Alien vs. Predator: Which is better?


Fact Box

  • Directed by Ridley Scott and released in 1979, Alien grossed over $81 million at the box office, while Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, grossed over $54 million in 1987.
  • Stan Winston, the designer of the alien creature in Predator, was inspired by a painting he saw of a Rastafarian warrior, 'I started drawing and redesigning this alien character with quills that in silhouette would look like dreadlocks.'
  • According to her own estimates, Sigourney Weaver, whose first starring role was in Alien, was paid around $30,000 to act in the film.
  • The mash-up movie project Alien vs. Predator was released in 2004 but was not well-received by critics, receiving only a 21% 'tomatometer' rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Ernest (Alien)

Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) and John McTiernan's Predator (1987) are both sci-fi/creature horror films that feature a group of people against a fierce alien creature. However, Alien surpasses Predator in multiple ways.

Firstly, Alien's story arc is more complete and more sophisticated than Predator's--and enables the audience to get invested in the characters and the action. Based on the standard 'three-act plot structure,' Alien has more than one layer of struggle and 'takes its time with its setup, building an atmosphere of apprehension and mystery until the audience doesn't know what to expect.' On the other hand, Predator can be summed up with--as one blogger states--'men, jungle, unseen killer beastie.' Pretty simplistic in comparison. 

Alien's characters are also more dynamic than Predator's. A mix of men, women, android, and even a cat, who all respond differently to the crisis, is definitely more engaging than the brawn holding guns from beginning to end in Predator. The protagonist, Ripley, also shows significant character transformation that helped pave the way in redefining women in the sci-fi genre. Additionally, Alien showcases internal and external character conflict through the disagreement of Ripley and the rest of the crew over major decisions running parallel to the collective conflict against the Xenomorph threatening their survival.

Further, Alien succeeds at the daunting task of opening audiences up 'to an entire new world,' due in no small part to help from Swiss artist H.R. Giger, who helped shape the set and creature design. Predator is merely set in the jungle despite its villain being an alien--no world-building merited. 

Even the tagline for Oscar-winning Alien, 'In space, no one can hear you scream,' is iconic. Predator just can't compare. 

Maha (Predator)

'I ain't got time to bleed' and 'get to the chopper' are two of the many iconic quotes that Predator introduced to the world. However, memorable lines are just one of many aspects that made the franchise's first movie stand out--even when compared to Alien.

Predator is more plausible and accessible than most movies in the action sci-fi genre. It was set in the then-current time and took place mainly in the rainforests of South America. The location especially made sense as the CIA black ops were frequently in that area back in the 1980s.

This is one thing that Alien lacked. In addition to being futuristic and set in space, there were several errors that eagle-eyed moviegoers detected. 

Scientists proved that chestbursters couldn't essentially bash their way out of someone, let alone do it so easily. That's probably why Alien: Covenant chose other regions for young Xenomorphs to burst out from. 

Similarly, the implantation process of facehuggers is more likely to kill the hosts as the eggs can suffocate them.  

Plausibility aside, Predator's popularity stems from its main character. 

The Yautja are hyper-intelligent species that have evolved technologically. Their culture honors hunters and allows them to rise through the ranks by pursuing dangerous prey. At the same time, the Yautja have ethics and don't fight non-combatants. 

Predator and Alien sequels further proved the Yautja's supremacy by showing how they tamed Xenomorphs to continue hunting them. They even use their technological and chemical engineering abilities to design armor protecting them from Aliens' acidic blood. 

Finally, if Predator weren't the best, it wouldn't be the one getting a reboot now, would it?

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