Homer Simpson once declared that alcohol was the source of, and the solution to, all his problems. 20th Century Fox might have something similar to say about diehard fans of the Alien and Predator franchises, who have waited 15 years to see these sci-fi beasts duke it out onscreen, ever since the two biggest space monsters of the Reagan era were first pitted against each other in a Dark Horse comic book. Frustrated by all the delays, hardcore Alien and Predator fans have stirred up some pretty bad buzz over Alien vs. Predator, yet they are also the most likely to brave the bad buzz and check the film out for themselves.
The reason for all the bad buzz? First, fans were put off by the news that, while earlier films in the Alien series were directed by stylish innovators and technical wizards like Ridley Scott, James Cameron and David Fincher, this new film was assigned to Paul W.S. Anderson, whose best-known films to date, Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil, are little more than cheesy video-game flicks. Then, fans were annoyed to learn that this film would tone down the violence—and presumably dumb down the political, sexual and philosophical subtexts of the earlier films—in order to earn a teen-friendly PG-13 rating, whereas all four Alien films and both Predator movies had been intended for adults and were given hard R ratings. And finally, the studio refused to show the film to critics before it opened last Friday, which is usually a sign that the film in question is going to stink.
Fortunately, entering a movie with low expectations sometimes makes for a better viewing experience. Alien vs. Predator is certainly not the worst movie to come out this summer—I would argue that Thunderbirds and Van Helsing were ...1