AVP: Alien vs. Predator, by Albert W. Vogt III

Ever since Predator 2 (1990), the devoted fan base to the Predator and Alien franchises have wanted a crossover film where these two races of space monsters battle it out with each other.  Why?  Because if you look in the background of the Predator spacecraft towards the end of Predator 2, you will see a trophy case.  Among the skulls collected there is one that looks like the ones that terrorized Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in the first three Alien films.  Was this intentionally done?  I have no clue, though I have my doubts.  I suspect that some production assistant on the set of Predator 2 was told to come up with alien bones, and since the Alien movies were fresh on everyone’s minds, you got this little Easter egg that taunted fans for a long time.  It took fourteen years, but finally Alien vs. Predator (2004) was made.  Was it other the wait?  Meh.

We start Alien vs. Predator with a familiar sight if you have seen previous films in this franchise.  A Predator spacecraft approaches Earth.  They initiate a heat signature in Antarctica that is detected by satellites owned by the Weyland Corporation.  Believing this to be the chance of a lifetime, the eponymous head of the company, Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) begins assembling a group of people to investigate this anomaly.  One of the more unlikely members is an ice climbing enthusiast named Alexa “Lex” Woods (Sanaa Lathan).  Because they are going to a cold environment, she is brought on to guide the odd assemblage of archaeologists and mercenaries to go take a look at what is going on in this desolate place.  Lex is skeptical, but Weyland’s personal assurances are what convince her.  When they arrive at the long-abandoned whaling camp near where the signal originates, they find a perfectly bored hole through the ice heading down.  Ignoring this blatant warning sign, Weyland decides to send everyone down the tunnel.  At the bottom they find a large temple, and they begin exploring.  Doing so inadvertently trips a mechanism within the building that separates them into smaller groups.  This also happens before our three Predators are ready, and they hurry down to the surface, killing everyone from Weyland’s team that did not go down to the temple.  Inside, a collection of men and women find themselves inside a chamber containing skeletons with their ribs extended outward, as if something burst out of them from within.  Again, this film is relying on its forebears to build tension as to what is about to take place.  Sure enough, up pops alien eggs, the result of a long dormant queen held below being reanimated, and they waste no time in hatching and latching on to the faces of those stuck in the room with them.  Meanwhile, in another part of the temple, Lex and Weyland, along with archaeologist Professor Sebastian De Rosa (Raoul Bova) notice something else shift from the walls.  A storage compartment opens, and inside there is the weapons we have come to associate with the Predators.  Lex is pretty sure these items should be left where they are, but Weyland is insistent that they take them to the surface.  Resigned, Lex demands that she be the one to carry them.  For the Predators, nothing is going according to plan, and two of the three die shortly after they finally get to the temple.  The fight is witnessed by Dr. De Rosa, Lex, and Weyland, the last of which also dies at the hand of one of the Predators.  As for our last Predator, it fares a little better until it decides to take off its mask to use some alien blood to mark the metal with some kind of glyph.  Doing so gives one of the alien face-huggers the opportunity to latch on to its face.  All this gives Dr. De Rosa, along with the hieroglyphics, a picture of the temple’s purpose.  Before he too is killed, he gives us a little exposition about how for thousands of years humans have been offering themselves as sacrifices as a sort of rite of passage for young Predators to hunt aliens.  He completes this just before he is captured by the aliens and taken to be impregnated with a new drone.  Having already decided that the Predator needs its weapons, Lex finds the also impregnated hunter and gives it what it needs.  For expedience’s sake, they form a partnership to make it back to the surface, and the Predator releases its wrist bomb in order to destroy the temple and spreading alien scourge.  However, before this can detonate, the alien drones manage to free their queen, which chases Lex and the Predator top-side.  Together, they manage to kill the queen there by pushing it over a cliff to sink down into the icy depths of the Arctic Ocean.  Their battle results in the Predator’s death, and this is when the spaceship materializes, revealing more Predators.  They give her a trophy from her hunt, and leave her alone in Antarctica.  Could she not have hitched a ride?  Anyway, the final shot is of the Predator lying in state on the ship, and a new half predator/half alien exploding from its chest.

I, for one, had hoped for more from an Alien vs. Predator movie.  This is a product of being immature when it premiered.  We want some pretty dumb things when we are younger.  Still, the appearance of that alien skull in Predator 2 suggested a world beyond our own, or that of the Predators.  I spoke to a bigger galaxy, in other words.  What we got was a bunch of people fumbling around in an old temple.  At least Christianity was spared in this nonsense.  The film hints at all the peoples of the world coming together at one time to appease their extra-terrestrial gods.  If you watch too much of the History Channel, if that is actually still a thing, you will see its programming suggesting that off world beings are how humanity came up with the idea of religion.  I will say one thing about this notion: at least it is not trying to tell you that man made God, instead of the other way around as it is supposed to be.  Of course, there are also those that say the existence of aliens makes the concept of God null and void.  I am not so sure.  To begin with, we do not definitively know whether or not there is intelligent life on other planets.  If there is, then why could God not have created them, too?  Modern people are so quick to dismiss the Divine with only the tiniest of shreds of doubt.  I submit to you that there is more conclusive proof of the existence of God than there is of aliens.  I realize this is a tangent, but when I see ancient temples in dumb science fiction movies, this is where my brain goes.

If you are one of the many who longed to see a crossover film like Alien vs. Predator, then I am guessing you have already seen it.  If not, I would not waste your time.  There is literally nothing in it that you have not already seen in either of these two franchises.


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