Prey is a very early prequel film to the Predator franchise and tells an original tale of these iconic movie beasts in a different setting than anyone has ever seen before. Let’s all hope the powers that be keep making these films in different time periods to showcase the origins and history of this species. Maybe bring back Schwarzenegger too. The 4K set looks wonderful with an amazing 4K transfer with HDR10 along with an exquisite Dolby Atmos track. The extras are worth watching as well. Highly Recommended!
Coming off a long and tedious list of Predator movies, this new prequel titled Prey changes the game and takes this franchise in a fantastic and wonderful new direction. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg and starring virtually a cast of unrecognizable names, Prey succeeds in almost every way possible with its high suspense, amazing action sequences, and phenomenal performances, both physically and emotionally, along with adding to the ever-grown mythos that is Predator. If Prey is the start of what’s to come from this franchise, then audiences all over are in for a fantastic, bloody treat.
Dan Trachtenberg might not be a household name yet, but he sure will be soon. Trachtenberg made the hit film 10 Cloverfield Lane and directed the Black Mirror Episode called Playtest. That’s about it. Now he’s stepped into the world of Predator as he went with his idea some six years ago that has now been fully realized. Back in 1987, an all-star ’80s cast led by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Apollo Creed himself Carl Weathers embarked on a violent journey that seemed like a simple rescue operation in the jungle that turned into the discovery of alien life with a nuclear explosion. Even pro-wrestling superstar Jesse Ventura starred in this film. The sequel took it to a major city which in turn collided with the Alien franchise and a couple of reboots.
But now, Prey is set in the year 1719 in the heart of the Comanche Nation where a young, expertly skilled warrior named Naru is still vying for respect from her tribe in being the head warrior. This leads her to hunt her prey, which is in fact a Predator alien who has landed on Earth looking for that ultimate game of life and death. Only the Predator is armed with some of those advanced weapons, but unlike in previous films, Prey now offers the twist of its victims fighting with primitive weapons, such as axes, bows, and arrows, rocks, or anything they can get their hands on. This results in some excellent and creative fight scenes that audiences haven’t seen before from the franchise and are even more brutal than any gun blast. Naru and her family of warriors are intense and fantastic physically as they battle this large muscular alien with what they have and Tratchenberg’s camera perfectly captures the action without many quick cuts, allowing for the action to come full force.
There is an added conflict with the caucasian settlers trying to murder and move the native people, so now there are two brands of violent conflicts happening simultaneously but are presented in such a way that feels fluid and smooth. Prey should have gone full Apocalypto with its language, but instead, to appeal to a wider audience, the film is all set in modern English. This means that the Native Americans speak as someone would speak in the present day and that white enemies have a French accent to keep things a little different. This decision takes its audience out of the time period, because it just doesn’t feel quite right. But as time goes on, that awkwardness of that modern language in the 1700s goes away. Still, the film would have been that much more amazing if they fully committed. However, for the first time ever a complete Commanche alternate language option will be available, it’s just not the language they’re actually speaking on screen.
Prey also connects to the future Predator franchise in a brilliant yet subtle way which will hopefully pave the way for sequels as Tratchenberg has stated that he’d love to make more. And if this is the way they will be delivered, bring them all out, please. Prey is a bold and original way to tell a Predator story, one that pays homage perfectly to the films before it and tells a new story, along with showcasing what Predators looked and acted like long before doing battle with the Austrian Oak. The creativity the film uses in its battle sequences and hiding from the Predator without the use of technology is fantastic. Prey is amazing.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Prey hunts its way to 4K + Blu-ray via 20th Century Studios. Unfortunately, there is no Digital Copy, which is maddening in this day and age. However, there is a hilarious insert for a funny-looking Predator action figure from NECA. The two discs are housed inside a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The artwork on both the sleeve and case are the same which highlights the green color tone and a fight between human and Predator. The discs themselves are colored green and red with each of their weapons signified on the disc.
Prey delivers a demo-worthy 2160p UHD 4K transfer with HDR10 that is surprisingly robust and detailed. The vast wide-opened landscapes offer up a treasure trove of earthy colors from the shades of blue skies and water to the green and beige landscapes that surround the characters. The subtle hints of yellow and orange in the leaves and in the fire look dynamic. The color red pops up with its gory muscular sense that drips blood everywhere and contrasts nicely with the natural tones behind it. Black levels are inky and rich without any murky shadows and the skin tones are always natural. Even the lower-lit sequences give way to all those beautiful natural colors.
The detail is always sharp and vivid, revealing excellent closeups that show off facial pores, individual hairs, practical makeup effects, beads of sweat, and specks of dirt, along with amazing textures in the old clothing and alien skin of the Predator itself. Weapons, props, and items in the background always look sharp with the wide range of land never going soft. The CGI effects, which there were a lot of according to the commentary track look phenomenal and one will not be able to distinguish reality from CGI here, which doesn’t usually happen in a Disney film. There are no video issues to speak of, making this outstanding image a demo-worthy option to show viewers at home.
This 4K release has an amazing Dolby Atmos track while the Blu-ray Disc comes with a DTS-HD 7.1 option. Both sound fantastic, but the Dolby Atmos mix offers better surround and height elements. Those sound effects from the fight scenes and other explosions sound boisterous and well-rounded. The vast landscape really opens the speakers up to all the naturalistic details where wind, insects, trees, and other ominous sounds can be heard perfectly. It’s a quiet and atmospheric arena that is really immersive.
When the action takes off, the low end of the bass kicks into high gear and offers up a wonderful rumble that never crosses into rocky territory. Those height speakers really make use of the Predator’s noises and movements, causing anyone who watches this to look around their own room. The dynamic range is wide and the LFE is excellent here. The dialogue is clean, clear, and easy to follow along as well. There are no audio problems to speak of.
There are 47 minutes of bonus material plus an excellent audio commentary track from a few people. It’s mostly EPK type of fluff but they’re all fun.
Audio Commentary – Director Dan Trachtenberg, Actress Amber Midthunder, Director of Photography Jeff Cutter, and Editor Angela M. Catanzaro all deliver this engaging and informative commentary track that is well worth the listen. Dan talks about how there were so many CGI shots in the movie and how he wanted to make it look like it was all realistic. Amber, Jeff, and Angela also tell anecdotes from the set, editing the film, and shooting on location.
Making of Prey (HD, 13 Mins.) – Cast and crew interviews along with some fun behind-the-scenes footage are included here. This is a better-than-average EPK video.
Prey FYC Panel (HD, 29 Mins.) – The same people from the commentary along with some of the producers and puppeteers talk about making the film, and stories from the set.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 5 Mins.) – A couple of deleted scenes with commentary from Dan Trachtenberg.
THE ULTIMATE WORD
Prey is a delight of a film that furthers the origins and story of this iconic movie monster. Telling these narratives in different time periods is a fantastic and original way of bringing Predator back to the big screen. Let’s all hope they make more. This 2160p UHD 4K image with HDR10 is amazing and demo-worthy and the Dolby atmos track sounds excellent. The bonus features are all worth watching too. Highly Recommended!
Written by: Bryan Kluger