dalekboy (dalekboy) wrote,
dalekboy
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Aliens Vs Predator - Requiem

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.
Tags: movies, reviews, unimportant but annoying
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