The Predator (2018): bigger, badder, better?

The-Predator-poster

By Gabriella Barthe, Staff Writer

After years of cinematic feats, writers have began throwing in the towel for new ideas. Re-imaginings of notable 80’s works have begun gracing the big screen in increasing numbers. So much so that producers thought it was a good idea to revive a series nobody asked for: The Predator.

Inspired by the original film from 1987, The Predator graced theaters September 14, as what can only be described as “The Most Dangerous Game” but with aliens.

The Predator takes place 20 years after the original movie in the series was released, and calls out to both the 80’s and 90’s renditions of the franchise by slipping in lines clearly meant as fan-service.

The film follows army sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) and a rag tag team of mentally-ill soldiers along with scientist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) as they hunt down an alien Predator on the loose.

Quinn McKenna’s son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) quickly becomes a focal point to the plot in an over-dramatized portrayal of children on the Autism spectrum. A heavy emphasis lies in the notion that Autism is the next step of the evolutionary chain and that Rory is one of the Earth’s most worthy opponents for the Predators because of this.

That’s right Predators…plural.

The duel Predators introduce an environmental message almost hidden to the audience. That is until the dialogue slaps you across the face with the fact that present day Earth is doomed – something that seemingly is linked with Hostess cupcakes.

Directorial decisions became confusing as the film went on. Background stories and names were lost to mumbled dialogue and bizarre volume mixing choices. Pacing seemed almost nonexistent as the plot seemingly almost never stopped rising. Portrayals of mental illness became funny quirks and props used to push the plot forward.
Among the whole cast of characters, human and alien included, only two were women. While one was a well renowned Doctor, and the other stood up to federal agents searching her home, neither was viewed as fully capable in their own right.

Dr. Bracket is left helpless and naked less than an hour into the film. Not to mention the fact that shortly after, she is basically held captive by six men. Though Dr. Bracket does contribute rather heavily to fights with the Predator throughout the movie, this film sure isn’t winning the Bechdel test any time soon.

Despite a few instances of lazy writing, overall The Predator was a decently enjoyable film. Classic 80’s film energy radiates through the character’s interactions with one another. The child actor doesn’t butcher his performance and the concept of the film stays true to the original premise.

In an age where superhero films and long-term cinematic universes reign supreme over the box office, The Predator seems to be attempting to capitalize on the persistent demand of this market by filling the movie with consistent guns, gratuitous violence, and visually appealing alien technology.

Culminating from this push for a broader cinematic universe, the film leaves off with a clear sign that producers aim to release more within the franchise. While overall the movie produces little new for the Predator storyline, it does fully let audiences know there is definitely more to be told.

Overall, the film is interesting enough to warrant a second watch. Is it beautifully shot? No. Was it necessary? Not particularly. Is it groundbreaking? Certainly not. Though, on its own the film is entertaining enough to watch once or twice.

For audiences looking for The Predator they know and love, this film may not be for you. If you’re open for an updated plot line, call outs to 80’s tropes and an expanded universe 20 years in the making, you just might like this film.

PHOTO COURTESY: LONE PEAK CINEMA

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