Discover more from Are You Not Entertained?
The Forgotten Pleasures of Small and Simple
When bigger isn't better.
Prey is a great science fiction movie. It may be better than the original Predator film from 1987.
It's hard to talk about Prey without falling back on superlatives.
It's a "franchise" film but, like the first movie, it stands on its own. Anyone who likes action, sci-fi, and monsters can watch, understand, and enjoy it without a franchise directory or pre-game briefing. It's the story of a young woman named Naru who is striving to find her place in a tribe that can't see her for who she is.
It's inclusive. It not only uses Native American actors to play the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, but Jhane Myers, a member of both the Comanche Nation and the Blackfeet Nation, served as a producer and worked to insure that Indigenous people were portrayed accurately in the film.
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It's shot beautifully. They filmed it in Alberta, on First Nations land, and the cinematography sucks you right into the forest and onto the beaver dam where some of the key action takes place. In an era of CGI and green screens, a science fiction movie that goes outside touches grass is a breath of, well, fresh air. It’s a shame it went right to Hulu instead of theaters.
It's also good science fiction. On the surface it's about a scary alien that sees us as prey, but scratch the surface and it’s about us. It's about society and how it mistreats women. It's about history and the abuse of indigenous people. It's about coming of age. But these themes are part of the story and told by people that care about them. They're not bolted on to appeal to a market segment or cash in on a hashtag.
Mikey Neumann talks about movies on FilmJoy, his YouTube (and Nebula) channel. He covered Prey on Nebula a few weeks ago and finally posted the video to YouTube.
He makes another point about Prey and the past decade of universe-spanning franchise films. I'll quote him with some light editing since he rambles a bit toward the end of the video.
Trying to make everything huge isn't sustainable and to be honest, it's kind of tiring us all out. And it's tiring your creators out ... PREY (came) out and illustrate(d) that small movies can make us relate to the human condition again.
Like I said above, Prey is simple. It's self-contained. It nods to the larger Predator franchise a couple of times, but in a way that only the "true" fans notice and that we mere mortals don't need to worry about.
Let's hear it for self-contained tales about the human condition!
Here's the whole video review. It's a little over 20 minutes (which is 19 minutes too long for at least one of my dear readers) and Neumann loves digressions, inside jokes, and sly winks. So if you want to skip ahead to parts 3 & 4, I don't blame you.
Realms of Roush
Finally, a quick shout out to Zachary Roush and his substack, Realms of Roush.
Realms of Roush takes you to new realms every month with sci-fi and fantasy stories. Read and listen to the newest story at zacharyroush.substack.com. He published his latest a few days ago, and it’s fantastic.
See you next week!