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Alien Versus Predator

That there are a lot of problems with this film will doubtless surprise no one. Nevertheless, viewers should know that the tagline -- "no matter who wins, we lose" -- is a straight-up lie. SPOILER.

The whole point of the damn movie is that if Predator wins, we win, and if Alien loses, we lose. There's nothing wrong with that being the story of the film, but given that that's the story of the film, why misrepresent it in the adds. What is problematic about the story of the film is that for a movie called "Alien Versus Predator" very little time is consumed by scenes of the Predator fighting aliens. Those scenes are cool, the erstwhile character development involving humans is, predictably, lame. The question was what would the ratio of cool shit to lame shit be, and the answer was "shockingly low."

The whole movie also drove me to constantly want to quibble abour characters not wearing hats at various points. If you walk outside in Cambridge, Massachusetts during the winter without a hat on, your ears get pretty fucking cold, even if you're just walking a few blocks. The idea that you could be outside riding on a boat cruising through the Antarctic Ocean without a hat on is absurd. Similarly, running around a structure buried deep beneath Antarctica (it's colder underground) without a hat for an extended period of time is ridiculous. And fighting an alien on the surface of Antarctica without a hat or a coat is beyond insane. But these are quibbles. All the quibbles, however, lead to a gripe -- why set the movie in Antarctica? It seems that a jungle setting would have eliminated a lot of these problems, been more in the spirit of the inane Egypto-Cambodian-Aztec premise, and more in the spirit of the Predator's preferance (as expressed in previous works) for warm climes.

Final quibble. The Predators come, or so we are told, every 100 years. Hence the whaling station "abandonned" in 1904. But who was there in 1704 or 1404?

August 15, 2004 | Permalink

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» This Just In: Alien vs. Predator Sucked Donkey + Balls from Doctor Recommended
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Matthew Yglesias pans Alien vs. Predator, and I have every reason to believe him. Alas, a lot of Americans either disagrees or something, since it opened with a $38.3 million take this weekend -- roughly 50% more than the much-praised... [Read More]

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Comments

It was an excellent movie, Matt. You obviously weren't drunk enough when you saw it.

Jeez, people save the world from serpents and yet you complain...

Posted by: Glenn K | Aug 15, 2004 2:16:20 AM

Freddy vs. Jason was a much better fanboy movie. I don't think Alien vs. Predator will top it's $80 million take.

Posted by: Adam Herman | Aug 15, 2004 2:23:07 AM

Um...It's usually *warmer* underground, if the surface is cold. Generally a consistent 55-60 degrees, but it gets hotter when you go very deep. I know that in the (really) deep diamond mines in South Africa, they have to pump air conditioning down, because it's well in excess of 100 degrees.

Posted by: snoopy | Aug 15, 2004 3:19:27 AM

The whole point of the damn movie is that if Predator wins, we win, and if Alien loses, we lose.


Fascinating! To put it more succinctly - if Predator defeats Alien, we win and lose simultaneously! Wow, I really gotta see this movie.

Good thing you cleared that up. Stupid illogical movie tagline!

Posted by: Blixa | Aug 15, 2004 3:49:37 AM

Its after reading posts like this I just feel really happy I didn't go to Harvard, unlike some people.

I challenge you to a power-drill fight, Matt. I guarantee that no matter who loses, the public will win big when the webcast is posted.

I'll see you in central square.

Posted by: Marc Rios | Aug 15, 2004 5:23:12 AM

Whoever wins... we lose.

Posted by: Motoko | Aug 15, 2004 8:06:47 AM

Workers at McMurdo base on the coast of Antarctica regularly travel between buildings without most of their protective gear. Of course, they are often drunk. Believe it or not the temperature in Antarctica can reach a balmy 20-30 degrees F during the summertime, and if the sun is shining, that means it's summer.
As far as the setting, I have not seen the movie, but understand that Predators were there at the dawn of mankind or some such thing. In any case, the Antarctic continent was once positioned at the equator, which would be a bit more jungly for MY's tastes (although that location was before the rise of mammals).

Posted by: Kiril | Aug 15, 2004 12:37:47 PM

Matt, channelling his mother, reviews Alien vs. Predator :

WEAR YOUR HAT!

Posted by: epistemology | Aug 15, 2004 1:17:07 PM

You have it EXACTLY wrong. The temperature for alien eggs to hatch must be a constant 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The issue here is not why they didn't have protective gear, but why Sanaa Lathan didn't take off her clothes.

Posted by: David Edelstein | Aug 15, 2004 1:24:42 PM

...why set the movie in Antarctica?

From what I've read, the choice of location was intended as a crappy homage to H.P. Lovecraft's short story "At the Mountains of Madness", which is about another archaeological expedition to Antarctica gone horribly wrong (which however does not suck).

Posted by: oodja | Aug 15, 2004 1:24:57 PM

My take is that it was set in Antarctica because the filmmaker's chief artistic idea was to photograph light sources in the fashion of James Cameron. Did you notice how like two-thirds of the movie consisted of shots of flashlights and shit? My big quibble about the story logic, though, is that the movie makes all four films in the Alien quadrilogy incoherent now (as opposed to just 2, 3, and 4). When Ripley and the crew discover the Predator ship in Alien (the first)--particularly being employees of Weyland-Yutani--how could they not have any idea about what the Alien is? Anyway, the main thing is that, indeed, the ratio of cool shit to lame shit was "shockingly low."

Posted by: spacetoast | Aug 15, 2004 3:41:23 PM

The whole movie also drove me to constantly want to quibble abour characters not wearing hats at various points.

No but seriously.

Isn't it the loveliest sentence in months?

Sig material. Matthew "wear hat at some point" Yglesias :)

Posted by: yabonn | Aug 15, 2004 8:01:50 PM

Um, I'm pretty sure the derelict ship in the first Alien movie wasn't a Predator ship, it belonged to some elephantine race of giants...

Not like the AvP movie gave a damn about continuity though _

Posted by: Capt. Jean-Luc Pikachu | Aug 15, 2004 8:33:11 PM

Yeah, you're right, they were specifically elephants or something. Damn, that makes it even less satisfactory.

Posted by: spacetoast | Aug 15, 2004 9:21:16 PM

Two 8-year-old kids next to me on the train yesterday:

"I wanna see it. Who ya think wins?"

"Naw, see, it's gonna be like Freddy and Jason - they can't win - it's like a tie."

Posted by: Eli | Aug 16, 2004 1:42:16 AM

If this "Alien vs. Predator" movie actually existed, as you all seem to think it does, I'm sure it would suck. Luckily, no one has ever made the horrible mistake of mangling these two universes. Never. LA LA LA LA LA.

Posted by: Grumpy | Aug 16, 2004 8:45:52 AM

In a somewhat similar plot to the Moutains of Madness, there's Jeff Long's The Descent.

I was under the impression that it would be warmer underground rather than colder.

Would Chucky beat Predator in a matchup? I'd like to see that. --s

Posted by: j.scott barnard | Aug 16, 2004 9:24:49 AM

Not to quibble, but even just digging into snow or ice will keep you warmer than staying on the surface. I've spent a few nights in snow caves when I was on winter camping trips in my younger days. A snow cave with a temp in the high 20's- low 30's is a lot more comfortable than being outside at night with temps in the single digits.

Plus you get to make those groovy lard lamps.

Posted by: Bill | Aug 16, 2004 11:35:40 AM

A couple of points about the ship found on LV-427 (the planetoid in Alien/Aliens):

According to Ridley Scott (in his director's commentary for Alien), he saw the aliens as a bio-mechanical weapon used by the elephantine aliens and the ship as a sort of "weapons platform" - which would launch some eggs on an unsuspecting target and go and clean up after the population's been spanked by the Aliens...

IMO, AVP doesn't break the canon of the Alien universe, as suggested by some reviewers. There is one survivor, who would be picked up by Weyland Industries people still on board the ship... one could assume that she would never see the light of day again - but information on what was found would be "extracted". One could also argue, as I do, that this fact explains why the Company (also Weyland) in Alien knows in advance what to find on LV-425 (Ash, the robot, knows much more than he should). I'd assume that another ship or monitoring facility picked up the alien warning and, after analysis, the Company sends a ship with a plant (Ash) to bring a specimen back to the their labs on Earth... Just my opinion, but it seems to make sense.

(Note: this also would imply that the Company was quite well aware of Carter Burke's order to the colonists in Aliens to investigate the wreck - in fact, they probably ordered him to do exactly that.)

P.S. The movie's way too short... anyone know whether this is another case of the studio refusing to go for an "R" rating and having to cut stuff for a PG-13 release?

Posted by: Grahame | Aug 16, 2004 12:38:19 PM

Whoops... LV-426, not 427... Doh!

Posted by: Grahame | Aug 16, 2004 12:49:52 PM

'From what I've read, the choice of location was intended as a crappy homage to H.P. Lovecraft's short story "At the Mountains of Madness", which is about another archaeological expedition to Antarctica gone horribly wrong (which however does not suck).'

Err, all Lovecraft's work kinda sucks, in the eldritch unearthy gibbering oversupply of obscene formless chthonic adjectives that Man Was Not Meant To Know, and the absence - the cosmic emptiness, the eldrich void - of characterization.

However, he did write a cracking good yarn, and the inventiveness of his cosmology is great. Especially the underlying hopeless of the stories. The world is threatened by evil, and there's no deus ex machina, and if you encounter it (or even learn about it), you're screwed.

Posted by: Tom | Aug 16, 2004 2:27:47 PM

Matt: if Predator wins, we win, and if Alien loses, we lose.

Blixa: To put it more succinctly - if Predator defeats Alien, we win and lose simultaneously! Wow, I really gotta see this movie.

Did Matt stop bothering to proofread when he got all hoity-toity, or was he always like this? I didn't really follow him that closely until the TypePad site with the full-post RSS feed.

Posted by: fling93 | Aug 16, 2004 2:54:12 PM

AVP in Antarctica as a homage to "Mountains of Madness" - or, of course, the definitive "Under attack from insidious, murderous aliens recently defrosted from their millennia-long slumber frozen in the Antarctic ice" film, "The Thing From Another World." (remade as "The Thing").

I don't think there are actually any other films in this genre, but I'm willing to bow to the superior expertise of any Harvard men on the board. "The Blob" doesn't count because SPOILER a) the alien is frozen at the end of the film, rather than defrosted at the start and b) I'm fairly sure that's meant to be Arctic ice, not Antarctic.

Though I would pay good money to see "Alien Vs. Captain Robert Falcon Scott".

"March 20. Rations continue to be short, and our perilous position is not helped by the fact that Mr. Kane continues to eat twice as much as anyone else in the party. While I welcome his recovery to consciousness since his attack by that strange creature on the Beardmore Glacier, I must admit that I would appreciate some restraint on his part.
Two more huskies found eviscerated this morning. Mr. Evans very concerned."

"April 3. Oates, that good, brave fellow, left us today. His frostbitten feet have been steadily growing worse, and the poor chap must have been in agony. This morning, saying "I am just going out and may be some time" he hurled himself, pulse rifle blazing, against an oncoming horde of warrior xenomorphs, and we have not seen him since."

Posted by: ajay | Aug 17, 2004 8:31:17 AM

AVP in Antarctica as a homage to "Mountains of Madness"

In the same way "Apocalypse Now" is a hommage to "Heart of Darkness" ;)

Posted by: Ralf Goergens | Aug 17, 2004 9:41:24 AM

"...deep beneath Antarctica (it's colder underground)..."

actually, it's not. it's warmer underground, since you are both insulated from the cold air outside, as well as closer to the earth's natural warmth.

that said, i don't know if the *movie* said it was colder underground or not...

Posted by: k | Aug 17, 2004 7:20:14 PM

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