Prey, the review: a head-to-head rather than a physical one

Prey: a sequence from the film

The human being is not the strongest, in a purely physical sense, on Earth. A tiger, a shark, they are much more powerful than any person. That’s not what skips the most. Michael Jordan is an exception. He has no fangs or claws. He doesn’t even have fur to protect himself from the cold. At least not anymore. Yet he has become the dominant species. Unfortunately, it must be admitted, given the environmental disasters caused and the problem of overpopulation (Thanos would have something to say about it). Well the Predator prequel is all based on this concept: what really makes prey and what is a predator? Keep this in mind when reading the Prey reviewon Disney + starting August 5.

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Prey: Amber Midthunder in one scene

The film, written and directed by Dan Trachtenberg, in the second feature after the debut 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) and the direction of an episode of Black Mirror (Playtest, 3×02) and the first of The Boys (The Name of the Game , 1×01), completely overturns the point of view. Starting with the title: where we had Predator (predator), now there is Prey (prey). This time we are in the United States, in the plains in the south, in what was once the territory of the Comanche, no longer in the jungle of Central America. And we are in the 1700s, without the 80s weapons of heavily loaded soldiers. In place of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who in the first film is the major Dutch Schaefer, the protagonist here is Amber Midthunder, or Naru, a teenager who wants to prove that she can be a huntress.

Trachtenberg (who is unrelated to actress Michelle Trachtenberg, who plays Dawn in the series, would have been too good a short) is almost as if he had also made a prequel to Buffy – The Vampire Slayer. Naru has no magical powers or super strength, but she is a teenager, she is a hunter and must survive fighting a creature that comes from another planet. Remember the episode of Buffy dedicated to the First Slayer? She and Naru probably could have been a good team.

Prey: hunting as a metaphor

Prey’s first half hour doesn’t feel like a Predator movie. We follow these Comanche hunters in their search for animals to kill, often far from willing to be hit by their arrows. Naru, underestimated by all members of her tribe as a young woman, would like to prove that she can also get her food, but no one gives her credit. You then learn to observe, to evaluate the pitfalls and advantages of the territory. Before shooting an arrow she thinks about it. You learn to be flexible, to adapt. In a word she is intelligent and cultivates her great ability to connect cause and effect relationships.

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Prey: the terrifying alien in a scene from the film

Qualities she needs when, suddenly, she and her companions are faced with something they have never seen before. Even in a literal sense, since, if you know the other Predator movies you know, the alien who came to Earth with anything but affectionate intentions (forget ET’s “home phone”) is able to make himself invisible. Once we finally see it, it is just as we remembered it: fearsome jaws, massive body, very advanced weapons. How can a girl who wields a bow and arrow, at most knives and axes, think of fighting against such an opponent? With the most precious thing she owns: her head.

Amber Midthunder: a new talent

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Prey: Amber Midthunder in a photo from the film

To shoot Prey the actress of Sioux origins Amber Midthunder she has undergone hard training in what she calls “the Prey Boot Camp”: she is not afraid to get her hands dirty, to throw herself in the mud until she is completely covered. She believes in it: and we with her. In the more physical scenes she is perfectly in part, but her strength is being a good actress: she conveys her fear of her, her tension. She seems to even see the gears of her brain go to a thousand as she looks for holds and solutions to save herself. The film is completely about her shoulders. Slim, but light and fast.

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Prey: Amber Midthunder in an action scene

Contrary to Schwarzenegger’s brute force, in Prey the struggle for survival becomes like a game of chess, a battle of strategy. Naru uses everything he has at his disposal: the soil, the properties of the plants, sets up traps. Of course, it is not a walk in the park to confront a Predator face to face. However, the girl becomes the symbol of human ingenuity, which, even in the most desperate situations, she knows how to find solutions.

The metaphor of hunting is therefore transformed into a huge container, in which, alongside action scenes and hand-to-hand combat, we can insert all sorts of themes, from the situation of women to the extermination of Native Americans, passing through the problem of destruction. of the environment, seen here as an ally rather than as something to be exploited. This is Prey’s good intuition: to return to the primordial, to the instincts present in each of us. Survival and fear. Being simple and essential, the film is universal, offering many ideas for reading. And one certainty: if they always underestimate you, then yes you can be really dangerous.

Conclusions

As mentioned in the review of Prey, the film written and directed by Dan Trachtenberg goes to the essential: it is the fight for the survival of an 18th century Comanche girl against an alien. Hunting becomes a metaphor that offers many ideas for reading. Predator hasn’t changed, but the point of view is completely overturned: here great attention is paid to the environment, used in a strategic way and seen as an ally rather than something to be exploited, and to the intelligence of the protagonist. Actress Amber Midthunder is a rising talent and instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscles she can count on her expressiveness and the adaptability of the character.

Because we like it

  • The protagonist Amber Midthunder, a talent.
  • Hunting as a metaphor.
  • The use of the environment.
  • The reversal of the point of view: the secret weapon is intelligence, not strength.

What’s wrong

  • Those expecting a classic Predator movie might be blown away by the first half hour.

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