CATEGORIES Action, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, SXSW, Fandom, 20th Century Fox, Trailers and Clips, Trailers and Clips, SXSW Film Festival, Cinematical
After lines of people curved around the block and down the streets surrounding Austin, Texas' storied Alamo Drafthouse, Robert Rodriguez let members of the press and even a few honest-to-goodness film fans inside to premiere the forthcoming trailer and answer questions about the new film Predators. Attendees drank beer and chomped on chicken fingers as Rodriguez appeared before a capacity crowd alongside director Nimrod Antal and effects guru Greg Nicotero to screen footage and offer hints at what's to come from the sequel-cum-reboot he agreed to produce in 2008.
Following a short introduction, Rodriguez screened the film's trailer twice in a row, stopping only to point out that there were two different versions, although he didn't specify what those differences were. Regardless, the trailer is a terrifically-riveting blast of fanboy provocation: characters played by Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, and Oleg Taktarov offer vague impressions of their experiences battling a mysterious creature – one ominously says "there was a flash of light, and then I was falling" – as they navigate their way through an unforgiving, tropical landscape. As title cards read "THEY ARE THE MOST DANGEROUS HUNTERS ON THE PLANET, BUT THIS IS NOT OUR PLANET," Brody's character acknowledges that for once, this group of murderers and assassins is in fact something else's prey.
The trailer cuts to an extended montage where various members of the cast flee, hide, or otherwise attempt to escape containment or death at the hands of mostly-unseen Predators. What's great about the clip is just that small detail – with few exceptions, the creatures themselves are not shown in great detail or given screen time – giving fans a sense that the new film will emphasize suspense over shock and emotion over gore. That said, Rodriguez later revealed that there were virtually no kills they didn't bring to life, so to speak, and that he and director Antal were fully exploiting the film's expected R rating, although he suggested some of their efforts might be pared down for the theatrical cut and preserved for a future unrated DVD and Blu-ray release.
In terms of the q&a, Rodriguez took lots of questions about the film from the audience, explaining first and foremost that he wanted the film to be a true sequel to Schwarzenegger's 1987 original, and not merely some spin-off or reimagining that was watered down by the other Predator-related movies. He said that this meant that he and Antal fortified the script with references and story developments that would evoke the first film, but didn't try to directly reference any and every iconic moment, thereby creating a more authentic follow-up and not just an empty fan-service sequel that ultimately satisfied no one.
As if to prove his point, Rodriguez screened just one more piece of footage, a scene in which the human warriors survive an attack only to face down another adversary – a decidedly human-sized Predator who skillfully gets the drop on the group. As the foe keeps him in his crosshairs, Brody's character asks, "what the f*ck are you?" To which the creature responds by removing his helmet and revealing none other than Laurence Fishburne. As the rest of the group looks on quizzically, Fishburne offers an introduction: "I'm the one that got away," he says. "The one you don't f*ck with."
Rodriguez, Antal and Nicotero offered additional details about the production, including revealing that most or all of the Predators are practical and not CGI, and that although there were discussions about the possibility of making the movie (or retro-fitting it) in 3-D, Rodriguez is pretty certain that's not going to happen. Meanwhile, they hinted at the possibility of sequels, saying that they wanted to continue to bring you exciting stories about these creatures, and create a throughline that you could follow through the first film and this one – at least.
At the same time audiences saw this footage first hand, Fox released a gallery of a predator dog, as well as little bit of the same material online, which you can watch by visiting the film's official site or clicking on the link below:
During the presentation, Rodriguez and Nicotero unveiled an animatronic predator head modeled on the one from the first Predator, and one lucky fan was able to actually manipulate its robotic mandibles. Meanwhile, the rest of us exited the theater only to get another surprise - flashlights bearing the three-pronged lights of a Predator's laser sight, t-shirts covered in those three-pronged red dots, and an exclusive poster Rodriguez said was produced especially and exclusively for the event. But what do you think of this iteration of the Predator films? Does the 's' really stand for a sequel or is it just a tacked-on change to indicate that yet another underperforming, underwhelming installment seems inevitable?