Between Alien and Predator, which of these classic and iconic films do you think executes it’s mission most effectively? In both films, we have our protagonist stuck in a place where they are not safe; they are in a place where their enemy thrives and is most dangerous. In Alien, Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley is stuck on a spaceship surrounded by crew members who are useless, and in some cases, threatening, and they are all being hunted by the xenomorph alien. In Predator, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dutch is in a Central American jungle surrounded by squad members who are attracting danger and don’t seem to be much help either, and all the while, being hunted by the mysterious predator. Also in both films, they team that the protagonist is a part of was lied to and duped as to the point of the mission they were on in the first place, which leads them directly into their titular enemy. So, which film does a better job with this story?
Well, the question isn’t as easy as it sounds to answer, as both films use different methods of going about their respective tale. For one, there is a genre difference; although they are both sci-fi films, Alien relies on suspense and horror while Predator leans more towards the war and action genres. Because of this, the audience has a much easier time fearing the xenomorph than the predator. Ridley Scott’s expert use of scene, and how drowned we are in the setting, is a testament to how a great set and score can eclipse everything else. While the jungle can be intimidating in Predator, it doesn’t share the same claustrophobic sense, or the strangeness and unfamiliarity that I got with Alien. Sure, a Central American jungle wouldn’t feel like home, but the Nostromo (and especially the way we are introduced to the ship, slowly and eerily), make this film uneasy to watch from the start. Predator starts off with smiles, laughs, and friendship, making the entire tone much lighter and friendly while the tone of Alien is far from that. Because of genre alone, the xenomorph in Alien was built up to be something to be feared, and not just fought.
This brings me to my next point: if I saw a xenomorph, I would run like hell. If I saw a predator, I would try to hide, but I would also try to fight. There is no way that I’d fight a xenomorph and win. These two films build their baddies up in genius ways, but Alien beats out Predator once again: you can’t kill a xenomorph without possibly killing yourself too. The humanoid predator allows for some sort of friendly familiarity in the beast; the alien is far from that in every way. The predator has a body that is covered in strange amphibious skin, but for the most part looks like a human (with the mask on). On the other hand, the slimy, black armor over the insect-like skeleton of a body that the xenomorph possesses is a thing of nightmares. On looks alone, the alien would be something terrifying, but the fact that it has acidic blood that burns through it’s victims is even more intimidating. The predator not only can be killed with no consequences, but it also seems like it would be easier to do so. 10 more points for Gryffindor.
As far as protagonists go, we’re pretty even here. I don’t remember either one of them to really have backstories or emotional depth that surprised me- they each seem like effective heroes because they are the most intelligent and trustworthy, but I never felt like I knew too much about either of them. So, in the end, I would definitely say that Alien gets my vote for being the more successful film in regards to the story that it shares with Predator. What about you? Which film do you prefer? Let me know! As always, thanks for reading and ill see you soon.