Sunday, May 25, 2014
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is a rare kind of film. When I say rare I do believe a movie like this has never ever been done before in the whole history of movies. Maybe I am wrong but I am not going to bother to do the research to find out. What DAYS does is go back and correct some of the really bad story decisions that were made in the weaker entrees of the franchise. That's right, folks. If there was something you didn't like in X-MEN : THE LAST STAND or in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE this movie tries to correct it. How unique and never done before is that? DAYS sets a new possibility in future fantasy movies. If you mess something up just make a sequel dealing with time travel to fix it. Hopefully the STAR WARS movie makers are paying attention. (*cough*THE PREQUELS NEVER HAPPENED*cough*)
As movie franchises produce more and more sequels, Hollywood has a tendency to make each new sequel worse than the one before it. It gets so bad that studios try to hide the fact that they made a part 5 of something by removing the number and giving the movie a really long terrible title. Instead of saying DIE HARD part 5 we say ITS A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD. Really? DAYS doesn't have the number either but the makers try and make the best dang X-Men film possible. It is really hard for me to say which is better, DAYS or X2. Both have great stories that engage your emotions and thoughts but DAYS has a special purpose. It was made not to just tell a great story but to correct past mistakes that ruined the franchise. Three of those mistakes were killing off Jean Grey, Scott Summers and Rogue choosing to lose her powers which made her special. These decisions had limited what we can expect to see in future X-MEN movies. They were never going to be the same ever again in a bad way. The relationships would never grow and develop. Rogue would never grow super strength and gain the ability to fly making her a more important member of the team. Worst of all Wolverine and Scott would never be able to bounce off one another which was a big reason why the first two films were so good.
DAYS is all about traveling back in time and changing the past to correct the present. Mystique kills some guy in the past and that causes the Sentinel program to commence which in time leads to the destruction of all mutant-kind. Wolverine of course is the only one who can go back so far in time so once again he takes the lead role but it is a new kind of role. Remember in LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING when Sauron sends his mouth piece to go out from the gates to talk because Sauron has no mouth of his own because he is dead? Basically that is what Wolverine has become. He is Xavier's mouth piece to convince his younger self to stop Mystique. Since only his mind can go back in time and occupy his younger body, Wolverine has no metal skeleton. Meaning at the end he really has no power to make a difference and is easily dispatched! What an amazing decision on the writers of this film. It looks like just another Wolverine movie but in the end Wolverine does nothing but get killed kind-of-sort-of. DAYS takes a really big risk and it pays off. Wolverine has one small moment when he uses his claws on some goons but he never goes beserker rage which the nerdos look forward to most in these films. This time saving the world comes down to the decision made by Mystique.
By the end we see Jean Grey is still alive as well as Scott Summers. Rogue never lost her powers and Wolverine is now a teacher at the school as if he never left to go find himself. There are questions though left unanswered which mostly deal with Wolverine himself. Does he still have his metal skeleton and if so did he go through the whole process of losing his memories again and is he still missing the metal on one of his claws? DAYS doesn't say or maybe it does without being obvious and I didn't catch on. Still it is nice to see the really bad mistakes are corrected and we can hopefully see the old band back together again in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE aka X-MEN part 7.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Possible spoilers ahead.
GODZILLA is a film with surprises. I had a few expectations as the film began with how the existence of Godzilla would occur. They set up a massive find in a mining dig that I thought for sure was a baby Godzilla hibernating in an egg. When that egg hatched however something totally different came out of it. It was a giant space bug called the M.O.T.U. I do believe that is an acronym for Giant Bug From Space or something like that. I forget. The point is I didn't think a Godzilla film could trick me but this one did. Also who lives and who dies in terms of human characters was a bit surprising as well. I won't spoil that.
This film has made Godzilla something to be feared. He is a large animal that has been here longer than the dinosaurs and this planet is his territory. That fact puts things in perspective for our human characters. We are the insects to him/her. When large alien monsters show up on his territory Godzilla goes out for the hunt. All humans can really do is get out of the way. Of course this is a movie so we do have to have a human character running around observing the carnage and trying to help but really just kind of making things worse. This human character also has a wife and a child so the movie can show scenes of them to fill out the movie's running time.
Godzilla is the hero. Even though he is an animal he has the look of intelligence to his face. You can see him thinking and reacting to the battle before him with the giant bug thingys and being aware of the people around him. Still if he saves anyone it is by shear accident. He is just defending his territory. Yeah, it looked like he was intentionally saving those kids on the bus from friendly fire but really he was just standing up. It is best just to stay away from him. Don't try to make friends with him otherwise you might end up like the ship Captain from GODZILLA 1985. If I remember correctly he tried to friend Godzilla and ended up burnt to a crisp. Whoops. Still we root for him when he hunts the alien bugs and we feel sorry for him when a building falls on him hurting him in the process. How do like that? What happened to the cardboard models that did nothing but get stepped on and explode?
The best thing about this movie besides Godzilla is the mix of down to earth reality with campy large giant monster hyper-realism. The people moments feel just as real and genuine as the giant monsters battling for dominance do. We have people staring wide eyed out their windows as we see in the reflection actual monsters moving about destroying the world around them. It looks real even though we know it isn't. The movie builds up moments with great skill and delivers the goods when the moments are right just like the old big Speilberg movies use to do back in the day. The whole movie is like that saving the best fight till the end. There is a connection that comes across naturally with the small world of humans peering at the large universe of Godzilla. The scope and grand scale of all the is happening is maintained almost perfectly. There is a big explosion at the end that probably would have done more damage than what the film lets on. In the 1998 GODZILLA there was no connection no matter how forced. They tried too hard to make us believe that our characters occupied the same space as the giant lizard with scenes of cars ramping off Godzilla's foot and having some guy almost get stepped on by Godzilla. These moments are forced onto the audience as "Big Blockbuster Movie Scenes" that are required to be put into a film to thrill the audience like a roller coaster ride.
Going forward in order to keep the Godzilla movies working the creators need to work on the designs of the monsters Godzilla will be fighting. That is my only real complaint about the new GODZILLA. M.O.T.U. is a generic forgettable creature design. I fear that the need to keep the look of Godzilla's world realistic will reduce the look of the monsters to uninspired creations that hold no iconic value like the original Godzilla foes from the Japanese films did. We need a three headed space dragon from Planet X to come down and force us to believe that such a creature can exist in our reality. Make them more colorful with crazy abilities. Don't make the same mistake all the TRANSFORMERS movies made. All the Transformers look exactly the same. None are memorable and all are hard to tell who is who when they fight each other or walk around casually. Please new GODZILLA, take a page from PACIFIC RIM. All the monsters in PACIFIC RIM are easily distinguishable from one another. That is how it should be. And as a bonus you would sell more action figures that way too. Just saying.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
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