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A Good Movie or Two

2004-08-20

Category: philosophies

I am really impressed with a couple of movies that I've seen. They impressed me because they pulled off something I didn't think they could do. Considering that I am so disappointed with most movies today, that any of them impress me with anything is a marvel. (Just so nobody ever gripes about it, here's a disclaimer. I'm about to mention an assortment of movies and related information. All the relevant copyrights and trademarks belong to the appropriate parties and I'm not claiming anything other than my opinion about them.)

I've just seen the movie "Alien vs. Predator". This movie ties in two different science fiction movie monsters from different franchises. Though geeks have been discussing which critter would be the toughest for some time now, the franchises were separate because different groups owned them. That was fine. This movie, however, created one fictional world where both could exist without destroying the characters of either.

When trying to bring characters from different fictional worlds together, the problem is one of contrivance. What could possibly bring the two worlds together in a way that would be plausible to both fictional worlds? I can't recall specific examples, but I seem to remember Saturday morning cartoons where characters would overlap in an episode. Typically they seemed forced and awkward. Similar things have happened on situation comedies. I recall "Laverne and Shirley" visiting "Happy Days", for example.

"Alien vs. Predator" not only blended the worlds together smoothly but they actually accentuated the Predator storyline. This movie developed the Predator characters and culture in a way consistent with the previous movies. Since character development is so lacking in many movies, this was a shock.

All this reasonable blending brought to mind another movie that blended two franchises in a manner in which I approved. In "Freddy vs. Jason", the menace from Elm Street resurrects the evil fellow from the Friday the 13th movies. It seems Freddy can only affect people when they have nightmares, and the locals take drugs to prevent that, so he needs a more material helper to get the scare on. Again, the writers did a surprisingly good job of the whole thing.

Now, all we need is a movie where the Predators take a nap and have bad dreams. Or we could have the Aliens capture Jason. They would really like a guy who doesn't die because he could easily be reused as a host for new aliens; unlike mortal humans who die on the birth of the critter and can't be reused.

It's good to see that some people are making an effort to tell stories and to add depth to characters, even the bad guys. With formula-plots and movies driven by effects and camera tricks, it's just good to sit down and see a good film.


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