¿Predator: To the press is it a feminist movie? It is not a simple question, but one that has become the center of debate since its successful premiere on Disney+. But a very vocal sector charges that the film is using the mythology surrounding the franchise to prop up a story about female empowerment.
As if that weren’t enough, they insist that the premise—based on a confrontation between a Comanche hunter and one of the Predators—lacks credibility. After all, she is a teenager with no formal training; that she achieves the feat of defeating a creature specialized in killing. One that doubles her in size, surpasses her in skill and has state-of-the-art weapons.
So the question about the alleged feminist ingredient in the film encompasses much more than the relevance of its central character. Also, it questions the solidity of the plot and points to what could be interpreted as a manipulation of elements with a specific connotation. Is it what happens in Predator: To the press? Is it a vehicle to promote the visibility of powerful women in cinema?
Predator: in the pressa complicated point in a constant discussion
The debate points to the way in which director Dan Trachtenberg analyzed the meaning of force and power. An element that has been repeated throughout the saga Predator and that, in the new film, reaches a very high point. Ever since John McTiernan’s 1987 action classic showcased his ruthless, precise and invincible creature, the message was clear. the dutch of Arnold Schwarzeneggerwith all his military training in tow, physical strength and weapons, couldn’t beat the alien. It was, after his command was exterminated, that he decides that the only chance to win is through cunning.
Much more, the script makes it clear that the alien hunter is an enemy that surpasses any traditional attempt to defeat him. Neither shots, punches, slashes, frontal attacks or a bare-handed fight reduces him. So Dutch makes use of his instinct and deduces that the battle will be held in strategic intelligence and analyze the behavior of the Yautja. A caveat that provides its strange and recognizable identity to Predator.
A new vision on an old topic
The same situation occurs throughout the saga, which bases its most obvious elements on showing that the Predator is more of an inexplicable creature. The Yautja comes from a culture in which war and hunting is everything. That includes a set of rites, customs and even traditions that relate to killing quickly and effectively. So any of your opponents you’ll have to give up brute force to bring him down. At the same time, to the use of any weapon or even strategic defense mechanisms of a military order.
The predator is above that. It is curious that in each film of the saga Predator, the characters theoretically best prepared for the confrontation are the first to die. And that, frequently, the survivors resort to all kinds of tricks, traps and tricks in order to win. During a good part of the stories, killing or dying becomes not an armed clash or a way of measuring forces. It is a way of showing that the art of combat —or at least, as the Predator conceives it—includes a refined intelligence.
The political commentary Predator: in the press
Naru (Amber Midthunder), the protagonist Predator: To the press fits perfectly into this tradition of characters. Regardless of her gender, she is, like every other representative figure in the franchise, strong, mentally quick, and a born survivor. She is a member of a Comanche tribe, trained for hunting during his life and who observes the Yautja as an adversary to be feared.
In fact, as the most visible faces of mythology in Predator, he faces the creature as he can. On the one hand, through the analysis of their behavior. Then, by figuring out how to use her minimal advantage as a native of the battlefield, to outmatch him.
Does that make the plot a feminist movie? Or a way to artificially empower Naru? Actually the survivor played by Amber Midthunder belongs to a long list of cinematographic women, whose route is identifiable. Like so many others, he seems physically weak until he must call on his reserves of strength and will to win. A traditional trope in science fiction and horror.
Naru joins a growing group of powerful women who have been in the movies for decades
The character of Sarah Connor marked a milestone since her appearance in the first film of the franchise Terminator, released in 1984. The woman imagined by James Cameron is not just a survivor. She is also the central element of the film. She the mother of the future leader in the midst of the coming apocalypse.
Connor does not have great powers or knowledge about military tactics. The script shows him anonymous, so much so that his name appears repeated at least a dozen times in the phone book. A plot trick that makes it clear that the woman about to face a dangerous creature could be anyone.
For the director, moreover, the role of Connor was of particular interest. Despite the fact that during a good part of the argument he runs away from the Terminator sent to assassinate her, she was not a victim. In the end, she is the one who manages to defeat him. Between tremors, dazed and bewildered, the woman who was destined to be saved, manages to fight for her life and triumph.
Sarah Connor was not the first woman to become a circumstantial heroine of science fiction in the last decades of the 20th century. In 1980, Sigourney Weaver played lieutenant Ellen Ripley, sole survivor of the attack on the Nostromo. And the only one that defeated a fearsome creature that would mark a milestone in cinema. Alienthe Ridley Scott, It was one of the first movies endow their female characters with power. In addition, to give them a purpose and a type of value that made their battle against the monster in turn into something completely new.
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) didn’t seem like the ideal candidate to survive Michael Myers’ attack on Halloween by John Carpenter. But the director knew how to build a whole new proposal that turned the character into a different heroine. Plus, her determined enough to take on a man twice her size. A masked assassin who massacred everyone she knew before getting to her. In the end, Laurie was able to defeat him through resistance. A background for future powerful calls final girls of horror movies.
Within the Predator franchise we also have a good number of powerful women who knew how to face the alien and survive. Anna Gonsalves (Elpidia Carrillo), Leonela Cantrell (Maria Conchita Alonso), Isabelle (Alicia Braga) in Predators, Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan) in Alien vs Predator and even Machiko Noguchi, the comic book character from Aliens vs. Predator: Warare the best examples.
So the Naru of Predator: To the pressin all his improbable will, is not a novel figure in science fiction cinema. Nor is its relevance related to political movements or the artificial visibility of its role in history. Like so many other powerful women in cinema, Yautja’s new opponent is a character with a purpose. And that’s as simple as the one she animated to Hamilton’s Sarah Connor and Weaver’s Ellen Ripley: Survive. Something that is clear in much of the film.
If your first complaint of Predator: To the press it is the inclusion of a strong female character, capable of defeating the predator, and it makes noise, the problem is you. You are probably a bit sexist.
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