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Disappointments abound in creature brawl

Mark Bemenderfer | Monday, August 30, 2004

Moviegoers were treated to films this summer covering the entire spectrum. The summer got off to a terrific start but unsuccessfully tried to match those initial movies. Between the movies that held huge potential and those that were hyped as the next blockbuster, there was a lot of disappointment, including “Alien Vs. Predator,” directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. Hardly any movie came out this summer that could have matched the amount of franchise history this film carried with it (the possible exception being “Spider-Man 2″). The Aliens/Predator films have managed to create a large culture within the cinema world, one large enough to have created numerous sequels, video games, comics and novels based on their respective worlds. The movies have had fantastic talent at the helm, such as directors James Cameron, Ridley Scott and John McTiernan.Between the two icons of the cinema world, there are over 30 years of combined history to delve. With all that to feed off, it would seem the next movie in the series would not be too hard to pull off. Apparently it was.”Alien Vs. Predator” is a very different film from the preceding ones. The xenomorphs (Aliens) have been changed and no longer adhere to rules established in the previous Alien films, as have the Predators. The result is angry fans.But it’s not just the fans who will find this movie lacking. Much like the summer’s earlier movie “The Chronicles of Riddick,” this movie does little to humanize the characters beyond the obligatory introduction scene. Instead, the human characters seem to be on screen only for fodder. The plot for this film is so negligible that it will disappoint both hardcore fans and those who have never seen a single movie in either franchise.Of course, the average person probably won’t go see the movie for the human element. The two aliens are both represented well through computer graphic imaging and costumes. The fight scenes between the two, much like those seen last summer in “Freddy Vs. Jason,” are the highlights of the movie.Sadly, the fight scenes are nowhere near long enough nor is the rest of the movie as engaging. The normally obligatory scenes, which should have been used to make the audience more sympathetic with the human characters, seem to have been replaced with bits serving little function. They only seek to turn the movie from 25 minutes to 101. It doesn’t bode well when a slasher like “Freddy Vs. Jason” turns out to be more interesting than a movie with as much franchise history as this one.For those that care little for either franchise series, there’s nothing else to know. There are slightly entertaining fight scenes, but the rest of the movie is a bore. However, fans of the series should be happy, as there will be a “director’s cut” of the film when the DVD is released. The movie was trimmed heavily so that it would get a PG-13 rating, the first to do so in either of the preceding movies in these series. The director’s cut promises to restore many of those missing scenes, and hopefully the spark this movie missed will be found within the DVD. As it stands, this movie is a very poor way to end either franchise.