Friday, October 2, 2009

Prey = The Lion King: Unrated and Behind the Scenes

Last fall, the hubby and I got a new 42 inch flatscreen HD Sony Bravia tv.
Bully for us, right?
My point is that while the tv is HD, we hadn't gotten (read: blew the money on) the HD compatability package with my current satellite provider. Last weekend, we finally got it. Yea!
So this past sunday the hubby and I were able to watch our beloved Pittsburgh Steelers LOSE to the Cincinnatti Bungals (whoops, sp.) in unbelievably gorgeous clarity, thank you very much!
Boo to the loss. Yea to the game in HD.

Along with the fine updated advances we'd given ourselves in viewing enhancements, we also got our first DVR. Whoa, man - have I fallen in love with this technology. It rocks. I can freakin' record anything- anytime - and not have to go through the painful process of VHS recording (whereas it is nearly impossible to find new blank VHS tapes anyway).... I can just click on a button and Presto! I've just recorded a marathon of Snapped! or something of equal stellar quality.
Seriously, though.
My first movie I watched in crystal clear HD was Prey (2007).
And while certainly not an Academy Award nominee, it was a great flick to try out the HD on.
WOW. Anything with animals in

First off, I've read a ton of bad reviews for this movie.
Undeterred, I still watched it.
What I got was a feline Cujo hyped up on 'roids. Yikes.
Thankfully I recorded it off HBO, so all the blood and gore were still in tact.

Basically it's about a family who gets attacked by lions on safari.

Tom (the dad, played by Peter Weller - Robocop, dude!) is an engineer - apparently important enough that he is in charge of a new dam (that's dam, not damn) project in Africa. He brings along his family, cause that'd be fun, right?

Only thing is, family is going through a bit of a stitch lately. Seems Dad and the kids' mom have divorced, and Dad has married Amy (Bridget Moynahan - Tom Brady's ex and baby mommy for all you tabloid-lovin' freaks) - a much younger mother-figure. In particular, the teenaged daughter Jessica (Carly Schroeder) pretty much just despises Amy. The son, David (Connor Dowds) never shows a dislike for Amy, but isn't given much of a chance to with Jessica bitching 24/7. It's really a good thing the boy didn't have to say much - his acting blew.
So Tom has to get to work, and sets up an African safari for the rest of the fam.
They head out with one guide/driver/ranger into the Serengeti (or wherever they are) and while Amy and David are seeking out animals, Jessica is bored, reading and listening to her iPod.

Two predictable things happen almost immediately.
First, they go "off road" after Jessica complains/asks if there are actually any animals on the tour (shades of Jurassic Park but not as witty).
Second, young David has to pee. Naturally.

Okay. Correct me if I'm wrong, but couldn't he just pee in a bottle? Or at the very least they could stop the car, roll down the window, and lift him up a bit so he could take a wee? I mean, they are smack dab in the middle of a big game reserve!

Suffice it to say the very first scene of this movie shows a pride of lions attacking and tearing out the throat (among other piecey-parts) of a poor zebra. So you know who's lurking about here.

So since Davey won't shut up about whizzing, the ranger stops the car and they get out and walk a little distance from the SUV.
And of course, even though the ranger is packing some serious heat, and should have known better to go off road in the first place, the "mane" event happens.
Lions show up. Lions chase the ranger and David back to the car. David makes it. Lions feast on the ranger, who did indeed, try to shoot the lion, but was unsuccessful (and just how does that happen? Stupid f**king ranger!)
Amy, David and Jessica are now stuck in the car. Just like in Cujo. They watch as the lions use the ranger as a bloody chew toy, pulling him away and consuming him in the heat of the desert like Kirstie Alley with a pile of nachos.

(this is not from the movie but you get the picture!)

Soooo not good. They soon discover the ranger took the keys with him. Just great.
Soon after this, a male lion (in his King-of-the-Jungle mode) comes around and jumps up on the car - first onto the hood, then the roof - pawing desperately to get inside to the rest of his lunch.

Unable to puncture the roof (but he does succeed in splintering the windows, which I must say was a rather frightening moment) he stalks off lazily, fulling intending to bring his harem of she-males back to get the job done.

Jessica thinks she spots the keys lying in the high grass. They get out binoculars and indeed, the keys are shining from the weeds... but several paces from the car. They haven't seen the lions in awhile so Amy takes her life in her hands and makes a run for it. Naturally the lions spot her but she is able to outrun them and get back to the car. Funny how she makes it back to the car but the ranger didn't.

Then a really ludicrous segment unsues. Instead of simply driving the car at least somewhat cautiously until they get back to the main road, Amy acts like a NASCAR driver whacked out on meth and carelessly speeds through the bumpy terrain, running over little bushes and over roots and into trees. Dumb ass. The whole time, Jessica is yelling for Amy to slow the hell down. So what happens? They wreck, of course.
Stuck again.
If I was that teenage girl, at that point I would have strangled her with my iPod cord and threw her out for Simba.

It gets dark.
Lions' eyes glow in the dark. Creepy.
Does that really happen?

Guess so.

By now Tom is home from work and frantic when he discovers his family never returned from their adventure. Rangers won't go out to search till dawn. Tom is referred to a big game hunter who might be able to help, so he seeks him out. They take off into the wilds to search.

Meanwhile, it's morning - the car trio is thirsty. They think the lions have left. Uh-huh. Right.
Amy and Jessica traipse out into the bush, looking for water (because there might be a Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville around here somewhere, right? We are on vacation, true?)
Without fail, a lioness appears and when it seems like the duo are lined up to be a hot lunch, BAM! Poachers.
They shoot the lion dead and proceed to start cutting it up. (Is there a market for Lion Guts that I am unaware of? 'Cause these dudes are all about the intestines.)
The girls attempt to communicate with the two poachers, and are able to relay the whole "we need water" thing.

**Stupid-ass plot alert!**
Jessica goes off with one of the poachers (the one with the knife bigger than my arm, because that's safer than the dude with the gun, right?) so he can show her where some water is.
Seriously, who would ever do this? In a million years, no one in their right mind would.

Anyway, he does end up being a legitimately decent guy, showing her where there is a river (no doubt swarming with e-Coli, ebola and/or any other nasty shit) and even cuts open a few gourds she can fill up. They head back to the others.

To keep going with this is a moot point. You can guess where the plot is headed. It was nothing if it wasn't predictable.
But I gotta say, it had its moments. The lion attacks were hideous and quite gruesome. There was the inevitable tension while the family is stuck in the car, and a later moment where the front windshield finally breaks out had me at the edge of my seat.

Animal terror gets me every time. My fear of deep water is rooted, like so many others I'm sure, with the fear JAWS invoked in me. (Read more about my love of the Spielberg shark fiesta here.) I freaked out at Cujo all those years ago, about lost my lunch when the kodiak bear ate that dude in The Edge, and wigged out quite sufficiently during the recent croc fest, Rogue. I guess it's cause, whoa! That shit can happen!

So while Prey is not knocking down any doors of originality here, it had its share of squeamish moments. And despite all the derogatory reviews I've read, I liked it.

And I really liked it in HD! At times it was like the best episode of Wild Kingdom you've ever seen! Those acting lions (?) were beyond beautiful.
In all actuality though, I was really voting for the lions to chomp the entire family.
But hey, maybe that's just me. Or maybe it's cause I cried during 'The Lion King'!
Justice is served, boys.

1 comment:

CRwM said...

Lions eye's don't really glow in the dark, but they do reflect light just like a domestic cat's eyes do. The reflection is a product of the eye structures that make cats' night vision so keen. Anyway, that's the "glow" in those pictures.