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The Next Reel • Season 13 • Series: 1988 Academy Awards Best Visual Effects Nominees • Predator

Predator

“There’s something out there waiting for us, and it ain’t no man. We’re all going to die.”

After the huge success of Rocky IV in 1985, screenwriters Jim and John Thomas saw an opportunity for another Rocky film where he’d have to fight an alien, calling it “Rocky vs Predator.” They developed the idea into a script titled “Hunter” about a group of alien hunters looking for the most dangerous prey. Unable to get interest, they slipped it under producer Michael Levy’s door who loved it. Levy brought it to producer Joel Silver who also loved it. Silver brought in action star Arnold Schwarzenegger, who suggested changing it from one man against the creature to a team for more dynamics. Director John McTiernan was hired for his first studio film. With a budget under $20 million and filming in the jungles of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Predator began production.

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue the 1988 Academy Awards Best Visual Effects Nominees series with a conversation about Predator.

Here’s a hint at what we talk about:

We discuss the excellent creature design and visual effects that still hold up today in making the cloaked Predator feel dangerous and threatening. The story structure shifts cleverly from a military rescue mission to sci-fi horror when the alien arrives. We admire the directing style of McTiernan in generating tension and fear. Character dynamics are touched on, along with some problematic elements.

Here are a few other points in our discussion:

  • Memorable one-liners and quips from Schwarzenegger
  • Contrast of the special forces team against the advanced alien
  • Discussion of problematic Indigenous American and female character tropes
  • Always hoping for more from Jesse “The Body” Ventura’s character

Predator succeeds at being an enthralling, action-packed cinema ride. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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