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toggle audio on and off change volume download audio WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the 'Predator' prequel 'Prey'

By now, you have every right to be skeptical of another “Predator” after five installments — seven if you count the “Alien vs. Predator” spinoffs — but this time you’d be dead wrong.

The new prequel “Prey” is easily the franchise’s best installment since the 1987 original, making it appointment viewing for genre fans as it releases straight to Hulu this Friday.

Instead of a shoot-’em-up action flick (“Get to the chopper!”), “Prey” is a gritty wilderness survival tale set in the Comanche Nation over 300 years ago in 1717. Our hero is a Native American warrior named Naru, who protects her tribe against a highly-evolved, extra-terrestrial Predator, which lands on Earth to hunt and kill by reading thermal body heat.

Rather than ripped macho governors like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura, it’s refreshing to have a woman of color driving the action like Sanaa Lathan in “AVP” (2004). Amber Midthunder is not only a member of the Fort Peck Sioux Tribe, she is a 25-year-old heroine that young girls can admire. Hell, maybe she’ll run for governor someday, too.

Born in 1997, she wasn’t alive for “Dances with Wolves” (1990), “Last of the Mohicans” (1992) or “Pocahontas” (1995), instead growing up in a world of native filmmakers like Chris Eyre (“Smoke Signals”) and Sterlin Harjo (“Mekko”). Her bond is believable with brother Taabe, played by Dakota Beavers, a descendant of the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.

Proving herself to her family is just as important as staying alive as Naru tracks footprints, slings arrows and throws a hatchet on a string that comes back to her like a boomerang. Granted, audiences will have to suspend disbelief that she’s able to catch the wooden handle instead of the blade, but we gleefully go with it because it’s such a killer device.

Screenwriter Patrick Aison gives the heroine impressive character development, while also fleshing out the monster. How can you give a silent killer a character arc? Turns out, the Predator only hunts other predators like Dexter killing other serial killers. It ignores obvious bait or wounded prey to instead attack hungry mountain lions, bears or human aggressors.

Mostly, it’s great having a single creature back in the wilderness like the original, rather than running around a city like “Predator 2” (1990) or multiple monsters in “The Predator” (2018). The latter wasn’t anywhere near the best in the franchise, but it at least had a cool twist where a child on the autism spectrum represented the next step in human evolution.

In “Prey,” the evolutionary gap between humans and aliens is the widest yet as 18th-century humans battle far-advanced aliens. It’s a fascinating dichotomy of the primitive versus the futuristic — and not just in weaponry. Naru plunges into mud and ingests indigenous flowers to lower her body temperature to escape the Predator’s thermal radar.

The result is a surprisingly skilled stalker flick by Dan Trachtenberg, who directed “10 Cloverfield Lane” (2016) and TV episodes of “Black Mirror” (2016) and “The Boys” (2019). In “Prey,” he shows the Predator’s stalker point-of-view juxtaposed with overhead shots of tall grass moving in a field, a reminder that what we can’t see is scarier like “Jaws” (1975).

During the few moments where we actually do see The Predator, the visual design is fresh with an animal skull mask rather than the traditional metallic helmet guarding the famously grotesque face. We won’t spoil how this helmet factors into the finale, but just when you think you know the ending, the movie flips your expectations in the final showdown.

As the credits rolled, I smiled to myself, pleasantly surprised, but decided I’d have to dock a star for the Comanches speaking entirely in English for the audience’s benefit. Wrong again: I just read that “Prey” will make history as the first movie to provide a Comanche audio track in the native language when it drops on Hulu this Friday. How cool is that?!?

That leaves us with only one flaw: being a seventh installment innately fueled by nostalgia over originality. In some ways, “Prey” is daresay a better film than the 1987 flick, but the original is still “greater” because it invented the iconic character and birthed the franchise. However, if there’s one I’d like to rewatch over and over again, it might just be “Prey.”

That’s saying a lot coming from a cinephile who’s always professed his allegiance to “Alien” suspense over “Predator” schlock and never thought a “Predator” prequel could rival “Prometheus.” In other words, I’m giddy that I enjoyed it so much. Will the franchise make more killer standalone chapters in other historical settings? Let’s hope and “prey.”

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Tags: jason fraley predator prey the predator’s the franchise the predator the original the predator rather the best

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Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta ‘making plans to rival another major app’ with new platform called ‘Super’

MARK Zuckerberg's Meta is allegedly in the planning process of a new platform called Super that will rival another major app.

Meta is revamping an old platform to try and mimic the popular live-streaming network, Twitch, according to multiple outlets.

2Mark Zuckerberg's company, Meta, is planning to revamp their old platform, Super, multiple outlets have claimedCredit: Reuters 2Super is allegedly ditching their 'cameo-inspired' look and going to be a live-streaming platform like TwitchCredit: Getty

Although Super has been around since 2020, it was promoted as a a "cameo-inspired tool" that would allow video calling between celebrities and their fans.

Meta is asking influencers to try the new version of Super, Business Insider claims, after obtaining a deck of slides that the company has been using to pitch their platform to creators.

Some influencers have been paid $3,000 to test out the app for only 30 minutes, according to the outlet.

There were also "paid incentives based on the performance of the live stream," according to another source who spoke with the outlet.

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Some features on Super have stayed the same, like the ability to take selfies with creators, but much has changed.

Super will let creators monetize their streams like Twitch does, according to the pitch slides.

The pitch says viewers can donate to creators and purchase supplemental content through tiered subscriptions.

Creators will also allowed to keep all of their profits, as of now.

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Companies may enjoy the sponsorship program where they can pay to have their advertisements heavily integrated into the creator's livestream.

With specific video layouts already put into the platform, it's easy for a beginner to become a creator.

There are also fun built-in features like trivia and giveaway modules that creators can put into their streams.

No more than 100 creators have used Super as of yet, so it's still in the early testing stage, but creators can sign up and request early access.

This platform just one of Zuckerberg's many attempts to dominate the social media sphere.

After Zuckerberg created Facebook and made it into the $117.9 billion site that it is today, he started to expand his platform empire and obtain Instagram and WhatsApp.

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Meta's new platform copying Twitch is nothing new. Instagram has copied Snapchat with Instagram Stories and TikTok with Instagram reels.

Surprisingly, Super will not be integrated with other Meta sites.

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