Thursday, May 08, 2003

X-MEN UNITED - 3 (goals by Nightcrawler, 10 yds, 1’; Wolverine, 25 yds, 20’; Magneto 35 yds, 32’)
1. FC MATRIX - 0 (Keanu Reeves, Red Card, 1’)

I saw “X-Men: United”, last night. I will not likley see the Matrix movie, since I didn’t care for the first one. I just put it above as a way of knocking it.

I enjoyed the new X-Men movie. I doubt that people who haven’t seen the first one will get much out of it (unless they are comic book readers, but most of them will probably have seen the first one anyway). There is very little I can think of to complain about. I thought the acting was strong, the effects were good, the plot was solid, and the dialogue was good enough. There were a few characters I would have liked to have seen a bit less of, and a few I could have stood to see more of, but otherwise it was fine.

I’ll also echo what I’ve read in reviews about Alan Cumming’s performance as Nightcrawler: very good. Although I see no reason why they couldn’t have found a similarly talented actual German to play the role. It isn’t like Cumming is a star like most of the rest of the cast who adds name recognition to the buzz. I mean, Mistique is played by Rebecca Romein (sp) Stamos, who is famous for swimwear (I think) and for marrying sitcom legened John Stamos; Captain Picard is Prof. X; Gandalf is Magneto; the original Hannibal Lecter is Col. Stryker; Halle Berry is Storm. Big stars cast for those roles. And quite a few people know who Anna Paquin and Famke Jannsen are, too. Hugh Jackman is famous *because of* X-Men. But what (other than his talent) does Cumming bring to the table? He’s a Broadway actor, was really funny on an episode of Saturday Night Live, and was in “the Anniversary Party” (a good movie that no one saw). Otherwise? He’s English. Why not get a German (or Austrian, or even Swiss) actor? Ah well. Minor quibble. He was fine.

One thing I hated about the movie (and most big action pictures these days) is the BLATANT product placement. There is a scene where several characters hop into a car and the camera is very careful to allow us all to see that it is a new Mazda RX7. In another scene, Wolverine is drinking what was referred to (mercifully) as a “soda”, but he holds it (really awkwardly) so that we can all see that it is a Dr Pepper. Meanwhile, his conversation partner is eating from what could only be a quart of Baskin Robbins ice cream. There are other moments, too. I HATE that shit. Mind you, I don’t hate recognizing real-world brands in such films, I just hate having them shoved in my face. Am I remembering incorrectly, or did this all start with Superman II? In the big fight scene on the streets of New York, I recall that Superman got thrown into a MARLBORO truck (are there such things?) and some brand name beer truck had a big wreck. Then Superman tossed one of the baddies into a huge Coca Cola sign. Ugh. The X-Men weren’t quite that unsubtle, but close.

Anyway, I will only add that I think it is neat how the writers of the film have been careful to play Cyclops as a goober, just like he was in the books. At one point (in the Mazda, which was his), someone puts on some music and it turns out to be a Back Street Boys song! Hehehehe! Cyclops listens to the Back Street Boys! Goober.

I hear Talking Heads “Blind”.


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