“Predator” franchise charges back with “Prey” in return to classic sci-fi
By Javier Romualdo
Los Angeles, Aug 2 (EFE).- “Predator,” the horrible alien who hunts humans for pure pleasure, made his debut on the silver screen more than 30 years ago but he still continues to inspire new movies.
The latest of the cinematic efforts in the popular and long-running franchise is “Prey, set in 1719 and filmed in the Comanche language.
The director who has made possible the return of the Predator character, Dan Trachtenberg (one of the directors on the series “The Boys”), insisted that this new film is not a prequel to the original 1987 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and it is not a story that provides the audience with the origins of the famous extraterrestrial.
“It is set 300 years before the original movie, so technically it would be considered a prequel, but I think part of the thing that makes it so exciting is that it stands on its own as … a great film, as a classic swashbuckling adventure movie mixed with a horror film, and it also has some pretty gnarly Predator stuff that furthers the lore” surrounding the bloody-minded ET, the director told EFE in an interview about the film, which will first be screened this coming weekend on Hulu and Disney+.
The original film was difficult to categorize as science-fiction, adventure or horror, but it gained status as a classic by presenting a violent struggle between a technologically advanced alien predator and a military contingent armed with plenty of testosterone and headed by Schwarzenegger, Elpidia Carrillo and Bill Duke.
The idea gelled and three sequels were produced, and then a trilogy came along that pitted the Predator with the “Alien” from the same-named franchise, one of the sci-fi horror icons in the 1980s.
Now, with his return in 2022, the bloody-minded alien is the only thing that “Prey” preserves from the earlier films.
Trachtenberg said that he asked himself “What if we feature a hero that we haven’t ever really seen before,” adding that “so I thought about, you know, historically in pop culture who traditionally has played the sidekick or the villain, and it’s Native Americans, in particular Comanche(s).”
“So, that’s the genesis of this movie,” Trachtenberg said.
Besides being a Native American character, the director also decided to make the film’s central character a woman.
Set on the Great Plains in 1719, long before that immense expanse of territory became part of the not-yet-founded United States, “Prey” tells the story of Naru, a young Comanche woman obsessed with proving her courage who one day discovers a new threat completely different from anything she has seen before.
Desperate and with almost nobody among her tribe believing her, Naru (Amber Midthunder) must confront the Predator with the few resources she has, and figure out how to battle an unknown being armed with much more sophisticated and destructive technology than her hunter-gatherer society possesses.
Regarding the plot, Trachtenberg said that he wanted to include a woman, given that women are stereotypically perceived as “less capable” by their societies, “and so that, to me, was the challenge, of combating that perception and taking on this David vs. Goliath kind of story.”
“(I was) trying to find a character (with whom) we could all relate,” he said, adding that “I think all of us can relate much more to Naru than we can to Dutch,” referring to Schwarzenegger’s character in the original film.
Visceral, convulsive and dark, “Prey” maintains the standards of the earlier films with a lot of action and little dialogue, but dares to challenge viewers with a version filmed completely in the Comanche language.
The cast shot the film in both English and in Comanche so that viewers may follow the story in either language.
Trachtenberg added that the good thing about “streaming” films is that the public can decide which version they want to watch.