If you see Predators (to which I give a solid B* on the UJWF Scale) try to image the whole thing is taking place just on the other side of Pandora. The parallels between the two films are both striking and mostly nonexistent unless you, like me, like to imagine fictional crossover subplots during movies.
If you are a fan of Predator and subscribe to the view that after the original no additional films were ever made containing Predators or their various adversaries (Aliens, Danny Glover, etc) then you should be able to enjoy this film. That is, as long as you set your sites squarely in the “I hope it’s pretty good” zone.
Here’s a quick, spoiler free breakdown:
Visuals: A – The (seemingly) limited use of CG was refreshing. It was nice to see some practical effects and some guys-in-suits that were still believable. Of course the Predadogs (Predoodles? Targs?) and spaceships were CG but the movie didn’t feel like there were 100’s of effects shots which gave it a nice, stripped down atmosphere similar to the original.
Acting: N/A – Doesn’t matter. Most of the cast do just fine but spend the entire film acting serious or scared. The rest of the time (which is the majority) they are shooting, running or dying. Topher Grace probably turns in the best performance but that isn’t saying a lot.
Story: B – The initial concept of the “game preserve planet” is very cool but the story doesn’t really progress past that point. That’s not entirely a bad thing, though. The movie just establishes it self right away then gets immediately to the “kill or be killed” reality of being stuck in the Predators’ play pen.
All in all I enjoyed it, but less for the content of the film or more for the fact that I was having an oh so rare night out with friends. Take from that what you will.
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*A grade of B on the Unified Joel Watson Filmitological Scale denotes a film that should be seen in the theater by those who already have an interest in the film or it’s genre, are single, without child and having copious free time and money to burn. Those of you with children (ie limited free time/no spare cash) should wait for DVD.