It’s time to rethink the Predator, people. Warrior-nobility aside, we’ve been casting them as the badguy. And I’m not sure that stands up. Walk with me:
Point the first: They are “drawn to battlegrounds”.
In the first and second films, the predators are drawn to the most dangerous places on earth – in the first film, the drug war in South America, in the second, the drug war in slightly-futuristic Los Angeles. The suggestion is it goes to those places because all the carnage and killing makes it likely they’ll encounter plenty of warriors to make good hunts. But that doesn’t hold up to hunting logic. If you want to get a good challenge from a grizzly bear, you don’t go to the grizzly bear arena where grizzlies are fighting each other to the death, because then your average target will be half-chewed and eaten before you get near him. If you want a challenge, you find a quiet lone grizzly at his full strength, and you kidnap his daughter. You know, like in Commando. You don’t wait for him to come to South America and waste ammo on some drug dealers first.
And this “ultimate hunter” thing runs into trouble with point 2 –
2) They “take trophies”.
Or do they? Yes, they skin their victims and take heads. But they don’t take them home with them. The pick up vessel in Aliens vs Predator doesn’t stop to collect all the skulls the last predator must have been storing somewhere. When Arnie arrives in Predator 1, the predator has skinned his victims, yes, but he’s tens of miles from that site and shows no intention of going back after he kills his victims. So he skins people, but where does he put the skins? In a pouch?
So here’s an alternative idea: he skins his prey to scare the hell out of everyone else in the area.
Now we’re starting to get a new idea of the creatures. They go to the worst warzones on earth. They identify and track down the worst killers in the area, defeat them effortlessly and then leave their mutilated bodies around – as a warning to others.
Now hold that thought as we go through some other points:
– they’re invisible, and move in mysterious ways
– but they can be sensed by voodoo priests (Predator 2) and Native American Shaman types (Predator), so they have some kind of spiritual presence
– they have dredlocks, perhaps indicating a strong sense of spirituality and connection to Rastafarianism.
– they have been visiting earth since before the last ice age (AvP)
You see where I am now.
The Predators are gods, or aliens masquerading as gods, and they are here to HELP US. When humans are swarmed by too much warfare, and look to be consuming ourselves, an invisible force descends, butchers all the best warriors and terrifies everyone else into ceasing fighting. They are trying to save humanity from our own destructive ways. They are HIPPIES. That’s also why they skin corpses, they are probably trying to recycle the carcasses into nice hats or wallets or seat covers or something.
I know what you’re going to say: if that’s true, then why did they bring the Aliens to the South Pole for training exercises? But that’s not the right question. The question is: why did they bury everything at the South Pole under a thousand tons of ice? See, I think they brought the aliens to earth to STUDY them (assuming they didn’t just find them here already – Prometheus may have something to say about where the “jockey” came from – there were giants in the old days, people), then one day they discovered humans. Being gentle creatures and not wanting to kill the alien queen, they froze her and buried her deep under the ice so she couldn’t harm humans until they could find a way to safely extract her. By the time they had done that, they realized that the alien was not only dangerous to humans, but so were the humans themselves. This amazing new species was on the verge of wiping itself out. The solution is to become invisible and watch from the sidelines, and interfere when it became necessary. Sometimes they could be subtle, other times, they needed a nuclear bomb (hence Sodom and Gomorrah).
Some accidents occurred along the way that caused us humans to worship them as gods. Some stories leaked through. This is why all ancient myths have something like the titanomachy, where the monsters/evil serpents are destroyed by the gods, but lurk around, waiting to insert evil into us again. Only the gods can save us – immortal, invisible, dredlocked spirit masters of beyond. Predators? No: PROTECTORS. And every time we run into them, we kill them with a tree of some sort. Or Danny Glover.
And the lord sayeth, this is my blood, shed for you, and Jesse Ventura said, if it bleeds, we can kill it….