Terrible Disappointment


I saw the first Alien movie at a drive-in theater with my family. I remember being absolutely terrified. I watched it years later when CBS played it as the Sunday Night Movie, and I was just as terrified, but at least better prepared. Even when I watch it today, I still get more than a little tense.

When Aliens came out, I was quick to see it in the theater. I saw it with my parents, as I recall, and loved every minute of it. I saw it several more times in the theater, and I always enjoy watching it on VHS or DVD when given the opportunity. It’s a fun movie that honors the original without trying to duplicate it.

I watched Alien 3 in the theater, and while I enjoyed it at the time, it has never captured my imagination as well as the previous two. Again, I respect the fact that it tells its own story without simply rehashing the previous two films. Charles Dutton, in many ways, carries the film in my eyes. I still enjoy it today, but given the choice I’d watch one of the prior movies first.

My mom and I went to see Alien Resurrection shortly after it was released, as she was as big a fan of the franchise as was I. We were both deeply disappointed with this installment. I’ve only ever seen it the once, so I probably should watch it again to give it a fair shake (Jeff keeps urging me to do this so that I can recognize the influence of Joss Whedon, as well as to identify some of the embryonic elements that would later become Firefly). I’ve been loathe to rewatch it because it seemed such a marked departure from the core story of the previous movies that I had trouble accepting it as part of the same world.

In 1999, well after I thought I’d seen the last Alien movie, I was happy to purchase Alien vs Predator for my PC. This was a first-person shooter I was only too happy to play, immersing myself in the game world as a colonial marine, or scrambling through darkened hallways as a xenomorph. The game was extremely fun to play, and I’ve long lamented the limited multiplayer options: too few maps to really explore the dynamics of Alien vs Predator vs Marine in a cooperative environment. (Hrm, reality doesn’t quite match up with my recollections: In my July 1999 post on gaming I specifically detail my objections to the game. I’d forgotten I’d written that!)

I thoroughly enjoyed the Alien vs Predator concept, and my imagination soared with all sorts of Alien-infused conjecture for a long time thereafter. As you might imagine, it was with extreme delight that I watched Alien vs Predator. It was a fun movie, made all the more entertaining by watching it with Jeff and Eric, two fellows equally as enthused about all the little bits of the film that reward long-time fans of both stories. Plus, it’s a fun, easy-to-watch action movie. When it hit DVD, I quickly borrowed a copy from the library, and watched it several times. Even the twins watched it with me, and they enjoyed it quite a bit.

Last night Carina and I went to see Alien vs Predator: Requiem. It was a terrible disappointment, and frankly I should have left early and asked for my money back. The characters were all lackluster and uninspired. The action was forced. The story was weak. There was no sense of mystery around the aliens, and the humans involved with the struggle showed no interest whatsoever in the differences between the aliens and the predator. It was clear this movie was going for the action-packed adventure of the middle portion of Aliens, but without plausible, interesting characters I didn’t give a wet slap about their conflict. I could hardly root for the predator, because his actions were completely unexplained, and his fights with the aliens were yawn-inducing. I wasn’t given a single thing in this movie to make me want to keep watching. My imagination was not engaged, and the primary elements that make all the previous iterations of these complimentary franchises so rewarding were totally absent from this piece of drivel.

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