Delayed Responsibility

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Aliens versus Predator: Requiem

Posted by deckard47 on December 28, 2007

So I went to see AVP:R on Christmas Day. I’ll say right off the bat that it was a horrid, idiotic and offensive piece of entertainment, but something else needs to be pointed out first. Today I read with incredulity the NYT review of the movie, which (while nodding knowingly at the film’s cheesiness) felt that “it’s a perfectly respectable next step in the series.” Really? AVP:R is a piece of trash, and it tarnishes my memories of actually good movies, and this is why.

First, the best actors  in the film are from “24” and “Rescue Me.” The Rescue Me looks and acts in the least genuine manner I’ve seen in a while: like a porn-star. The “24” woman (she played Michelle)? She could be good, but the movie goes out of its way to turn her into nothing, to insult her womanhood (and thus her capability as an action character) with regularity. Their characters are written stupidly, as if they were idiots, idiots who watch movies even worse than AVP:R. The movie flagrantly, obviously borrows entire scenes, line of dialogue, camera shots, musical cues from its predecessors. If you remember the original Aliens and Predator movies, you’ll be feeling some serious deja vu. Sadly, the filmmakers didn’t realize that strip-mining old franchises is not the same as attaining their quality. I only kind of like Alien (well, I just love Aliens a lot more), and Predator bores me. Still, the fact that they have stolen these parts just makes the movie’s shortcoming’s more apparent.

As the film ends, watching Reiko Aylseworth telling a scared little girl that there “are no more monsters” makes one wince, because they obviously thought that they were being respectful. Unfortunately, the tone of the original scene and the relationship between Ripley and Newt made this line work. Here, it’s a means to an end, patching in one more old line of dialogue. Watching this movie was like watching the three new Star Wars movies. You realize instantly that this is not a plotted narrative, an interesting story to be enjoyed. It is an exercise in connecting the dots. The filmmakers look at what happens in the original movies (Darth Vader Kills Obi-Wan, Weyland-Utani loves alien technology), and then they take the stupidest, most obvious route to get the prequel up to speed. One scene (at about the halfway point) where the little girl says there’s a monster outside, and her mom tells her there isn’t, is such an obvious way of plugging in the setup for the aforementioned ending sequence.

What else to say… All of the people of color die, in totally throwaway fashion. The sheriff, John Ortiz’s character, is perpetually lost, and unsure of himself, and eventually makes a decision that costs hi his life and the lives of others. Fantastic. They try to make the main woman (Aylseworth) smart and tough like Ripley, but their clunky, fumbling attempts at their peculiar visions of “strong women” only reveal how little they actually want to create a powerful female character of any variety. It doesn’t help that they have a super-sexy pool make-out scene. This scene consists of the blonde hot girl who the Porn-star’s (Rescue Me guy) younger brother is into taking off her pants and shirt. At this point, there is about a 2 minute butt shot. Then, when she puts her clothes back on (because they get caught), the camera gets caught too. On her butt. For another thirty seconds. Then she gets murdered in a totally offhand way by a Predator, because she is weak and feminine, unlike her comrades. But the army woman is strong (even though characters actively question her strength throughout). So, Feminism!

Finally, let us discuss the continuation of the always bizarre Aliens birth/vaginal metaphors. In the original movies, the concept of having an alien burst out of you was horrifying. The scene in Aliens where Ripley dreams that it is about to happen to her is truly frightening, as are all other scenes of such “births,” but they never clog the screen: this is a horrible occurrence, to be contemplated and feared, not lingered over and savored. In AVP:R, the filmmakers took a slightly different route. And by slightly different, I mean they create scenes of such a gratuitous, offensive nature, they made me want to stop watching. In the first scene of the movie, we watch a face-hugger implant a 7 year-old, and then watch the alien hatch. Which let me tell you, really challenged my comfort zone and made me reconsider how I thought about violence! Toward the end of the movie, we are treated to an even more disgusting scene.

**SPOILER**

In the hospital, we are introduced to the new method of alien implantation. The new alien breed (Predator/Alien or Predalion) forces eggs down multiple pregnant womens’ mouths, and we see the eggs move down their throats. Of course, since they are all pregnant, they can’t get up and run, and must each be helplessly assaulted. Starting off with this exploitative, rape-like forced fellatio, the camera has more to show us. We then witness the “birth” of multiple aliens, all from screaming, helpless women in hospital beds. The way in which the camera lingers on this scene is both surprising (the movie never hints it’s going to become this cheap) and offensive. When other humans arrive on the scene, the nude bodies with holes in their chests are panned over slowly by the camera. I’m not sure what the makers of this movie wanted. I think they probably thought that they were “upping the ante” from the original movies, in some kind of new, edgy, sexy way. Because nothing says sexy like raped women and nude corpses.

There are so many more things wrong with this movie, I wish I could write a lot more. But I’m hungry and food is ready. So, don’t go see this movie, see Aliens again, or watch Juno. Happy Holidays.

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