Monday, July 26, 2010

What makes a man a fan REDUX

I was under the impression I'd shed my fanboy manes last year, with the release of Terminator Salvation.

Rereading the post, I hilariously found that I'd left myself an out in the final paragraph. "Can't say I'm completely cured", indeed! So of course I find myself in the theater watching Predators, a 2010 sequel to a 1987 Alien rip-off that ignores the 2004 crossover spin-off and its 2007 sequel. I'm such a cinephile!

Adrien Brody seems to have become the celluloid king of demasculinization. In Peter Jackson's 2005 King Kong, he played a stammering playwright called Jack Driscoll. The original 1933 Jack Driscoll was the ship's rugged first mate. In the new Predator movie he's a mercenary just like Arnold in the original, and doesn't even really do a bad job with it, but it's still a sobering realization. Just fyi.

Despite not being as good as the first one, or as outrageously silly as the second one, I was mildly entertained.

Flashforward a week and I'm watching Centurion. It's also about a bunch of guys being hunted. Not by skull-fetishisizing (??) aliens, but by barbarians and a few supermodels dressed as such. It's amusing to consider how twelve year old me would have dismissed one in favor of the other based purely upon their villains: an angry girl vs a SUPER BERSERKER PREDATOR BLACK.

Basically, what I'm saying is Centurion is a better Predator movie than Predators. C moves like a motherfucker, while P has some real pacing issues. Both movies find our heroes sheltered by an eccentric at the start of the third act, but it feels like welcome relief in C, as opposed to wtf in P. That last sentence was probably Chinese to anyone over 40. I'm not gonna explain it, though. I'm all Christopher Nolan. Let your waking mind fill in the gaps on its own! Or Google. It's good at that.

The hermits in both movies are ludicrous to varying degrees: C has a beautiful young girl who knows some stuff about healing herbs, but was banished by the villainous king for being a NECROMANCER (god, witch just wouldn't cut it, huh?), while P has a fat black man who supposedly has been living off the land for the last ten years.

The GROUP OF PEOPLE IN PERIL in both movies differs substantially as well. The C-people are a group of soldiers who are painted in broad strokes to be instantly likable. The P-people have been selected by the Predators to serve as BIG GAME on their hunting preserve planet. As you can imagine, Earth's most dangerous aren't exactly the nicest guys, so there's a lot of cock-measuring. This, unfortunately, results in the viewer not even knowing anyone's names. Out of the 9-10 or so humans that are in the movie, we find out a gullible Russian soldier's first name (and even his two boys'!), the eccentric hermit's and the main guy and girl's. Hell, the movie ends with Brody and the chick finally telling each other their names. The characters here are painted broadly, not exactly to be likable (although I didn't hate anyone per se), but to differentiate them enough so that the audience can keep track of who died. In P's defense, C doesn't have a stand-out character like Walton Goggins' inmate.

Predator fanboys, I'm not dissuading you from seeing Predators. I am however strongly encouraging you to see Centurion. Ever since that big bawss Pred tossed Danny Glover a musket, I know a lot of you have been clamoring for a historical Predator movie. This is probably the closest we'll get.

Or maybe this