HORROR DVD/BLU-RAY REVIEWS

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ALIEN VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM
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Reviewed by: JimmyO

Directed by: Colin and Greg Strause

Starring:
Steven Pasquale
Reiko Aylesworth
John Ortiz

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Soon after the original AVP, a Pred-Alien is born and ends up finding its way to a small mountain town along with a few face hugger friends. With a Predator hot on its trail, they duke it out taking a bunch of worthless human fodder out with them.
Is it good movie?
I really was excited to see AVPR. I wasn’t a big fan of the original Alien vs. Predator but I loved the first two ALIENS and I like the idea behind this series. It seems like it should make an amazing movie to have these monsters battle it out, causing all sorts of mayhem along the way. But the first in this series seemed to be only of slight interest, but it felt as if it might open up new possibilities. Now this time, the two species have merged and there is a new sheriff in town. The “Pred-Alien” named Chet is a pretty damn cool idea, and it looks like it could be a pretty badass creature. In fact, I really liked the design of both the Aliens and the Predators in Requiem, but sadly, most of the time the film is so dark that you can’t see a damn thing. I didn’t see the film in the theatre, but I wonder if it was as dark on the big screen as it is here. This is a big problem much of the film, I could barely tell what was happening and I started to lose interest as to who is fighting whom.

And since this is a AVP movie and they focus on the creatures, the human element is a little weaker than I would have hoped. There are no Ripley or Dutch characters to make any of them worth caring about. In fact, so many characters are introduced and none of them are given any real depth. There is a ex-con arriving to his troubled younger brother. There is woman coming home from Iraq to her husband and daughter. And the troubled younger brother has a crush on some girl that is dating a popular guy. That is only a few of the characters who add nothing to the film. I didn’t care about any of them and found them to be a nuisance. Just give me the monsters if you can’t add characters that are semi-interesting. But please let us see the monsters and don‘t keep them in the dark.

Now as for the story, I really liked the idea behind the film. As I mentioned, Chet is a nice touch and I liked the idea of this creature impregnating all these women with its evil spawn. But so much of the plot is convoluted and unclear as to what is going on, that the script felt as if it was an afterthought. It seemed like a really good idea that is not very well executed. Yet, at the last half hour, I finally started to get involved with the story when most of the humans are dead and gone. There is a bit of a Dawn of the Dead (the original version) with the final sequence on a rooftop. But it is very predictable as to what will happen, yet is still exciting as the main Predator and Chet do battle. While this may not be the disaster that many seemed to think it was, I just wasn’t entertained or excited by the action hitting an earthly location. And ironically, being that this is set on earth, I found if fascinating that it was much darker than the space adventures in the Alien franchise. At least you could see what was going on there.
Video / Audio
Video: This 2.35:1 widescreen transfer is much too dark. Again, I missed this in the theatre but I think it might have looked better on a megaplex screen. Whether it was this transfer or the film itself, it was a bit frustrating not being able to clearly see the action. Although this is a clear transfer other than that.

Audio: The Dolby Digital and the DTS Surround Sound are very nice, it added to the screaming aliens.
The Extras
First up for special features, are a couple of Commentaries. We have directors Colin and Greg Strause along with producer John Davis. I appreciated hearing what these guys had to say and I think the intentions were right on with The Strause Brothers. I think there is an AVP movie that could work, and maybe they set it up for one next time around.

The next one is with the co-designers of the effects for AVPR, Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis. I had a lot of fun with this commentary, it’s just too bad that there are so many dead spots as they watch the movie. But Tom has a firsthand knowledge of wearing those bulky costumes and he seems to have a pretty good sense of humor about it. Listening to both of these commentaries makes me wish I had liked the film better… but alas…

And if you want to see the difference between the theatrical version and the “unrated” version, you can use the Added Footage Marker which is a small red AVPR marker. I like this type of feature, as long as you can turn it off and on… you can here.

There are a series of Featurettes including AVP-R: Preparing for War: Development & Production (15:44) which felt like your typical MTV type of quick cut “behind the scenes” with no real insight considering it is almost sixteen minutes long.

The next one is AVP-R: Fight to the Finish: Post-Production (12:03) which talks post, obviously. One of the things that stick out here, are how amazing the costumes look. You see more of them here than in the film and it really does make me question again, why the film is so dark. This was a more interesting watch than the first.

Next is AVP-R: The Nightmare Returns: Creating the Aliens (7:29) I really think these are beautifully haunting creatures and they did a good job with their look on this film. I won’t continue to harp on not being able to see them in the film… this is the last time… well, maybe one more time.

AVP-R: Crossbreed: Creating the PredAlien (8:14) discusses the creation of Chet by taking the best aspects of both creatures. I liked the design and thought it was an interesting character to add to the AVP world.

And finally, the last featurette is AVP-R: Building the Predator Homeworld (6:31). I liked the look of this also. They based their ideas on the first AVP but also the ship in Predator 2. I really enjoyed all of these featurettes except the first one, they gave good insight into the visuals of the film.

For more on the design, there are a selection of Still Galleries including “Designing the Predator”, “Designing the Alien”, “Designing the PredAlien”, “On Set: The Rooftop”, “On Set: The Sewer”, “On Set: The Hive” and finally “On Set: Cast & Crew”… go nuts with your remote control on these.

Finishing off the disc, there is a Green and Red Band Trailer for AVPR plus Trailers for “The Onion Movie”, “Hitman”, “Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation” and “Possession”. There are also a few previews when you first put this disc in including a preview for “Digital Copy” which gives you more access to movies via the iPod and such, another preview for the FX Channel, “Jumper“ and “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale”.
Last Call
AVP-R seemed like a good idea at the time. But with way too many human characters without any real soul or purpose, and monsters that might have looked good if you had been able to see them, it just didn’t work. I did find myself feeling a little excitement growing as the final battle came. And I appreciate the fact that The Brothers Strause tried to make this a bit darker and more graphic from the previous installment, but in the end, I would prefer just going back to the original films. Hopefully, if they continue, somebody will find a way to make this the kick arse action horror film it could be.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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