Friday, May 02, 2003

I'll admit it. I'm a geek. I like comic books, and used to collect them. To me they are the American Versions of the Greek Gods with better fashion sense. With my cards firmly planted on the table as to where I'm coming from I present the following:

How to make a Comic Book Movie

1. See X Men 1 and 2

Not much need be said about X Men 1 except it simply saved the comic book movie franchise after it had been single handedly decimated by Joel Schumacher's (blame where due) abominable Batman and Robin. Warner's is still shaking very badly about that much so that Batman 5 or Batman Year One or Batman 5 which will be directed or not by Darren Aronofsky or not or Chris Nolan or not still doesn't have a start date and it's been 6 years.

X1 took its premise seriously, which was a nice change.but it took the characters seriously, which was an even nicer change (and is precisely the reason that the first 2 Batman were hits and the last 2 were not. If I had heard Schumacher use the phrase "Comic Book Movie" one more time , I would have hunted him down and peed on him. Batman Forever and Batman and Robin were not "comic book movies" because most comic books are better written than those 2 piles of excrement.(See The Dark Night Returns if you doubt me).

The characters in X Men were self aware, flawed but did not take them selves too seriously, which is the mark of good writing. And it
had the perfect cast. Hugh Jackman was the luckiest accident a movie ever had. And I'm betting Dougray Scott is still kicking himself (or wanting to kick Tom Cruise in the nuts) for staying with Mission Impossible 2. Ian MacKellen can do no wrong, and Patrick Stewart just is Professor X.

Anyway in X Men 2 (I refuse to call it X Men United. If you see the movie you will understand why) we open at the White House and a mysterious figure is hanging out pretending to follow the tour...
The Mysterious figure separates himself from said tour and, when challenged by a security agent, the mysterious figure reveals himself to have a bifurgated tail and bears more than a passing resemblance to the Devil. Only blue...
All hell breaks loose as the CIA Agents try to protect the President (Not GWB) and The blue devil looking guy (Nightcrawler) makes fools of them by teleporting in and out and attacking as he does so until it's just him and the Prez, whom he lands on top of and drives a knife into the desk just beside the Prexy's head. The Knife has a red ribbon on it that reads Mutant Liberation...

This is the first 5 minutes of the movie...

Freed of the expository nature of any first film in a series, X2 takes off from there. There is more action in this outing, but they don't forget the human element. The promise of Xavier's line form the end of the first film " I feel a great surge of pity for whomever comes to that school looking for trouble" is more than fulfilled. Whomever turns out to be an entire army...
I'm not going to spoil it for you. Nor give away anything else.

However, I will admit that I found the ending anticlimactic...and the sequel holes are everywhere.

But the writing remains crisp. The jokes work. And there are some genuinely touching moments.
Not bad for a "Comic Book Movie". I give it a B+. The movie is everything the first hour of Spiderman promised, yet didn't deliver.

How NOT to make a Comic Book Movie
I suspect we'll be finding that out when " The Hulk " opens in June. The first preview I saw , where you only got hints at what the CGI Emerald Goliath would look like got audible giggles prior to the screening of Daredevil I saw (Promising beginning, weak middle, No ending...and over all a tad too reminiscent of Tim Burton's too many "in" jokes). The promo they're running with X2 is far more detailed, and shows us a lot more of the Computer Generated not so jolly Green Giant. And it looks like crap with a capital crap. CGI when done well is a wonder and adds to the movie ( Jurassic Park, Shrek, The Phantom Menace, Lord of the Rings). Done badly it's an eyesore (Kangaroo Jack, Certain shots in Spiderman, Jimmy Neutron) From what i saw of the Hulk, it falls into the later category. The preview this time was met with stunned silence. The Problem as I see it is They didn't want a guy in a rubber suit because it always looks like a guy wearing a rubber suit(sorry Lou), so what they did was spend millions and millions of dollars to create the look of a Cartoon who's wearing a rubber suit...And yesterday I noticed that not only is it gonna tank..Several Corporations already locked into tie-ins are going down with it too...My favourite example I found in Ralph's the other day...Hershey's Chocolat Syrup...only it was Green...It still tasted like chocolate (presumably...I wasn't gonna buy any) but it had been Hulkified!!

Clue: It's always a bad sign when the merchandise for a movie hits the stores waaay before the Movie opens...The Hulk stuff has been out for about a month already and the movie doesn't open 'til June 2O

I can't wait!!!!

On the whole, a pleasant afternoon at the cinema...were it not for the mental midget in the backrow who felt the need to anounce every characters name when ever they appeared or did something he approved of....
I've decided to see the Matrix Sequels when they're both out on DVD.
I don't think I could sit through 3 hours of "YO NEO, You da man, Dog!!" .

If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done Peter Ustinov

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