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Peter Menzies,
McTiernan's movies always feature
powerful compositions.
In this shot, Dutch, Poncho and Dillon
are all pressed to one side,
rather than spread across the frame.
The image shows the commandos
both blending with their environment
and also under pressure from it.
As the movie progresses,
vines and other objects
will stab their way into the foreground
between the camera and the characters,
increasing the audience's
feeling of claustrophobia
as the commandos go deeper into the jungle
and into danger.
( John Thomas)
We did have a profile on each character:
Where they'd been,
background experiences they'd had,
the kind of work they'd done.
I think in one of the early drafts,
while Dutch was in a delirious state,
he had a flashback to
an embassy takeover that they'd done.
The movie is not just one genre or another.
It has elements of science fiction,
horror and combat films.
In "Predator", the chief element of
the combat film is the platoon itself.
In the cavalry westerns which preceded
and influenced the combat film,
one member of the group was often an Indian
who had an intimate, almost mystical
relationship with the landscape.
( John Thomas)
You find that with Billy the Tracker.
Often, you'll find someone working
with them who could be from the region.
Billy knew so much about the jungle.
He's well versed in how it operates.
The filmmakers exploit this device
in a number of ways.
Here, they use it not only
to establish Billy's expertise,
but also to augment the movie's suspense.
Here, the drip-drip-drip sound
expands our sense of space
and with it our feelings of
exposure, of vulnerability.
What makes "Predator" so satisfying
is that it's equally committed
to delivering suspense as it is action.
Editor John Link describes the relationship
between action and suspense:
I'm an old-fashioned guy,
and I think one accelerates the other.
So when you play a long shot,
and it plays and plays,
then cut in and chop-chop-chop-chop-chop,
I think it's sensational.
But you can't chop-chop-chop.
Look on television.
I mean, Jesus Christ, I keep seeing
certain ads, I have no idea what they're about.
Go look at Bruckheimer's films.
You haven't got a clue where you are.
Jerry's a neat guy, but when you hire
this director, whatever the hell his name is,
he will not stay on one shot
for more than five seconds.
Illustrating Link's point, the cutting
employed when Billy finds the bodies
is a counterpoint to the earlier,
more lingering shots.
( Jim Thomas) The Predator
is not so much of a monster.
He's a dilettante, a hunter.
This is just what he does.
( John) The creature was descended
from a long line of a warrior society.
Obviously, he wasn't a game hunter,
he was in this for trophies.
It has the same implications for his kind
and his society as it does on our world.
We were trying to convey
that it had high meaning for him.
( Jim) We realised that
the more of the creature you reveal,
the quicker the audience
is liable to get bored.
The mystery is in keeping Jaws underwater,
in Alien, keeping the visual
down to a bare minimum.
We came up with the idea of layering
the reveal of the Predator:
First through his vision,
then through camouflage,
then by showing you
what he actually looked like,
then the final payoff
was underneath the helmet
that there was a living
organic thing with a mind.
There was one shot
that we were disappointed
that didn't make it into the movie.
It was the very first reveal that
there was this something out there.
Arnold's team was moving
out of the jungle quietly
and they'd camouflaged themselves.
As they pass by, they stir up this flock -
I guess they're flocks - of

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