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Alien vs. Predator(2004)
"It may be our planet, but it's their war!" The deadliest creatures from the scariest sci-fi movies ever made face off for the first time on film. The incredible adventure begins when the discovery of an ancient pyramid buried in Antarctica sends a team of scientists and adventurers to the frozen continent. There, they make an even more terrifying discovery: two alien races engaged in the ultimate battle. Whoever wins...we lose.
For more about Alien vs. Predator and the Alien vs. Predator Blu-ray release, see Alien vs. Predator Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 23, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner, Colin Salmon, Tommy Flanagan
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
» See full cast & crew
Alien vs. Predator Blu-ray Review
Aliens and Predators and Humans, oh my!
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 23, 2007
We're in the middle of a war. We need to pick a side.
I must admit that I really like the concept of a "vs." movie. Taking two or more iconic film characters and letting them loose against one another really works when the story and setting work, not to mention choosing the right icons to go at one another. For example, I really enjoyed Freddy vs. Jason, although I am not really a fan of either individual franchise. The two, while both slasher horror villains, are complete opposites in the way the go about their "business." Freddy is the wisecracking, humorous villain who is tougher than he looks (and only completely effective inside a dream state) while Jason is the large and imposing no nonsense killer who stalks his prey with a cold efficiency. It's possible that a Michael Myers would have worked playing off of Freddy, but a Michael vs. Jason film, for example, could never really work because the two killers are so similar in nature. Throw in a hero, such as Ash from the Evil Dead series with a Freddy and Jason or Michael, and you've got all the fixing for a fabulous "vs" film. So, where does a film like AvP fit in? Pretty well, actually. When compared against the entirety of the Alien and Predator franchises, I'd have to rank it smack dab in the middle. It's better than the final two Alien films and it also surpasses the second Predator movie, but, obviously, fails miserably to compete with the likes of Alien, Aliens, and Predator.
Besides Aliens and Predators, Alien vs. Predator stars Lance Henriksen (The Terminator) as Charles Bishop Weyland, multi-billion dollar robotics magnate and inspiration for the "Bishop" series of androids as seen in a couple of the Alien films. It happens that one of his satellites picks up a heat signature from a remote and supposedly desolate island in the antarctic. He assembles a team of fodder, I mean scientists, led by cold weather terrain expert Alexa Woods (Sanna Lathan, "Nip/Tuck"). According to the fodder's findings, this may be the very first pyramid ever built. It combines elements from Cambodian, Aztec, and Egyptian architecture. Once the team manages to get inside, the temple becomes a transformer, and it would probably fit right in on Cybertron but it comes off as a little too much here. We already have two awesome villains to chew the team up. Why turn the temple into a transformer, then? A weak explanation is given, but suffice it to say that as the story moves along, the fodder is killed off one by one by both species, and our heroine will have to "choose a side" in the conflict between Aliens and Predators if she has any notions of leaving the temple without her head exploding from a Predator's laser cannon or her chest bursting open, giving birth to another Alien.
So, what's wrong here? We've easily accomplished one of the two primary goals for making a good "vs" film--the Aliens and the Predators are two of Twentieth Century Fox's most iconic villains not part of the Evil Galactic Empire, they both reek of "cool," and they are polar opposites when it comes to how they go about their business. Predators rely mostly on technology to fight while Aliens rely on speed, agility, stealth, and surprise to kill their enemies naturally without artificial weapons. Where the movie ultimately lets audiences down is in the story line. It's a pretty solid one on the whole that mostly makes sense in context with what we know about each species, but it gets a little too unbelievable and convenient the further it moves along towards resolution. I believe the writers tried to throw as many ideas into the concept as possible that not only sum up why the Aliens and Predators are on Earth, but that basically rewrite the entirety of ancient human history as well. It looks like Alien vs. Predator: Requiem the upcoming "sequel," will leave history alone and let the two races square off in a small town, wrecking havoc throughout. Of course, there are also the usual suspects to be held accountable as to why this film fell pretty flat with audiences. The acting, even from Lance Henriksen, is generally uninspired. Most of the cast simply go through the motions, not really caring to turn in a convincing role. Of course, even good acting in a mostly unconvincing and overly developed script for this type of film wouldn't really help matters at all. The CGI blood that is often employed looks pretty bad, and that might be the biggest problem. Unfortunately, the studio would rather make a few more dollars than to give fans what they have come to expect from the Alien and Predator franchises, releasing this film to theaters with a PG-13 rating. This type of movie simply screams for an R rating (and a hard-R at that) but what we get is a dumbed down, more "family friendly" version. Whatever. If you're going to make this movie, then really make it. Don't go 3/4 of the way and stop when the rubber really needs to hit the road.
Alien vs. Predator Blu-ray, Video Quality
Alien vs. Predator, represented in 1080p within its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, looks pretty good on Blu-ray, all things considered. It's encoded in MPEG-2 as it is an early release from Fox, and I found the results to be promising yet somewhat underwhelming. As you can tell from the pictures, there is a very prominent grayish-blue tint to this dark film. It's a tad grainy here and there, but the image as a whole is detailed and sharp. I was disappointed in black levels throughout the entirety of the film. They appeared slightly to very much on the gray side of the scale and the image, at times only, appears washed out as a result. It appears that the film was brightened in post production, and the result is a rather "blah" black level that only once or twice looked natural. Other than that, I have no real complaints. What colors there are early on in the film is vibrant. The image, at times, has a good three-dimensionality about it, but the dark and murky look doesn't lend itself very well to what I would consider an eye-popping transfer. It suffices, and handles the material well, but I still feel there is a great deal of room for improvement.
Alien vs. Predator Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Alien vs. Predator features a robust DTS-HD MA high definition audio track. Unfortunately, my playback device only allows me to listen to the "core" 1.5 Mbps track, but I was impressed with the results nonetheless. The first thing many will notice is that the film employs a fantastic use of surrounds. The sound track overall is loud and aggressive but clean sounding nonetheless, never overly sharp or distorted despite the loud source material. This track offers up deep, rumbling, and powerful bass that compliments the heavy action of the film well. Fine use of ambience is easily discernible from beginning to end, resulting in an immersive, impressive, and complete sonic experience.
Alien vs. Predator Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
I was worried for a moment that I had a faulty disc that did not contain the advertised commentaries. I found them, though. They are only available on the theatrical version. The first features director Paul W.S. Anderson, actor Lance Henriksen, and actress Sanaa Lathan. Anderson is a self-proclaimed "fan boy" and points out several homages to the Alien and Predator films, not to mention some hidden messages, such as the film's tag line in morse code thrown into the movie. The commentators talk over one another throughout making for a distracting and messy commentary track, but it still manages to entertain throughout. The second track features effects men Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff Jr., and John Bruno. As lighthearted and easygoing as the first track was, this one is the complete opposite. It's almost completely technical in nature as you might expect from effects gurus. It's rather boring, frankly, but those who enjoy technical detail may find this one more agreeable.
A pop-up trivia track provides some neat background on the Predators and the Aliens. I didn't know, though I could have easily assumed, that an entire culture has been created for these races, much like the worlds of Star Trek and Star Wars have been fleshed out to create whole worlds whose existence has only been hinted at on screen. The theatrical version provides the cut scenes found in the unrated version. While watching the unrated version, you have the option to have these scenes marked for you. 1080p trailers for Alien vs. Predator, Behind Enemy Lines, Phone Booth, Planet of the Apes, and The Transporter are included. Finally, Alien vs. Predator is D-Box encoded for those of you who can take advantage (I cannot).
Alien vs. Predator Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Truth be told, Alien vs. Predator isn't bad way to spend an afternoon in front of the Blu-ray player. It certainly doesn't deliver on the whole, but parts of the film are actually pretty exciting (mostly the Aliens fighting Predators action) and the rest of the movie is just tolerable enough to keep the viewer interested until the next action sequence. The film is pretty slick but I can't help to wonder if allowing it to venture into darker and more grisly territory would have improved on the final product. As for the Blu-ray disc this movie finds itself on, I cannot say I was completely impressed. I'd call it about average, which means it's really good, a noticeable improvement over the DVD version, but problems that seemed obvious and correctable remain, resulting in a disc that cannot be wholly recommended. If you are a serious or casual fan of either or both franchises I think you'll find something to like here, but if you are new to the Alien and Predator franchises, there are three other five-star films waiting for you first. This disc is recommended as a rental and only as a buy if you find a good deal on it.
Blu-ray bundles with Alien vs. Predator (3 bundles)
Alien vs. Predator Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Special Prices on Alien Series Blu-rays at Amazon (Expired) - May 11, 2011
For a limited time, the individual Blu-ray releases of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment's Alien series are available for $14.99 each. Titles include Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, and Alien: Resurrection; fans of the Alien Vs. Predator movies need look elsewhere ...
• Alien Anthology Blu-ray for Christmas - February 18, 2010
A recent promotional Blu-ray flyer from 20th Century Fox prominently features H.R.Giger's creature jumping menacingly at the reader, atop the caption "Alien Anthology Coming to Blu-ray Christmas 2010." The specific use of the word "Anthology" raises the possibility ...
• Both Alien vs Predator Movies See Blu-ray Release - February 14, 2008
Fox Home Entertainment has announced that they will release 'Alien vs Predator: Requiem' for Blu-ray on April 15th, day-and-date with the DVD release. Additionally, Fox will reissue the original 'Alien vs Predator' movie on the same day as a Collector's Edition ...
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Alien vs. Predator Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
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