The Review: It seems a very sensible rule in life that if something is good, then more of that something must be even better, right? Probably the most clean example of this in movie history is the Alien / Aliens pairing, which gave us two very distinct movies with a common theme, and the second using its increased numbers to great advantage to increase the threat. Sadly, that franchise then took wrong turn after wrong turn, and not content with sullying its own name dragged the poor old Predator franchise in as well, thanks to a long running comic crossover. And even more sadly, by the end of those two movies the scripts were coming across as bad fan fiction.
Ridley Scott has indicated an intention to take the Alien franchise back to its roots, which can surely be no bad thing; Robert Rodriguez may not have felt the most natural choice at first thought to do the same for Predator, but actually letting the purveyor of some decent action movies of the last couple of decades loose on this has worked out quite well. This is the first movie in the pure Predator franchise to actually pit more than one Predator against the “good” guys, at least in active play; what this does do is drop some rather more ambiguous characters into the mix, in this case quite literally dropping them into the atmosphere in the opening sequence.
As they move through the terrain, we learn bits and pieces about their characters, not enough to make them much more than one dimensional but enough to make each one distinct and to set up some useful group dynamics. Adrien Brody would probably not be any sane person’s choice for the follow up to Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he’s buffed up almost to the point of looking like a special effect and seems to have been taking gravelly voice lessons from Christian Bale’s Batman, and it’s his choices that anchor proceedings. Of the others, Alice Braga and Topher Grace get most screen time, and Laurence Fishburne drops in for a daft but charismatic extended cameo later on.
Director Nimrod Antal does keep things moving very effectively; none of the reveals are stunningly original or hugely impactful, but the scale builds effectively and there are some nice moments of tension and action. The decision to return to the jungle, even if it’s not quite the same setting as the original, gives Predators a back-to-basics feel, and this serves it well. The humans get to be humans and the Predators get to be Predators, not suddenly developing strange new powers or traits, and it all ends with some effective stand-offs and match-ups. Ideal weekend evening entertainment if you want to turn off your brain, sit back, relax and get just a teensy bit nostalgic for when men were men and action movies were action movies.
Why see it at the cinema: The wide frame is used to regular advantage to highlight the isolation of the soldiers, and there’s some big, big images as well as a big, big sound field. So make the most of it if you’re going to.
The Score: 7/10
Blimey, month two of my trailer countdown already. You may remember last month I picked out six movies that looked interesting, although not necessarily good, and I’m pleased to say in the interests of my blog that I’ve done, oh… embarrassingly badly – from that selection, I saw two 8/10 movies, a 5/10, there’s one I’m intending to see next week (The Brothers Bloom), and two (Tetro and The Time That Remains) that just didn’t hang around for long enough for me to catch. Apologies if it feels I’ve not really put the effort in on that one – I can only hope that the rest of this blog isn’t as half-arsed.
Guess it helps this month that I have tickets for two of these already? Not making the cut this month are The A Team and The Karate Kid, both of which look kind of interesting, but not enough to make the list, and The Concert, which doesn’t open near me until August, although it might be near you sooner. Click on title for trailer, y’see?
I’m interested in this, primarily for trying to work out if the world really needed another Predator movie, or if this is just an attempt to undo the bad karma of the two AvP movies. If so, it would help to explain why Ridley Scott is also making more Alien movies.
Not sure if she still does, but Brenda Blethyn used to live in my home town. Other than that, she’s been in a few interesting movies, and maybe the time is ready for a 7/7 movie after all the 9/11 ones.
If excitement was a pie, then this would be one of those world record size pies with 100 chefs that you sometimes see on Guinness world record shows. It would also be made of that fancy steak that comes from cows fed on beer and filled with the finest wines known to humanity. Christopher Nolan made 3 of my 20 favourite movies of the last decade, including my number one (The Prestige – didn’t see that coming, did you?) and if he made a movie out of the phone book, I would watch it because I trust him implicitly. Also, it looks awesome.
This is in the top 10 movies of all time on IMDb, it’s the sequel to the two finest computer-animated movies of the nineties and early noughties, has already taken flipping great wodges of cash where it’s opened and frankly, if you’re not excited by this, I don’t want to play with you any more. In three weeks, I will be seeing this and Inception on the same day, in IMAX, if I don’t literally explode with excitement first, covering all around me in fragments of ginger movie blogger.
Interesting looking cast, including Alan Arkin? Check. First review on IMDb uses the word dysfunctional in its first line? Check. Will this get an airing anywhere near me if Shrek and the Twiglet saga are still sucking up all the spare screens not showing the above two movies? Er…
I still have nightmares to this day about Species, and how toe-curlingly awful it was. That anyone in it still has a career is testament to people’s exceptionally poor memories and willingness to give people a second chance. This looks a bit like it, and some people have enjoyed it. So what they heck, I’ll probably give it a go.
Right, that’s your lot for this month. If anyone’s looking to take bets on how many of these I manage to see, I’d think four would be a strong contender.