[originally published July 16, 2010.]
Well, what are you gonna try next, cheese?
Dillon from Predator (1987)
I saw the new Predators. I’m going to come-out as a girly-girl.
I once taught a University course called gender in film which I haven’t thought about in a while – until now. The Predator films would work well in my masculinities section of the course. To give you an idea I taught The Terminator in this section.
I saw this film with a sea of males. I was the only female. There were ads at the beginning of the show – these included a busty blond woman selling film-tickets online and a sports car gazed at adoringly by a female. I can’t imagine that I was the target audience member. I think the expectation here would be a male audience.
I am very careful about calling something a chick-flick or a guy film. I do believe that there is a spectrum for gender. We are taught how to be male and female: this franchise reabsorbs this ideology. My interpretation is not about biology, testosterone or estrogen but the meanings we assign to biology, ok?
‘Predator is a 1987 science fiction action film directed by John McTiernan, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, and Kevin Peter Hall. The story follows an elite team on a mission to rescue hostages from a guerrilla group in Central America. Unknowingly, the group is hunted by an extraterrestrial life form, the Predator. Reaction to the film was generally favorable, and the film grossed $60 million in the United States. The film also generated two sequels, Predator 2 (1990) and Predators (2010), and two crossover with the Alien franchise, Alien vs. Predator (2004) and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007).’ (Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.)
In all films there are no female Predators and the sole female cast-member in Predators is the love-interest. I keep thinking of baseball, football or hockey where usually there are no females unless they have a league of their own. There are female fans though.
In Predators (With Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga.) several people are in parachutes and are dropped on a planet that is a gaming reserve for the Predators. The goal of our lead (Adrien Brody) is to get off the planet via the air-craft. Or, “A group of elite warriors are hunted by members of a merciless alien race known as Predators.” (IMDB)
Guns, gore, violence, weak story, ugly monsters – the usual. Nobody expects character development, right? What more can I say? Um, cool planet. One reviewer said, “The lameness of this movie had me thinking: Is Predator still relevant as a villain that we can be afraid of, despite not being placed in a jungle ourselves, or are we just “afraid” of the pain they can bring to us? Besides, does one feel much pain when their spine is yanked out of their bodies like the way a mom rips out an XBox electrical cord when their kids are playing/watching too much crap?” (The ScoreCardReview) Yup.
I’m going to mention the following, not because I feel that it’s a male thing but because you would be hard-pressed to find this in a so-called chick-flick. A vile character expresses a wish to rape a woman. A monstrous character moves away from him in a suggestion of repugnance. This is STILL a part of the film though. This merits mentioning because of the popularity of the series.
I believe the film is the worst of the three. But I’m only a girl.
Alien vs. Predator. Dir. Paul W.S. Anderson. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. 2004
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. Dirs. Colin Strause, Greg Strause. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. 2007
MovieMistakes.com Accesed July 11, 2010.
Predator. Dir. John McTiernan. Amercent Films.1987.
Predators. Dir. Nimród Antal. Twentieth Century Fox Film. 2010.
The Internet Movie Database. Accessed July 11, 2010.
The ScoreCardReview.com. Accessed July 13, 2010
The Terminator. Dir. James Cameron. Hemdale Film. 1984.
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Accessed July 12, 2010.
Romy Shiller is a pop culture critic and holds a PhD in Drama from the University of Toronto. Her academic areas of concentration include film, gender performance, camp and critical thought. She lives in Montreal where she continues her writing. All books are available online.
Romy Shiller is a 3rd Wave Feminist according to the book Third Wave Feminism and Television: Jane Puts it in a Box by the head of women's studies at South-Carolina U.