Okay, so I haven’t seen a single movie this year – I’ve been preparing for a wedding, which is another way of saying “busy and broke”. Finally, last night, Vickie and I got to rent some movies. I kept with the spirit of the holidays and stuck with a “freaks” theme: Gothy Freaks (Underworld: Evolution), Cool Freaks (X-Men 3: The Last Stand) and Dead Freaks (Corpse Bride).
I liked Underworld: Evolution much more than I thought I would. I’m a big fan of creative writing in a sequel, writing that completely changes the plot of the first movie. For example, in Terminator 3, you find out that specific, seemingly unrelated events that happened in the first two movies are linked to something new. This way, when you watch the first two movies again you think to yourself, “Hey, self, what’s up? Feelin’ good? Excellent. Keep in mind that the reason this is happening is because the night before in the plot this one thing happened, which will be expanded up on in the third movie.” Granted, some people may not like the idea of patching the original story, but I like it a lot, especially when it doesn’t involve changing the original. Am I rambling? I am. Let’s get to the point.
Fifteen minutes into Underworld I debated whether or not I should stop the movie. The movie literally picks up where the last one left off, minutes afterwards. When people walk into rooms the corpses are still there, so kudos on the set direction for resuming the last movie. Luckily the movie is heavily sprinkled with flashbacks, but some of the flashbacks are new flashbacks, so the flashbacking isn’t something you can skip, unless you’ve got epilepsy and flashing back also causes you to thrash back; in that situation, by all means, skip the flashbacks and just watch the first one again. (I’m rambling again, aren’t I?)
I would have graded the first Underworld with the words: “Nice, but could have been better.” My brief websearch didn’t come up with a definite answer as to whether or not the movie was based on a comic series already (besides the White Wolf lawsuit, because no one has ever thought of a world with vampires and lycanthropes before they did!), but I thought that it would have been nice to not have to go through the entire movie as an introduction to the world. I wanted a bit more of a substantial plot rather than the (glaringly obvious) cliches that the first one delivered. The plot in Evolution isn’t much better – as a matter of fact, there’s very little plot – without spoiling the movie, I’ll say this: the entire movie is one big chase. Honestly, from what I remember of the plot of the first one, this movie seemed more like an epilogue.
But Jeebus was it impressive. Lots of fights, lots of action, lots of effects, very little color. Seriously, I’m getting sick of the “bleached bypass” color filter that people are using to death these days. I know that it’s supposed to be at night, I know that it’s supposed to be gothic and that taking out the colors is a metaphor for the lack of life and blood, but c’mon! The movie might as well have been done in sepia.
I will say that the effects on the werewolves was especially excellent – I’d like to watch an entire movie about the Lycans world. Vampire’s are done and done, ya know? But werewolves are an untapped market, or rather, mistapped, which I’ll expand on in another article.
All told, I’d give this one a solid 7. Fun movie, really only completely enjoyable after watching the first one though, so don’t attempt it unless you’ve seen it recently.
After that I moved on to X-Men 3: The Last Stand, cause that was the movie I’d really wanted to see. (I’d gone to the movie place with the idea to rent XMen, Superman and Pirates, these being the three movies I’d missed this year. I should have remembered Clerks 2, but didn’t see it so it’s probably not out yet. The others weren’t out yet either, so I settled on XMen, Underworld and Corpse Bride, which I’ll watch tonight, maybe.)
X-Men 3: The Last Stand
I’d heard “Bad Things™” about X-Men3 before it came out. I’d heard that a producer at Fox was not going to stop until he ruined the franchise because he, like Uwe Boll and Rick Berman, was incompetent. There was supposed to be a “sex mutant” who could seduce anyone as her mutant ability. It was going to deviate substantially from the original stories (although how you could deviate from the canon when there is a multiverse kind of eludes me). I prepared for the worst.
The movie was, in short, fucking awesome. Yeah, it deviates. Dark Phoenix is not an alien, but an alternate personality. Hank McCoy (I’m his friend, so I can call him Hank) is blue because of his mutant genes, not a botched biological agent. There are even some big events that happen that cannot be made to fit within the comic histories. So accept that, realize that this is another branch of the multiverse and sit back and enjoy the show.
Jeebus, was a show! The first X-Men movie was an introduction to the major players, the second was a set up for a war – this is the movie we’ve been waiting for. Full on XMen vs. Brotherhood. Lots of action in this one, lots of gorgeous effects and visuals, a decent helping of acting from most parties and, at the risk of a sounding limp-wristed, I finally go to see Colossus in action, so that’s a plus.
(Interesting fact: if I didn’t like a move a whole lot, I can rave about it – if I really did like a movie I can bitch to no end.)
There were a couple things that bothered me. I hope this isn’t a spoiler, and really, it shouldn’t be now that I’ve seen the movie. I’d read once the following spoiler/complaint about the movie: why the hell was Magneto surprised that plastic instead of metal was used against him? Fuck that person, whoever made that complaint. Magneto (in the movie at least) has been harboring and nurturing a deep hatred and resentment towards non-mutants, strong enough to fuel a growing arrogance. He was surprised at their use of plastics, but it wasn’t much of a surprise, more like he was mildly amused.
However, there was an issue with time. In one scene you’re in Sunny California, literally looking up at the sky to see that it’s easily mid-to-late-afternoon. Then in the next shot, the very next fucking shot, it’s twilight, and two seconds later it’s dark, real dark, like 11pm nighttime. Storm was not in the area, and no deleted scenes showed anything about a mutant being in the vicinity that could obscure the fucking sun, so I’m going to have to chalk it up to bad writing. Pity, cause the rest of it is awesome.
The DVD itself? Sucks. Special features includes about eight deleted scenes, all but three of which are actually scenes from the movie with an altered line, or a wardrobe change, or a tiny bit of extra action. There are two commentaries, but haven’t heard them yet. No featurettes, no behind-the-scenes, nada. There are two trailers for other movies, linked off of the main fucking menu which is to say that they’re considered as important as Play Movie or Audio Setup or Special Features. Fuck that shit. The promotional crap is a feature, and it’s not even that special, but it doesn’t belong on the main menu.
I just got off the phone with Chris. Turns out that he’s the one who thought Magneto’s response to the use of plastic was inappropriate. So, I guess when I say “fuck that guy” I’m saying “fuck Chris”, which is fine in my book. Chris needs to learn his place sometimes. Also, it appears I’m the only Sci-Fi Guy who liked this movie. I’m fine with that as well since I’ve long ago recognized that I’ve got better taste in movies. I mean, they liked the Hulk movie for fuck’s sake, a movie that is wholly devoid of common sense or enjoyability.
PS: Chris, please litter this post with pretty pictures as you see fit under the conditions that I can and will alter any captions to make them funnier.
And now, the comments: set phasers for flame.
2021 Update: Pretty pictures? Done.