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Alien vs. Predator (2004) – DVD Review

Aliens vs. Predator DVD cover art


Written by Paul W. S. Anderson, Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett based on the ‘Alien’ character created by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett and the ‘Predator’ character created by Jim and John Thomas
Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson
Starring Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner, and Colin Salmon


  • Running audio commentary by director Anderson and actors Henriksen and Lathan
  • Running audio commentary by visual effects supervisor John Bruno and creature effects/creators Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr.
  • Extended version with alternate beginning
  • Deleted scenes
  • Dark Horse AVP comic book covers

Released by: Fox Home Video.
Rating: NR
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Read the original Dark Horse comic or read Alien Loves Predator instead.

[ad#longpost]Underneath the Antarctic ice is a pyramid which holds a special kind of safari park for the elite hunters known as the Predators. For here are harvested, from the mostly harmless natives of the planet, a particularly nasty form of xenomorph, an Alien. With its acid blood, lightning-quick reflexes and razor sharp claws and teeth, it is worthy prey. Adding to the “fun,” the pyramid keeps changing its labyrinthine corridors and the hunter’s guns are in the middle of the pyramid, not with the hunters. A group of the mostly harmless natives of the planet are also inadvertently participating in this most dangerous game. With red, flourescent green, and acid blood flowing freely, who will win this real life match of Alien vs. Predator?

Watching this movie reminds me of all those stories like “The Monkey’s Paw” where whatever you wish for turns around and bites you in the ass. Millions of geeks wished to see the Alien and the Predator battle it out on the big screen. The idea was put forth in Predator 2 , and then the comic book series showed it could work, so why not? But like the man who wished for his son to return from the dead but forgot to mention not as a rotting corpse, the fans got their movie, but they forgot to ask for a good movie. Now I understand you can’t expect too much from your monster fodder, but you need at least a couple of good actors with enough stage presence to be able to compete with the monsters. Many of the actors in this movie have done good work before, but even Olivier would have a problem with the way these no-dimensional characters are written.

All they do is give exposition and then die horribly. Now I appreciate the movie makers using a woman as the main hero of the piece, but Lathan has nowhere near the talent to compete with a Predator or an Alien Queen on screen. When Sigourney Weaver uttered those immortal words “Get away from her, you bitch!” in Aliens, you believed it. You felt every ounce of maternal determination and fury focused on that ugly cow. But I don’t get any sort of emotional response from Lathan.

Alien from Aliens vs. Predator

Now to the script. It is a prime example of Hollywood thinking that if enough eye candy is put in front of you, you won’t notice that the script is a stupid piece of shit. Guys, the only time that really works is in porn. And not that Skin-a-max crap either, but the hardcore stuff with actual penetration and money shots. Here’s one example: in figuring out when the pyramid’s corridors will reconfigure, he says that since Mayan time was “metric,” the shifting will occur every ten minutes. Now how the hell is one-one hundred forty fourth of the Earth’s rotation metric?

And the movie is full of lazy shitty writing like this. They even put in that “ancient astronaut” bullshit by saying the Predators are responsible for the ancient Egyptian, Cambodian, and Mayan civilizations. So the dark people of the world couldn’t have developed their own complex and sophisticated civilizations, the poor benighted savages needed alien help, unlike us white European types. Like I said, bullshit!

Predator from Aliens vs. Predator

There are some rather measly extras. There’s a “extended beginning”that really doesn’t add anything, much like the two deleted scenes also included. I would understand if there were a lot of cut scenes you wanted to show or enough material to warrant a “director’s cut,” but if there isn’t a lot of material, don’t bother with them just you can have a couple of extras bullets points on the DVD cover. It’s nice that they acknowledge the existence of the comic book series by including a cover gallery, but I wish there was more.

Then there are the two commentaries. For the first one with the director and the two “stars,” let us discuss commentary etiquette. Do not eat food while making a commentary, like Sanaa Lathan did. Do not leave your cell phone on while making a commentary, like Lance Henriksen did. And do not talk total crap about your movie, like Paul W. S. Anderson did. For instance, he talks about how several scenes are an homage to the previous movies. I think he’s confused because homage doesn’t mean copying bits for no other reason than keeping rabid fans happy. He also mentions how he was greatly influenced by the comics. I don’t think so. In the comic story Anderson mentions, the Predator used cattle-like creatures to harvest the Aliens, not people like in the movie. The Predators see intelligent creatures like humans as prey, but Anderson makes them treat humans as cattle. So influenced? Maybe. Greatly? Nah.

The technical commentary is more interesting, especially how they discuss using as many physical effects as possible and to go easy on CGI in order to try and add realism to the film. And to give credit where credit is due, several shots that I thought were “real” were created by the effects team. After a while though, the commentary becomes them simply pointing out what’s real and what’s CGI. A little of that goes a long way. You people have already spent enough money on this turkey. If you are so desperate to see a match up between Alien vs. Predator, buy yourself some action figures and go crazy.

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