Right up front, I think Scott Kurtz (of pvp_comic fame) said it best in today's strip: "It was 30 minutes of greatness, wrapped in an hour of suck." the film had it's good points, but they were definitely each bookended my a veritable quagmire of stuff that annoyed me to no end. And not all those annoyances were "fanboy" related. It's true that a lot of the things I was disappointed by depend on a certain amount of backstory knowledge, and the average viewer would miss those things, but there were plenty of other things that made you wonder if the Continuity And Logic Department didn't just take a spontaneous trip to the Bahamas, taking "Suspension of Disbelief" along with them for immoral sexual purposes.
Yes, I'm listing them...I was typing these as I watched the film. Feel free to stop reading if you don't care:
- Right off the bat, things were too clean, too easy. I had absolutely no belief that these people are 'world-travelers'...they were just too pretty. Look at real explorers: they've been in the elements too long, and their face and skin shows it. These people just walked out of a GAP ad.
- This all takes place in Antarctica, but, apparently, it's not as cold as reality, since they're walking around in the open tundra here with openly uncovered flesh, and at the end, chick is standing there in the South Polar wind in pants and a thin shirt, and not shivering in the slightest?!?
- These people were completely unable to use logic; the large drilled hole extends upward, into the air, taking out part of a roof, but no one considers this in any description of "how it could be done"
- Speaking of the hole, it was melted by the blast from the predator mothership...but somehow, it is precisely ridged, all the way down
- And then there's the pyramid, frozen under 2000 feet of ice...but conveniently untouched in an cave (shown in flashbacks to be some tropical area)
- these people are going to the middle of fucking nowhere, Antarctica...but they pack lots of guns, including large bore automatic battle rifles?!? Vicious penguins, I guess...
- No one ever questions how Egyptian, Cambodian, and Aztec cultures are related, and why, if this was previous to continental shift, all three languages are definably and separately present in the glyphs
- Thank you, Captain Obvious: Woods checking her watch, saying "this should be directly below the sacrificial chamber"...considering dude dropped the glowstick from the Sac Chamber, and it's sitting on the floor 5 feet in front of her, why does she need to check coordinates to figure this out?
- Speaking of Woods, she must be a master of teleportation and precognition: "This bearing should take us back to the entrance" - how so? You went deeper and deeper, and you're at the head of a staircase going DOWN, plus you're in a place you've never been before...how exactly is going "that way" in a place that's just locked down going to get you out to the surface?
- Oh, SO convenient to find the one room that just happens to explain EVERYTHING...and dude can translate it all in less than 8 minutes, before the temple "shifts" again
- Lastly, why would the sled and winch (end sequence) have such a speedy setting? It's for equipment transfer, not for slingshotting missiles into space
- And did they HAVE to succumb to the urge to throw that ONE LITTLE "bullet-time" shot into the movie? It's so over-done now, and it didn't add a thing to the flick
Now, because I'm a fanboy, I had several problems stemming from backstory kind of knowledge...these may not make sense to a lot of you:
- in the initial fight, these Predators are fighting with no honour at all, just randomly lashing out...and how did we get bodies already hanging while we're all still in the midst of fighting?
- This flick features the fastest damn face-hugger impregnation in history...every other film, face-huggers alone took a few hours, at least, and chestburster was a day...and yet spiky-haired chick goes from hugger to burst in no time flat. Shortly thereafter, there are multiple full-grown Aliens. Miracle-Gro, anyone?
- What was up with the "updated" weapons? The disc apparently came from the Glaive, from Krull?!? Even more annoying were the extendo-claws...popping out of holders a third their size; I can make a simple mechanical case for that, but they'd be more likely to break...and on this same subject, why were the predator weapons only sporadically affected by Alien blood?
- The whole backstory is contrary to basic Predator sociology: teaching humans to build, being worshipped, breeding these things just to hunt, blasting away with guns against a non-ranged weapon foe...NO, NO, NO.
- Predators going on a hunt without their shoulder cannons? Well, since you've already fucked up their background, why stop now, eh?
OK, now it wasn't all bad. Though, several of the good things were still tinged with some oddities...
- The fight between the skull-masked Predator and the Alien (Weyland's first contact). was very nicely done, believable, and fit Predator philosophies. I question the odd style of his mask, though, it looked strange...and since he was the only one like that and he died, there was no way to determine if he was some sort of veteran or senior hunter or something.
- There was very nice use of different Predator view styles (heat, sonar, light amp)...but since when do they have x-ray?
- OK, using the Alien head and tail as "sword and shield"...nice touch.
- VERY GOOD: the Predator catching the chestburster as it hatches and breaking its neck...great scene.
So, overall? Oh, I'll buy it, as I have all the other films; can't be missing the link between them. It was pretty, and I can't say I didn't have a certain amount of fun watching these two extraterrestrial races have at each other, but the film was disappointing. You can tell that it was made for the audience of today, who is glutted on special effects and action fights and speedy vehicles, and who has given in and quit bothering to question important things being missing, like plot and reality.