When Disney+ launched in 2019, most of us probably thought we’d be using it for little more than watching Pixar movies and the MCU over and over again. You know, back when there were only 20 movies to watch back-to-back and not a complex web of Baby Groot blockbusters, TV shows, and shorts. However, Disney knew that even an earlier catalog dating back almost a century was not enough on its own. It’s made various acquisitions, which seems to be all the rage these days, and as a result of those acquisitions, it’s the platform where we watch very un-Disney movies like Prey.
As someone who first watched Predator at far too young an age to watch this sort of thing and loved it instantly, you’d think the news of a new movie in the series would excite me. If you’ve seen even one of the Predator movies that’s since been released, you’ll understand why that’s not the case. I had very little intention of watching Prey until rave reviews filled my timeline. It was called the best Predator movie since the original. Admittedly a low bar for Prey to jump, but when I saw Jesse Ventura praising him and his Amber Midthunder header, I gave him a shot.
Fortunately, my thoughts on Prey matched everything I read online. Way better than any other Predator movie for over three decades, and honestly, if it had come at a different time, there just might be a version of me that thinks it’s the best of them all. Nostalgia is always a difficult enemy to overthrow. The memories of sitting there watching something I knew I shouldn’t have been, listening to Arnie deliver iconic lines that I can throw off to this day, it was never going to be a fair fight.
Even though both are Predator movies, they’re also hard to compare. Prey drops the alien into another era, pitting him against a group of Native Americans. The new concept has been praised, and rightly so. It’s the one that hasn’t been used much in the cinema. In fact, the last great example I can think of is Cowboys & Aliens. If you haven’t seen it, the movie does exactly what it says on the box. Aliens are invading Earth, but rather than pitting them against today’s human race as we’ve seen thousands of times before, the aliens must do battle with the inhabitants of the Old West.
Cowboys & Aliens had the exact opposite effect that Prey had on its audiences when it first hit theaters over a decade ago. Despite its innovative idea and star-studded cast, reviews weren’t quite as rave. So much so that it had the opposite effect on me too. A slight urge to see it, but once I heard what people had to say, I decided to let it go. I finally saw it on DVD (remember that?) and thought it was awesome. Not surprising, nor revolutionary, but I think he deserved better.
I spent the next few weeks wondering why this hadn’t been done before, at least not on the same scale. Take aliens or zombies or, as Prey did, a famous character and drop them right in the middle of a different era. That feeling faded but came back into my head from time to time. That’s why I was so happy to find out that Prey not only had another crack in the formula, but improved it and made a great, long-awaited Predator movie.
I’ve seen a number of posts and tweets asking why this isn’t done more often. Part joke, part serious suggestions like Final Destination on a Pirate Ship, or how Henry VIII would have handled a zombie invasion. I guess he would have married and then beheaded one of them. I briefly jumped on this bandwagon, but quickly jumped again, because that’s exactly what I don’t want Prey to become. A bandwagon in which all Hollywood studios embark.
The positive reaction to Prey is likely to happen exactly in the years to come. Whenever something has a modicum of success, people tend to do it to death, especially when that success is backed by the loudest voices on social media. Those voices convinced Sony to re-release Morbius in theaters after all. There is a very real risk that the next few years will be filled with these studios dropping their IPs at various times in an effort to replicate the success of Prey. Sure, the next idea might be good, and maybe even the one after that, but eventually, as is the case with superhero movies for a lot of people these days, the novelty will wear off.
Cowboys & Aliens being good and not great, that wasn’t happening in 2011. It took Prey over ten years to follow in his footsteps, and now that we have him, I don’t crave the same. I realize that a ten year gap between movies like this is why I love them so much. If we reach a point where we get one every six months, or even just one a year, they’ll quickly bleed together and won’t be as special as the two movies we’ve got so far in what’s still an incredibly niche.
NEXT: Destroy All Humans 2: Reprobed Review – Boogie On Down To Remake Town