Predator (franchise)

Predator (franchise)

Infobox Film
name = Predator series


image_size =
caption = "Predator: The Ultimate DVD Collection" box set
director = John McTiernan ("Predator")
Stephen Hopkins ("Predator 2")
producer = Joel Silver
Lawrence Gordon
John Davis
writer = Jim Thomas
John Thomas
starring = Arnold Schwarzenegger as Alan "Dutch" Schaefer ("Predator")
Danny Glover as Michael Harrigan ("Predator 2")
Kevin Peter Hall as the Predator
music =
cinematography =
editing =
distributor = 20th Century Fox
released = 1990
country = USA UK ("Predator" and "Predator 2")
language = English
budget =
gross = $90,669,413

The "Predator" film series is a science fiction horror film franchise, focusing on a human superior (who changes in each film) and their battle with an extraterrestrial lifeform, the Predator, as it gradually picks off his allies. Produced by 20th Century Fox, the series started in 1987 with the film "Predator", which led to a sequel and novel, comic book and video game spinoffs.

Sometimes included in the franchise are the "Alien vs. Predator" films, based on the related franchise which combine the titular predator with the creatures from the "Alien" film series.

Development

"Predator" was originally titled "Hunter" (in behind-the-scenes pictures, this title can be seen on the film equipment). It was John McTiernan's first studio film as director. The studio hired screenplay writer Shane Black to not only play a supporting role in the film, but to keep an eye on McTiernan due to the director's inexperience. Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally cast as the film's creature, the idea being that the physical action star would use his martial arts skills to make the creature an agile, ninja-esque hunter. When compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura, actors known for their bodybuilding regimes, it became apparent a more physically-imposing man was needed to make the creature appear threatening. Ventura's autobiography also alleges Van Damme intentionally injured a stunt man. Eventually, Van Damme was removed from the film and replaced by the late actor and mime artist Kevin Peter Hall.

The predator creature's design is credited to special effects artist Stan Winston. While flying to Japan with "Aliens" director James Cameron, Winston, who had been hired to design the yautja (then known simply as the "Predator"), was doing concept art on the flight. Cameron saw what he was drawing and said, "I always wanted to see something with mandibles". Winston then included them in his designs. Schwarzenegger recommended Winston after his experience working on "The Terminator".

The film's creature was originally designed with a long neck, a dog-like head and a single eye. This design was abandoned when it became apparent that the jungle locations would make shooting the complex design too difficult. Originally, the studio contracted the makeup effects for the alien from Richard Edlund's "Boss Film Creature Shop". However, with problems filming the creature in Mexico and attempts to create a convincing monster of Van Damme, wearing a much different body suit failing, makeup effects responsibilities were given to Winston and his studio, R/Greenberg Associates. According to former "Boss Film Creature Shop" makeup supervisor Steve Johnson, the makeup failed because of an impractical design by McTiernan that included convert|12|in|mm|sing=on length extensions that gave the creature a backward bent satyr-leg. The design did not work in the jungle locations. After six weeks of shooting in the jungles of Palenque, Mexico, the production had to shut down so that Winston could make the new creature. This took eight months and then filming resumed for five weeks.

R/Greenberg Associates created the film's optical effects, including the creature's ability to become invisible, its thermal vision point-of-view, its glowing blood, and the electrical spark effects. The invisibility effect was achieved by having someone in a bright red suit (because it was the farthest opposite of the green of the jungle and the blue of the sky) the size of the creature. The take was then repeated without the actors using a 30% wider lens on the camera. When the two takes were combined optically, a vague outline of the alien could be seen with the background scenery bending around its shape. For the thermal vision, infrared film could not be used because it did not register in the range of body temperature wavelengths. The filmmakers used an inframetrics thermal video scanner as it gave good heat images of objects and people. The glowing blood was achieved by green liquid from chem-lite sticks used by campers. The electrical sparks were rotoscoped animation using white paper pin registered on portable light tables to black and white prints of the film frames. The drawings were composited by the optical crew for the finished effects.

Also, in an interview on "Predator" Special Edition, actor Carl Weathers said many of the actors would secretly wake up as early as 3a.m. to work out before the day's shooting, in order to look "pumped" during the scene. Weathers also stated that he would act as if his physique was naturally given to him, and would work out only after all the other actors were nowhere to be seen. It was reported that actor Sonny Landham was so unstable on the set that a bodyguard was hired; not to protect Landham, but to protect the other cast members from him.

According to Schwarzenegger, filming was physically demanding as he had to swim in very cold water and spent three weeks covered in mud for the climactic battle with the alien. In addition, cast and crew endured very cold temperatures in the Mexican jungle that required heat lamps to be on all of the time. Schwarzenegger also faced the challenge of working with Kevin Peter Hall who could not see in the creature's suit. Hall could not see out of the mask and had to rehearse his scenes with it off and then memorize where everything was. The outfit was difficult to wear because it was heavy and off-balance.

The film was particularly successful and subsequently inspired a number of comic books, video games and popular anecdotes within the media. Schwarzenegger was asked to reprise his role in a "Predator" sequel, but was already attached to "" and could not accept the role. The character was rewritten from the developing sequel's script, and the sequel to "Predator", directed by Stephen Hopkins, was scheduled for 1990.

Due to excessive violence, "Predator 2" was the first film to be given the newly instituted NC-17 rating in the United States. It was eventually rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America after being re-cut to its final theatrical length. the film cast Danny Glover in the lead role, and reprised Kevin Peter Hall as the yautja. Also, returning to the role of Anna in the sequel, Elpidia Carrillo was slated to be in two scenes but was cut back to a brief appearance on a video screen in the government agents' surveillance trailer. Her character is showing damage to the Central American jungle caused by the explosion at the conclusion of the first film.

Duology plot-summary

Following is a plot summary for the entire "Predator" series. For additional plot details, see the movies' specific pages.


=Predator=

On the coast of Guatemala, a mercenary unit, led by Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer, is ordered to rescue a cabinet minister. They find the guerrilla post, including multiple rebels and Soviet military advisers, and attack, destroying the base with little effort and no casualties. Dutch puts together intelligence items following the attack, learning that not only was the "cabinet minister" story false, but the slain soldiers they discovered [another American mercenary unit headed by Maj. Jim Hopper] were ordered to attack the base before disappearing. With a female prisoner, Anna, in their custody the group proceeds to their rendezvous point by the border. When Anna attempts to escape, Hawkins chases her but is killed by a transparent creature. Blain is killed moments later while searching for Hawkins' body. When Sergeant "Mac" Eliot rushes to assist Blaine, he sees the creature and immediately opens fire, joined then by the remaining members of the unit. To their shock they are unable to find any bodies. Nervous, the team cannot locate Hawkins' body but takes Blain's body with them.

That night the creature uses a distraction at the team's "night defensive position" to collect Blain's body. At daylight, the team manages to trap the creature, though it struggles free, shooting in all directions and causing a dead log to swing down and seriously injure Poncho. Mac and Dillon pursue the Predator, only to find it waiting for them as they are tricked and killed by its advanced weaponry. In hot pursuit, Billy makes a suicide-stand against the creature, which buys the survivors some time. The Predator kills Billy easily and catches up, killing Poncho and slightly wounding Dutch, who realizes that the Predator will not kill an unarmed person as it would be "unsporting." He refuses to give Anna a gun and tells her to, "get to the chopper!"

Although wounded, Dutch escapes through a river and large waterfall, crawling out through the mud at the water's edge. Covered in mud, Dutch finally sees the Predator when its cloaking device fails, but the creature doesn't appear to see him. Once the Predator leaves, Dutch realizes it couldn't see him because he was covered in mud (interfering with its thermal vision). Dutch, lacking firearms, prepares to fight the creature by creating a variety of primitive weapons, including bow and arrows, and two remaining M203 grenades, converting the shells into improvised explosive arrows. After nightfall, he surprises the creature using the arrows, once again making it visible. Dutch follows a trail of the creature's blood, but retreats and falls in a river after realizing the trap, promptly washing away his mud disguise. Cornering Dutch, the Predator removes its equipment in favor of more sporting hand-to-hand combat, showing its true face when it sheds its bio mask. Physically overpowered, Dutch mortally injures the Predator by springing a huge log which crushes it. The dying Predator activates a self-destruct device attached to its wrist gauntlet as Dutch immediately runs for cover from the massive explosion that ignites the jungle. The rescue helicopter arrives on the scene and encounters Dutch standing alone on the scorched plain.

"Predator" Special Edition

The "Predator" Special Edition did not add additional minutes to the film, but did include brief footage separate from the main feature. A rundown of the cut scenes, in the order that they appear include:

* Anna playing with a chameleon.
* Dutch being bit by ants.
* Cut of a brief sequence showing Dutch sliding down a hill.
* Cut of the scene where Dutch puts the finishing touches on his trap.

"Predator 2"

The year is 1997 and Los Angeles is suffering from a vicious heat wave and a gunfight between a Colombian drug gang and police is ongoing. Detectives Leona Cantrell and Danny Archuleta await the arrival of veteran Lieutenant Michael Harrigan. When the gunfire stops, the criminals retreat to a nearby building. A series of explosions and mysterious gunfire rock the structure. Detectives and police pursue the criminals into the building and finds all but one of the criminals dead. The lone surviving criminal escapes to the rooftop and open fire at the unknown creature. Gunfire from the lone surviving criminal is fired in the direction of Harrigan, which he interprets himself to be the target of. He shoots the criminal dead, sending him falling from the rooftop. Harrigan suddenly turns and takes aim at something. He is not sure what it is and is unsure of what he saw.

Jamaican drug gang members invades a drug lord's home, capturing him and hanging him upside down from the ceiling. Unaware the creature is inside the home with them, the lead Jamaican gang member kills the drug lord. The creature begins killing the gang members one by one, then reveals himself to the gang leader before eventually killing him. Harrigan and his team of detectives enters the drug lord home after being ordered to stay out. They find all the gang members bodies, noting the manner in which they were killed and comparing it to the manner in which the drug lord was killed. They also find a woman murmuring in spanish. Harrigan declares "we have a new player in town." Peter Keyes and his team suddenly appears and declares the drug lords home "a restricted area."

Harrigan and Archuleta plan to return to the crime scene for further investigation into the murders, but Archuleta who arrives early, finds a spear tip in the rafters of the drug lords home. He is startled by the creature and is killed by it. Harrigan is devastated, vowing to destroy the perpetrator responsible for his friend's death. A pathologist discusses the origins of a weapon found at the crime scene, noting the weapon's molecular structure does not correspond with the periodic table of elements. Harrigan arranges a meeting with the Jamaican drug lord [King Willie] , who says the perpetrator of the killings is not of this world; the creature kills the drug lord immediately after Harrigan leaves.

Cantrell and officer Jerry Lambert are traveling by subway to meet Harrigan when a group of thugs threaten a man. A tense standoff of each side drawing their firearms ensues when the creature suddenly attacks. In the pandemonium, Cantrell herds the survivors down the subway cars while Lambert stays to face the creature. She soon doubles back to find Lambert dead. She also encounters the creature who scans her body with infrared technology and finds a fetus within her, causing it to refrain from attacking. Harrigan soon arrives at the scene and following a blood trail down the subway tunnel, witnesses the creature mutilating Lambert's body. He pursues the creature, only to be captured by Special Agent Peter Keyes' team, revealed to be Black Ops following the creature's encounter sites in hopes of capturing and studying it.

Armed with immobilizing weaponry, they set a trap in a vacant slaughterhouse with the aim to make it impossible for the creature to see in the infra-red spectrum, "blinding" it; however the creature simply switches its helmet's scanners and can see them clearly. The creature then attacks and kills everyone except Keyes. Harrigan is able to escape custody and immediately arms himself; a short battle follows, resulting in the death of Keyes.

Harrigan and the creature exchange attacks as the battle moves to the rooftop. The creature gets knocked off and hanging from a ledge, attempts to activate the self-destruct device contained in its wrist gauntlet. However, Harrigan steals the creature's weapon, a "smart disc", and uses it to cut the creature's forearm off, destroying the device in the process. The creature retreats to its spacecraft underground, followed closely by Harrigan. The two have a showdown, ending with Harrigan killing the creature with its own smart disc. Harrigan realizes that there are additional creatures onboard, and prepares for further fighting, though recognizing his obvious defeat. However, the creatures take their comrade's body away, and an elder gives Harrigan an antique pistol inscribed "Raphael Adolini 1715" as a trophy for his victory, implying that the creatures have been visiting Earth for centuries.

Rumored sequels

It has been rumored for years that there will be a "Predator 3".Fact|date=September 2008 John McTiernan, the director of "Predator", was rumored to be in talks with 20th Century Fox in 2005 but little announcements have been made since. Prior to Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming the Governor of California, he was the most popular choice to return to the "Predator" series to reprise his role as Dutch. The next person in the cast spotlight was World Wrestling Federation wrestler The Rock who would have been cast in the role of Dutch. In September 2003, The Rock denied any involvement in "Predator 3", although by that December, he claimed he was "unsure" about his involvement in the film. In 2005, another wrestler, John Cena, was also rumored to be involved in an installment of "Predator", this one allegedly a remake of the original.

For years, rumors claiming it a sequel, prequel, remake and even a reboot of the franchise have surfaced. What is known for certain of a "Predator 3" is that three scripts of the film have been written. One script written by Sam Park is entitled "Predator 3: The Deadlier of the Species" and features Arnold Schwarzenegger's character, Dutch, in New York City during a blizzard. A yautja comes to the city and tracks down Dutch in the city and attempts to kill him. Another script, written by Robert Rodriguez, is entitled "Predators" and is set on a 17th century ship where a Predator stalks the crewmen whose greatest means of fighting lie in their inferior weaponry. Rodriguez spoke about the "Predators" script during an interview at the beginning of 2004, revealing it having been written in 1997 following the success of his 1995 film "Desperado". 20th Century Fox allegedly rejected the script because the budget would have been too high, Rodriguez stating it would have been roughly around $150,000,000. A third and as yet final script is entitled "The Zoo", which reprises both Dutch and Harrigan from "Predator" and "Predator 2" respectively, captured and brought to the yautja's homeworld, as they are the only humans capable of besting yautja hunters. There they are forced to fight in a gladiator-styled arena. While only a rumor unlike the former three storylines, a possible fourth script was written which pits American marines on the yautja homeworld in an effort to stop a yautja invasion of Earth. This plot would seem non-canonical of yautja however, as their cultural expressions of honor and sportsmanship and demonstrations of unwillingness to stalk weak or unarmed opponents should reflect no desire in them to invade another species' planet. This fourth storyline is only a rumor as unlike the former three, no physical script or its writer have been formally credited to.

pin-offs

There have been a number of spin-offs in other media including a large number of crossovers within the "Predator" fictional universe. These include:

Novels

As well the novelizations based on the various films (including Alan Dean Foster's) there are a number of novel series':

* "Predator: Concrete Jungle"
* "Predator: Cold War"
* "Predator: Big Game"
* "Predator: Forever Midnight"
* "Predator: Flesh and Blood"
* "Predator: Turnabout"
* "Aliens vs. Predator"

Comic books

* "Predator"
* "Aliens versus Predator"
* "Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator"
* ""
* "Batman versus Predator"
* " JLA vs. Predator"
* "Predator vs. Judge Dredd"
* "Predator vs. Magnus, Robot Fighter"
* "Superman & Batman vs. Aliens & Predator"
* "Superman vs. Predator"
* "Tarzan vs. Predator"
* ""
* "Alien Loves Predator"

Video games

* "Predator"
* ""
* " Predator 2"
* "Predator 2"
* "Alien vs. Predator (SNES)"
* ""
* "Alien vs. Predator (Arcade)"
* "Alien vs. Predator (Jaguar)"
* "Alien versus Predator"
* "Aliens versus Predator 2"
* ""
* ""
* "Predator" (mobile)
* "Alien vs. Predator (Mobile)"
* ""
* " Alien vs. Predator 3D"
* ""

Further reading

* "Beautiful Monsters: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to the Alien and Predator Films" (by David A. McIntee, Telos, 272 pages, 2005, ISBN 1-903889-94-4)

ee also

* List of characters in the Predator series‎


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