Aliens Vs Predator is director Paul W.S. Anderson's
(Resident Evil, Event Horizon) latest project. The
big question is whether Anderson will be able to meet
the expectations of today's more demanding audience. According
to Louis Savy, who recently visited the set in Prague, the
movie looks extremely promising...
news that Paul W.S. Anderson was to hold the reins on this
project has received a mixed reaction on Internet chatrooms.
He made Mortal Kombat and Soldier and I am yet
to find one person who could say how good they were. Mind
you he was also responsible for Resident Evil, a great
game-to-movie adaptation, and the enjoyable Event Horizon.
movie is set in the present day. In the Antarctic, an archaeological
expedition headed and financed by billionaire robotics industrialist
Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) have heard tell of
an ancient pyramid under the frozen wasteland. The team discover
a way under the ice from an abandoned whaling station, where
they find a huge pyramid decorated with hieroglyphics unlike
anything they have ever seen. They go deeper into the pyramid,
finding more and more strange artefacts, until they find a
sarcophagus which contains a bizarre clock type of mechanism.
It seems that the pyramid is in fact a training camp for young
Predators - who are on their way to Earth for a weekend. Part
of their training involves hunting Aliens.
movie stars Henriksen (Millennium, Near Dark, Aliens)
as Charles Bishop Weyland. Colin Salmon (The World is Not
Enough, Resident Evil, Die Another Day) plays Max Stafford
- tough, practical security guy. Also starring are Sanaa Lathan
(Blade, Out of Time), Raoul Bova (Avenging Angelo,
Under The Tuscan Sun), and Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting,
Snatch, Black Hawk Down).
rest of the cast include Tommy Flanagan (Braveheart, Face/Off,
Gladiator), Agathe De La Boulaye (Jefferson In Paris,
Michel Vaillant), Joseph Rye (Ouija, Mean Machine),
and Sam Troughton (Sylvia). There is also a performance
from tall, blond and sexy Carsten Norgaard (Soldier, Gods
And Generals) as Quinn, the Drill Team Leader.
and the production designer Richard Bridgland, who worked
on Resident Evil and was art director on Richard
III, both agree that the original Alien and Predator
movies were scary because the audience didn't really get a
good look at the creatures until halfway into the film. They
also loved the two original movies because they were shot
tightly and there was a lot going on with shadows and dark
spaces. And, while Predator was set in a jungle, it
was still claustrophobic.
over Bridgland's bookshelf I spotted Giger, Frank Lloyd Wright
and many other great artists and designers - there was even
a copy of the book detailing London's Jubilee Line Underground
line extension "you get influences for everywhere" said Bridgland.
One thing is for sure it will look great.
Anderson has always made a lot of his sets. Resident Evil
looked incredibly slick and critics who rubbished Event
Horizon generally acknowledge that the movie looked fantastic.
After walking around a couple of the pyramid sets - and seeing
the detail they have worked into the architecture, I hope
they light it so we can see some of it on the celluloid. There
are wonderful 10 feet tall sculptures of Predators and at
the bottom of pillars in the largest of the pyramid's chambers
are unnerving representations of charging face-huggers - scary
scenes that take place in the Antarctic also look amazing
and we got to see some of the 'whales' graveyard' set - it
reminded me of the massive ribcages in Pitch Black,
eerie in all white though. I was also lucky enough to get
some time with the miniatures team who took us over the sets
of the whaling station itself. Amazing detail and so great
that it will not be done using CG. Lately
I have found movies using CG for big effects start too look
so unreal, there is something missing.
even got to see some tests of the station collapsing into
the ice... Oops was that a spoiler? Well let's get some of
the other set related spoilers out of the way here. We get
to see deeper into Alien eggs, we get to see some great new
weapons and we get some shots inside a Predator ship... and
they all look great!
creative talents of Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, who worked
on Tremors, two of the Alien movies, Starship
Troopers and many other movies under their mentor Stan
Winston, are leading the creature effects crew. Their company
is called ADI, Amalgamated Dynamic Industries.
was great was walking around a room full of Alien and Predator
heads, rubber suits, Alien Eggs and a collection of Predator
weapons - look out for the cool Shuriken. We also got to see
a few things we shouldn't - in a big box marked 'hybrid' -
but enough of that.
Again, it was impressive to see the level of detail going
into the production. ADI have developed an amazing articulated
robotic body for the Alien as well. They can basically move
the body around with hydraulics until they get a performance
that they like. Then play it back on a computer, seeing all
the key movements as points, which can then be tweaked to
make it all smooth and natural looking. They then hit "go"
and play it back - the model then enacts the movements exactly.
Apparently this is the most complex unit ever built.
John Bruno (Abyss, T2, True Lies) is in charge of all
the visual effects in the movie and he is not a great fan
of CG. Apparently he actually used a crane to lift a jet plane
on top of a tall building because it looked better than a
composite shot in the computer.
The whole team have really stamped their own look and feel
onto the movie but they've also ensured that they keep the
fans of the movies, games and comics happy as well.
Savy is Sci-Fi London's Festival Director
Vs Predator is released in the USA on the 06 August 2004,
with a UK release set for 22 October 2004.
our review of AVP: Alien Vs. Predator: The Creature Effects
of ADI by clicking here
more information on Sci-Fi London visit the official site...