Aliens and Predators Invade the Heartland Christmas Day

Aliens and Predators Invade the Heartland Christmas Day

Christmas Day 2007 — Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Aliens did indeed invade the heartland of America Christmas Day.

While visiting family and friends for the holidays, I checked out a a viewing of AVP-R at a state of the art multiplex theatre in OKC (Harkins Theatres at Bricktown) — far from my Los Angeles home — which offered a vantage point of seeing the movie in a situation where all in attendance didn’t necessarily fancy themselves “armchair directors” — a common denominator that seems to always permeate so much movie of the movie going audience perspective and positioning in “…’LA’ — ‘LA’ — LAND’..!”

The auditorium was packed at the 1:45 PM show that I saw, save for a few spare seats on the front row (afterwards, the theatre manager told me that he was going to upgrade AVP-R to a theatre twice the size of the 250 seat theatre I viewed it in — swapping it out with “I Am Legend” — as well as split it with another screen of “Alvin and the Chipmunks” — due to AVP-R ticket demands).

The movie began — with the audience definitely along for the ride.

Cinematically, little was given or needed in the way of story exposition.

AVP-R — like that of the alien creatures that inhabit it — played like a “streamlined beast” — slick and dedicated to the purpose of its’ mission — seek, find, and slay — and it did so for the audience in spades.

Audible reactions of fear, surprise, laughter, cheers and squeamishness could readily be heard throughout during the movie — and upon the closing credits — applause.

The true stars and focus of the movie were of course the “Aliens” and “Predator(s)” — and they were showcased with great cinematic panache, faithfulness, and style. As well, the Predalien certainly was a welcome addition to the “classic creature cannon”; offering a fresh variation — both characteristically and aesthetically — of both “species.”

Bricktown Theatre

To be sure, there were moments where one could see that the movie yearned to transcend and elevate the material beyond that of the script that bound it to its present day, earthly small town premise and characters — and thanks to the deft engagement and direction of the material by the Brothers Strause — the bros created a unique synergy of the AVP movies, comics, and video-games in AVP-R that rose above its earthly confines — allowing it to flourish into engaging sci-fi set pieces and sequences in their use of creature confrontations, industrial real estate and “alien” type geography and elements in parts of the film — and it is clear from the ending of the movie that the future of AVP is set to return to space — hence where it hailed from — and where it truly belongs.

Note: as I write this — it’s now a bit after midnight, approximately 12:30 AM on Friday the 28th.

I just took a brief break writing this article to get a Dr. Pepper from the lobby of the Marriott hotel where I’m staying. Low and behold, as I entered the lobby, I heard two guys talking about AVP-R (no kidding) — one asking the other if he’d seen it. I continued to listen from nearby as I retrieved my beverage — neither of the guys (both wearing suits and who looked to be in their mid 30’s) had seen the movie yet; but each said they intended to the upcoming weekend.

They turned out to be the night manager and assistant manager of the hotel. One employee said he had heard from friends who had seen AVP-R already — and that they had enjoyed the film, telling him that the action was “great” and the movie “turned a lot of conventions on their heads” — (in terms of character deaths, happenings, outcomes, etc.)

I of course obligatorily soon joined in on the “Alien”/”Predator” talk — and we chatted for a bit about AVP-R (sans any spoilers from myself) and the film series in general. They were definitely cognizant of the films — sharing thoughts and analysis’ of the movies that parlayed a fundamental appreciation for them — and true to most “Alien”/”Predator” aficionados positioning — they expressed how “Alien”, “Aliens”, and “Predator” held top tier rankings in the series for them.

— speaking of “advance talk” about AVP-R…

On the net, much ado was made by some that AVP-R was not screened for critics before its release.

Come on.

Seriously? And the purpose for advance critic screenings would be…?

And honestly, would that really affect those who are going to see the movie to begin with?

Of course not.

Sci-fi and horror movies are notoriously and unjustly ridiculed for the most part by certain critics who don’t consider movies that showcase these genres to be “serious” entertainment — however — movies are, by their very nature, “escapist entertainment” — providing portals into worlds and situations that transcend the “norm” of day to day “ordinary life” — and are meant to engage the imagination.

Lest us forget, even our “beloved and holy” — “Star Wars — Episode 4: A New Hope” was “assassinated” by esteemed New Yorker’s critic Pauline Kael upon its’ release in 1977 — who vilified it as mere fodder — Kael said: “the loudness, the smash-and-grab editing, the relentless pacing drive every idea from your head…” — “(it is) an assemblage of spare parts —
it has no emotional grip.”

Bricktown Canal

Hmm… kinda sounds similar to a “rant” I read about AVP-R on the net today.

Am I comparing AVP-R to “Star Wars” — no — but I am definitely drawing a parallel to criticism and opinions that can run rampant when it comes to sci-fi cinematic excursions — and of course, there is no shortage of opinions on the net today in any arena…!

AVP-R truly is exciting “escapist entertainment” — and does not pretend or extend any pretense to be anything other than what it is — hence: “mission accomplished” — furthermore, the series is safely on track to continue to grow and further explore the “Aliens” and “Predators” universe in new and engaging ways.

Alrighty folks… getting ready to get on the plane now… time to return to “LA — LA — LAND…” (and like that of the “immortal words” of our fondest Lieutenant after surviving her and our very first xenomorph)

“…I should reach LA in about 3 hours… with a little luck, the ‘Network’ will pick me up… this is Jay West, flying United Airlines… signing off…”