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Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Trading Faces Movie Review

Tonight Craiggers and I went to see the third and supposedly final movie in the X-Men series, "X-Men: The Last Stand" after a day of being mostly useless slugs. For those of you who know us, he with his hundreds of sci-fi and horror DVDs is what is known as a Fanboy (i.e. a nerd lucky to not be a virgin and live in his mom's basement, except cute) whereas I'm a snob who will watch quality sci-fi or really really campy sci-fi, but who cannot abide middle-of-the-road messes. The X-Men movies appeal to both of us, and we were quite excited to head over to our neighborhood arty-farty cineplex, a place where X-Men and Rocky Horror can co-exist in peace.

This photo of Hugh Jackman isn't from X3, but let's face it, he's waaaay hotter here than in that Wolverine getup.

Oh so hot.

I would almost watch the movie this photo is from, even though it does star skanky Ashley Judd, just to see his package on an IMAX-sized screen.

Seriously, someone this hot can't possibly be real. How much surgery would I need to look like that? Do you think my insurance would pay for it? I'd at least get the pec implants, but I'm afraid I'd spend all of my time playing with them and never leave the house.

Okay, that's out of my system now, and I think we all feel better. Anyway, after the movie, Craiggers braced himself for my usual self-righteous tirade, and as usual, he got it. I said, "That movie was like a breakfast of Cheerios versus scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, and grits. I like both, but one is definitely more filling than the other. I had fun, but I don't feel very full." He responded, "You're writing your blog right now, aren't you?" Five years together have obviously taught him a few things, and I just hate it when he's right.

X3 is all about the development of a cure for the gene that creates the mutants, and the resulting war over said cure. The premise of the movie would seem to beg attempts to answer major moral questions regarding the essence of what a person is, and if part of that essence is considered distasteful to some, whether it should be "cured" if it can be. These very issues are why the X-Men comics and movies appeal to the gays. Some of the X-Men are blue and scaley or furry or whatever...they can't hide and get the brunt of the hatred from humans, much like those of us who are stereotypically gay and have never been able to hide. Others have mutant powers but aren't visibly mutant, and thus must struggle whether to be open about their powers and risk rejection. Is being a mutant (or a gay) a natural progression of genetics, or is it a defect of those same genetics? And if there were a cure, would you want it, even if it takes away something that colors who you are at your most basic level while allowing you to live an easier life?

I don't expect a major summer popcorn movie to actually provide the answers to the moral questions of what makes a person who they are, but I would expect a quality series to at least ask them. X3 does neither. The conflicting feelings of the characters toward the cure are kept to a minimum. Instead, views on "the cure" are very black and white, leaving lots of room for explosions and general grand battles. The explosions are loads of fun, and there are more than a few genuinely shocking moments in the plot for those of us who have followed the past two movies. Still, I believe the director of the previous two X movies (Bryan Singer, who passed on directing this one in favor of directing the upcoming Superman movie) with his deft touch for character development could have managed the explosions and the more grand issues at the same time.

And now that I've tried to be all Mr. Critic, I have a few other comments on the movie:
1) Why can't they get a decent wigmaster for the X-Men series? First Halle Berry was looking like RuPaul, and now they have Famke Janssen done up as one of the damn Pussycat Dolls.
2) There is a scene at the end after all the credits have rolled. Stay to watch it, but expect to be really annoyed because it is a total cop-out.
3) If you want to make Kelsey Grammar an action star, fine, but don't give him Frasier Crane's dialog. No one clutches his pearls with a phrase like, "Oh my stars and garters!" and then goes on to kick butt.
4) Was there no one else for Storm (Halle Berry) and Callisto (Dania Ramirez) to fight but each other? I kept expecting them to start snatching off big hoop earrings and pull out each others' weaves. A sister can fight someone other than another sister, you know, especially when she has some kick-ass superpowers that don't include threatening to cut a bitch.

X3 was a fun movie. I enjoyed it, and would watch it again. I just can't help but feel that a good movie could have been a really great movie if the movie studios had waited for Bryan Singer to finish with Superman. I give it a "B", and for an obsessive overachiever like me, that is deeply disappointing.


dr buck said...


I mainly agree with your comments. As usual, you are entertaining and on target. However, I must inform you that the "Stars and Garters" line is actually a commonly used phrase by Beast in the comic books. Now, I am not a comic book geek, and I agree that it sounds about as manly as a guy yelling, "No more wire hangers....ever!" However, it was an obvious shoutout to the socially awkward, mouth-breathing, infrequently laid, dudes who work at Home Depot by day and play Magic: The Gathering by night. This is all based on my days at WaldenHell and listening to grown men basically cream themselves over sci-fi. As a person, I think it is entertaining and allows me a few moments of superiority. As a therapist, I think it will likely keep me in business for many years. So, long live the geeks! Everytime a cashier rings up a sci-fi sale, a therapist eventually gets a new client with Social Anxiety or who suffers from chronic masturbation to Japanese animation.

JonboySF said...

Mmmmm...Hugh Jackman...I'd love to see his, uh, "huge ackman..."

Ces said...

Okay, Hugh Jackman's pectoralis major muscles are awesome, and he's worth a drool for a few minutes BUT after the initial joy, I say he needs a bro or a manssiere!

I have never seen a movie in this series but having read your interesting blog and seeing the box office records, I am curious.

Christopher said...

He is soooooo tasty! Ces, I'm surprised your kids haven't made you watch the movies. They're quite intelligent, or at least the first two are.

And Dr. Chad, I'm so horrified that you know that.

Ms. Val said...

This photo of Hugh Jackman isn't from X3, but let's face it, he's waaaay hotter here than in that Wolverine getup.

(((Sigh))) He's the whole reason I sat through "Kate and Leopold"--twice!

JonboySF said...

Wow Val, and you aren't begging for those 4 hours of your life back? I guess you must REALLY like Hugh! Meg Ryan was PUTRID in Kate & Leopold (or you could insert just about ANY Meg Ryan title here...)!