Thursday, 7 May 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I think I'm a fan of the X-Men series and I don't know why. Normally I dislike action films and wouldn't dare watch one but I own the first on DVD and I have been watching the others curiously, thinking to myself "I know I don't like films like this, so why do I like this series?"
Well, maybe it's because there's some sort of moral or ethical question lying underneath there somewhere. So when I went to see the latest installment - er, well, prequel - I was looking forward to it. And I wasn't that disappointed.
I say this almost half-heartedly, because the storyline was nicely put together and explained some things about why Logan acts in the way he does in the original X-Men trilogy. No, the narrative was fine. Except I don't like sentimentality. It gets a little overly sentimental at times, which I suppose is needed for the story to make sense but, you know, it puts you off the action.
Here's why I'm half-hearted: well, there's actually two reasons. Firstly, Hugh Jackman. What the heck happened to the wise-cracking, cigar-smoking, almost playful Wolverine that we saw in the original series? I read another review of this on the NME blog and the guy who writes on the Movie Projector was dead on - in this film, Jackman only acts with the scowly face and the constipated face. Sorry Hugh, but some variation in your mood might have been nice. After all, you're supposed to be a happy lumberjack in the first half hour of so! Couldn't you have least have looked like you were leading a normal life? At some points it's hard to imagine how the Wolverine we all loved from the trilogy was born from this raging beast...
Secondly, and there could be a good reason for this, the CGI. It was flawless, and I mean flawless, in the trilogy, but here it's laboured and so fake that it looks like someone banged it together in a back room in a spare half hour. The best CGI is saved for Victor's claws - his claws, yes. Now if they paid so much attention to detail here how come Wolverine's adamantine claws look so fake? In the scene in the farmer's bathroom where he's coming to terms with his transformation, the metal doesn't blend with his skin at all - it looks like the claws have been stuck on. The terrible blue colour is also highly off-putting.
Then in the scene where our hero explodes the helicopter, the fire and carnage is so blindingly, obviously placed on to a green screen that you wonder if the setting is even real. And then the final sequence should have been flawless. And yes, Weapon Eleven does look pretty real (I'll give them that) but the effects on the powers and again, the setting, is so tacked on that it's cringe-worthy. Wolverine and his enemy are standing there and the sky is.... not there. Because they're standing in front of a green screen!!! Argh!!
Maybe I'm not being fair. After all, it's possible to say that because of the massive leak that happened with the movie that they had to put everything together quickly before the film lost its Box Office weight. Can't spend millions on a movie without expecting to get millions back, can you? Perhaps the leak hasn't done anyone a favour.
To pick on some of the positives, some of the acting aside from Hugh Jackman is solid and somewhat engaging if a little dry. Perhaps the introduction of fan's favourite Gambit was a good move. But we needed more Gambit. He was the friendliest character by far: likeable, cheeky and with some pretty cool powers (using a staff - lovely stuff to an RPG nut like me). We probably needed a bit more from Cyclops as well. He's on the poster and yet only appears for the best part of, oh, seven minutes? And never once does he wear those special specs. That's false advertising!
This film would have benefited from a less clunky script, a better lead performance and some more time spent on integrating the CGI. The storyline was good and, presuming you'd seen the trilogy beforehand, left no plotholes. But despite some good action sequences I was left slightly flat because of all the technical difficulties. Get your claws into it if you want, but it's a real disappointment in comparison to the first three films.
Sorry about the bunchy-up writing again. I've tried everything to get rid of it!


Tairebabs said...

Hey Scarlet, I love x-men trilogy. Seen all three a zillion times. I love love love it.

Haven't seen Wolverine yet so I read the post half way and chickened out so that I can give an unbiased comment. Will see the movie tonight.

noelia ~ said...

i just saw this movie on tuesday and what i loved the most was that it was all about wolverine (he has the hottest body ^_^ ) lol but yeah, i like xmen too (not a hard-core fan) but i still like it.