Archive for June, 2006

X-Men 3

*spoilers ahead*

How do you destroy a highly anticipated summer blockbuster like X-Men 3? Well, start by pulling the director of the two previous hit movies in the series off the project to get the struggling Superman Returns project back on track. Have said director take most of his production staff, including writers, with him. Then, by some freak coincidence, get the director who was messing up Superman to do X-Men 3. I wanted to like the movie–I really did–but by the end I just didn’t care anymore. I had written off the movie as if it had never existed.

First, what possessed Brett Ratner and his crew to think that they should kill off 3–three!–main characters. Granted, yes, it is often necessary to depart from the written text to tell the story on screen, as Bryan Singer did quite effectively and forgivably in 1 & 2. However, to kill off Cyclops and Professor X in addition to Jean Grey, that’s sacrilege. (I grant that Jean Grey was a natural candidate for death, since Phoenix dies and resurrects all the time, but the post-credit “resurrection” of Professor X doesn’t redeem Ratner one iota.) Imagine if for some hypothetical dramatic effect, Peter Jackson had killed off Aragorn in Return of the King. LotR fans would have rioted in the streets. There are some things you just don’t do–certain characters that you just don’t kill off. Naughty Brett Ratner! Naughty!

Second, Phoenix was totally lame. With a huge FX budget, couldn’t they have pulled off a flaming, bird-shaped aura for her, as she’s supposed to have and as was hinted at in X-Men 2? All we get is a single instance of a bright, off-screen light just before she appears to Scott. Furthermore, when she wasn’t killing off a main character or two (or trying to), she mostly stood around and did absolutely nothing for extended periods of time. For example, during the Alcatraz fight sequence, she pretty much just stood off in the distance as the rest of the mutants got their butts kicked. Was she even in the frame whenever the camera cut to Magneto & Pyro during the fight? Some ultimate destructive power.

Third, Magneto acted quite out of character in my opinion. For someone who is fighting for mutant rights supremacy, he sure has a cavalier attitude towards the “pawns” that he supposedly wants to help.

Finally, at a paltry 104 minutes, the movie is the shortest of the three, and it has a definite negative effect. The movie is a rapid-fire series of action sequences that disposes of such things as continuity and character development. For example, did you notice that the Golden Gate Bridge scene started at early evening and a few minutes later as the siege of Alcatraz began it was the dark of night. As for character development, how about this scene where Magneto frees Multiple Man (paraphrased to the best of my memory):

Magneto: “I could use a man of your talents.”

Multiple Man: “I’m in.”

Really, Multiple Man? Some random guy lets you out and without so much as asking who he is or why he wants a man of your talents, you’re ready to join up with him? Riiiight…

Was there anything that I liked? Sure. Shadowcat and Colossus got some time to shine. The movie attempted to continue asking questions about handling power responsibly and ethically. However, ultimately, all the redeemable qualities were vastly overshadowed by a horrible story, crappy writing, and poor directing. As an X-Men fan, I was sorely disappointed.

*end spoilers*

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On the other hand, this year’s Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis presentation of Julius Caesar in Forest Park was outstanding! I met up with my friends Jessica & James after work on Monday, which was a beautiful, sunny yet cool day. We enjoyed the antics of Jeff the Juggler—a favorite from last year—and of the wandering magician who performed right in front of our blanket. The play itself was thoroughly enjoyable. The majority of the actors did a fine job and the set was creative and well-utilized. Plus, we had really good seats.

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