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Movie Column

Dreams, digressions and children

I have a dream. I dream of a world where parents take the extra time to communicate with their children. Just a few minutes a day of listening to their kids’ concerns and imbuing them with wisdom. Or, at the very least, teaching their spawn to keep their mouths shut in movie theatres. But I digress. We’re supposed to be talking about kids here, or more specifically the new kid’s movie that opens this week, Yu-Gi-Oh.

The Yu-Gi-Oh movie doesn’t excite me that much. It’s based on one of those role-playing card games parents give their children to keep them quiet. I guess it’s pretty popular because it’s a TV show as well, shown in over 20 countries. If you ask me the whole thing’s a merchandising sham aimed at children because a) they’re not very smart and easy to sell crap too, and b) people will do or buy almost anything to shut up a whiny kid. So yeah, Yu-Gi-Oh, now playing. I think it’s about a guy who fights monsters and saves the world. Yippee, maybe I’m just getting old.

I am old enough to remember the first Predator movie and how much it ruled. One of the best sci-fi films ever, the original Predator starred Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger as real serious army men. Both went on to become the governors, of Minnesota and California respectively, proving that American culture is far too obsessed with the cult of celebrity, but again I digress. I remember Alien as well. Both the 1979 original and the 1986 sequel are considered two of the best amalgamations of horror, sci-fi and action ever put on film. Killer space aliens are about as cool as it gets.

And now the time has come, 14 years after Predator 2 where a trophy Alien skull is noticed in the Predator’s spaceship and now we have Alien Vs. Predator , opening Friday. The tricky thing is that the Predator movies are set in 1986 and 1997, while the Alien movies are set about 150 years later. What we know now is that these two aliens have been at war for thousands of years and in AVP , for those that have trouble with three-word titles, the proverbial shit hits the fan, big time.

Billionaire industrialist Charles Bishop Weyland has found a gi-normous pyramid under the ice of Antarctica. So he takes a team of scientists and "security experts" (i.e. people with guns) to explore. It turns out the Predators have been keeping an Alien queen trapped in this futuristic Aztec-looking pyramid. The queen lays eggs every hundred years or so and when she does, the young Predators fly in for a weekend of stabbing and shooting all the locals. While this might sound like May long weekend in Whistler it’s actually a rite of passage for the young Predators, as well as good training. Weyland’s team of humans unluckily show up right in the midst of all this and are trapped in the pyramid and used as bait in the epic Alien/Predator battles.

It’s actually a well thought out premise, written by Director Paul Anderson ( Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat) who is a huge fan of both the Alien and Predator series and has been wanting to make this movie for more than 10 years. Anderson tells his tale slowly and firmly, giving the movie a scary, claustrophobic feel like the original Alien . But don’t worry, there’s at least 40 minutes of balls-to-the-wall action for the climax.

Visually, AVP is stunning. Huge elaborate sets, updated bad-ass weapons, and lots of animatronic alien creatures (the lack of computer generated effects is refreshing and makes it scarier because you really sense the people and the monsters are physically in the same space.) Alien Vs. Predator is a movie that would show at the drive-in every Friday at midnight in my dream world. (Drive-ins are an integral part of my dream world because in your car you can’t hear other people’s kids talking.)

Dreams aside though, the DVD of the week is Kill Bill 2 which came out on Tuesday and now you can watch both parts together and see the film the way it was meant to be seen.

One more thing, any parents that are tired of communicating with their children can drop them off at the Rainbow Theatre, which is screening the hilarious Shrek 2 twice nightly. At 3 bucks a head it’s cheaper than two packs of Yu-Gi-Oh cards.

At Village 8 Aug. 13-19: Yu-Gi-Oh, Alien Vs. Predator, Little Black Book, Spiderman 2, Manchurian Candidate, Fahrenheit 911, The Village, Collateral, Bourne Supremacy, Princes Diaries 2.

At Rainbow Theatre Aug. 13-19: Shrek 2.