AVP - Alien Vs. Predator DVD: Review By justincase

  • OVERALL
    2.5
    WORTHY
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE FEATURE
Two of the great monsters from recent film history face-off in Alien vs Predator.

When a team of scientists and archeologists stumble on to a strange pyramid buried below the ice in Antarctica, Weyland industries sets out to explore the find and learn what secrets it holds. The team descends and unwittingly awakens the queen alien and her brood just as the fierce alien Predators are sending down their hunting team to face-off against the aliens in a ritualistic hunt of sorts.

A fierce battle ensues as the Predators strive to erradicate the Aliens before leaving Earth to return victorious. In the even that they lose, however, they'll be detonating massively destructive explosives that will certainly hasten the end of human civilization. As the humans are gruesomely eliminated in the cross-fire, the Aliens and Predators battle in a duel to the death to determine whether the Predators will leave in victory or eliminate the planet as they retreat in failure.

This film is mostly for the fans of the Alien and Predator franchises. Packed with "nods" to the films of both the adversaries, the story is a bit of a precursor to the other films. The idea for this story was launched in Predator 2, when an Alien skull was glimpsed in a Predator trophy case. Shortly thereafter, the adversarial match-up was featured in a long-running comic series, setting the stage for this film.

Paul Anderson delivers a film that is true to the aesthetic of both franchises and pays homage to the directors that have come before him in both story-lines. The story is a total stretch, but in trying to lace together two previous alien villians, what more would you expect? I guess, here, we've got as much plausibility as any King Kong vs. Godzilla (which you'll catch in black-and-white on a TV in the opening sequence, if you're watchful). The story is pretty weak and the character development is sorely lacking. We could have used more development of Henriksen's character (as it sets the stage for the Bishop character in Alien). The interactions between the characters are laughable. Beyond just the human characters, who have only weak, yet overdone dialogue, you get Sanaa Lathan and the Predator engaged in some bizarre emotional cross-species connection (yes, I know it hatched of their quest for victory over a common enemy, but...). Whoa! I almost feared that we'd see the two of them embrace in a last farewell. Thank God we were spared that.

Laced with a plethora of great F/X and brutal alien violence, the film is a hearty actioner that will keep you entertained. There are a few slightly frightening moments that might make you jump. Overall, we get a solid entry into both legacies and one that you should own if you own either or both of the series'. Sanaa Lathan and Lance Henriksen deliver decent performances (bested only by the Alien and the Predator). I especially like Henriksen's nod to his later role in Alien.

If you're a fan of the previous films in either series, buy this disc. If you enjoyed them, but don't consider yourself a fan, rent it anyway. You'll be, at a bare minimum, entertained.
THE EXTRAS
Beyond the list below, we also get a "Extended Version" of the film. Don't believe the hype, though. This isn't much more and there's a reason that it wasn't featured in the theatrical version. It's a waste. Unnecessary and only for the true fanboy hounds.

Commentary by Paul W.S. Anderson, Lance Henriksen and Sanaa Latham

Good stuff and worth a listen for any fan. Anderson conveys his love of the franchise and his deep association going back to the early Alien.

Commentary by Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff Jr. and John Bruno

Another decent effort, but a little long in the tooth by the time you've watched the film through twice or more.

Deleted Scenes

The "deleted scenes" are the red-headed stepchild of DVD extras as far as I'm concerned. What we get is a bunch of the cutting-room floor stuff that is thrown along because it is almost expected to be "along for the ride". PRetty much as unnecessary here as on other discs. To make matters worse, here, there's not much here.

AVP Promo

What? A promo? Realisticly this is more of a making-of. Pretty good and the best of the special features on the disc. We get some background on the origins of the Alien vs. Predator lore. We do get the confirmation of what so many Alien fans knew all along... that in Predator 2, there were some Alien items (skeletal heads, etc.). What's more, we get the makeup, special effects and a lot more.

Superbowl XXXIX Spot

A blatant cross-polination promotion between 20th Century Fox and the Fox network, why the hell is this on this disc?. Enough said.

American Dad Promo

Again, hoping that you'll be too damn dumb to realize that these things have nothing to do with the film, Fox is packing their "special features" with insults. Skip it.

Darkhorse AVP Comic Covers

Still images from the comic series. OK. If you're a fanboy, check it out. If not... nevermind.

DVD ROM

Again, once more, we're required to have a DVD (on the PC) and install some random software to experience this. Did I? No. Will I? No. I don't need to install more crap on my PC that will only be good for one lousy DVD. Thanks, but... NO THANKS!.
THE VIDEO
Dark and cold, the mood is perfectly set with both the location and the sets. The tone is similar to both previous series in its lineage. Presented in anamorphic widescreen, the film does pixelate, only slightly, in some of the fast-action sequences (when viewed on an HD LCD). Overall, it is not too distracting, though.
THE AUDIO
A great workout for your 5.1 system, the audio here is punctuated by violent impacts, stabbings, metal-on-metal, explosions and some intense scoring work. Let it run through your system. It won't serve its intended entertaiment purpose without the full treatment.
THE PACKAGE
A standard Amray case that features the metallic AVP logo and a great profile shot of the Alien queen fading into a shot of Predator behind. Perhaps not as simple or inspired as the art on the discs in the Alien series, but cool enough for a place on my shelf.
THE FINAL WORD
Let's face it. This film's reason for being is not to win an Oscar or even to turn in a great cinematic experience. As decent entertainment (if you're a fan of the genre), this film won't totally disappoint. Don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed.

Do you like this review?

Comments