Predators had its world premiere on Wednesday July 7, 2010 in Austin, Texas. AvPGalaxy’s Mr. Domino was there and wrote a report about the event.
3:23 AM – 7/8/2010
Well, I just got back from the world premiere of Predators. Hell of a thing, too. I’ve now learned that I never, ever want to be a part of the paparazzi. It’s too much work. Drove up to Austin just before noon yesterday with my father in tow. Went to a record store briefly, then ate at a convenient Wendy’s before heading to the theater.
6:00 PM – 7/7/2010
My first thought is “where’s the crowd?” I was really aghast at the lack of people packed in front of the Paramount theater, where the film would be showing. To begin what limited coverage I could do, I snapped a few shots of the marquee, and the small crowd waiting outside.
Since there are no cameras or recording devices allowed inside the theater, I decide at this point that it would probably be best if I went and put my camera in the car, to avoid any problems when it gets time for the show. After all, this being an Austin premiere instead of Hollywood or anything like that, I doubted they’d have the traditional media circus, especially since nothing was being set up beforehand.
So I get back from putting my camera away (the parking garage was about a block and a half from the theater), and now they’ve got the lights on for the marquee, and they’re setting up some posters outside, and a few other things that I can’t quite make out. Looks like I might get to take some decent pictures after all. Time to run back and grab the camera then. “Damn its hot”, I quote.
Upon returning, I get a few shots of the lit marquee and the posters they’ve put up, and also notice that they’re starting to set aside areas along a path for different local news outlets. This probably means good opportunities to snap whoever might be coming to this thing, if I can just secure myself a good enough spot. Damn, its hot.
They’re supposed to be opening up the doors at this point and letting people in, but the bigwigs haven’t even started arriving yet. Joy. The “real” paparazzi are out in full force at this point, making it very difficult for me to do what I had come to do. Most were just dismissive, but a few were downright rude to the “little people” standing behind them. I hear one of the news guys say that Rodriguez is supposed to be getting there around 7:15. Also, run into the one guy all night who comments on the fact that I’m representing the Galaxy, a guy who ran Alien Hive a dozen or so years back.
About damn time. They finally roll out the red carpet (literally, not figuratively) and shortly thereafter, there start to be some people making the rounds with all the different press guys. Not being actual press, I couldn’t get any interviews, but short of getting physical, there was no friggin’ way they were stopping me taking some pictures. Several of those who proceeded to come through the line were people I wasn’t familiar with, including the very first guy. Robert Rodriguez was right behind him, though, and he stayed out talking to the press for quite a while, followed by someone who I’m pretty sure was Nina Proctor. I didn’t specifically recognize her, as she had cut her hair, but I did get some shots with her in the background, thinking she was just some paramour of Rodriguez’.
The Alien Hive guy has managed to worm his way in front of me now, which is unfortunate, since he’s blocking a lot of my shots, even though he knows I’m trying to shoot stuff for the Galaxy. About this time I hear somebody yell “Hey, Lapidus!” Being a huge Lost fan, I thought it interesting that there would actually be someone there who shared a name with Jeff Fahey’s surly pilot from the series.
Next up was Elizabeth Avellan. She went through really quickly, and I only got a picture of the back of her head as she was walking in. Oh, well. I’m not sure who the next two guys were (perhaps someone here can enlighten me), but they were followed by Nimrod Antal. I was in the middle of shooting him when I heard some of the people behind me start yelling “Adrian’s here! It’s Adrian Brody!” Unfortunately, I didn’t let go of the (admittedly very good) shot of Antal that I had until it was too late, and I only got the back of Brody’s head as he walked down the street. Antal stalled for quite a while near the entrance to allow Adrian time to talk to people.
At this point we’re already running quite late. At this point, I noticed an unexpected face in the crowd, who had just been let in to the “stars” area to talk to the press some. Jeff Fahey – Lost’s Frank Lapidus among other things, was here at the premiere! I figure he was probably just “in town” due to shooting on Machete wrapping up. Anyways, behind Antal is Mike Finch, who I got a few decent shots of, then Adrian Brody. Unfortunately, I never could get any fantastic shots of Brody before I really felt the need to go ahead and run back to the car and stow my camera, lest I miss anything inside.
Sure enough, I arrived – panting and out of breath – at the top of the stairs to the balcony just in time to hear the crowd start applauding as Robert took the stage to introduce the film. It turned out that the reason everything was so late starting was the Brody’s plane from Paris had been delayed, and he only just barely made it in. The introduction was nothing particularly special, but then it was time for the film – and what a film, too. (WARNING: There be spoilers ahead!!) Right from Brody’s initial freefall, the audience was there with him, there was an amazing energy in the theater, and when the title card came up, thunderous applause rang out all through the place. As the film went on, the tension created by the first half-hour of the film was almost palpable, and there was a nigh-audible collective sigh of relief when Hanzo pulled back the sheet on an empty cage.
Now, despite how much I loved the film (as of writing this, I’ve already been to see it a second time), there are still a few flaws with it, as there are in any work of fiction, especially one as rushed into production as this was, and they started when Isabelle insists the group rest atop the plateau, and Royce mentions to her that the sun hasn’t moved since they got there. Now, if they had left it at that as their “ok, they’re on an alien planet” identifier, than it would have been fine. However, with the “we need a new plan” scene which came shortly thereafter, combined with the fact that it later became night on the planet, the line about the sun not moving serves absolutely no purpose, and only confuses the viewer. However, this sin is quickly forgotten, as now we’ve made it into the action, as the dogs are sent out. Now, I have to say, despite how cool these guys look, I have to agree with Ebert – they’re thoroughly impractical, both as hunting dogs and as living creatures. But that aside, they looked great onscreen, and the recreation of the “gun porn” scene from the original film was a nice touch here.
Having read the leaked script about 8 months ago (or whenever that was), I was very much in anticipation of the arrival at the Predator camp, and it didn’t disappoint. It would have been nice to have a few more distinctly alien-looking skulls lying about, but the scene still worked very well, and Anytime 2 looked brilliant. A few people have mentioned the fact that his inner mouth never closes. While this is true, I didn’t feel it to be a detriment to the overall scene, and this Predator looked more alive than any other Pred since KPH last donned the suit. It’s worth mentioning here that Brody pulls off the Royce persona very well. Rodriguez and Antal both mentioned later on during the Q&A session that they were unsure if they would be able to make the Royce character likeable to the audience, but that in the end they didn’t have to, because Brody created such an understanding between himself and the viewer, so that you never question the motive behind any of his decisions. I haven’t seen a more effective antihero character since Vin Diesel in Pitch Black.
There was again applause at the “big reveal” of the three BSPs, and I can’t say I blamed anyone. This was a phenomenally done shot, and was the first of many that really re-established that these are some truly menacing creatures, a point that’s been mostly ignored since the first film. Mr. Black especially exudes an air that he, despite what Noland might have you believe, is the one you don’t f*** with.
The stickman scene rather surprised me, both with its brevity, and with the final design of the creature, which as others have pointed out, bears a striking resemblance to Winston’s original concept designs for the Predator. There was quite a bit of audience appreciation at Edwin’s “F*** — ALL OF YOU!!” line. I think this is the line that really made his character for most people and convinced them finally that he really was “just a doctor”. The audience was already primed and ready for Noland’s appearance when it finally arrived. I personally felt that the repetition of Anytime’s lines from the original was overdoing it a bit, but I suppose it worked. I’d be very curious to know where he got that gun from.
Fishburne’s performance as Noland is another shining, if brief, moment of the film. The one drawback, as it always is with actors of his stature, is that despite the fact that he’s playing a hermetic, schizophrenic Vietnam vet who’s been alone for way too long, you still think of him as Laurence Fishburne, rather than his character. If one can get past this, though…well, actually, by the time you get past it, its time for him to explode in one of the film’s poorer CG moments. Despite the death of Nikolai, though, who had gained the audience’s trust alongside Edwin, there was much applause as he sacrificed himself to kill Tracker.
The Hanzo/Falconer fight has been the subject of much debate among fans. I personally feel that it was a bit slow. Falconer fights as though he has a death wish, as there are several times in the fight when he could have relatively easily killed Hanzo, instead allowing him to rise again and take another pass. But this is mostly a moot point, as the sequence is visually impressive, and the final shot of both warriors collapsed in a field of flowing grass is the closest the film comes to visual poetry.
Now we come to the second major flaw in the film. It seems Edwin has gotten himself in a bit of a pickle, as he can no longer walk. Well, at least, not for the duration of this scene, though. As soon as Black drops them in a hole, though, his leg seems to have mysteriously healed, as he betrays Isabelle in a scene that rather surprised me, if only by the number of other people in the theater who were obviously surprised by it. Shift scenes, though, and you find some rather excellent shots of Anytime II gearing up and duking it out with Black. I was rather apprehensive going into this scene, as it easily could have been the foundation for mountains of rage from the fanbase, but it was well-handled, and played out to a very logical conclusion. It’s interesting to note that this is the only time the premiere audience didn’t applaud the death of a Predator.
Now it’s time for that tried and true action movie trope, the climactic duel between the hero and the villain of the piece, in this case Royce and Mr. Black. Logic was defied a few times during this fight (after all, wasn’t Dutch invisible to Pred-vision when he was covered in mud? And why does it take Black so long to switch vision modes?) but all in all it was visually striking, relatively easy to follow, and satisfying in the end, which is all I ask from a fight sequence. The ending of the film left perhaps a bit to be desired, but all in all I think Predators is arguably the greatest Predator film ever made (iMDB, flame me as you will.)
Oh, how I wish I had somehow managed to smuggle my phone in to record the next part. Rodriguez, Antal, and Brody came out for a half-hour Q&A session. I didn’t ask anything, partly because I was near the back of the top balcony level, so they wouldn’t really have been able to hear me (as it was, I couldn’t really hear some of the askers), and also because I was concentrating on trying to remember as much as possible of what was being said. Overall, not a whole lot new information. Antal retold the story about Danny Trejo calling the casting director about the “Danny Trejo-esque” part and saying “well, you know, I look like Danny…”
When Brody was asked by a scrawny guy who looked to be about 16 “Do you have any advice for someone like me on how to bulk up quickly?” he told a relatively interesting story that I’ll try and recount here. Mr. Brody, if you ever read this, and I’ve misquoted you, I apologize, but I’m having to do this from memory, so this is very paraphrased. But essentially, he told of how he went to see Predator in 1987 as a scrawny 14-year-old in a really bad part of town, and implied that he got beaten up after the show, then commenting on what a wonderful thing it was for this franchise to have come full circle for him in that respect. He then told of how he had read an interview with Arnold done at the time, asking roughly the same question, and Arnold had said that it was mostly due to the excess of liver in his diet. So Brody mail-ordered 2500 desiccated liver tablets, and proceeded to attempt to bulk up. It didn’t work. So his secret now, for getting in shape for Predators? Eat a chicken a day, 4 yams, a hearty bowl of oatmeal, and hit the gym. Of course, then Antal told everyone the story of how he lost it all. Evidently, Brody took a trip to Israel (I think it was Israel) the day after shooting finished, and made the mistake of drinking the water there. He lost ten pounds in less than a week, virtually everything he had gained in his month of training leading up to Predators, thus explaining why he didn’t look particularly Herculean last night.
There was one more question that specifically answered a nagging plot point from the film. (WARNING: SPOILER) A guy towards the front of the theater asked Brody “So you’re on the alien planet. You’ve made it to the ship, you’ve got a way off. How the hell did you know it was going to blow up?”
Brody’s answer? – “Oh, that’s easy, man. I read the script!”
Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and one that I’ll never forget. I’d like to thank user m138jewski on these forums, for pointing out the premiere to me – without that, I would have had no idea it was happening, let alone a mere four hours away from me. I’d also like to thank Corp. Hicks, for working with me on getting a Galaxy shirt out to me in time.