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Feature: Aliens vs Predator

Article opening image

Alien meets Predator once again in the hybrid sequel from visual effects wizards Colin and Greg Strause

Legend has it that the Alien vs Predator franchise was inspired by an anonymous set dresser who had the idea to put an Alien head in the interior of the Predator ship seen briefly in Predator 2. While that may or may not be the case (technically, a Dark Horse comic pitting the two species against one another predates that film), the fact is that there is something compelling about seeing two deadly alien races fight it out. That appeal can be seen in the ever-growing line-up of comic books, toys and video games based on the property, not to mention two major feature films.

An even more compelling possibility for future storylines was introduced at the end of the first Alien vs Predator film with the birth of a hybrid species incorporating aspects of both parent creatures. The sequel, now released on DVD, takes place immediately after the events of that film. The baby ‘Predalien’ grows into a deadly adult on board the Predator ship as it is leaving Earth, its natural killing instincts kicking in almost immediately. With the pilot and Predator passengers dead, the ship falls back to Earth and crashes outside a forest near the town of Gunnison, Colorado. As a result, the Predalien and a number of facehuggers are released on an unsuspecting modern day population and a lone Predator is sent from the homeworld to contain the carnage.

Directors Colin and Greg Strause came to the film from the world of visual effects. Together, the brothers have worked on such high-profile projects as The X-Files, Terminator 3, Fantastic Four, X-Men: The Last Stand and 300. They moved into directing with a string of commercials and music videos before taking on Aliens vs Predator: Requiem. Although it was their first feature film as directors, they didn’t come to the project with an empty slate. “We’d actually pitched on the original,” Greg Strause says in an interview at the offices of their visual effects company, Hydraulx, in Santa Monica, California. “Colin and I had actually come up with a sort of epic Dances With Wolves in Space.”

The Strauses’ pitch was an ambitious take, which ultimately would have needed a budget upwards of $180 million. The studio decided to go with the $60 million pitch and hired Paul WS Anderson to direct. When it became a modest hit, the Strause brothers were offered another chance to realize their vision. This time, they were prepared. “With this kind of thing, we get the script, we come up with our notes, we compile them and come up with character sketches and all that,” Greg says. “And then we actually had a concept artist put together a book. So we did Predalien designs. We brought back the [James] Cameron warrior-Alien design and laid out this real elaborate book that even had location references and wardrobe references and military references. So we went in with this very slick presentation, saying, ‘This is exactly what the film is going to look like’. Not everyone does that, but that was kind of an intensive two weeks to put that together. That was part of the deal.”

by Cindy White

Read the feature in
Ultimate DVD #90

Aliens vs Predator © 20th Century Fox
Feature © Visual Imagination 2008. Not for reproduction

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Ultimate DVD #90
June 2008
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