Vs. Predator – The Unrated Edition (Widescreen/DTS)
Picture: B- Sound:
B+ Extras: C+ Film
Alien vs. Predator (2005) has been a real
pain and annoyance for fans of the two franchises, especially in the way in
which is has driven them to nit pick over all kinds of problem they saw in the
film. Many just do not even count it as
part of either franchise and at least in some of the revisions and liberties it
takes with the early Alien films, its own separate entity. Of course, Alien Resurrection already
did major damage, so this film is more of a scapegoat than it needs to be. Now, The Unrated Edition has been
issued as a 2 DVD set and the big question is, how much of an improvement is
the new cut? Well, I agree with our previous
review that “the story here is terrible, and covered with plot holes that just
can’t be forgiven by your average moviegoer” among other things, but this is a
better version because the PG-13 cut was more butchered than I expected.
The attacks on human and their resulting mutilation, pain
and torture is more fully defined and realistic to make the film have more
impact, yet I expected the battles between the title entities to be more
hardcore and brutal. That never
materializes, so I now know that anything between them director Paul W.S.
Anderson (Event Horizon) intended made it to the big screen. It should have been more brutal.
Sanaa Lathan is the lead of a still very forgettable and
underdeveloped cast, save Lance Henriksen, who is not on screen long enough to
help out. One thing the film does have
going for it is more physicality thanks to the extensive make-up and creature
effects, but the blood we get in this new cut looks fake. Alien Resurrection reportedly had an
NC-17 at first, but this film never goes that far, which will disappoint
fans. The plot that both creatures have
a previous history on earth is one of the worse in cinema history, but getting
them together is interesting enough, though the Dark Horse comics that inspired
it seem somehow more realistic and brutal.
Anderson’s directing is the other saving grace that keeps one watching,
as the screenplay constantly fails over and over again, as the journey is not
that memorable except as pop culture pastiche.
If they do another battle film, they should go further or cancel it, but
get a new cast!
Miss Lathan’s role is interesting because when we look
back, it will be apparent that along with Gabriele Union in the far more failed
Night Stalker TV revival, they are female pseudo-hero characters that
seem to be reflecting of all people: Condoleezza Rice! Yes, the now Secretary of State even made an
appearance as “herself” (via another actress) in Ang Lee’s catastrophic Hulk
revival. In all three cases, it seems
to represent revisionist history in more ways than one as if some people have a
desire to overturn previous African American women of power images (like Tina
Turner) and replace them with something more “domesticated” and that is
disturbing. It is also boring and a
constant failure, not necessarily reflecting the real career of Miss Rice, but
something she may want to consider in what does and does not work for her
The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 Super 35 image is the
same exact transfer as the previous edition and the extra footage is of the
same quality, so the extra footage is seamless. All is overdigitized, but what can you do. The sound is almost the same as the last
edition, all pretty good, for the Dolby Digital 5.1 English and 2.0 Pro Logic
surround Spanish & French versions, but the 5.1 DTS actually sounds better
in this case with a little more punch and impact. That is especially good in the uncut footage. Extras repeat much of the previous edition,
including the two 2 separate commentaries for the theatrical cuts only that are
only so listenable. DVD 2 has three
featurettes on the making of the film, a new featurette on the Dark Horse comic
series that inspired the film, but sacrifices all the other comic-based
features form the original DVD release (including a covers gallery, the making
of that book, background study and an AVP graphic novel preview) and also
offers the HBO Special on the film, three trailers, a plug for the Alien
Quadrilogy and 35th Anniversary DVD of Planet Of the Apes,
both also reviewed elsewhere on this site.
Diehard fans will want to keep both versions of Alien vs. Predator,
though everyone will at least want to see unrated cut once.
Best of all, through a special feature, the uncut footage
can be identified through the set up.
When the new footage shows up, a little white “Curled Alien” logo shows
up on the right hand side of the screen.
- Nicholas Sheffo