Not altogether unlike Dan Brown’s Silas, I decided to torture myself last night. But there were differences in approach, however. For one thing, I didn’t decide on this because I thought I was a sinner. Who am I to decide on the punishment for my sins? If that decision were left up to me, I’d choose death by chocolate overdose. Secondly, the mode of torture… I was never impressed with his choice of weapon, and in any case, cilices are not really easy to find in Bangalore.
No, my own mode of torture was watching Aliens v/s Predator:Requiem, affectionately called AVPR by the brain-dead fan club of the franchise. Now, I KNEW the movie would be about as exciting as a heavy metal concert by Pee-wee Herman, and had managed to steer away from it for so long, but curiosity finally got the better of me. I bet curiosity is in a bar laughing about it right now, the lousy &$@*
So I went started watching with extremely low expectations. And AVPR still managed to come short. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The basic premise was laughable. It was too weird for me to take anything seriously. The Hollywood thought process was simple enough. A mix-and-match ceremony of the two greatest alien franchises ever created.Plot doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t be too surprised if the next installment is a romantic comedy, AWP, Alien Weds Predator.
I remember the ones that started it off…
The chilling 1979 sci-fi adventure was set in a complex future, where space travel is as common as Coke, but computers have degraded to monochrome oscilloscopes. The story was great, but I saw the movie for the first time in the mid 80’s when I was still struggling to get my As, Bs, and Cs in order. The plot seemed to revolve around an extremely shy alien creature which hides in dark, messy, off-camera locations, except for short bursts of 0.2 second peekaboo-like appearances when it grabs a crewmember and scuttles off, happy in its effort at curbing the budget.
But even with the creature’s limited visibility, the film boasted a tense air of rabid fear. I remember being scared that night. My closet was a very convenient place for the alien to hide in. It was dark. It was messy. And it was definitely off-camera.I remember sleeping in my dad’s room that night. I remember mom chiding dad for “letting the kids watch such films”.
I enjoyed the first two installments. The rest, I have dutifully discarded into my personal mental dumpster, which seems to be filling up too rapidly for my taste.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1987role as an army veteran stuck in the jungle with his own gang of walking muscles was as fun as saying his name after three shots of tequila. The alien himself was an old romantic stuck in the age of slow motion tree-hopping. And his frustration is easily understood. YOU try walking around in 50 pounds of armor, jumping across trees, swimming in slimy swamps, and facing an enemy who growls “Da-arrgh. Var is dah anemy ?”, “Eef eat bleads, eet kain bee geeled”, and “Vat duh hail ARR yoo?”.
Younger generation might have trouble understanding the Californian governor’s stand on illegal aliens, but even the youngest PlayStation tot could be entertained by the flick. Alien, blood, alien blood, gadgets, torture, invisibility and a nuke defense – what’s not to like?
Even the sequel managed to pull it off. They had to take out the governor, though. By this time, Arnie had gotten more aggressive, and every time he’d start a dialogue, the predator would get scared and hide under the bed. This somehow did not fall in line with the image for an intimidating space alien. But even without Schwarzey boy, they pulled it off fine.
And then, of course, some weed-smoking marketing genius had an epiphany while taking a crap in the dumpster. Inspired by the noble genius who decided to combine bread with butter, he too got into the ‘if it’s good, mix em’ school of thought. And viola, we have the aliens from both franchises waltzing around in our backyard.
If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. And I’m not licking anybody. I think I’ll follow the trend. Maybe I should also regurgitate retired scripts and wake up a few characters. I’ll save that for my next post.