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PREDATOR - 1987
20th Century Fox
Rating: USA: R
Jim Thomas and John Thomas are a great writing team that, when left to their own
devices have produced the stories for such marvels as PREDATOR, PREDATOR 2 (which showed
that the great storyline of the first was no fluke!), and EXECUTIVE
For this movie they were teamed up with Director John McTiernan who, though
he has had his misses (THE
13th WARRIOR), has also had some great hits with such Thrillers
as DIE HARD, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, and DIE HARD 3.
What more could you ask for? Well, how about Producers like Lawrence Gordon, Joel
Silver, and John Davis who, at the top of their form, have produced Horror
/ Thriller movies like EVENT HORIZON, THE MATRIX, and THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1999). Some pedigree, eh? But this movie was
also made in 1987, which was during the height and heyday of Arnold Schwarzenegger's
(TERMINATOR, TERMINATOR 2, TOTAL RECALL, END OF DAYS, THE
6th DAY) career.
But wait (I feel like I'm writing ad copy for Ron Popiel here!) 20th Century Fox also tossed in one of the best Make-up
Special Effects men in the business, Stan Winston (IT'S ALIVE, DEAD & BURIED, THE THING, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, TERMINATOR 2, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE).
After years of doing clean up and also-ran jobs behind such masters as
Rob Bottin (for THE
THING) and H. R. Giger (for ALIENS), PREDATOR finally gave Stan a chance to show his stuff in a big budget, major studio
feature. Stan showed off Biggy Big Time with a creature creation that
was wholly his own. The creature's movements are fluid and look so incredibly
organic even in, and this is very important, daylight shots. Unlike the
creature effects that he did for ALIENS using Giger's magnificent original designs, here there is no dim lighting
and dark shadows. There is nothing to hide the varmint and any discrepancies
in the suits that would be magnified thousands of times on a large screen.
The Predator is so wonderfully alive in fact, that for many fans a cross-over of ALIEN
meets PREDATOR seemed natural. The two most real and terrifying creatures ever created
for the screen have indeed, been brought together in comic book form (Darkhorse
Publications) and more recently in Computer Game (ALIEN vs PREDATOR).
How do the PREDATOR movies fit together?
For that matter, how do they fit with the ALIEN movies?
Get your mega-dose of Geeky Goodness with Kelly Parks and E.C.McMullen
ALIENS VS PREDATOR?
ALIEN vs PREDATOR
PREDATOR DVD EASTER EGG
Don't Drink the Water! Go the photo gallery on the second disc and scroll to the 16th photo of Hawkins with his glasses on his head. Highlight the predator-targeting triangle on the right-hand side of the screen and click it to view a hidden documentary about the cast getting sick after drinking water in Mexico.
In PREDATOR, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Major Dutch Schaefer, commander of an ultra-elite
Special Forces Rescue Squad. He has been called into the jungles of a
Central American country to save a U. S. diplomatic attaché whose
helicopter was shot down over the jungle and is now being held captive
by a well armed rebel faction. His old friend Dillion (Carl
Weathers), a fellow military Special Forces man, has called him
in but Dillion is also keeping a secret.
However, there are secrets and there are secrets, and while the machinations of
human deception are turning, there is a third party that no one has even
dreamed of. An alien life form that hunts humans for trophies, has come
into the midst of the armory and battle set deep and private in the jungle.
The Predator prefers to hunt hunters. Such a horror movie requires plenty of action
to tell the story and Jim and John Thomas give it to us in overwhelming
numbers. When this movie isn't being hair-raising (the
chilling sight of the PREDATOR with its camouflage shield on),
or being gory (The Predator prefers its trophies
stripped clean to the bone), then the gun fighting and explosions
are everything you would expect of a movie starring Arnold S. As in the
movie ALIENS where the Space Marines, full of bravado, must face the fact that they
are the near helpless prey, so too Dutch Schaefer and his men soon realize
that neither their training or their weapons can save them.
With a multi-cultural, multi-racial cast, it is too damn bad that this movie had to earn an
!!!UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT!!!:
What is that you say? Well I'll tell you. For a full explanation of this odd bit of Hollywood tradition, go to the UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT, then go to URCA/Predator to see why this movie got one. But beware. The URCA contains SPOILERS!*
When I first heard about this movie I feared the worst. The title implied
this creature was here to eat people, a common mistake in science fiction.
If an alien monster had you for lunch it would probably ruin your day,
but youll at least get the satisfaction of killing him right back.
There are an infinite number of ways biochemistry can establish itself
(DNA is just one solution) and every planet will have a unique chemistry. What that means is there is no way the alien
monster will be biologically ready for your proteins, which will almost
certainly be deadly poison for him. Thus I was relieved to discover the
Predator was here for trophies, not dinner.
Check out THE SCIENCE MOMENT
PREDATOR, which starts off tongue in cheek at best, draws the audience into a horror
story that turns like a screw through the outside façade of a simple shoot-em-up
action flick. As the movie progresses and the body count builds, pride
fails, weapons are useless, and learned disciplines, invented for use
against a human foe, no longer apply. While the movie takes us deeper
into the jungle, it also takes us deeper into the fear of those we would
think fearless. Finally it is the human brain, the matching of wits against
the Predator, that will determine survival.
The pacing of this film is benefited greatly by a wonderful score from Alan Silvestri
(PREDATOR 2) and beautiful Cinematography
by Donald McAlpine (CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, THE EDGE)
PREDATOR easily walks away with 4 Shriekgirls
copyright 1999 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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