The Best Movie Critic + sport

Hunter Prey

Hey Everyone, Luke here talking about the independant Sci-Fi darling Hunter Prey.
Hunter Prey is a remarkable movie. From start to finish it is one of the most beautiful things ever dedicated to film (nevermind that it was shot on an RED camera). The miniatures, the make up, the props, the CGI, ... the pure craftsmanship throughout the movie is something to behold, especially considering the $425,000 budget. It's just a shame the story couldn't really keep up.

"It is not the strongest of a species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one most adaptable to change, that survives. - Charles Darwin"
This quote starts out the movie, plain white letters on black background. From there we have our establishing shot, our character introductions, and our premise laid out. Prisoner transport crash lands on a desert planet, prisoner escapes, and the three surviving crew members set out to track the prisoner. The story unfolds exactly as expected, taking few detours and/or risks. The dialogue follows suit. But the importance of this movie doesn't lie in its plot, but in the ability of the people behind the scenes.

Seriously, just look at that makeup job! (bonus pic)The level of detail in the mise-en-scene borders on the obscene as every crack and scratch in the soldier's armor is a story waiting to unfold. The way the Sedonians bleed ever so slightly from their over-the-eyes nostrils, the way their cheeks move and crease naturally when the actors contort their faces, the seemlessness of the whole head piece in general, they're all beyond what one expects from even certain big-budget movies. This is Peter Jackson level make up, and, even then, this looks far more natural and organic to me than anything in LOTR.

The CGI celestial bodies float evenly, bewitchingly in the sky over the character's heads; to them an afterthought, to us pure gold. This movie is erupting with detail, a feature left out of lesser movies ranking from low budget to Michael Bay budget. If there is one lesson to be learned from this movie, it is that attention to detail can go a long long way. The models, props, and sparse CGI look far more professional, realistic and engaging than any given nanosecond in the Star Wars prequels. This movie is a triumph on a multitude of levels.

Unfortunately, and I hate to say it, the story just drags the movie down. It is not the worst story ever, hinting at various Twilight Zone themes, giving it's props to 80's classics (most of all Enemy Mine), it has a whole lot of heart and a heck of a lot of ambition, but every line is basically exposition. That wouldn't be so bad if we had more character development, but it's almost as if the writers felt like whenever the characters spoke to each other, they had to be cluing the audience in on the bigger picture, when I feel like what audiences really want is to learn and grow with the characters. You care an awful lot more about the hunt if you understand the predator and the prey.

The premise gives the writers a frustrating amount of opportunities for the characters to really open up to us and let us in, but then all we get is a few more lines of exposition. Heck, there was even a little computerized device that was essentially an exposition machine. From the heavy handed execution of the theme drawn from Darwin's quote at the beginning, to the pseudo-political justifications for the characters often times bewildering choices (/lack of motivation), the story left an awful lot to be desired.

That said, I still feel like this is an important movie, if only because it shows that studio-level, "big-budget" movies are becoming easier to make, and for less money, which ultimately means more voices to be heard, and a greater variety of stories to be told. Yes of course that means more terrible movies, but I think it'll be worth enduring for the few truly precious and wonderful stories that would otherwise not have had a chance to come to fruition.
A land mark much in the same way Cameron's Avatar was, but in a much more encouraging way, Hunter Prey was not perfect, but it is darn sure something to be proud of. You can Watch It On Netflix or Buy It Here.

Cinema, Hunter Prey, Luke, review, and more:

Hunter Prey + sport