Let’s look at how Prey breathed new life into the Predator franchise. The Predator franchise has been a mainstay of sci-fi action films for the last forty years, since the fantastic original Predator in 1987. A product of its times and action roots, it’s a film that has more than its fair share of muscles, sweat, blood, and death, with a smattering of witty discourse, jokes and to this day regularly quoted sayings. Unfortunately, since that first entry, and maybe an argument could be made for Predator 2 starring Danny Glover, the Predator franchise hasn’t fared well, but that has changed now. Let’s look at how Prey breathed new life into the Predator franchise.
A History Of Predator
The next installment after Predator 2 was the incredibly poor Alien vs Predator and Alien vs Predator: Requiem, which thereafter was both quickly distanced from the ‘main continuity’ and not considered actual Predator installments by the studios. Two of the greatest sci-fi icons of the last fifty years should be a movie that writes itself, however, that definitely wasn’t the case.
We then got Predators, which was a direct continuation of the story started in the first two, in as much as the first two were referenced briefly. Starring Adrien Brody in what could have been his breakout action role, the film went back to the jungle, this time on a faraway planet, with multiple Predators hunting the rag-tag crew of criminals.
Lastly, and most recently we had The Predator in 2018, starring Boyd Holbrook and Olivia Munn. Back on Earth, it centers around a prison-bound soldier and his family, who along with a bunch of misfit soldiers end up in a fight with a new type of Predator, but ultimately the whole thing was average.
How Prey Breathed New Life Into The Predator Franchise
At this point, many cinemagoers figured we’d lost any chance of a Predator film even close to the original, let alone as good as the one we just got. If by now you’ve watched the newest addition on either Disney+ or Hulu, you’ll realize there’s life in the franchise yet.
Stripping the premise of the film back to basics, it also takes the brave step of going back some three hundred years, centering around a tribe of Comanche warriors, and more specifically Naru, a female Comanche who’s desperate to be treated as an equal and a hunter for the tribe.
You’d think that this just simply wouldn’t work. Bows and arrows, axes, and hunting dogs against an incredibly advanced alien lifeform with a plasma cannon? Thankfully the film addresses this and at the same time shows us the progression of the Predator race when compared to the original. The cannon is gone, the camouflage is less reliable, constantly faltering and malfunctioning, and the mask… oh the mask is glorious. Gone is the steel mask, replaced by a more primal mask made of bone.
Homages And Callbacks
The director and writer Dan Trachtenberg not only understands his material but has a passion for the Predator franchise clearly. The film is fast-paced, beautifully shot with some fantastic shots, and the action is a franchise high since the original.
Throughout the hour and a half runtime, there are plenty of shots framed intentionally like the original, be it Naru rising from the mud or the branches moving as the Predator jumps invisibly from branch to branch, and many more. It’s both a homage to the first film and able to stand on its own feet.
Whether you’re looking for a Predator film that delivers on the gore and death, a faithful prequel to the original, or a film that lives in the Predator universe and brings its own ideas, you should watch Prey. It’s the film that’ll carry on and hopefully propel the Predator universe to new highs, and that’s how Prey breathed new life into the Predator franchise.