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Skippy Goes To The Movies!: “Predators” July 10, 2010

Posted by Skippy in Movies.
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Verdict: Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours on a hot Saturday afternoon.

I went into this movie with a bit of trepidation. With Laurence (I remember when you went by Larry) Fishburne and Adrien Brody in this movie, I wondered how this could be interesting summer fare. Neither guy screams “Summer Action Flick,” if you know what I mean. And I paid so little attention to this movie pre-release, I was surprised as all get-out when Topher Grace showed up as one of the humans being hunted by the Predators. By the middle of the movie, I thought to myself, “I am definitely buying this on Blu-Ray.” That’s a very good sign for me, since I’m a cheapskate and would sooner Netflix a Blu-Ray movie than buy it.

Fig. 1: The exception that proved the rule.

As usual, there are spoilers. If you don’t want to know anything about this latest Predator movie, well, you know what to do. And if you don’t, then why the hell do you have a computer?

The movie opens in a very inventive way, with Adrian Brody waking up and finding himself falling through an atmosphere. Director Nimrod Antal (by the way, that is a hell of a name) wastes no time getting straight to the action—he knows what you came to see and he gives it to you. As the rag-tag assortment of murderers, soldiers, mercenaries, Topher Grace and Yakuza figure out, they’ve been abducted because they are predators—and they’ve become the prey on a planet-sized game preserve. Awesome.

The only character development occurs in the form of Brody’s mercenary character showing that he’s got something of a heart of…well, not gold, per se. Maybe aluminum? He becomes the default leader of the group, but isn’t above using them for his own ends, which he clearly states. He wants to find out who his hunters are, so he can defeat them; therefore, he uses some of the group as bait, to predictable results.

If there’s one stumble in the movie, it’s when Laurence Fishburne shows up as a guy who has been stranded on this preserve for “ten seasons.” He starts chewing scenery like his name is “William Shatner.” Mercifully, his time in the movie is relatively short-lived.

Fig. 2: I’ll take the Blue Pill, thank you.

The other stock characters are pretty disposable. There’s a black dude (a death squadder), a snarky, creepy guy (death row inmate), and a woman (Israeli Defense Force soldier). Alice Braga has pretty good chemistry with Adrian Brody and, fortunately, her character doesn’t fall into Summer Movie Gender Cliches.

Note, I haven’t said much about Topher Freakin’ Grace being in this movie. That’s because I want you to be as mildly surprised as I was about his character, a sarcastic, nerdy doctor. Let’s just put it this way: I won’t ever watch “That 70s Show” quite the same way again.

One thing I will say is that I loved how this movie relied less on CGI and stupid tricks and more on building suspense and action. This summer at the movies seems to be nothing but an all-out “3D” assault. Every freakin’ movie advertisement is about how This Summer Crap is in 3D! So go and spend 25-50% more to see…what? The same tired shit, but while wearing ridiculous 3D glasses and giving yourself a headache?

Fig. 3: Tell me: did seeing this in 3D make it less shitty?

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Comments»

1. Maughta - July 10, 2010

I’m thinking of boycotting CGI movies but, as Patrick points out, that means I’ll never see a movie ever again. Forrest Gump ruined it for all of us.

Skippy - July 10, 2010

I’d rather just be very, very, very picky about what movies I see that are CGI heavy. Basically, if it’s a Lucas-like movie in which the only real things are the two actors on the screen, I’m probably not going to go see it.


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