If It Bleeds: Revisiting PREDATOR & embracing PREY

In recent years, the Predator has felt like one of the more forgotten movie ‘monsters’ in modern cinematic history.

Not that we haven’t seen pictures featuring the alien hunter, most recently Shane Black’s interesting but flawed 2018 effort The Predator, but rather this was a creature who simply hasn’t had the recurrent traction of other science-fiction creations on screen. Think of how many Alien films now exist. Consider the monsters of horror, be it Michael Myers or Freddy Krueger, who continue to find an afterlife again and again and again. The Predator’s appearances have been much fewer and further between, despite him being one of the more enigmatic and intriguing ‘monsters’ of the last thirty plus years.

The use of ‘monster’ is qualified by air quotes because the Predator doesn’t equate to me in the same vein as many of the aforementioned devils of cinema. The Predator, or the Predators as is probably the better moniker given no film yet has featured the same creature twice, is not by nature an evil creation. The Predator—or in deeper comic book lore a Yautija—is as the name defines him, a hunter of prey. He is a warrior who lives by a code. He seeks out the strongest and while his intent is to kill, he lives by a sense of honour. He is more Viking than demon. He is more Klingon than xenomorph.

This has perhaps never been better understood than in Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey, the latest movie in the franchise, which if we’re lucky will begin a whole new lease of life for Jim & John Thomas’ creature. It deserves to, because the Predator has a hell of a lot more to give.

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Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars, Uncategorized

Your Powers Are Weak: OBI-WAN KENOBI and Tiring Intellectual Property

A curious thing happened to me while watching Obi-Wan Kenobi, the latest piece of event television to emerge from Disney’s wider Star Wars universe.

Part III contained what is arguably the singular momentous storytelling beat for Star Wars since Rey found an old Luke Skywalker at the end of The Force Awakens. Ewan McGregor’s middle-aged, beaten down ‘Ben’ Kenobi faces down his former protege Anakin Skywalker at the peak of his Darth Vader transformation, long before any kind of redemptive beat we will eventually see in Return of the Jedi. They draw lightsabers. They fight. Vader, in his immortal James Earl Jones-style drawl, tells Obi-Wan he is weak. It is pure Star Wars catnip.

Yet I felt nothing. Granted, Star Wars isn’t exactly ‘my’ franchise. I’ve always enjoyed it but the passion for it doesn’t exist as it does for Star Trek or The X-Files or James Bond etc… That being said, I am as readers of this blog will know, someone who laps up popular culture in many forms and frequently the return of characters, or existing franchises, does excite me. Vader’s reappearance properly for the first time since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, to fight Obi-Wan Kenobi no less, should have thrilled me. Except it just left me numb.

It felt like an example of just where mainstream IP has taken us, and is continuing to take us, in the age of the streaming service. Back to a lesser re-tread of a classic, beloved moment in cultural history.

Continue reading “Your Powers Are Weak: OBI-WAN KENOBI and Tiring Intellectual Property”