Man versus beast, predator versus prey. We have heard different stories of these elements bringing balance to the universe, not just our world. Still, when the hunter becomes the hunted, we tune in intensely to know that we can survive anything. The movie Predators (1987) was our first introduction to the man-hunter known as Yautja, Predators, or Hunters, with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the lead. These extraterrestrial species are characterized by hunting other dangerous species for sport and honor, including humans. The Yautja possess a level of technology far more advanced than what is available to humans. They use technology such as active camouflage and energy weapons, combined with comparatively primitive traditional weapons, such as blades, spears, and nets. The Predators often ritualistically mutilate their prey and usually claim a trophy from their kills.
Other movies that tell us more about their stories have been released, like Predators (2010) and The Predator (2018). We also tap into another alien species that the Yautja loves to hunt: Xenomorphs. You can see them in films like Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), Alien Resurrection (1997), Prometheus (2012), and Alien: Covenant (2017). You also see the direct clashing of the Xenomorph and the Yautja in Alien Versus Predator (2004) and Alien Versus Predator: Requiem (2007).
Prey (2022) is being discussed so heavily because we love a hero or in this case a heroine. Just like Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movies and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the previous Predator movies, Amber Midthunder is now putting her imprint on the franchise as the lead of this storyline, which takes place in 1719. The young Comanche girl named Naru (Midthunder) joins her brother and other young men on a mission to locate and retrieve an injured tribe member. Along the way, she points out inconsistencies in the tracks that the others are chalking up to a lion or bear. But Naru believes it’s something more dangerous. Naru, trained in medicine, fights through physical and emotional pains to face the intellectual and highly trained enemy to defend her family and village.
Amber Midthunder is not new to the screen. She has been part of other projects like The Ice Road (2021) with Liam Neeson, Legion (2017-2019) with Dan Stevens, and Hell or High Water (2016) with Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges, showing that she is a versatile actress worthy of holding the audience as a leading lady. Amber is also a member of the Fort Peck Sioux Tribe, so the fact she is playing the role of a Native, or The People, is further evidence that Hollywood is bringing more and more balanced representation to the forefront.
As time has passed, audiences have demanded better cultural representation and more young women in leading roles, rather than reduce them to the stereotypical surface-level character that will make predictable moves. Amber does a great job of showing Naru has the depth and determination to be known as the strongest and smartest based on her own merits and not because of who she knows or who her family is. It would not be surprising to see Amber in future projects as the lead and put her in the ranks of Milla Jovovich, Zoe Saldaña, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Rhonda Mitra to name a few.
This captivating prequel is also unique because it was filmed on Stoney Nakoda land near Calgary, with a primarily Native American and First Nation cast. Hulu subscribers will also have the option of viewing Prey with a full Comanche language dub. This adds to a small but growing list of other movies dubbed in indigenous languages like Bambi in Arapaho, Frozen 2 in Sámi, and Moana in Maori.
You can stream Prey now on Hulu.
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