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Sivosten webZine :: Aliens vs. Predator: Fast-food-side picnic
Aliens vs. Predator: Fast-food-side picnic

Author: T. Hristov, Sunday, 27 January 2008.

In Articles :: Movies & Animation; Propose a Second Opinion

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All the fairy tales begin with Once upon a time, there was, so Im thinking shouldnt the bad ones start with something like Once upon a time, there wasnt? And here we go:

Once upon a time, there wasnt a Predator. It didnt crash its spacecraft on Earth by mistake and the ship absolutely hadnt been shattered to pieces, neither smaller nor larger. There were no Aliens, and the Predator didnt kill them, either by the number or sometimes by the dozen. The small blue planet wasnt actually turned into a battlefield by the two hostile species. Moreover, its peaceful inhabitants didnt suffer any collateral damage and most definitely did not die. And by the end of the movie nothing dull happened at all.

But if we leave the action aside for a moment, Aliens vs. Predator represent a version of one of the most favourite science fiction topics the contact with alien civilizations. There are two main hypotheses about our existence in the Universe. The first one says shiny happy little green people merrily wobble their tiny antenna and clap their small green tridactyle handsies, singing You are not alone. As for the second, its only the great silence out there. Its rather depressing, the latter one: so many stars on the simple background of that immature ego of ours as sentient beings. Lets forget about it and assume there is someone just around the cosmic corner.

It could be a majestic culture, why not the one who created us and now tends us from a distance of hundreds of light years. It could also be a newborn and aggressive civilization to beat one anothers tentacles with. Even a wavering intelligence, barely reaching out for the stars and awaiting for us the sentient earthling to help it overcome its dark ages. It really sounds proudly to be the mentor of the youth and inept. But there is one more reasonable possibility, one often concealed for being not just offensive, but humiliating: its that THEY dont care about us. THEY wouldnt even notice us. Imagine youre an ant and a human is passing. He may even stamp upon you: not intentionally or because hes ferocious or something, he wont have even an idea. And thats exactly what happens here. The aliens battle each other, indifferent to the surroundings or the living things that dont matter. Its an obvious message: we are nothing in one Universe of various and mighty creatures, and I cannot avoid the parallel with Strugatskys Roadside picnic. Unfortunately, the script-writers are as far from the Russian brothers as we are from Alpha Centaury, and the producers name is definitely not Tarkovsky

Lets add a couple of final words about the belligerents. The Predator endears sympathy: the lone fighter endowed with exceptional abilities, even blessed with some sort of alien morality or nobility. Against him: a mob of deadly, creepy freaks. And all around the bodies of the innocent victims. It pretty much resembles the original StarCraft to me. Though I never pictured the protoss like that, the conflict is quite the same: the noble and mighty prostoss civilization trying to exterminate the hordes of zerg, while the terrans happen to be right in-between. Not very cool, especially if youre playing human, but in a computer game you can take an active stance at least, while in a movie youre doomed to stare with the pathetic face of an oversuckled buff.

But anyway, at least it might provide me the right occasion to take a look once again over the Picnic or the strange visions of Tarkovskys in Stalker.

Commentary topic: http://www.sivosten.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=197214#197214

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