Ha, looks like I made it just in time for X-Men Origins: Wolverine to make it out on DVD and Blu-Ray. It comes out September 15th. Again, I think you might wanna rent the thing rather than buy it. However, if you haven’t seen it, you might want to check it out for some quick and light entertainment. It really doesn’t compare to the other installments in this franchise, but it for all its glaring stupidity it is kind of fun.Keep in mind it still isn’t a great way to dive into the series, even though it is a sequel.

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Wolverine (2009) Review

August 27, 2009

"I want my pony now, bub! Rawr!

While this movie came out months ago, I still can’t resist commenting on this summer action flick. After Three X-Men flicks with varying reception. The first two of course were part of the great comicbook movie revival. The third one seemed to miss the mark, and suggest that the franchise was running dry. Well, a great deal of time has passed, and  Wolverine (2009) has been released. Did Hugh Jackman’s uber-masculine alter ego cure the X-Men movie slump?

Oh Heavens, no.

At least, it didn’t bring it back to the level of Bryan Singer’s installments. That much is clear. But it doesn’t seem like it was ever meant to do that either. It was just made into a standard, blockbuster action movie to provide a summer special effects extravaganza. And it did just that, although it unfortunately didn’t even do that all that well.

Anyone familiar to the X-Men plot so far can easily guess what Wolverine deals with. The prequel deals with Wolverine’s past life, especially leading up to the mysterious Weapon X program that the mutant has been having trouble remembering for the whole trilogy. At last, the answer that so many fanboys dreamed of seeing on the big screen. Unfortunately, this flick has little bearing on the original Weapon X plot. You can definitely count this as one of those superhero flicks where the filmmakers took an awful lot of creative license with source material. For all of you fans of Deadpool….I’m sorry. Better luck with the hopeful Deadpool movie.

One thing that was disappointing that alot of people don’t seem to bring up is the claws themselves. Sometimes they looked okay, but much of the time the blades were rendered with bad CGI. It was a disappointing departure from previous X-Men movies, where so much of every character was so well done. Now, the main character’s namesake is reduced to bad graphical effects.

The really great effects in the movie are often handled oddly too. Gambit comes to mind. See, Gambit is a mutant whose powers is that he can charge objects with kinetic energy, causing them to explode after a few seconds or if they are thrown at something. He can do this to the point that he can flick a card and make it soar like a rocket, and explode spectacularly. This is obviously a reason for why he calls himself Gambit (the other is his rogue-ish nature). Well, apparently the makers of this film decided they didn’t like the card throwing thing that much. He often uses his powers in a variety of ways, which is good in theory. It would be good in practice had his debut fight sequence not been so abysmally goofy. I almost never mention little continuity errors or trivial screw-ups, because 90 % of the time I hardly notice and I doubt the average person would care. But one of the scenes invovled the biggest continuity error I think I’ve ever seen in a blockbuster style movie. In a fight between Wolverine, Gambit, and Sabertooth, Sabertooth manages to knock out Gambit or something at close range. Then all of a sudden Gambits leaping over rooftops from way in the distance. How did that happen? Seriously, it was confusing.

The good news is that the foul ups and silly moments are funny as Hell. This thing could almost qualify as a comedy in some points. Sometimes I even wonder if the director wasn’t flat out having fun with the movie’s most ridiculous moments. Such as seeing little kid Logan doing the murderous rage schtick in a red night gown, or the infamous “memories growing back” line. You’ve probably seen the best example in the trailer itself. Wolverine is clinging desperately to some military style hummer, and an attack helicopter fires a rocket, destroying the car and catapulting ole Wolvie into the Helicopter. Not into the air, where he can catch the chopper, mind you. No he makes a direct bee line into the offending aircraft. And of course, thats how he disposes of it. By accident. Trust me, when my friend and I saw it in the theater, we laughed for several minutes straight. It looks incredibly ridiculous.

At least Hugh Jackman seemed to really be into his role. The performance might not have been perfect, but physically speaking he sure did look the part. Out of all the superhero movie stars, I’d say Hugh Jackman looked most like the musclebound comicbook stud. He put in some serious time in a gym and you can most certainly tell in the movie.

I imagine Canadians beemed with tremendous pride watching this movie, too. Not only did Canada get some quality time in an American movie- but the biggest badass in the Marvel universe points out the land of his birth with dramatic flair. Best of all, the gritty do-gooder serves as definitive proof that Canucks don’t say “aboot” after all. Of course, the movie doesn’t portray any of the conspirators as being Canadian, just the badass hero. As usual, the American federal government is out to get everyone.

If you haven’t seen any of the films of this franchise, do yourself a favor and see the first two before you decide whether or not to see this one. Really, this is something you might want to save if you are a true die-hard X-Men fan or if you want to watch something relatively light.

4.5 out of 10.

“Watchmen” Preview

November 22, 2008

watchmen1

Well, I posted my preview of the Spirit and it seems like few people were actually looking forward to it. I am skeptical of it myself. However, it was only shortly after I posted about that particular film that I discovered the anti-Spirit. In May of next year, Watchmen will show up on the big screen.

Watchmenis obviously based on the graphic novel with the same name, and there seems that most people that are familiar with the comic book medium know about Watchmen. For the ones that are not, this collection is basically about what happens when superheroes exist in the real world, and whether they would be a boon or a curse on society. However, it is much more complex than that isn’t it? The story also takes place over several decades leading to the year 1985, the year prior to the novel’s release. There is a great deal that has to do with the doomsday clock and the threat of nuclear holocaust-a threat that superheroes are essentially powerless to face. This, and each characters’ personal issues and neuroses cause them to behave more like imperfect beings, sometimes even as criminals. This wasn’t typical for comicbooks at the time, and still isn’t today, although Marvel Comics is going that direction, especially after Moon Knight’s reemergence and the “Civil War” they went through.

The project of filming this graphic novel isn’t a new idea. In fact, its been on the table for forever. Many big names has been attached to it-including Joaquin Phoenix, John Cusack, Daniel Craig, and Terry Gilliam. None of them are involved with this shoot. Gilliam reportedly even declared the thing unfilmable. Then, a new up and coming director signed on-Zack Snyder, director of Dawn of the Dead  (2004) and 300 (2006). While this particular filmmaker may not have much experience, what he has done is amazing. Let’s not forget that  300was a comic-book movie, and darn good one at that.  The cast he has is full of relatively unknowns and lesser knowns, but there is quite a bit to suggest that they are very capable of pulling this off. There is even an Oscar nominee among them. Like 300, Watchmen will look as much like the graphic novel as possible, even in terms of color and lighting. Exact images from the book are replicated here.

However, the expectations for such a movie are incredibly high. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Zack Snyder and his crew can pull this off brilliantly.There is a lot of promise here.  Alan Moore has expressed his excitement for the movie, and Kevin Smith has also seen an early screening and was very impressed with it. It might be difficult to create the cinematic equivalent of the “most celebrated graphic novel of all time”, though.

Whatever the case may be, it surely will be better than the Spirit.     Be sure to vote on my poll, please.

Special Note: This trailer is the first of three. The latest can be found at: http://watchmenmovie.warnerbros.com/

Well, this Christmas we get to see yet another spectacular multi-million dollar comic book movie put out by Frank Miller, complete with that distinctive Frank Miller look. It looks every bit as stylized and surealistically beautiful as Sin City (2005) and 300 (2006) was. The legion of lovely actresses and the presence of the cinematic legend that is Samuel L. Jackson should make any movie goer tremble with excitement.

Instead, the last couple trailers make the film look just plain odd.

While the film injects strong neo noir conventions into a beautifully dramatized landscape, there isn’t anything in the trailer to suggest that the film has any substance. In fact, it doesn’t even reveal much in the way of a plot. All we get is a steady stream of femme fatales, which is admittedly nice because we rarely see much of them any more. Now we get at least five or six in just one movie, Scarlett Johansson and Eva Mendes among them! This Spirit guy must be a studly love-machine to have this many girls after him. Or maybe he is just the horniest comicbook hero alive…

While much of the plot may remain a mystery, the character of the Spirit is a little more clear. He is a classic mix of action hero and noir anti-hero. He leaps from rooftop to rooftop, answering any woman than cries out for him and killing his villians “all kinds of dead”. All the while in a fedora and a red tie. Even his proffessed love for his urban jungle brings film noir to mind.  You don’t exactly get that much any more. Aside from the rooftop thing, where is the comicbook hero?

Well, apparently this guy can recover from fatal blows. Oddly this hero reminds me of “the Phantom” and “the Shadow”, both of which are vintage characters from radio serials and early comics. Both characters recieved film adapations in the 90’s, although neither did remarkably well. The Shadow (1994) in particular had a noirish asthetic. Is it possible that the Spirit can prosper where the Shadow failed? Only the Shadow knows. Heh.

Well, maybe not. Many of the lines taken out of the movie are very silly and quite preposterous. In one trailer there is a clip of Samuel Jackson dressed as a Nazi…see, the whole effect of being a white supremecist only works if the person is white. Aside from Jackson’s odd wardrobe, this film looks like it could be interesting. If it lives up to Frank Miller’s previous films, that would be both a relief and a surprise.