3” Henriksen played Weyland and was after Ripley and the alien embryo. So, the story is that Charles Bishop Weyland is the father of advanced robotics and that is why some of the androids look like their creator.

Written and directed by Paul Anderson (“Mortal Combat,” “Soldier,” “Resident Evil,” “Event Horizon”), the movie is in capable hands, and the story, as far-fetched as it might appear in order to introduce us to the creatures, has a plotline that is different.

“Alien vs. Predator” does show us more in some respects than the original “Alien” and “Predator.” We never did get to see the “Predator” spaceship and here … well, you’ll see. And remember what happened to John Hurt from “Alien” when his curiosity led him to peak into that egg a little too much? This time around we get to see deeper into the “Alien” eggs with creepier results.

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The filmmakers here spent more time on miniatures and re-creating the alien creatures using humans and less on CGI. It shows, and is a nice and refreshing departure from the usual computer stuff. Special effects here are actually special to see. While still not my favorite sci-fi film, it is cool to see two of the most memorable creatures from movie-making history appear in this century. The idea of incorporating a lost pyramid as a training camp for young predators in training was unique, too.

That’s all I can say here without letting you know what is going to unfold, but think of your favorite alien as a teenager filled with angst. Multiply that now, and you get a horrifying movie where being the human is an unfortunate byproduct. Fans of the past movies as well as the games and comic books will probably give their approval to this movie.