film fatales #147: after maria (nadia hallgren, 2019)
music friday: blondie and rockpile

geezer cinema: prey (dan trachtenberg, 2022)

Prey has gotten a lot of attention, in spite of (because of?) it's opening only on the Hulu streaming site. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) and starring a cast of unknown-to-me actors, Prey is a prequel to Predator, which doesn't matter as much as you might think. I liked the original, never saw any of the endless sequels, so you could say I'm coming to this one fresh. And fresh is what it is. It will forever be thought of as part of the Predator franchise, but you don't need to be familiar with the other movies to appreciate Prey, the quality of which makes it stand on its own. Amber Midthunder has the star-making leading role as Naru ... she had a small role as a bank teller in Hell or High Water, and she was a part in the confusing TV series Legion (I only lasted through one season). Midthunder dominates her scenes in Prey, and is the best reason to see the movie.

Prey takes place at a Comanche village in 1719, and it benefits from its setting. In Predator, a rescue team led by Arnold Schwarzenegger goes to a Central American rainforest and encounters the Predator ... in a sense, they, like the alien, are intruders on the scene. But the Comanche people are defending themselves in Prey, and Naru plays the Arnold role. Another twist is that Prey is, among other things, a coming-of-age story for Naru.

The film looks great, and there are some excellent set pieces involving the Predator. For once, the character development is welcome, rather than just thrown om to make the movie last longer. This helps Prey as a movie, since the depths of Naru expand the film's reach. I admit, though, that I'm temperamentally inclined towards the kinds of overpowering action many of today's movies offer, so while Prey has depth, it didn't always have me on the edge of my seat.


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