X-men First Class

I’m a bit behind on my movie reviews, so I’m working backwards from most recent to oldest.

As I said earlier, I wasn’t very excited about this movie.  I really can’t understand why, usually any remote mention of X-men has me frothing at the mouth.  All I can say is that I got snobbish, which was something I never wanted to happen when it came to movies based on comics.  It’s a common problem with comic fans considering how difficult it is to translate comics to film and make it appear plausible.  In the old days comics just did not translate well to the screen.  It is movies like Iron Man and Thor and the earlier X-men movies that show that we are now capable of creating a realistic environment for our rather ridiculous comic book worlds.

Onto the movie.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  I had to condition my mind a bit before going to see it, I had to remind myself that the X-men movies were creating their own lore and were not directly representing my beloved comics.  With that out of the way I was happy to accept that Mystique was raised by Xavier, that Beast had a crush on Mystique and that Havok, the younger of the Summers brothers would appear in a movie which is set in the Kennedy era and thus making him older than Cyclops in this X-men reality.  Brian Singer is again involved with the X-men franchise, helping to write the script.  While Singer claims that First Class should be viewed as a prequel to X-men, there are some problems with the continuity of First Class other than the whole Summers debacle that makes it difficult to believe.  My major problem is that if Mystique was like a sister to Xavier, especially with the kind of relationship they had in the movie, then there is no way she would have poisoned Cerebro in order to hurt Xavier in the first movie.  In fact Mystique of the movies is warm and cuddly compared to the comics.  My only other qualm with First Class was Emma Frost.  The chick had no curves!  She had no hips and no boobs, what’s the point of having Emma Frost prance around in her underwear if there’s nothing to admire? She was also fairly bland, the Emma Frost I know and love would imbed disturbing images in your head for just thinking that word in her presence!

When I first heard that James McAvoy was going to play a young Charles Xavier I just could not picture it, same with Michael Fassbender playing a young Magneto.  Actually I think it’s difficult for most avid X-Men fans to imagine either character as young, of Xavier with hair for that matter.  I really enjoyed the two, there was good character development although I feel that the relationship between Xavier and Erik (Magneto) needed to be over a couple of years, they have a solid bond in the movie, but it’s too solid for the short time frame the movie is set in (also Xavier and Magneto knew each other for years before they had their big fight in the comics).  The only thing that bothered me (and I wasn’t the only one to notice this), and I really don’t want to mention it because then other people won’t be able to look at the film the same way, was the ‘bromance’ between the two.  Now I may have only noticed this because I’ve read manga that have weird intimate relationship between men.  It bothered me, at one point I wanted to yell at the screen ‘Just kiss already!!’  It was worse than the bromance in Lord of the Rings.

All in all X-men First Class was a brilliant movie; it had a complex and engaging storyline which kept the plot moving forward.  The special effect in this film were brilliant, it seems that filmmakers have finally figured out how to pull off a proper super powered battle.  This film alone gives me great hope for next year’s Avengers movie (even though both films are produced by different companies).  I absolutely loved X-men First Class, especially the guest appearance of Wolverine (the hunky Hugh Jackman), that little scene made me howl with laughter, and even now still brings a naughty giggle (I’m sure someone had been sitting on that idea for years).

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Harry Potter The End

And so the end of an era has arrived.  I remember a time when Harry Potter was just a book that you had to beg and grovel to get your friends to read.  The ending of Harry Potter 7.2 finally brings to a close the world of Harry Potter.  No new Harry Potter after this *sniff*.  I guess this means I have to grow up now…………….. NAH.

Considering the detail in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the movie dealt with the book fairly well BUT like any Potter fan, it just wasn’t enough.

*HERE BE MASSIVE SPOILERS*

So push off you cheaters

I think what irks me the most was the ham handed way that Tonks and Lupin were handled in the series.  They didn’t even show Tonks and Lupin flirt or anything, suddenly they’re a couple, they don’t even mention when they married or that Tonks is pregnant, and then we get to the end of 7.2 and we get Harry talking to his dead loved ones (which is almost word for word) and Harry says ‘Remus – your poor son.’  WHAT WHEN DID THEY HAVE A BABY?????  Well I knew what was going on but what about the illiterate masses who couldn’t bother to pick up the book but will watch the film?  I’m pretty sure they had no clue about Teddy, yes Teddy – they won’t even know that baby Lupin had a name!  And Tonks and Lupins death *sob* we see them for like a second and then they’re dead, I wanted more of them.  Cried again just as hard as I did in the book.

I acknowledge that a lot of the book has to be cut out for the films, but I do feel that the books could have been handled better.  Especially the final 200 pages of Hallows.

The whole Dumbledore and his family issue was practically forgotten, only slightly hinted at.  Either include it – or don’t, don’t give us a half-assed attempt.  That goes for the whole Hallows part of the story too, it played such a major role in the first half of the movie, and then was almost forgotten in the second.  In fact,  I’ve always wondered whether Harry actually needed the Hallows before facing Voldemort.   (I’m referring to the book).

But my biggest gripe with the final movie is how the invasion of Hogwarts was approached, cinematically, narratively and tactically.

First off, the beauty of the final battle in the book, apart from bringing every HP character from the last 6 books in, we get to see the battle from several different points of view. Iit’s exciting, intense, funny and heartbreaking and it brings far more impact to the story by following different characters.  Now I acknowledge that the movie is called Harry Potter so it should focus on Harry, but I would have liked a bit more screen time for other characters.  By not following the other characters in their individual battles, when their deaths are revealed later, there is less of an impact.  (I complain but a blubbed for the last 20 minutes of the film, in a crowded cinema, and I could only hear me sniffling, heartless bastards.

My main bone of contention is how the ultimate battle was handled in general.  Tactically, ignoring how it was handled in the book, the first thing you do is get rid of non-combatants, so why on earth they had students running around aimlessly is beyond me.  Yes, cinematically it increases the atmosphere of tension and fear, but my god those kids are going to get slaughtered!   The battle was just too chaotic, which yes, it was chaotic in the book, but there weren’t any useless children running around.  The battle was structured, where older students, teachers and the Order were strategically placed around Hogwarts.  The stone Knights, awesome idea, looked fantastic, but good gracious how stupid can you be when you stick your entire force on a bridge!  A bridge!  They should have just opened the gates and let the bad guys in.  Battle tactics people! I’m not a very logical person but even I could plan out a battle better than this one.  The bridge limits manoeuvrability for both parties, but it also makes it easier for the stone knights to get swept off the bridge by giants.  If you’re outnumbered you don’t stick your fighting force in one spot, you spread them around to protect the areas not covered by the wizards.

If this attack happened for real, book battle set-up versus movie battle set-up, the movie battle would have a far higher body count with many unnecessary deaths.  It just kills me how they had all those kids running around, I’m unable to articulate my frustration about this battle, and I haven’t even got to Harry and Voldemorts final battle!

WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!!!!!  It’s like they ignored one of the most important facts about the battle and just went and made something that looked cool.  The most important point about why Harry willingly sacrificed himself to Voldermort, apart from him inadvertently killing part of himself, is that Harry is then casting the same ancient spell that his mother did for him. (it’s not technically a spell, Dumbledore explained it quite nicely in one of the books, I forget which).  In the final climactic battle, after Voldemort has killed Harry, Harry has his talk with Dumbledore and then resurrects, but pretends to be dead until Neville kills Nagini and all hell breaks loose.  Harry and Voldemort square off, Harry point’s out that his killing curses won’t hurt anyone because Harry willingly died to protect everyone thus casting the protection charm he has on everyone.  I just loved that idea; it makes Harry’s victory more heartfelt, more epic.  And it’s completely ignored. *sob’s even harder*  By completely ignoring this amazing awesome point in the book, they can’t separate Harry from everyone and have a traditional cinematic one-on-one battle.  This takes away something very symbolic from Harry’s final battle.  The way it’s done in the book, Harry facing off against Voldemort in Hogwarts, his real home, the only place he has been accepted, surrounded by many people who love him and believe in him, it shows how far he has come since that little unloved orphan who lived under the stairs.

And then there’s the epilogue.  I felt it was nicely handled BUT it could have been longer and had more dialogue.  According to my movie buddies they feel that they could have aged the cast more. Since I can’t correctly guess a person’s age to save my life I had no issue, I thought they looked nicely aged.  Except Hermione she didn’t look aged at all.  I loved the epilogue, it gave closure, and it was a very touching scene between father and son.  Now all those who read the books know exactly what the children’s name’s are, but they could have at least said them in the movie for all those who haven’t read the books.  It was also very random for little Albus to suddenly have an issue about being sorted.  The whole scene just felt like the middle of a conversation, which it was, but it wouldn’t have killed them to do the scene with dialogue, it’s not like it would have slowed it down, in fact if the scene had started with them talking and walking towards Platform 9 ¾ the scene would have had more energy.

Well, after ranting about my problems I feel much better.  I acknowledge that they had limited time to take a 600 page book and turn it into 2 hours. I know that certain things need to be left out, they handled the book very well;  I just would have done it a bit differently.  All in all Harry Potter 7.2 was a riveting, engaging climactic finale.

Avatar – The Legend of Korra first trailer

So, I’m terribly behind in movie reviews, I’m lazy – what can I say, BUT I’ve just made an EPIC discovery that must be shared!

BEHOLD the first trailer for Avatar – The Legend of Korra.

KYAAAAAAAAAAAAA THE AWESOMENESS IS JUST TOO MUCH.

On the downside, we have to wait until 2012 to see more 😦 *weeps bitterly*

As far as I know Korra happens 60 or more years after the first, and by the looks of it a lot of modernising has happened in the four nations.  The fashion in one or two shots looks incredibly contemporary, I’m very excited to see what this new world will be like.