Wednesday, July 14, 2010

MR Predator


You were all waiting for it (did you?) since I said I was a big fan of the creature/movies!
Here's in the occasion of the release of the third movie, a Predator 1 review!!

Movie: Predator
Directed by John McTiernan
Release date 1987
Genre Scifi/horror
Country USA
 
There was a time when 20th Century Fox wasn't synonymous with lackbuster/cheap blockbuster, bad sequels and quick cash-ins.
Fox used to have some talented directors making movies for them, great writers and producers involved in most of the classic movies that became and are still to this very day cult and part of our popular culture.

The year was 1987, a year only after the second Aliens movie.
It all started out as a joke, how to make a new Rocky movie, how could it be any different from the previous 4 ones?
Then, came in the brothers Thomas, Jim & John Thomas.
They turned this joke into an actual plot. A horror/scifi movie, simply called Hunter.
The story of an alien monster that would come on earth, hunt down the most dangerous human foes he could find.

History in the makin'!

Opening shot. Something pretty weird is coming on earth...

Predator tells the story of Major Alan "Dutch" Schaeffer and his team of over-the-top badass ruthless cover-op mercenaries trying to find out just what the hell happened in this tropical jungle!?!

Dutch ol' pal, George Dillon, probably tired of pushing too many pencils for the CIA, tags along with his merry company in the search of rebels/guerrilla forces, but upon finding the wreckage discover they aren't up against something human but some kind of creature instead...

The movie is a very unusual marriage between a war/soldiers movie and a science-fiction horror movie.
The story is now classic, as simple as it gets but works nicely for this kind of movie.
Humans discover and come up against a surnatural/dangerous threat, get picked up one by one until the last man standing faces off the monster...
Horror/monster movies have never really big on story-telling, so this one does just that. Introducing us to a ruthless team of bastards, having us care enough for them and throwing them up against the titular Predator.

All the characters and most of the action is of course over-the-top, in a late 80s/early 90s kind of way, and that's why I love it!
It's a fantastic mix of bizarre genres! Would it have been made or release today I'm not sure the result nor the box office reation would have been the same...
Military violent action? With a science-fiction element? Over the top and gory?

The movie ends up pretty far from where it started out...

This picture can't capture the whole manliness and total badassery of this scene...

All the cast seems to be having pretty fun! And it looks like it on screen!

From Schwarzenegger (did I type it right without checkin' it?) playing this sum of all his roles in Dutch to Jesse Ventura's badass extraordinaire to Sonny Landham quiet but "on the target" kind of character... Also Shane Black was pretty fun as this odd nerdy soldier.
The whole team is having fun with their character and it's not a surprise that most become iconic/memorable to this very day!
They are written as a patchwork of military character from past movies of the 80s and also kind of their final outcome, since they are supposed to be the ultimate prey for our ultimate hunter.

Kevin Peter Hall, playing the Predator, does a fantastic work which became the template for future predators, be it in other movies, games or comics. The Predator is a very smart and dangerous foe, the greatest hunter of space.
(He also has a little off-Predator cameo near the ending!)

There's a lot of fantastic stories from around the making of this movie (which are present in most special editions' bonuses of this movie).
The filming in that hot tropical jungle, backdrop of the whole movie, looks like it has been hell to endure!

The Predator costume, designed and made by the amazing Stan Winston are a great contribution to classic hollywood monsters next to the Alien, Mummy, Black Lagoon monster and other classic Universal creatures.
It looks like a fantastic space hunter and seems to be a great result of what should probably have been a ton of redesigns!
From the mysterious long-necked monster a supposedly Jean Claude Van Damme wore on the set a few days to the final dreadlocked crab-face well known monster used in the final version. (inspired by a James Cameron doodle made with Stan Winston on a plane).

The music, worth mentioning, is from my all time favorite music composer Alan Silvestri.
It is pretty similar-sounding to his work on Back To The Future, as weird and odd as it may sound! Some themes and pieces are very reminiscent of the more action/suspensful bits of BttF!

How fun is that, Predators see in a thermal spectrum! Cool down and you'll become invisible to those invisible killers!

Finally, it was this movie that intoduced us to those now cult monsters that are the "Predators" or Yautja as they call them in the comics (not a big fan of that term myself... a bit too...un-fantastic...).

As great as the whole cinematography, cast, effects, music are, it all rests on the Predator monster in the end.
And what a great monster it is.
Design-wise, Stan Winston created a memorable and cult design which is pretty simple, believable and out of this world!
The brothers Thomas made a great set up to introduce us to this extraterrestrial hunter, his ways, habits and bits of its culture here and there.

The Pred is scifi hunter, using cool gadgets and toys.
It isn't just an animal-like creature, like the other 20th Century Fox's owned monster, the Aliens, but an intelligent sentient being. It can heals itself, set up traps and wreck amok between this well coordinated team of soldiers.

The thermal view, strange language (mimicking abilities with its helmet/gear), retractable claws and arm-computer-like gear are a very original touch.
It inspires to something more than just an alien creature hunting on earth but creates this whole sneak-peak into an alien culture...

No surprise so many comics, games and other movies spawned from such a simple plot...




Overall, it's a cult movie based on such a simple premise but lacks no depth because of that!

The monster offers so much possibilities!

It is one of my all time favorite movies and I watched it so many times I lost track of it...

I really like the whole concept and the atmosphere of this movie!
It is very fun to watch and doesn't seem to rely on much "acting" or plot, but inside it has a little more depth that what you can see.
What is this monster? How does it work? How does it think? Well, there's some answers to that under the surface and leaves the rest to the power of our imagination! (which answering/showing a bit of it in AVP flashback's kinda ruined it... well, let's not talk about the AVP flicks here anyway...)

It's a suspenseful and well crafted movie. No doubt!
Kinda inspired by the previous two Alien movies, in the aspect that Fox was trying to build up its very own line of "classic monsters" (what Universal did in the 30s and kept revisiting movie after movie).
Alien was the scifi adaptation of the "closed door" horror movie, Aliens was the scifi invasion/infestation while providing the base of the military aspect that this one used as well. Predator is the scifi slasher, where body counts and "original death scenes" are the trophies it collects alongside its run...

John McTiernan is one of the masters of big action/violent flick.
And this Predator is probably one of his best work and a tribute to the late 80s/early 90s action blockbuster genre!

I give it:
 2.5 / 3 UFOs!
 

2 comments:

  1. Y'know, I don't think I ever saw the ending of this movie (And I must'a seen this once only when I was like 7) I should repremend that someday. I HAVE TO GET TO DA VIDEO STORE!!!

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  2. This is one of those movies everytime I rewatch it, since I was a kid, I find new thingsto enjoy about it!
    Love it, the atmosphere, the pacing, the cast, the effects... just WOW!

    Even if you're not a fan of gory/monster movies, it's pretty entertaining on many levels :P

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