A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that AVP: Alien vs. Predator is a 2004 sci-fi horror movie in which a search for a pyramid buried beneath Antarctica unleashes an epic battle between humans, Predators, and Aliens. As to be expected, there is considerable sci-fi horror violence. Humans give birth to aliens through their chests. Aliens attack humans by flying into their faces, impaling their bodies. Lots of slicing, biting, and blood in the battles between aliens and predators. Alien decapitation. Captured human bodies hung upside down. Machine gun battles. Some profanity, including "f--king," "bitch," "bulls--t," "s--t."
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What's the story?
While daring, the premise of AVP: ALIEN VS. PREDATOR is more suitable for a comic book or video game, both of which were fairly successful with the Alien/Predator match. But, for a film, the idea that the Predator (known as the technically-advanced hunter) bred the Aliens as prey thousands of years ago for no other purpose than for hunting is simply unbelievable. The plot brings back the Weyland Corporation from the Alien trilogy, and begins with a Weyland satellite detecting heat from a pyramid/temple-like structure hid deep within the Antarctic. Charles Weyland (an old, rich techy-explorer type guy) hires a team of drillers, scientists, and archeologists to find the pyramid-like structure that was built by humans to honor the Predators as gods years ago. It's this assembled team led by Lex (Sanaa Lathan) that reveals the story of these undiscovered structures and consequently lands the team in the middle of a war.
Is it any good?
This movie is another failed attempt to create the ultimate horror film. Even with advanced graphics and special effects on its side, AVP: Alien vs. Predator only manages to completely gross out adult audiences and make teen audiences chuckle with laughter as Lex runs alongside the dread-locked Predator near the end of movie. While the battle between Alien and Predator has been in the works since the Alien skull appeared among the displayed trophies in the Predator space ship in Predator 2, no director has dared to initiate such an outrageous cockfight between the two creatures until Paul W.S. Anderson came along. Nevertheless, with the inability to gather the original cast or filmmakers of either flick, Anderson's brave attempt flopped.
Besides the creatures, the only aspects of this film that slightly resemble the original flicks are the Weyland Corporation and the fact that Lex is much like Sigourney Weaver's character in the Alien trilogy. Lex is not only the voice of reason and pure "common sense", but is also the one who figures out the core idea behind the Predator/Alien duel and, more importantly, how to survive it. While this movie displays incredible "girl power" by having a heroine, it simply falls short of a horror and/or thriller movie.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between made-up creatures and reality. If your teens watch, you can talk about what makes a movie scary. Why do some succeed and some fail? Do you think Alien vs. Predator is scary?
How was violence and gore used to heighten the suspenseful moments and to move the story forward?
Why do you think sequels are almost never as good as the original movies?
- In theaters: August 13, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: January 25, 2005
- Cast: Lance Henriksen, Raoul Bova, Sanaa Lathan
- Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence, language, horror images, slime and gore.
For kids who love sci-fi scares
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.