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Aliens Vs Predator - Requiem [Sep. 11th, 2008|03:15 pm]
dalekboy
[Tags|, , ]
[mood |annoyedannoyed]

It was kind of ordinary. I wasn't bored, but neither was I thrilled, amazed, surprised, shocked, delighted... It's not a bad film, but neither is it remarkable. The comments that I've heard that said it was a "hits of the Aliens, and Predator, series" was accurate.

The only thing that stood out to me was its use of violence towards women, which I thought was pretty obvious and dreadful.

So we have the Pred-Alien - big kick-arse monster who effortlessly takes out who and whatever it wants. Gets into restaurant after closing, guy there gets killed, woman gets sniffed a bit, then scene cuts away as she's attacked. Next time we discover her she's dead, with a swollen belly with a bunch of chest belly bursters coming out of her.

I have no problem with this, the first time it happens. One aspect of the original Alien life-cycle cut from the original film was that some victims were mutated gradually into facehugger eggs. This isn't the same, but works as a method of procreation for the creature, and isn't so different from wasps laying eggs in a living host.

Later in the film, the Pred-Alien gets into a hospital, specifically the maternity ward. Yep. We see a woman in labour, the Pred-Alien comes up, sticks its tongue down her throat, and we see something being pumped down her throat - more of these belly-burster eggs. To some degree I don't even mind this, it's an obvious and crude horror analogy, but I don't have a big issue with it... until the male doctor comes in and the Pred-Alien kills him.

Now I have a problem with it.

It seems that the only ones to go through this particular form of incubation horror are women. At no point in the film does a guy incubate anything other than a perfectly ordinary chestburster. Women are singled out for 'special treatment' and it makes no sense. The aliens can gestate in humans and animals, we've seen that, the species doesn't care about gender.

The only reason to do it this way is because of a 50s mentality with aliens using human woman to breed, or because the writers think going after women like this is cool, scary, and edgy. If you wanted to play the horror of this idea, fine, do it to the maternity ward, but show us another ward full of men with bellybursters coming out of them too! Then I may think that, as a writer, you have mind that goes beyond that of a lowbrow teenage boy.

Who never, ever gets laid.

Oh, and the hero's brother's female love interest gets accidently cut in half right near the end of the film. I would think this was an interesting surprise, if it hadn't been for the previous scenes. I think it would have been way more interesting to kill the hero's brother, and have the love interest go after the creature that did it. I would have been way more surprised at the brother's death. I would have been way more interested in the love interest going after the monsters. She'd already shown herself to have some character, it wouldn't have felt silly.

The female army officer only really exists to operate army equipment and to stand in for Ripley at the end. She's not that significant a character. She helps them escape, but anyone could have filled that role. She picks up the trap in the centre of town, but so do others. It's a nice nod towards having a strong female character, without actually giving us one and letting her kick arse the way Ripley would have.

There are times when I see a film and I hear women talking about the violence against women within that movie, and I think they've been a bit one-eyed - seeing only what they are looking to see, separate from the context of the moments within the film itself. And there are times when I think they are bang-on, that in modern cinema, there should be a higher standard of writing. I'm suprised that I haven't heard a lot more about AVPR.

There is an arguement that AVPR is going out to shock, and that's why it has some of these scenes in it. It breaks many of the cinema 'rules', something I'm always in favour of when handled well, but when it does these things, they're... not interesting. Every shock is telegraphed so far in advance that it has no real impact.

While I'm a fan of both the original franchises, and love many of the Aliens Vs Predator comics, if I ever decide to have AVP and AVPR in my collection, it will be when I record them off TV. And even then I'm not sure I could be bothered.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: mondyboy
2008-09-11 07:04 am (UTC)
I just thought it was a terrible film. Actually, I thought the first AvP film was better (and that aint much chop either). It was a by the numbers film, with some horrible acting and some cliched moments. So I wasn't surprised by the implicit sexism in the film. It sort of fits with the shitness of the script.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-09-11 07:10 am (UTC)
Actually, that's a good point. I don't like the first film at all. I thought it a clumsy, ill-thought out piece of rubbish. AVPR actually makes more sense, in some ways, but I liked it less.

Actually no, That sounds like I like AVPR more. AVPR commits the mortal sin of cinema, I don't care about it one way or the other. But if I was going to choose a film to watch, it'd be the first one, because it at least provokes a response from me.
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2008-09-11 07:46 am (UTC)
I think AVP knows what it wants to be (as I've mentioned before, it's the WWE with aliens in it) and does it to the letter. AVPR's biggest problem for me was that it reeks of two fresh young directors clearly thinking they're making a masterpiece, when all they're really doing is name-checking the best bits of the preceding seven films.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-09-11 07:57 am (UTC)
And the sad thing is you can make a really great film this way, people have built whole careers on ripping off from great films and directors - they don't come close to pulling it off. All their scary, edgy moments feel so predictable and by-the-numbers, they totally fail to elicit a reaction.
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[User Picture]From: stephen_dedman
2008-09-11 08:16 am (UTC)
I was unimpressed by AVP and haven't seen AVPR, but the horror movie that most irked me with its violence against women was Deep Rising. While it was, on the whole, a better movie than AVP (no great feat, admittedly), I couldn't help but notice that the first two victims were young Asian women - particularly as most of the cast was obviously Caucasian. I remember wondering whether the director had recently been dumped by an Asian woman and was enacting his revenge - something I haven't thought since de Palma's Blow Out.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-09-11 09:05 am (UTC)
I haven't seen Blow Out, but what you say about Deep Rising is interesting as I hadn't noticed the first two women killed as being Asian. Now you say it, yeah.

Mind you, is it still violence against women, or racism, or both? Or is it simply the director going 'I'll use that actress and that actress,' and never being consciously aware that two people of the same ethnicity are being killed in a mostly Caucasian cast?

Which raises the other question, if you're aiming for equality, and you're killing lots of Caucasians, when does killing non-Caucasians become a racist act? If the only survivors are Caucasian, by dint of casting, be it deliberate, dictated by the studio, or just picking the best people for those parts, then everyone else dies anyway.

Not asking you specifically, you've just got me thinking out loud, as it were.
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[User Picture]From: stephen_dedman
2008-09-11 09:15 am (UTC)
kateorman has discussed this aspect of Torchwood and Doctor Who.

I suppose you could accuse Aliens of only leaving the Caucasians alive, but it killed off most of them first as well as the others. I know Predator II was applauded by some for ending up with an African-American hero, who survived at the end, without any fuss being made about his race.
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[User Picture]From: stephen_dedman
2008-09-18 01:55 pm (UTC)
Back when I was working for DEST's apprentice and traineeship section, I saw an ad for the CES and traineeships where they'd used a multi-ethnic cast, apparently at the government's behest. Unfortunately, I saw it with the sound muted (my preferred way of watching ads), and so I saw: male aborigine has a door shut in his face; Asian girl has a door shut in her face; Mediterranean boy has a door shut in his face; Caucasian girl approaches doors, and they open wide for her. CES logo comes on.

The dialogue, which I heard later, had the last girl say, "I've done a traineeship", which was the point of the ad - but it still looked as though it was saying "The CES - we'll let you in, but only if you're white."
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[User Picture]From: logansrogue
2008-09-11 07:14 pm (UTC)
Ahh, in comics it's called "Women in Refridgerators". *pats you on the shoulder* Welcome to my rage.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-09-12 01:56 am (UTC)
I've always had this rage, I'm an angry little man :)

My amount of annoyance and anger is directly proportional to when something was made, the style of film, etc. If I see a modern slasher movie, I expect it to have a high body count for both genders, and likely to be sexist and exploitative. But if I saw a modern film where only women died, I'd likely get pretty pissed off if there wasn't a bloody good reason behind it.

Whereas, if I'm watching a film from, say, the 60s or 70s, that was the nature of the beast back then, and I accept it in the context of the time. Accepting it doesn't mean I like it. I fucking HATE the orginal Ocean's Eleven. There's a good film in there, buried under a pile of misogynistic crap.

It's like all those 40s and 50s Hollywood films where a woman marries a man she's not fond of, and you eventually get the scene where she's dragged kicking and screaming off to the bedroom. Fade-in on the next morning, and she's happy and smiling - all she needed was a good raping to sort her out. I've never liked these scenes in the old movies, but can you even imagine film-makers doing the same thing today and getting away with it. Certainly if I saw it in a modern film I'd be fucking livid!

RE: comics - I was initially shocked, then rather pissed off, at the end of the Batman - No Man's Land storyline, where a major female character is killed. There were a number of long term male characters that could have been done away with, but they chose a woman.

It's a new century, and given that a sizeable part of the franchise that AVP is based upon features a strong female protagonist as its lead, the treatment of women in the film sucks even more.
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[User Picture]From: mistress_wench
2008-09-12 09:03 am (UTC)
Yeh the hospital ward scene made me feel ill :(
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