August 19, 2022

‘Prey’ gives the ‘Predator’ franchise its long-awaited masterpiece

6 min read

“A long time ago, it is said,” says an unseen voice, “here came a demon.” The year is 1719; Neither Arnold Schwarzenegger nor Jesse “The Body” Ventura will be like shining in someone’s eyes for centuries. The place is the northern Great Plains that will one day be called the United States of America. For the Comanche nation, it is home: the forests where they hunt, the streams where they fish, the land where they find roots for medicine. This is where Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young female, wants to prove that she is as good as – if not better than – her male companions who go out into the woods with a bow and arrow, the next generation of the tribe. The warriors are armed with weapons and purpose. It is also a location that attracts invaders, particularly French trappers who are killing local buffalo and leaving the iron bear-traps the Comanche has seen scattered around.

And here, one day, a visitor comes crashing through the sky. Nobody sees it, not before – you don’t see the thing until he wants you to see him, and by then it’s too late. However, Naru knows that he is there. He has seen large footprints in the mud, which suggests that this intruder is bigger than the grizzly. He has seen strangely fluorescent green blood scattered on the leaves and bark of trees. She felt him quietly following her hunting party, patiently waiting to strike. When he finally appears, Naru does not recognize this creature with tight dreadlocks and clacking jaw-mandibles and otherworldly technology. but We Doing.

It was supposed to be a high-concept star vehicle circa 1987: what if the Austrian Oak fought the ultimate supernatural killing machine? And we got the man who made die Hard to direct it? Yet somehow, Cruel With morphed from a fun romp in the woods AH-Nold and Friends to be the start of the franchise, and two sequels, a reboot, along with several comic-book adventures and several team-ups foreignThe Xenomorph later, the giant, interstellar game-hunter is a bigger figure than most of his human costars. Robots from T-shirts, action figures, books, video games, their own Funko Pop line – The Predator is now a sci-fi/horror-movie hall-of-famer who sits between Freddy Krueger and Gort The Day the Earth Stood Still. We hope that their agents, their managers and their promotional teams are getting good commissions.

Alpha from Outer Space didn’t have a proper follow-up to that first film, which took advantage of the hunter-versus-prey dynamic in the same lean, mean way without lazily pressing the “remake” button. That changes now. to hunt, Director Dan Trachtenberg’s joining the Predatorverse isn’t just an intriguing extension of the series or a cool intellectual-property affair; It’s closer to a B-movie masterpiece, a survivalist thriller-slash-proto-western-slash-final-girl horror flick, which, like both its iconic alien and its indigenous Ripley 2.0 heroine, sets it up, too. Is it good. Doing. No disrespect to those who have soft spots for 2010 predators Or Shane Black’s giddy 2018 hit-refresh entry Cruel. Both have their own brutal, lively charms. It’s just that this prequel manages to capture the spirit of that Schwarzenegger original, while completely reconnecting and deepening most dangerous game Perception at the center of all this. It immediately established itself as a series highlight.

Part of it has to do with Midthunder, a young actor with Sioux ancestry, silent-cinema-starlet eyes and a physical presence that can project vulnerability or steely self-assurance. if you have seen his work army, The real FX TV show that took the X-Men universe into uncomfortable, uncharted territory, so you know she can land fiction while adhering to the playbook of anything but genre. A team player, but someone who can handle an action scene or three on his own when needed. Here, as Naru, Midthunder gives you a woman who is a true fighter and a tracker, tasked with a thrown tomahawk and enough to customize it with a return-delivery service via a rope. is resource. He is also constantly underestimated by everyone around him, because, he is a He. Even as the creature begins to pick up its Comanche battle party after dominating some of the area’s natural apex predators (a rattlesnake, a bear, the European interloper), it leaves Naru alone – Why bother with someone who, in her loving eyes, isn’t a threat?

It turns out that his fighting skills are actually more honed and refined than most, and while Midthunder doesn’t turn this young native into a superhuman – Naru is barely able to pull himself out of a sharp pit. Is – she makes you believe that a woman is superior when and where it matters. Watching midthunder jump, slide, sprint, mark arrows with lightning speed and eventually go from hunt to hunter, you get the sense that you are watching the actor become a full-fledged action hero as much as you are watching Naru. Yours come to him; It’s such a dynamic performance, and yet still so attuned to who this woman is and the world she navigates.

It helps that Trachtenberg knows how to even film the human-versus-intergalactic-serial-killer stand-off, without devolving into the usual quick-cut chaos mash-up that now often passes for set pieces. , and he can frame a shot and speed up an awesome-inducing sequence for maximum effect. He’s done franchise duty before – watch: 10 Cloverfield Lane, Whosoever . the world revisited Kaijus Dodge from the perspective of a claustrophobic thriller—but it feels like a step up. And given that he has a Grade-A breakout star at his disposal in addition to a famous monster from Filmland, Trachtenberg is trying to make a blockbuster-style movie as big, yet creative, as possible.

(Regarding that “big” part: to hunt Definitely a big movie, with widescreen visuals and wavy special effects and more than a few moments designed to turn the audience into a grotesquely gasping mass. It’s also a straight-to-Hulu joint, which likely stems from the fact that it’s a Fox property, inherited from the company’s purchase, by the patrons who probably bought it so they can enjoy those sweet, sweet X-Men. To get the rights in their pocket. Like so many Fox projects, it’s understandable that the people in charge would want it in their rearview mirror and not care if you cut off their nose, despite your mouse-eared face. You should see it on the streaming service ASAP, even after it drops on August 5th. But note that it’s definitely Our Loss and no one else’s gain.)

And the other part of it is that, given an IP that revolves around the Darwinian existence of the fittest, Trachtenberg and cowriter Patrick Aison chose to retrace a time in our nation’s history when a lot was Our Equation of course. Leaving a sci-fi/horror main premise essentially in a revisionist western template that favors an original take on those who consider the notion of revealed destiny to be a mandate usually adds some novelty to the Futureshock franchise. Just like the idea of ​​having “primitive” weapons going against what’s been a bear skull reimagined as a bleeding-edge, laser-sighted helmet. (A pretty creepy touch, BTW; the addition of the skull makes the familiar sight of this killer look freshly eerie.)

But it also forces you to reconsider this creature that emerges from the clouds in an entirely different context. He is just another alien power that has come to conquer, a global variation on the colonists who will appear in larger numbers and with a more complex agenda, another predator that already considers people living on land as little more than prey. Is. However, this particular predator has encountered someone who considers stalking a predator not only a rite of passage but a birthright. Before engineering, Naru informs his enemy, “This is as far as you go,” coup de grace. “not anymore.” And you don’t need to be a true believer in all things Cruel-y to feel that announcement in the most unexpected and exhilarating termite-art ways imaginable.

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