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Alien and Predator – rundown

Alien and Predator – rundown

            Alien and Predator series have been on my watchlist since FOREVER but you know me – any chance of being even slightly scared is a “no” from me, but… I promised! And what better way to watch something scary than with your bestie? I knew it wasn’t gonna be too bad. 

Bring back life form. Priority One. All other priorities rescinded.

            Took me long enough to actually follow through with this plan – you know how it is. We all have these “classic” films that we never watched and it’s… Well, I don’t want to write “shame” or “disgrace”, because life is too short to make yourself feel bad for not watching something. Instead, I changed my focus to: wow, that is still ahead of me. 

alien
© 1979 20th Century Fox

Okay, it was a bit difficult with Alien and Predator films, knowing what they are about but… I really needed the distraction. I’ve noticed that immersing myself in the disturbing world of science-fiction helps when I feel anxious. And lately I’ve noticed the monthly pattern of ups and downs. 

But, the first thing to break any cycle – be that vicious or not – is to be aware such a pattern exists. So, with August technically being the lower point, I am turning it around. This long weekend is for live music and friends. Next one will be for resting and maybe finishing up some other films stuck on my “to watch list”? 

Alien life form. Looks like it’s been dead a long time. Fossilized. Looks like it’s growing out of the chair.

            I like the formula of a run-down – it’s my favorite with Oscars, I did it with Star Trek, I was tempted to do one with MCU, but seeing the current state of MCU, I am no longer interested in doing so, even with the old films. 

Anyway, I am so happy that I followed through with this watch! Don’t get me wrong, I was covering my eyes a lot of times. Marta also warned me when I shouldn’t look and if that’s not a besties love language, then I don’t know what is. 

Now, before I dive in, here is a question for you: which one do you think I liked more, Alien or Predator?

© 1979 20th Century Fox

Alien (1979), dir. Ridley Scott

            First of all, THIS TRULY, REALLY IS A CLASSIC. If you need proof, I just opened the book called “1001 movies you must see before you die” (2016 edition), and it’s right there, a full page on it. And let me tell you – the first installment of the series was (still is) fantastic. 

The thrill, the gloomy atmosphere, being locked on a ship in outer space, where no one can hear you scream? I have chills even writing these words. And excuse me, why is no one talking about HOW BADASS ELLEN RIPLEY IS? Holy shit, forger Wonder Woman. Ripley is *the* role model little girls should look up to.

Plot-wise, the screenplay written by Dan O’Bannon was great. I felt as if I was inside Nostromo (what a great name for a ship, though! And what a cool Easter egg to Joseph Conrad’s book of the same title), with the crew, watching closely. 

© 1979 20th Century Fox

            Fantastic introduction to the series and to be honest, on a scale of “one to I-will-watch-it-when-it’s-on-the-TV”, I will definitely watch it when it’s on. Scary as heck, disgusting at times but no regrets here. 

Aliens (1986), dir. James Cameron

            You know what is the typical thing with a sequel – sometimes it just doesn’t work. With the 2nd installment to Alien, Cameron took over from Scott and it was really good. Not my favorite, but really good. Kept me on edge and invested. I asked Marta a million questions, and she remained steadfast, never giving me the answer. 

alien
© 1986 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.

Now that I think about it, with the questions, I took over my mum and her questions sometimes drove me crazy, haha. But for me, I found it comforting and kind of mood-lightening. 

And ending the film on a cliffhanger/good note? Wow, what a smooth transition into the far scarier part of the series. Oh, and Ripley is still a freaking badass. Wow!

Alien 3 (1992), dir. David Fincher

            As we were watching this one, I didn’t pay attention to the subtitles telling who made the film. But as we progressed, I thought to myself: This shit is Fincher-like scary. And in terms of suspense and psychological thrill – it was a pure, classic Fincher. Alien 3 is where that iconic infirmary scene comes from. 

© 1992 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.

Alien is an undeniable classic, but until now, Alien 3 was my favorite (and then I watched Resurrection, haha). This film also started planting a seed (hehe, am I on fire today) of the “logic” behind the mindless creatures. The basic survival instinct (or not so basic?), the mission and protectiveness of its own – pieces slowly falling together. 

            Oh and that finale, the sacrifice – wow, what a powerful story ending. Or… Was it?

Alien: Resurrection (1997), dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet

            What a pleasant surprise. And a cool cast! Winona Ryder and Ron Perlman? It was really nice to watch, and having Ripley back, in this stone-cold, robotic manner was just extraordinary. 

Granted, it wasn’t the masterpiece of contemporary cinema, but it was really, really good. I would call it an adequate sendoff for Ripley. If I was to choose my favorite part, it would be this one – even though it was just as scary, Resurrection was a good story.

© 1997 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.

Predator (1987), dir. John McTiernan

            GET TO THE CHOPPA! Oh boy, why did I wait so damn long to watch this film? Holy shit, this is what I am talking about. Unlike Aliens, Predators were incredibly smart creatures. You know, what kind of monster is the scariest? The one you can’t initially see. 

alien
© 1987 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.

Predator opened the door to a whole new world of highly trained, intelligent and superior beings, with purpose (however tragic and terrible), determined to do anything to achieve it. And let’s be real, Arnie was just phenomenal in this film. 

Predator 2 (1990), dir. Stephen Hopkins

            Not directly connected to the first installment, but equally engaging and good. It was more of a detective mystery, rather than a typical survival thriller, but as the story goes – it was great to watch. 

Also, Bill Paxton, linking to franchises like that, each of his roles equally infuriating? Now that is something! But to be honest, I was really surprised and curious to watch it. But these films, as badass as the Predators were… They didn’t exactly showcase just how phenomenal these extraterrestrial beings truly were. That came later. 

Nevertheless, I was hooked and boy, did I ask questions? Millions of them. 

Photo by Davis Entertainment – © 1990

Predators (2010), dir. Nimród Antal

            Okay, why is nobody really talking about how good this film is? Honestly, I don’t get it. What a great premise, and an ending that sort of promised a follow up, but never got one. I loved the idea of complete strangers thrown together into daring circumstances. 

Trust no one and survive, or get killed. Here, the Predator was really freaking badass, as if the definition, the textbook case study on being badass. Loved it, but also I liked the jungle theme, was that a little nod to the first part? 

Photo by Photo credit : Rico Torres – © TM and 2010 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.

AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004), dir. Paul W. S. Anderson

            Now, who would have thought that this one will become my absolutely favorite film from the entire extended franchise? I know, this probably is an unpopular opinion, but I will stand my ground. 

First of all, so many dots were connected. I have connected a COUNTLESS amount of freaking dots!!!!! Gosh, I was so proud of myself. Marta and I watched it at my parents’, as it was my turn to stay with the cats, and boy, was I over the moon to finally put all that movie knowledge to use? 

alien
© 2004 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.

Secondly, the pyramid angle and the entire excursion idea was just spot on; combining a kind of adventure film (gave me very strong space Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones vibes). Add to that extremely badass Predators. And I mean, badass to the point of no return. Okay, let me put it in other words: if I was to choose one fictional character to protect me for the rest of my life, I would choose Predator. 

            The ending was fantastic and it only proved that Predators are far from mindless, cruel hunters. Highly intelligent and cruel, yes. I was so hyped to see the second part!

AVPR: Alien vs Predator – Requiem (2007), dir. The Brothers Strause

            Which turned out to be the shittiest movie we’ve seen. What a wasted potential, with someone random was dying every 10 minutes, this film was a torment to watch – but we were committed to go through with it. 

The only good (?) thing was the hybrid – Predalien as they called it. Okay, maybe good is too big of a word – it was interesting to see something so powerful and potentially tipping the scale towards Aliens winning the “war”. 

© 2007 Twentieth Century Fox

But for me, Requiem could be a dictionary definition of the phrase “wasted potential”. So far, the biggest disappointment and that’s why after watching this one, we made a break with the franchise. 

Prey (2022), dir. Dan Trachtenberg

            Now, this is the last one we watched – reasons why will follow later. Matter of fact, we finished watching it about 2 hours ago, and I must admit, on a scale from one to AVPR, it fell right in the middle. Not great but also not terrible.

The female lead, as much as it pains me to say it, was infuriating with her messed up empowerment attempts. Total and complete miss of the point, if there even was one. Plot-wise, it wasn’t too bad, and they are so damn lucky the doggo was alright. 

alien
Photo by David Bukach/ HULU – © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Predator was ultra-badass, and damn, you know that saying “it takes a village”? Well, in this case, the village couldn’t even handle it. All and all, I will not be watching it again, but I am glad we wrapped up our watch. 

Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?

            We have not watched The Predator and we won’t (to quote MM: it would be a waste of our time; and I trust her completely) and we’re still debating on the Prometheus ones, but maybe it will make sense, to have the storyline somewhat completed. 

I asked you Lot a question in the beginning: which one do you think I liked more, Alien or Predator? And I think by now, you already know the answer. Predator, all the way haha! I just cannot believe how absolutely badass and impressive (I’ve used that word a lot today, damn) they are. End of story, thanks for coming to my TED talk.

© 1979 Paramount HE. All rights reserved.

I must say, it was a very enjoyable experience – to watch an entire series of films, so closely connected. It was very refreshing after the brainwashing of the MCU and my forever beloved Star Wars. Mostly because it was new, you got me there.

            Now, in letters you ask me: Jules, what’s next? Which iconic series will you watch (or re-watch) now? And here is the answer: Terminator, of course! Though, as usual, I am tempted with Rocky

Final report of the commercial starship Nostromo, third officer reporting. The other members of the crew – Kane, Lambert, Parker, Brett, Ash, and Captain Dallas – are dead. Cargo and ship destroyed. I should reach the frontier in about six weeks. With a little luck, the network will pick me up. This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.

Ellen Ripley

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