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27 May 2006 @ 10:43 pm
X3 Review: The Sequel (minor spoilers)  
I've read another review, and discussed it with its author. I'm impressed with the fact that someone complained about disappointment with the movie without picking on it for reasons that really don't apply. Yes, the script was thin, the acting was mismanaged, the politics of headlining was gruesome to behold, and the directing was . . . directionless.

In particular, I most agree with the following points from the above review:

  • You can kill off your least favorite character in the beginning to make room for a preferred alternate coupling. It's not like people will notice or anything.

  • Giving the talentless eye-candy a large acting part will draw the audience in. Failing that, a new haircut will do the job.

  • If the actors are choking on their terrible lines, it's because they have no acting ability - "What have I done?" is classic stuff. It's not your fault Ian McKellen couldn't make it interesting.

I don't like Cyclops much, either. The actor they've had playing Cyclops was always at best wooden and a trifle whiny — but secretly whiny, behind that Strong Silent Type facade. I think he was well-cast, though, because that's exactly how the character always was. I've fantasized about him getting killed off in the comic book and never coming back many times. Of course, I'm sure he's coming back (didn't this sorta, kinda, happen in the comics, too?), and the way they handled it in this movie was asinine. I tend to think they did it just to satisfy Halle Berry's ego, giving her more room to "act" (like a money-grubbing hag).

This brings us to point two: I've never even thought of Halle Berry as being all that eye-candy-ish. She ranks right up there with Jennifer Tilly on my list of Awful Actors To Avoid, and just like Tilly she's ended up in movies I can't bring myself to avoid (Bound was excellent other than Tilly's whiny voice and funny-looking face). While it kinda fits with the way the X-Men storyline progressed in the comic books to do what they did with Storm moving into a position of leadership (though not exactly the way they did it in the movie), I'm positive this was a decision of the producers in response to Berry's attempts to blackmail them with her newly race-baiting Oscar-extorting star power, and not of the director or screenwriters.

Some of the actors in this are good at what they do. Third point: they don't deserve what has been done to them. Famke Janssen isn't Lauren Bacall, to be sure, but she's no Halle Berry, either — and yet, they relegated Janssen to the "shut up and look pretty" role while elevating Berry to the "screen-time owner" role (second only to Anna Paquin, but then the other girls have always had to defer to Paquin in the X franchise for some reason), swapping their places. At least Janssen is better suited to looking pretty than Berry, with sort of a statuesque perfection thing going on to which Berry only pretends she could ever aspire. Ian McKellen is damned excellent, though, and the fact the director wasn't able to leverage that to save more of his lines from flaming wreckage doesn't say much about him. As if that weren't bad enough, Patrick Stewart (another dignified and excellent old fart of an actor) had his character raked over hot coals and had to struggle with lame pronouncements like his accusatory "What have you done?", serving as a "sign of the problems with this movie" bookend to McKellen's "What have I done?" at the end.

On the other hand, the way characters die and resurrect with only pseudo-plausible explanations randomly throughout the movie serves as a form of nostalgic reflection for me, since it happened so often in the comics. By far the worst thing about this movie, however, is the simple fact that even now nothing has been done to correct the criminal mismanagement of the character of Rogue from the first movie. I realize there's only so much you can do when you're trying to avoid mass defections in the audience by throwing out the talentless twit you've got playing the character (as with Berry/Storm), but something must be done to make up for the way they've destroyed Rogue. Seriously. When hair-color, name, gender, and superpower are the only points of intersection between the print character and the screen character, something has gone sorely awry and demands mitigation.

In other words, I'm still of the opinion this movie is quite enjoyable, but you need to intentionally overlook some issues and check your brain at the door. Just roll with it. You'll be better off.
Custos Amissarum Viarumilcylic on May 28th, 2006 06:36 am (UTC)
But, Anna Paquin is hot.

(Yes, I read the post, even with spoilers. I'll survive somehow. ;) )

Autolatristapotheon on May 28th, 2006 07:15 am (UTC)
Hot? I think she's kinda funny-looking. Better than Berry, though.
contraindicated for use with/for/by humansagent139 on May 28th, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
She seems attractive, but I've also never found people I don't know nearly as compelling as those I do. I guess that's one of the many, many reasons that the American Power Monster passed me by. If there's no chance of a conversation, backrub, or blowjob, then why should I feel compelled to buy something merely because someone's image is attractive?

the_id_kid on June 2nd, 2006 12:59 am (UTC)
I heard that the way Rogue was played out in this one, the urge to slap her becomes even more unbearable.
I noticed you were on a few of my friends' lists, so I thought I'd add you.
Autolatristapotheon on June 2nd, 2006 01:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's a good description of her "character development".

Welcome to the party.