Having just seen Prometheus, watching this movie again it was really hard to not see the parallels in the storyline. Both feature a crew of specialists sent to inspect ancient civilizations by the head of the Weyland Corporation. Both insist that alien creatures played a hand in human development. And of course, both involve incredibly naive scientists and businessmen making really bad decisions. They both attempt to be prequels to the Alien franchise, so I suppose it makes sense that they would have at least some similarities, but I'm a little shocked they're so close to each other.
Also, it goes without saying that the two films simply can't exist in the same continuity. It just doesn't work. Given the large negative reaction to Prometheus, I can't help but wonder if people are going to start thinking about that film as the alternate timeline rather than the proper one.
Of course, the response to this film was also largely negative, and once again I'm in disagreement with everyone else. I thought it brought together the two series in a way that made sense, and turned out to be a decently made creature feature. We get likeable human characters, a fairly logical plot, and most importantly two of the most bad ass monsters in recent movie history fighting each other and us.
Sanaa Lathan is an excellent Ripley replacement as Alexa, playing a strong woman with a good dose of common sense and the bravery to face these creatures. It's great to see an African America hero who is female and yet not "sassy" or otherwise cliched. It's also great to see Lance Henriksen return as the inspiration for Bishop, who ends up being a really interesting character. He certainly has more depth than the Weyland we see in Prometheus.
It's not perfect, of course. For some reason, both races are a lot bigger in this film, towering over the human counterparts. It's just not necessary. The alien lifecycle is also greatly accelerated, and the Predator ships look nothing like the ones we've seen before. The alien queen takes her time asking her babies to free her, and that's solely because it adds a dramatic scene at the right moment to the story. The Predators have also greatly advanced their technology in the last 14 years, though I guess that part is a little more believable.
But this movie is primarily meant to be fun, and that's exactly what it is. We get callbacks to previous movies in both franchises, and we get to see lots of action. Isn't that exactly what you want from this type of film? And yes, I was still rooting for Momma when she took on the Predator. Girl's been locked up and frozen for at least a hundred years, after all. She didn't deserve defeat.
Alexa's acceptance by the predators is an obvious reference to what happened at the end of Predator 2, but I must say I like the way it was done here much better. She fights beside him and earns his trust. It's the marking on her cheek that communicates to the others that she is meant to be left alone.
I remember when I first saw this in the theater, I was pretty blown away by that ending. A hybrid?! What?! But for whatever reason, I never actually went back to watch the sequel. I'll be remedying that with my review tomorrow.