Aliens, Predators and the Humans in the middle

I’m not a fan of horror, flat out horror (same as torture porn as witnissed most recently in the Saw movies) just doesn’t do it for me, but i love science fiction, so i will indulge horror crossed with that genre or other cross genres. This feature will take a look at the movies of the Alien series, Predators, and the crossover series Alien Vs Predators, as well as a look ahead at the possible future of the Alien franchise, with Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.

Alien

The pitch of the first movie was simple – you’re trapped aboard a ship in deep space, with a menacing alien which has is picking off the crew one by one. Not the most original idea for a movie nowadays, but in 1979 this simple plot, directed by Ridley Scott, created one of the most iconic and memorable horror/science fiction cross genres ever seen and the words ‘in space, no one can hear you scream’ were immortalised in movie history.

Written by Dan O Bannon (whose only other credit to that point was for writing John Carpenter’s comedy science fiction movie Dark Star) and Ronald Shusett (whose only other credit was for a suspence thriller titled ‘W’), Alien was landmark in the history of cinema thanks to fresh writing, great direction by Ridley Scott, strong performances of the cast including Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm, and Tom Skerrit, and last but not least the increadible work by H.R. Giger in realising the alien, egg, and facehugger designs (The Egg design i can say is just awesome, having been sat next to one from the set while at Planet Hollywood shortly before it’s closing, sadly i have no pictures of it!). The movie managed to be original while borrowing heavily both in idea and visual style from the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Blob and The Thing From Another Planet (Later remade by then horror mastermind John Carpenter as The Thing, and then remade again later this year).

For anyone not familiar with the story, the crew of a cargo ship, the Nostromo, investigate a distress signal of unkown origin and end up getting more than they bargained for when one of the crew is latched on to by a creature that gestates from an egg (commonly referred to now as a ‘facehugger’). The crewman later awakens after the creature has appeared to die, but without warning, a creature emerges from his chest, and dissapears into the bowels of the ship. It is found later, having grown to be bigger than a man, it begins to pick off the crew of the Nostromo one by one until the final surviving crew member is left and defeats it, setting the ship to self destruct and escaping in the escape craft.

Scott and editor Terry Rawlings had created a temp soundtrack score to the movie whilst editing using samples of composer Jerry Goldsmith’s scores from other movies as Goldsmith had been hired to compose the score for the finished movie, but this turned out to be a disaster as he disliked the temp track and essentially ignored it when creating his score for the movie. Ultimately, Goldsmith’s score would be re-cut by Scott and Rawlings, and would be a sore point to him in his career.

To this day, one of the most memorable, shocking scenes i have ever witnessed is the moment at which the alien makes it’s first appearance on screen, with the ever brilliant John Hurt as Kane, giving a fantastic yet thoroughly disturbing performance of what it feels like to have something clawing, ripping it’s way through your chest from the inside to get out. Like the crew members of the Nostromo you can only look on in horror as Hurt writhes and screams in agony until the creature appears in a splash of blood, then promptly dissapears out of sight before anyone, on screen or watching, can figure out exactly what just happened. It’s a scene that has become so ingrained in movie-goers that it’s been referenced and spoofed countless times since, some with better success than others.

In 2003, Ridley Scott went back to the editing room and supervised a director’s cut of Alien. Unusually for a director’s cut, even though the new version of the movie included additional footage cut from the original theatrical release (in particular the inclusion of a much talked about scene where Ripley runs across a coccooned Dallas), it’s running time ended up just shorter than the theatrical cut. Both versions of the movie were included on the Alien Quadrilogy DVD and more recently in the Blu Ray version released earlier this year.

The movie is currently placed 44th in the user voted top 250 movies at the Internet Movie DataBase. After Alien was successful at the U.S. box office, and won several awards including an Oscar for Best Visual Effects and a BAFTA for Best Sound Effects, 20th Century Fox went ahead with creating a sequel.

Aliens

James Cameron’s Aliens, released in 1986 is, for the majority(including myself), the favourite of the series. Continuing the story where Alien left off, it took the alien series in a different direction of an action oriented movie, treating it more like a war movie (perhaps influenced in part by elements of the Vietnam War) and shooting it in such a way to make a movie about aliens and space, feel very claustrophobic and closed in. Adding to Giger’s design of the alien from the first movie, was Stan Winston, brought to the project by Cameron who had worked with him previously on The Terminator.

The story, written by James Cameron, Walter Hill, and David Giler, brought Ripley back to the planet, called LV-426, which had now become a settlement for a group of terra-formers, with a squad of combat ready Marines since contact had been lost with the colony. Upon arrival, they find the colony abandoned, with no sign of either the colonists or any aliens, save for one traumatised little girl. The tagline though, told us different – ‘This time there’s more‘.

Aliens proved to be a succesful blend of horror and action that almost didn’t come to be, Cameron, fresh from directing the first Terminator movie, struggled to get Aliens made at Pinewood Studios, being a young director, and with Terminator not yet released in the U.K. the crew of the studio were reluctant to follow the instructions, believing him to be too young and inexperienced whilst also sticking to their own work edicts. This ultimately led to the original assistant director being fired from the project after staging a brief mutiny on the set. In addition to problems with the crew, there were also problems with the cast, specifically with the casting of Corporal Dwayne Hicks, a main character throughout the movie originally played by James Remar (Father of TV’s Dexter), who due to ‘creative differences’ was replaced by Cameron’s friend Michael Biehn, fresh from The Terminator.

Composer James Horner was hired to write the score for the movie. As with Scott and Goldsmith on the first movie, Aliens turned out to be a collaborative nightmare, with Cameron’s editing techniques causing difficulty for Horner, who eventually walked off of the movie after the music he had composed had been edited and re-edited by Cameron to work with the movie, resulting in the two disliking each other until they reconciled to work on Titanic a decade later. Horner’s score does work effectively in the movie, and while many will recognise this piece of music from the climactic finale in particular, even more will recognise it from being used on many movie trailers since then.

Thankfully, these issues and conflicts did not diminish the finished product, Aliens went on to be an even bigger box office hit than Alien and also won the Oscar and BAFTA for Best Visual Effects and the Oscar for Best Sound Editing. It’s currently placed 60th in the IMDB top 250 movies. Here at the Lolocaust we may be looking to do some Lolo-commentaries for some movies shortly, and I will be suggesting this as one of the first.

A special edition was released in 1992, initially on Laserdisc and then VHS and DVD at a later date, it restored an additional 17 minutes of footage originally shot that had mostly been cut out for pacing reasons. These included more character development for Ripley (Much to the pleasing of Sigourney Weaver) regarding a daughter she had left on Earth prior to the events of the first movie, and an earlier scene showing the colony before the discovery of the derelict alien crash site by one of the colony’s families. Ironically, like the first movie, a scene that had been filmed where Ripley came accross a coccooned Burke (Paul Reiser), was not included in the special edition. Footage of this scene has surfaced after reportedly being included on the recent Blu Ray set in the additional disc’s material.

Alien³

The same year, Sigourney Weaver returned once again in the role of Ellen Ripley for Alien³ and was directed by David Fincher, from a story by Vincent Ward and with a script amalgamated from several different peoples ideas (including Eric Red, David Twohy, and Aliens writers Hill & Giler).

To say Alien³ had a more difficult production than Aliens is an understatement.

Production began and cameras started rolling at Pinewood Studios before a complete script had been finalised, the cinematographer was replaced for not being fast enough by executives, who also applied pressure to the whole production, wanting to ensure that it better the critical success of the previous movies. Due to this Fincher struggled to complete the movie and reportedly left the project before editing was finished.

Alien³ was released to a critically dissapointing reception, with it’s U.S. theatrical run grossing only $55 million at the box office and with a reported budget of approx $63 million, the movie only made profit once it was released overseas, where it fared slightly better with european viewers. A possible contributing factor to the poor reception was the release of an early teaser trailer which, due to the numerous unfinished script sources, suggested that the movie would take place ‘on Earth’, something that never came to fruition in the actual movie.

Additionally, after filming had finished and Fincher had edited the movie, test screening reactions led to further concern from the executives. In some screenings, people walked out due in particular to a graphic version of the autopsey scene early in the movie, others commented on how easily the alien was trapped by a group of unarmed prisoners, and the movie was again re-cut and changed, removing whole sections of the movie without Fincher being consulted – the uncut version of the autopsey scene in particular has yet to see the light of day, not even being included in the extended cut of the movie later released.

Because of the interference, hassle experienced throughout production, and the final cut that was released theatrically, Fincher practically disowned the movie, due to this, instead of a ‘directors’ cut, an extended ‘assembly’ cut of the movie re-establishing a lot of Fincher’s original cut was included on the Alien Quadrilogy DVD and Blu Ray boxsets. The additional scenes included the original opening, original footage of the first host for the alien – being an oxen-like creature instead of a dog, the longer version of Ripley and the prisoners successfully trapping the alien before it is released by one of the prisoners who has gone insane, and a slightly longer version of the ending expanding on Lance Henriksen’s Bishop II role.

The musical score was composed by Elliot Goldenthall, whose attempts to create a theme that matches the religious undertones for the movie at times works wonderfully and at others struggles and can have a somewhat jarring effect, perhaps intentionally. Without a doubt, it’s identity matches what is on the screen, as this track ‘Lento’ proves, being played during a scene of death and rebirth with a funeral and an alien birth happening simultaneously.

Like the prior movies, Alien³ was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the Oscars and Best Special Effects at the BAFTA’s but unlike them it did not win either award.

Personally, I actually like Alien³, not more than Aliens, but (and this is where i’m probably going to receive letters) more than the original Alien. While I can see what a lot of people didn’t like about the movie and did not live up to their expectations, as a fan of Fincher’s I may be biased, but I like the fact that it didn’t just go the route of the sequel which tries to do the same thing as the last movie, only bigger. The lack of any real weaponary places the characters in a predicament in which they have very little they can do to defend themselves, and the situation that Ripley finds herself in is akin to that moment you wake from a nightmare, only to realise that the nightmare may have been the better place to be.

Alien Resurrection

After the dissapointing box office performance of Alien³, and the events that transpired at the end of the movie (I won’t spoil it for you, but seriously, if you don’t know, where the *&@% have you been?), it seemed as if the Alien series had come to it’s end, but cult screenwriter and director Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly), was hired by Fox to come up with a new script to continue the franchise.

Alien Resurrection, released in 1997 was the end result. After considering and/or offering the job of director to the likes of Danny Boyle (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting), Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men), and Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Jean-Pierre Juenet, who had received critical success for his French movie The City of Lost Children (La cité des enfants perdus). was hired. This seemed an odd choice, as not being fluent in English, a translator was required on set at all times for him to communicate his vision to the cast & crew. At least this movie would fit in with the alien series’ history of difficult production!

Resurrection was the first alien movie not to be filmed in the U.K. and instead filmed in Los Angeles. Sigourney Weaver was convinced to return to the role of Ellen Ripley, with the new human/alien arc for her bringing a new twist to her character (well, that or the reportedly $11 million paycheck and option to film stateside), and a few well known faces including Wynona Ryder and Ron Perlmen were cast. The setting was changed back to being aboard a space ship as with the original, with a healthy dose of weaponary included from the second movie to avoid the disspointing response to Alien³.

The movie opened to mixed reviews with the majority being negative, the new alien/human creature – ‘the newborn’ which was poorly received in particular being a point most fans felt was an insult to the franchise. Initially the movie looked to be more successful at the box office than Alien³, doing better internationally, but taking less in ticket sales in the U.S.

John Frizzell was hired to compose the score after submitting a demo, while being the least successful of the alien movies, it would be a job that established him as an accomplished composer able to create a score that was respectful of the ones that came before it and also able to effectively support both horror and action sequences.

As with the other movies, an extended cut of the movie was included in the Quadrilogy DVD and Blu Ray boxsets. The ‘special edition’ was titled so as it contained an alternate title sequence, alternate end scene, and a mixture of some additional footage/alternate scenes/takes. It only ran 7 minutes longer than the theatrical cut, and had a small introduction by director Juenet explaining that the theatrical cut was the director’s cut.

I admit that I saw the movie at the cinema more than once, partly because my friends and I were fans of the series, and partly because it was the first alien movie that we had been old enough to see at a cinema. Even though it was not the best of the series, it was enjoyable enough though overall dissapointing. This was in part due to an early copy of Whedon’s script being leaked online, a copy of which can be found here in PDF format. The original script included entire scenes that were either not filmed or never released (even in the extended cut) – in particular the idea that Ripley was more of a predator now, with one scene having her battle and alien hand-to-hand, as well as an exciting chase scene in an arboretum, and a prolonged ending scene fighting against the newborn on Earth.

Predator

In 1985, a script originally called ‘Hunter’ was picked up by 20th Century Fox and was put under the control of Joel Silver to produce. The script by brothers Jim & John Thomas had been inspired by a joke that they had heard in reference the Sylvester Stallone Rocky movies, commenting that there were no more opponents on earth for Rocky Balboa to fight and that he would have to take on an alien opponent.

John McTiernan was hired to direct the movie, with a team of commandos being played by a diverse cast including wrestler Jesse Ventura, established action actors such as Carl Weathers and Bill Duke, writer Shane Black (Currently due to direct Marve’s Iron Man 3), and cast as the team’s leader, action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. They would be pitted in battle against a tall, invisible alien hunter, which was to be played by a then unknown Jean-Claude Van Damme, as it picked them off one by one for trophies.

Shane Black, being an experienced writer and producer, was brought in by Joel Silver as a way to have a producer on set to ensure that McTiernan, who was relatively inexperienced at that time, was up to the task of directing the project. It also allowed for some last minute changes to the script (specifically the dialogue) on the go during production. After several months delay due to Schwarzenegger’s commitments on another movie, the cast and crew travelled to the jungles of Mexico to begin filming the movie.

The production was not an easy shoot – Actor Sonny Landham had earned a slight reputation for getting into trouble and barfights while on movie sets, so the movie’s insurance company insisted that a bodyguard be hired around the clock, to protect the other cast members from Landham should such an event occur, the majority of the cast and crew were ill for most of the shoot due to a contaminated water supply in their hotel, shooting in the jungle was incredibly difficult due to the plumetting night time temperatures and rought terrain of the jungle settings, and Van Damme, upset that he would not actually be appearing on screen, caused disruptions, allegedly resulting in a stuntman being injured.

Van Damme was replaced on the movie by actor Kevin Peter Hall, who had recently finished filming as the Sasquatch Harry in Harry and the Hendersons (a.k.a. Bigfoot and the Hendersons), but the biggest problem at the time was the issue of the elaborate special effect to make the alien hunter appear invisible on screen. This was long before digital special effects had become so widespread and cost effective to use, so all of the special effects had to be managed wherever possible using practical effects and blue screen technology. This involved having the predator covered completely in red for the shots where it was to appear camouflaged, being in contrast to the green of the jungle, removing the colour red from the film then left a void which could be manipulated to create the desired effect.

There was also issue with how the predator moved. Wanting it to look like it had no problems moving through the trees, the decision was first made to try and have a gorilla swing through the trees wearing the suit, but the gorilla was unco-operative, and would start removing parts of the suit, making the shots useless. There was also the problem that the suit restricted movement, to a degree that it evoked unintentional laughs at how bad it looked on dailies, placing doubt on that it would be taken seriously as a deadly hunting killer. With that, a decision was taken to re-design the predator, given the height of replacement actor Hall, the design was made more humanoid by special effects designer Stan Winston, who whilst sharing a plane ride with director James Cameron, showed him some sketches. Cameron suggested mandibles, which have since become a distinct part of the predator appearance.

Composer Alan Silvestri, who had previously worked on Romancing The Stone and Back To The Future was brought in to compose the score for the movie. Though heavily re-cut by McTiernan to fit the movie in editing, the score is effective in creating a blend of heavy action pieces along with subtle moments that build up the tension of some scenes, among them the moment when the commandos have set a trap and are just waiting quietly. It could have made for a boring break in the movie, but Sylvestri’s music keeps the tension building, making for a successful pay off at the scene’s end.

When Predator was released in 1987, it was met with mixed reviews from the critics, but went on to take over $55 million at the U.S. box office from an estimated budget of $15 million. The movie has since gained an appreciation among fans of the action genre, and has inspired countless similar movies that have been made since. It was nominated in the 1988 Oscars for Best Visual Effects, but lost out to Joe Dante’s Innerspace.

Predator 2

After a Predator comic book series proved to be successful, Jim & John Thomas were given the go ahead to write a sequel to be released in 1990. John McTiernan was offered to return as director but turned instead chose to direct The Hunt For Red October, leaving the position to be filled by newcomer Stephen Hopkins. This time the alien hunter would be in a different environment, instead of the jungles of Mexico it would be in the urban jungle of Los Angeles. Thanks to Hopkins and production designer Lawrence G. Paull, this new predator would have an even bigger arsenal of weaponary to avoid it from feeling stale.

Danny Glover was cast in the lead character of police Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, and Arnold Schwarzenegger was asked to reprise his role of Dutch from the first movie, but declined citing a dislike of the sequel being set in a city (Instead he chose to star in Terminator 2: Judgement Day). The character of Dutch would subsequently be re-written as Peter Keyes, a CIA agent secretly hunting the predator and though Hopkins wanted John Lithgow to fill the role, producer Joel Silver insisted on Gary Busey being cast.

A diverse supporting cast including Bill Paxton, Maria Conchita Alonso, and Ruben Blades was brought in to reflect the multi-cultural society of Los Angeles, and Kevin Peter Hall returned to play the predator. He would be the only cast member to return from the first movie, although Elpidia Carrillo was originally due to reprise her role of Anna for a few small scenes. For unknown reasons, these were either deleted from the movie or never filmed, she does however make a brief cameo appearance in video footage on a monitor showing the aftermath of the encounter with the first predator.

Alan Silvestri returned to score the music for the sequel, utilising a larger orchestra than with the first movie but keeping and expanding on the themes he had created, adding more percussion to give the score a Latin American theme and animal calls to give a more tribal feel to the predator.

Filming in a city as opposed to a jungle had it’s downsides, for a scene where Glover’s character meets with a Jamaican drug baron in an alleyway, it was so cluttered with rubbish that rats were present and the crew even discovered a dead body at the location. People living in the buildings intentionally disrupted filming and were abusive to the crew, throwing bottles and other debris at them from the buildings above. Scenes set within a freezing slaughterhouse were made difficult because of the risk of electrocution from the mix of heavy lighting equipment and vast amounts of water being used, and fumes produced by the special effects used for explosions and smoke, at one point requiring the use of respirators on set.

Problems were also encountered once filming had wrapped. The finished version of the movie receiving an NC-17 (No one under 17) rating from the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) due to ‘excessive graphic violence’, a rating that would mean the film would find a limited number of cinemas willing to show it, and restrict potential ticket sales. The movie was re-cut and submitted more than 20 times before the rating was reduced to the more widely acceptable ‘R’ rating, the same as the previous movie.

Upon release, it was met with mostly negative reviews, though fans reacted positively in particular to one aspect – the inclusion of a skull from 20th Century Fox’s other big alien franchise. Hopkins had included the skull in a trophy cabinet as a nod to the Alien Vs Predator comic book series which had gained a huge following, and sparked rumours of a potential cross-over movie. Writers Jim & John Thomas had also included elements in which a flintlock pistol with the inscription ‘Raphael Adolini, 1715‘ was handed to Glover’s character to setup a potential prequel movie to be set in the old west.

With a budget of roughly $35 million, Predator 2 was considered a flop taking only $28 million at the U.S. box office. Though it did make profit taking approx $57 million worldwide, it’s underperformance stalled any plans for further sequels/prequels. A comic book, Predator: 1715, was created in 1996 to tell the story of how the pistol came to be in the predator’s posession. It would not be until 20 years later that another sole predator movie would be made, but it was not quite that long before fans would get to see the green blooded alien hunters on the big screen again.

Alien Vs Predator

Alien Vs Predator, the cross-over of the two franchises, was released in 2004. Taking inspiration from the AvP comic books and computer games, it was directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (Event Horizon, Resident Evil), who had written the script with Shane Salerno(Armageddon) from a story by original Alien writers Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. Set present day, it followed a team of archaeologists who are assembled by businessman Charles Bishop Weyland to investigate an unusual heat reading picked up near the antarctic. Once there, they find themselves trapped in an Aztec pyramid, and caught in the middle of a war between the two alien species. ‘Whoever wins, we lose‘.

Actress Sanaa Lathan (Blade) was chosen from several hundred actresses auditioned for the lead role, with Raoul Bova, Ewan Bremner (Trainspotting), Tommy Flannigan and Colin Salmon (Resident Evil) supporting. Veteran suit actor Tom Woodruff Jr. played the parts of the Aliens, having played them in each alien movie since Alien³. Kevin Peter Hall who had established the role of the Predator in the initial two movies had died not long after Predator 2 was released in 1991, and Welshman Ian Whyte, being 7′ 1″ tall, was cast in the role – playing the part of all three Predators for the majority of filming.

Anderson also cast Lance Henriksen in a nod to the Bishop character from Aliens, as Charles Bishop Weyland, suggesting that the android character was created in his likeness. It also established the movie in the same universe and that his company Weyland industries would one day become Weyland Yutani, the company that existed in that movie. At one point, cameo roles existed for Arnold Schwarzenegger to reprise the role of Dutch from Predator had he lost the California election, and Peter Weller (of Robocop) to play John Yutani, but neither came to  be (The role of the head of Yutani would later be re-cast as female at the end of AvPr).

Filming began in 2003 in Prague, due to production costs being considerably cheaper there than in Los Angeles (Sets which would have reportedly cost around $20 million to make cost only $2 million in Prague), and the decision was made to film most visual effects shots using a combination of physical effects and miniatures rather than relying heavily on computer generated imagery (CGI). A conscious decision was made to include references, both visually and with lines of dialogue, to all prior Alien and Predator movies so as to create a connection for the fans.

Harald Kloser was hired to compose the score to the movie, but chose not to make use of any of the themes previously created by either franchise. While dissapointing as a score, it does suit the majority of the on screen battles and action sequences with typical action music, and makes use of moments to build on a basic theme when the movie allows.

AvP was released without being previewed to critics who, like most fans, panned the movie after viewing. Made on a budget of $60 million with the aim of getting a lower rating from the MPAA than the earlier movies had restricted the amount of gory detail that were a trademark of the two series, but the PG-13 rating (12A in the U.K.) helped it to be more successful at the box office than any prior Alien or Predator movie, taking $80 million in the U.S. alone and just over $170 million worldwide. On DVD an option was included to view an extended version of the movie which includes an additional 9 minutes of footage, while these did improve the movie slightly in some fan’s eyes, it did nothing to dispell the overall dissapointment with the movie.

It was nominated for Worst Remake Or Sequel at the annual Razzie awards thay year, along with Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Around the World in 80 Days, and Exorcist: The Beginning, all of which lost out to Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. Due to the movie’s financial success, as usual, a sequel was given the go ahead.

Alien Vs Predator: Requiem

Alien Vs Predator: Requiem (or AvPr) was fast tracked with an aim to releasing the movie in 2007 – much quicker than any of the previous sequels. Brought in to direct were brothers Colin and Greg Strauss (going under the name The Brothers Strauss) who were experts in visual effects, having worked in the industry for over a decade on such movies as Titanic, Terminator 3, and The Day After Tomorrow). Shane Salerno, who had previously worked on the blockbuster Armageddon, penned the script, taking the story from the setting of the Antarctic, to a small town in central America.

Following on from the previous movie, it featured a new enemy – the Predator/Alien hybrid (or Predalien) seen hatching from the dead Predator’s body aboard the ship at the end of AvP. Killing the Predators on board, crash landing near Gunnison, Colorado, and begins infecting the population with Alien embryos. Meanwhile, a distress signal from the ship is received on the Predator homeworld (seen briefly on-screen for the first time), and a lone hunter is dispatched to clean up the crash site, and track down the predalien.

Tom Woodruff Jr. and Ian Whyte returned from the previous movies in their roles as the Alien/Predalien and the Predator (nicknamed ‘Wolf’ by the production crew as a nod to Harvey Keitel’s cleaner character from Quentin Tarentino’s Pulp Fiction). Leading the all new cast playing the townspeople were Steven Pasquale (from TV series Rescue Me), and Reiko Aylesworth (from TV series 24). Because of the change of locale from the antartic to the United States, Sanaa Latham’s character from AvP was not brought back for the sequel.

Composer Brian Tyler created the score, choosing to incorporate elements from previous scores to add to both of the on screen identities with a score that is definately one of the movie’s more successful elements.

During production, it was widely publicised that the movie would be filmed without restricting the movie’s rating to PG-13/12A as had been done with AvP. An uncut (‘red band’)  trailer showing gory details that would not be premitted in a movie with a PG-13/12A rating was released on the internet, backing this up and receiving approval from fans. Like AvP, Requiem was not screened for critics, and once released it was panned heavily by both critics and fans alike.

Though a dissapointment to many AvPr did not lose money, making an estimated total earning of $128 million worldwide from a budget of approx $40 million. The fan reaction to the movie though was enough for 20th Century Fox to reconsider greenlighting a planned third AvP movie, bringing an end to the series for the time being.

Predators

With the Alien and AvP series on hold, it was decided in 2009 to go back to the Predator series, with a script that cult director Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn) had been developing since the mid 1990’s, but when shown to Fox at that time, they decided not to produce it on the grounds that it would require too large a budget. Though it was thought that Rodriguez would direct, he announced that he would only be producing, and that the movie would be directed by Nimród Antal, who had previously directed the shock thriller Vacancy.

Filmed partly on location in Hawaii, it returned the setting to the Jungle like the original Predator movie, but added in some additional twists. The title Predators had a double meaning, referring to the alien hunters but also to the group of characters which was comprised of soldiers, mercenaries and killers, played by a cast including Aiden Body, Alice Brage, Danny Trejo, Topher Grace, and Lawrence Fishburne, who found themselves dropped deep into the jungle, with no idea how they got there, being hunted as prey by multiple Predators.

These were also a new breed of Predator, entangled in a ‘blood feud’ against the ones we had seen up until now, they were a far more advanced type of hunter, having used previous hunts to improve upon their skills and weaponary to make themselves the ultimate killers. The three Predators were designed by Howard Berger who had worked with Stan Winston on the original Predator worked with Greg Nicotero to create three unique designs which were distinctly different, suggesting personalisation by the three Predators, played by suit actors Carey Jones, Brian Steele, and Derek Mears.

The score for the movie was composed by John Debney, expanding on but keeping the original themes established by Alan Silvestri in the original Predator movies, it is perhaps one of the best sequel scores to keep the musical identity of the original movie.

The movie opened to mixed, but generally favourable reviews, and from a budget of $40 million went on to take over $127 million worldwide. While it is too soon to hear of any further Predator movies, it seems unlikely that this is the last we have seen of them. There will likely be a break from the franchise, at least until after Prometheus is released in 2012, but I hope to see them on the big screen again.

Prometheus – Future, Past, or a new breed?

It’s worth noting that each of the alien movies have been made with roughly a 5-7 year gap between them as opposed to the usual hollywood practice of hammering out sequels after only a couple of years. In 2012 Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’  will be released, rumour and speculation have been that it will be a prequel to original movie, explaining where the ‘Space Jockey’ and the derelict ship came from. Scott has assembled a huge cast of well known actors including Charlize Theron (Monster), Guy Pierce (Memento), Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds), Ben Foster (The Punisher), Idris Elba (Thor, TV’s The Wire) and many more. A few pics of footage shown at comic-con this year surfaced online before being removed immediately, showing sets and designs that matched those of the original Alien movie, lending even more credibility to the following synopsis which also appeared online.

Beware MAJOR possible spoilers included in the synopsis below.

Earth. Year 2058.
Archaeological digs in Africa reveals alien artifacts that proves humans were genetically engineered by a advanced alien race (space jockeys). These “Alien Gods” also terraformed Earth in order to make it habitable for their human creations.
Amongst the finds are coordinates to the Alien Gods’ home-world.
To Paradise.
Months later the Weyland Corp launch the spaceship PROMETHEUS and his crew, into deep space to make first contact. Thanks to faster than light travel a few years later the PROMETHEUS enters the Zeta Riticuli star system. Humans are greeted by their makers, then transported further into space to a scary yet fascinating world.
The Alien Gods are proud of their “children”, their first creation to reach such levels of intelligence.
As a reward they share bits of their astonishing bio-based technologies with the humans.
But for one member of the Prometheus’ crew it’s not enough.
In a treacherous act he steals the “bio-source code” to Terraforming, A technology at the origin of all Gods’ powers, that could make humans equal to their creators.
The Alien Gods may be scientists but are also ruthless conquerors, destroyers of worlds who will not accept humans as equals.
They unleash on the escaping human crew their favorite bio-weapon, a creature used to “clean up” worlds before colonization. But something goes wrong in the process and humans manage to turn the bio-weapon against their makers. Giving birth to a smarter, nastier, bigger breed of gut eating creatures. Creatures that will be the demise of Paradise.
What’s left of the Prometheus crew manages to escape the doomed alien planet.
On their trail a survivor Alien God on a familiar ship with an ultimate mission.
Bring the wrath of the Gods to Earth.

This would certainly suggest that if it is true, we would see the familiar Alien make it’s appearance at some point in the movie, until 2012 then, thankfully it’s not such a long way off…

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Posted on September 3, 2011, in Features and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. AS usual this is an amazing piece of work

  2. Is it really true that a planned AvP:3 was in the works but Fox stopped it because of fan reaction?
    If that’s the case, then maybe there is a God.

    Studio Exec’s really aren’t used to caring about anything other than numbers.

    • Not so much the fan reaction as it was fan reaction in numbers – the movie made money, but only because of worldwide takings, and then because it was made for less than the others before it. Sequels now are rushed and pre-planned before the current movie has been released, I belive there had been plans to have more of the Predator homeworld in the movie to setup the third but was cut for time and cost. The directors hinted at their intentions to have a 3rd movie be set largely in space, as per their interview with movieweb http://www.movieweb.com/news/the-brothers-strause-reveal-their-plans-for-alien-vs-predator-3 but any further movies in this series at the time would have been a total death of both franchises, which gladly Fox realised.

      • And i suppose fans do make those box office numbers, if you cant please fans, no one is going to watch a movie that’s made only to appeal to fans.

        I doubt you’ll find a random middle aged couple seeing “Aliens vs Predator” in the cinema guide and going “Well doesnt this sound like an A-class movie?!”

        So if they dont have the fans, they aint got nothing.

        But i’m sad no one involved in the creation of AvP:R realized that this wasnt for fans.

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