Tagged: studio adi

‘PREY’ Brings the Goods But Can’t Top ‘PREDATOR 2’!

[OK so it seems everyone is flipping out over the new ‘Predator’ prequel ‘Prey’ just released yesterday on Hulu! Most are claiming it to be the best of the franchise since the original 87′ masterpeice, some even boldly claiming it better than the original. Well I’m here to clear things up because in 1987 Predator was the very first ‘R rated’ movie I ever saw in the theater and I snuck into it at the age of 13!!

At this point I’d pretty much lost any enthusiasm for another Predator movie after 2018’s pathetic sequel ‘The Predator’. However I’m quite happy to report that 2022 has brought us the latest movie in the series, ‘Prey’ and it’s overall a sweet breath of fresh air finally. I’m gonna put it slightly above ‘Predators’ which I thought mixed things up nicely with a unique plot that deviates from the others. Prey goes back to the basics and it essentially works, the time setting of 1719 and the physical setting of the Great Plains combined with its unique Native American tribal characters make for a visually stunning survival adventure. I gotta be honest though, the dialogue of the tribe felt way out of place and took me out of the movie’s supposed era several times, it felt WAY too “modern America”, if like the tribe were actually modern day cosplayers from LA or something. They really could have done better to make them feel a bit more convincing vocally because they looked amazing.

 But one of the best things though was indeed the setting, beautiful locations that of course make me wonder how much of what we saw on screen was actually real or created via CGI? I hope it was filmed on actual location. Whatever the case it really worked in this particular situation, at times rivaling the jungles of the original film. Of course the basic plot set up does feel a bit heavily treaded as of late at least, it features a young, strong female lead who’s marginalized by her male tribe members who believe she doesn’t have what it takes to be a true warrior. However she’s a total badass master hunter, fighter, tracker & her male peers just refuse to accept her. 

The lead, Naru, like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dutch is a force to be reckoned with. However when Dutch finally becomes the hunted it’s clear his macho-man antics are simply not going to save his ass from the Predator. Nope, he’s going to have to massively reevaluate everything he’s learned in order to survive the Predator’s attack. I felt Prey lacked much of that visceral tension, urgency and nail biting suspense of the original. Perhaps because Naru seems more than capable of besting The Predator in hand to hand combat right from the get-go. I personally would’ve prefered a bit more character struggle that let the tension rise to its boiling point. I never really feared for Naru’s life at any point in Prey. It could’ve featured her crafting some inventive new tricks to outwit the Predator but instead felt like it lacked the clever hero’s ingenuity humans normally need to come out on top against an alien force. Instead it relies more on her just facing it straight on with hand-to-hand combat. The action scenes were quite well done but I wish there would’ve been a little more to her having to “Macguyver” her way to victory. Given the script though, Amber Midthunder, who portrays Naru, did a great job as our new hero. She’s cool but maybe just a bit too badass at times for me to truly believe that she’s ever in any actual legit danger. Still the whole vibe, time period, dazzling looking characters and her awesome dog companion made this a real welcome surprise when put neatly all together.

I also had some issues with some of the CGI work done with the animals in the movie. It’s a cool concept to see the Predator go one on one with a bear and a wolf but the way it was executed took me out of the movie again as the CGI sadly just wasn’t convincing enough. I also have somewhat of a problem with the Predator’s new look this time around as it was clear there must have been some sort of wonky CGI going on with it’s normally amazing practical animatronic face. Something that cannot be topped from the first 2 movies at least. Still though it managed to breathe some much needed fresh air into a fully dying franchise and at no point in the movie was I ever bored. So all in all I can admit this is a pretty damn solid entry in the franchise, one of the best installments but I can also say quite firmly that imo it’s NOT the best sequel to Predator.

I recently rewatched ‘Predator 2’ on Blu-Ray and it’s aged like a fine wine. Danny Glover is an amazing charismatic lead and the city setting/concrete jungle created a whole new creepy exciting scenario for the brutal carnage. PREY In my opinion doesn’t come close to besting Predator 2. Perhaps if the it was released in the early nineties it might have felt much more fresh than it does now today but sadly the franchise just doesn’t feel anywhere near as interesting as it used to no matter what scenario you might want to introduce.  In many ways the Predator franchise has simply run out a gas.

But if you still find yourself a die hard thirsty fan of the franchise looking for something new, you can’t go wrong with this new installment. It delivers enough of what we loved about the original to make it a worthwhile survival adventure flick! It’s a fairly unique little creature feature that would have been fun if it’d shown up in theaters…or 32 years ago!

PLAYTIME: Chucky’s Killer Doll Counterpart Vs. Modern Cinema!

Here’s something that’s truly perfect for the Halloween season at hand and any fan of the Child’s Play franchise alike. Studio ADI who are known most for their amazing practical & animatronic monster FX through out the years presents this new short web series about a creepy doll actor who plays a killer doll named “Billy” and stars in a “Child’s Play” like 80’s movie franchise.  

 

Down on his luck doll actor Billy has seen better days during the 80’s and when he today finds out that his franchise is getting a reboot without he’s determined to make things right! Much like what’s actually going on currently with the Child’s Play franchise which itself is indeed getting a full fledged reboot, ditching the original look of Chucky and basically wiping the slate clean of everything that came before it, including Brad Dourif & Don Mancini. Each episode is only a few minutes long but it’s definitely worth it, as it indeed features some truly stunning practical fx work and an intriguing, meta look at the killer doll/hollywood reboot treatment of some of our most beloved and cherished franchises!! There’s now three mini (no puns intended) episodes out now-Check it!!

The Predator Sequel: Reshooting Begins…ls Dutch Secretly Returning?!

So this September we’re getting a brand new sequel to the ‘Predator’ franchise and it’s been stated that this new installment directed by Shane Black (who also starred in the original) would be a direct sequel to the first two. This lead people to believe we might be seeing Arnold Schwarzenneger return to his iconic role once more as cigar chompin’ Dutch.

What we were then told was that he was indeed approached by Shane Black and even met with him about returning. However it was quickly revealed the meeting went south and Arnold simply didn’t like the script, as he was featured in just a small cameo therefore declining to be in the movie altogether. I was a bit surprised to hear that, as Arnold hasn’t really been in anything that was a “hit” since he returned to acting after his time as Governor. In fact I my guts been telling me we’re indeed going to see Dutch return, I think the whole “passing because of the script” thing is just a well planned diversion.

Today we’ve learned there are reshoots taking place right now for ‘The Predator’ and my gut feeling is that these just may indeed be Dutch’s scenes. I highly doubt Arnie would turn down even a cameo and having him in the Predator series again would be very similar to Mark Hamill returning recently to the Star Wars franchise. If Dutch does indeed return it’d be a gift to all the Predator fans and I highly doubt Shane Black is oblivious to this. It’d be quite a twist if  he did appear to help kick some Predator butt, especially because of his statements about turning down the role in the new movie. We also have to mention though ‘The Predator’ did receive some mixed reviews to test screenings saying the heavy handed humor was tonally off  so perhaps they’re just reshooting some scene’s to level out the comedy? Hmmm….

Regardless I’m hoping to see Dutch return AND how awesome would it be if Danny Glover from ‘Predator 2’ returned as well to help out? That’d be just too good to be true, interestingly enough though, the new movie has a direct link to ‘Predator 2’  as Jake Busy is actually returning as Gary Busey’s Predator 2’s characters son. Soooooo anything is possible. I don’t imagine anyone would pass up the opportunity to at least feature Dutch again one more time in the franchise, let’s face it Arnold is getting old and isn’t going to be around forever…

Stranger Things: Please Use Practical Monster Effects!!

Stranger Things Season 2 finally dropped this Halloween and damn was it good! So much fun and such a total and complete trip down memory lane. The show plays off of the wonder filled nostalgia of the 80’s and almost perfectly captures the magic of movies like Poltergeist, E.T., The Goonies and The Lost Boys to name a few.

This show couldn’t possibly get any better at delivering the ever so sweet 1980’s cinematic magic could it?  Well I say it could do the job way better, after watching the second season it was apparent once again that this show could really up it’s game by ditching a lot of the shoddy CGI effects it uses for it’s monsters.

 

 

The show sure looks and feels like an 80’s Amblin flick, that is until they introduce us to the other worldly monsters. Then it quickly becomes very apparent it’s 2017 and that some questionable CG has entered my 80’s fantasy! So for season 3 of the show, I think they could do better, to really recreate that magic of old, it’s time for the show to incorporate practical creature effects! Puppetry, makeup, animatronics!

 

 

Imagine the creatures on the show if they had the feel of E.T., The Gremlins or Pumpkinhead?! The CG takes me out of the moment, the realism fades quickly and I imagine how much more effective the experience would really be if it just gave this tweak to say 75% of it’s fx work. That alone would give us the ultimate nostalgia trip, let’s face it, fans would go nuts for this and especially those who are real fans of the genre the show’s replicating. So help me spread this idea #strangerthings80sfx & Let’s demand that 80’s special effects magic be utilized for the next season!!!  They’ve come a long way with practical fx work and blending with CG or using CG to eliminate wires & puppeteers would take the show to a whole next level of 1980’s love….

 

More Amazing Practical FX From 2011’s “The Thing”!!

Damn was I disappointed with ‘The Thing’ remake/prequel from 2011! They had all of the ingredients together for a cool ass little prequel set to be a neat little companion piece to the original John Carpenter classic remake. His 1982 movie is the holy grail of monster movie for me and still stands the test of time today. StudioADI had crafted the special effects for the 2011 movie boasting practical effects on par with the 1982 classic. However what we ended up with was a piece o’ shit CG wankfest that was panned by critics and fans alike.

The sad thing is the practical effects they created/filmed were erased and they actually replaced what was really on film with CGI. God damn does that make me furious! Someone tried to take matters into their own hands back in 2015 by releasing a petition trying to get the working print of the film released with all the original fx work. Sadly the petition didn’t gather enough attention. Anyway today studioADI released a new video showing the practical effects that were filmed & designed for the movie!! Check this shit out:

 here’s more:

Here’s another great video that gives you the full scoop on what went wrong with ‘The Thing’ 2011:

Blood Glacier: An Old School Style Creature Feature!

I’ve been looking forward to “Blood Glacier” now for quite a while, anything that boasts similarities to John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is always on the top of my lists of flicks I’ve just gotta see. This neat little Austrian film is a pretty fun, gory, watch and really feels like it could’ve been made in the 80’s. It’s plot has the same type of  vibe as ‘The Thing’ as we have a small band of researchers up in the mountains doing research on the effects of global warming and how it’s affecting wildlife. It doesn’t take long to figure out that something sinister is lurking around the mountain sides here, especially when they discover a giant glacier that’s oozing a strange red liquid from within. Soon the team discover that weird mutant hybrid animals are  wandering close to their station and what’s worse is that they’re hungry and pissed off! Yipee!!

This movie has some great characters, in fact the main characters are what really make this one shine.Plus one grumpy older female bad ass scientist even shout’s out one of my favorite movie lines I’ve heard in a long time- “stop eating that banana while you’re crying!!” I had to watch that part a few times! Best ever. I was thinking the same thing right when she screamed that one out! I loved the atmosphere of it all too, a serious sense of dread lingers throughout and the creatures are also pretty inventively savage. I wouldn’t put them on the same level as “The Thing” but for almost entirely practical effects this one made the most of it’s smaller budget.

Much of the monster action here is most effective by what you don’t see and the sounds heard these mutants create while on the attack. I was hoping to be dazzled by the practical effects just a tad more and really could have seen a bit more CG being used to the films benefit? I rarely say that and I guess they kept the vision pretty well focused and consistent, I was just hoping to get a better full view of some of these monstrosities. This one does play like a cool lost 1980’s creature feature and i say that in the best way. You get some cool hybrid creatures, mutated mountain goats, killer mosquitos, mutant hawls and weird insect fox hybrids and one gory ass operation sequence! This one makes me even more pumped to see  “Harbinger Down” which is another upcoming Monster movie also boasting no CGI by special effects wizard Alec Gillis and crew. In the mean time check out Blood Glacier, you can watch it on Netflix streaming to get your monster on!

Here’s a little glimpse into some of the monster making:

Harbinger Down: The Real Prequel to “The Thing”!!

I just checked out the long awaited trailer for a movie I’ve been pumped about for quite some time time now, Harbinger Down! If you follow my blog at all you’ve probably heard me complaining a lot about CGI and how there aren’t nearly enough movies these days that utilize rad practical monster effects like they used to back in the 1980’s. Well Alec Gillis at Studio ADI announced a while back that he planned on making a full on monster movie utilizing all practical effects only using CG to eliminate things like rods or wires.

You see a while back they made a prequel to the classic John Carpenter Monster flick “The Thing” and Gillis and his crew were hired to do the special effects, they were told to use all practical monster effects to keep the same vibe as the 1982 classic. They went hard to work and filmed much of the movie with the effects but at the last minute the studio changed their mind, and CG’d over all of there work, claiming that people these days like their movies to look more like modern video games. The movie was bashed by fans of the original and did little at the box office. So here is Alec Gillis’ response to what happened to them, a movie that bears some resemblance to the premise of The Thing, as if him and his crew is giving the fans the movie that they were hoping for in The Thing prequel. So take a look at the trailer, this one is on the top of my list!!