Boiling Point: Multiplication Errors

Boiling PointHollywood is numbers obsessed. From box office to budget, to franchise installments and ensemble casts, it seems bigger is better and the more the merrier. You’d think by now, with a history of increasing the size of things, they’d have a handle on how things behave when they’re bigger or more numerous.

Let’s take a look at some fairly popular franchises currently in the news: Alien and Predator. Each is a stunning example of how Hollywood doesn’t understand multiplication, though one is a better example than the other. First, let’s look at the originals and how they compare to the sequels in namesake. Alien was followed, logically, by Aliens. Where there once was one, now there were many. Predator was technically followed by several movies, most of which only featured a single Predator, but thanks to Troublemaker Studios, my analogy will now make more sense with the recent release of Predators.If we take a look at Alien, we found the singular, titular alien kicking a lot of ass and spreading a lot of panic. Just one of these vicious creatures is enough to cripple and haunt an entire ship. One of these things is a goddamn nightmare. In the aptly titled Aliens, Hollywood correctly increased the number of beings in relation to the title. You’d think if one alien was a nightmare, a hundred would be a holocaust. Or if one little alien was bad, wait til you see the Queen Bitch! Now, Aliens is an awesome flick and the danger was up a bit, but so was the competition, but when it came right down to it, the bigger, badder alien Queen was still put down by a single lady – just with the help of a giant exo-suit.

What we saw though, was hints at the multiplication error Hollywood is fond of – multiplying the number of evil aliens didn’t result in an equivalent upscaling of the danger and death. As I mentioned, though, the human element got stronger, so it’s not a clear, concise parallel. If I really wanted to nail the Alien franchise, I’d definitely bring up the even bigger Queen in Alien vs Predator who is defeated in an even shorter amount of time, but I want to move on.

Thankfully there is Predators to prove my point about Hollywood’s craptastic multiplication. In the original film, just one Predator is pretty much the most amazing and awesome killing machine we’ve ever seen. He kills Guatemalan residents and criminals with ease as a warm-up and then rips through an elite squad of America’s most muscular soldiers. The Predator is only defeated by the sheer cunning and tenacity of Earth’s greatest warrior. Surely, if one Predator is this dangerous, a handful could probably conquer entire planets.

Not so, the follow-up franchises tell us. While not titled nearly as accurately, AvP ups the number of Predators to three – remember? Of course you don’t. Because two of these ridiculously efficient killers, who make sport of tearing the heads off aliens, are killed within moments by singular aliens. So here we see that three Predators aren’t three times more dangerous, they’re just… there.

A PredatorPredators spells it out even more clearly that studios are terrible at multiplication. You see, this movie introduces us to what are basically Super Predators – a different race or breed of the alien that is bigger, stronger, faster, and meaner than the Predator we met in the first film. I mean, damn if these things aren’t the most ultra amazing predators in the universe.  Just imagine, we previously thought the original films beast was a 10 out 10 when it was only a 7! The Super Predators are the real 10s!  And there are three of them! Hell! Thats 3 times 10 = 30.  I don’t know how that is applicable, but that sounds deadly as f**k.

Surely if just one regular Predator could defeat a unified, highly trained squad of killers (1 regular Predator x 7= a killing power of 7. Holy nuts, the Super Predators combined have a kill power of 30), surely three Super Predators can defeat a mismatched, non-unified squad of only partially trained killers.

Then again, Hollywood sucks at math. Instead of these new super killers being many times more deadly, they actually come across as less deadly. One of the Super Predators is defeated in a fair fight, one on one, versus a human. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t win a fair fight against one of those weak Predators! A second Super Predator is tricked and killed by a single person, damn. Then the last Super Predator, after showing himself to be clearly superior to a regular ol’ Predator, is again soundly defeated in man to beast combat.

What the f*ck, Hollywood? How do you take these ultimate killers, inject them full of steroids, and somehow come out with an inferior product? How exactly is this a Super Predator of it gets easily overpowered by a man half the size (almost literally) of the beast of a hero who couldn’t even outfight a little wimpy Predator?

This isn’t the only time this has happened, oh hells naw. It is only the most recent and accessible. You can look through the history of film and television – no matter how deadly the creature is, there is something deadlier and no matter how much deadlier it is, the hero is still far, far deadlier, despite only being slightly deadlier than the original in the first film. Ya follow?

If you’re around my age, you probably watched The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and you probably remember that the Putties were replaced by Super Putties that were virtually undefeatable – until their second appearance. Eventually they were just regular ol’ losers again. Who were quickly replaced by the almost unbeatable hordes of Ivan Ooze! … Until they were just your average, regular losers again. You get the idea.

I’m not saying I just want one alien or one Predator or one damn Putty. Just don’t tell me this thing is the deadliest thing, but then that this thing is even deadlier, but somehow is defeated even more easily. A Super Predator shouldn’t be able to be defeated by a single man – it should be hard as hell to kill. We’ve seen how deadly just one alien is, a bunch should be ridiculously tough. We’ve seen small creatures give heroes a run for their money and then when the bigger, badder creature shows up its beaten in much the same way, or often because of time constraints, beaten even easier.

Wake up, Hollywood. When you take something bad ass and multiply it (either through numbers or size) make it that much more dangerous! Amp it up! Because right now, every time I see some new Super Duper Ultra Bad Ass fall the same way, in the same amount of time, as the Regular Normal Bad Ass, well I go past by Super Boiling Point (which is twice as hot as my regular boiling point… this week).

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Robert Fure is many things: horror expert, ruggedly handsome man of the world, witty prose composer, and writer of his own biography page. Beneath the bravado is a scared little boy, ready to grow into an awesome man and make lies about a scared little boy inside of him. Wait a minute...

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