Alien Vs. Predator

Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova and Lance Henriksen
20th Century Fox
RRP: 15.99/£24.99/£34.99
Certificate: 15
Available 07 March 2005

Weyland Industries picks up a heat signature in an uninhabited sector of Antarctica at the location of an abandoned Whaling Station. A team of experts is assembled and dispatched to investigate. Weyland himself (Lance Henriksen) explains to them that an ancient temple, perhaps the earliest sign of civilised life on earth, has been detected far beneath the ice. A thermally cut pipe already leads down to the temple, technologically far in advance of man. But the experts aren't the only ones interested in the ancient construction. A spacecraft arrives and dispatches three hunter predators. The human presence in the temple activates a dormant alien queen, and quite suddenly the team is caught in the middle of an alien versus predator fight which has raged for thousands of years...

Alien Vs. Predator has been on the cards for some years now. The moment 20th Century Fox realised they had possession of two successful and eminently workable franchises it was only a matter of time and the right script before the two came together to wage on-screen war. Dark Horse ran a highly popular comics series which ultimately kept the concept in the public mind. This is primarily Paul Anderson's baby, which he nursed for some time before it finally came of age [in fact www.reviewgraveyard.com were the first to break the news that Anderson had secured the directors chair on this movie], apparently impressing the film company with the vitality of the script. He also directed the piece, and I must say, although certain parties have seen fit to criticise the finished product, I personally think he put out a very enjoyable film. It's necessary to make that clear now, because you could quite easily systematically pull AVP apart.

Firstly, it borrows from plenty of other film sources. Okay, so no idea is totally original, but if you ignore the many peripheral connections, here we are still left with major elements of Cube (the reconfiguring rooms), Tomb Raider (the interior settings and action sequences), and The Thing (exterior settings and notions). Secondly, if the predators were only interested in humans as cattle-like hosts for the ultimate prey, then it's pretty unlikely one of them would arm and team-up with one, even if she did save its life. If the temple is a trap for the human team, how are so many aliens activated when there is only a handful of humans to act as potential hosts, and why do only three predators arrive to sort out the mess?

Then there are the more simple mistakes. Why does the Alexa Woods character not freeze to death on the surface whilst fighting the alien queen? It seems to be forgotten that this is Antarctica and she is in a T-shirt! The exertion would only cause her to lose valuable body heat more quickly. Also, why isn't the predator craft detected by satellite? The predator multi-readout vision allows them to see an alien gestating in a host; so why did the other predators not see the one in their own colleague? And what is the explanation for the alien/predator crossbreed? Had the predators been playing with genetics, or the two species doing the squelchy together?

As a naturally inquisitive person all of these thoughts were running through my head. However, I also like to immerse myself in a film I'm watching, and I can tell you even bearing all of the above in mind, I didn't let it spoil my enjoyment. It even creates a back story scenario explaining the connections between the two races.

The first disc in this two-dvd presentation contains a normal and extended version of the film, a commentary by Lance Henriksen and Sanaa Lathan, a second commentary by Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff Jr. and John Bruno, and Inside Look (trailers for other Fox films, including Hide and Seek, Elektra, and Robots).

Disc two features: Pre-production (a long and interesting documentary), Production (another documentary), Post Production (Visual Effects Breakdown, and 11 deleted scenes with optional commentary), Licensing the Product (The comic book, and Monsters in Miniature by Todd McFarlane, an entertaining overview of the Spawn.Com company), and Marketing (HBO Special, teaser and trailer). So plenty for your hard-earned groats.

Whilst never even likely to aspire to the heights of Alien and Aliens, AVP is considerably better than the abysmal Alien 3 and more exciting than Alien Resurrection. Buy it.

Ty Power

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