Saturday, May 2, 2009

20th Century Fox/21st Century Fool...


Between genius and failure lies mediocrity...

That's how I pretty much sum up Fox's "Wolverine" spin off. It's not so much that it's a bad film, it's that it's a shining example of the phrase: "Too many cooks spoiled the soup." Very little remains of David Benioff's taught, lean script that was brimming with emotion and putting on display why fans love Wolverine. I don't know much about Skip Woods, but with gems like "Hitman" and "Swordfish" to his credit I can see how everything has been dumbed down and all the interesting characters have been replaced by cardboard cutouts of what these Suits think comic book fans want. I had heard that the executives kept wanting to add more and more mutants to the storyline, essentially turning this into "X-Men 4: The Prequel." Can you imagine if someone had done the same to "Dark Knight" what the result would have been? Some Warner's Suit would of said something like: "Nolan we love your script! Batman is awesome. But you know what would make the story even better? Let's put Wonder Woman in the background! And then well have a scene where Bats is interrogating a thug inside a building and he sees Supes fly by! While we're at it lets somehow throw the Flash and Green Lantern into the plot as well! Won't that make the story even better?"

You see the problem here? These idiotic Suits have wasted a golden opportunity to start a new franchise by simply throwing everything, regardless of if it works or not into the story. I can clearly tell the Executives at Fox, starting with Tom Rothman, have no idea what they have and don't know how to properly exploit it. This film also confirms to me that Lauren Shuler Donner wasn't smart and right when she produced "X-Men," she was lucky... that luck has finally ran out. Someone needs to gut the talentless pool of Suits over at Fox and find some people who actually have brains to go with all those pretty degrees they hold. This is a film mired in committee and this combined with "Spider-Man 3" shows how bad these executives are at having their thumb on the pulse of what is a great filmed comic adaption is.

I won't even dignify this film with a review other than to tell you that seeing it is a waste of two hours. Instead, just rent Dark Knight or Spider-Man 2 or better yet, pick up a book and avoid anything to do with men wearing their underwear on the outside of their clothes. If you want to go see Wolverine this weekend, lower your expectations. After the brilliance that was Chris Nolan's film, Fox Suits and some inept producers have shown us what they really think of comic book geeks. We'll take almost anything they serve up. Quality doesn't count, just throw a bunch of mindless dreak on the screen and these fanboys will eat it up and send us all the cash in their wallets. They've learned nothing from films like Iron Man. Spider-Man 2, Dark Knight or even the original Superman. It's as if their brains were turned off. That assumes they have brains of course. I'm also torn, because I'd love to see Hugh Jackman in another Wolverine movie, but not another bad one. One where he goes to Japan(hinted at after the credits) and kicks some major assage. But for that to happen this one will have to be successful and recoup back all that money that somehow didn't show up on the screen. I really want this movie to fail. I want Rothman and all his ilk to get thrown out in some great purge over at the Fox lot, but that could also doom the chances of a sequel. But then again, maybe that's what needs to happen. Maybe stopping any more of these films will result in their rights expiring and Marvel getting them back. Maybe they know how to treat their characters better than the nimbwhitted Suits of Fox. I know that Hugh Jackman would be much older then, but he is Wolverine after all and he doesn't age that badly. Does he?

When it's all said and done, the real villains in this film aren't Stryker, Sabertooth or even Deadpool... the real villains are Tom Rothman, Lauren Shuler Donner and the assortment of badguys around them. Now those are the people I'd like to see Logan take those Adamantium claws to. But those villains always excape to fight another day, screw up another feature.

Cruses, foiled again!

I can't wait for next week's "Star Trek" film to come along and wash the bad taste that has been put in my mouth by these fools. Let the weekend box office do its wonder. Or its wraith.

Time will tell...

18 comments:

Tangaroa said...

I'm not a good enough writer to come up with words that describe my level of contempt for Rothman. He has destroyed 20th Century Fox, and I don't know what it'll take to get rid of him.

What's worse is that the film will probably have a huge opening weekend, still coasting off the goodwill of the first two X films. It takes a while to poison a brand - before people stop showing up. By the time Rothman gets the boot, all these franchises will be dead. He's already killed Fantastic Four, after all.

I found Wolverine fairly enjoyable, despite its unfocused nature and many flaws, but this was mostly through the efforts of Jackman. I feel sorry for him - he's clearly devoted to the character and I think he probably wants to do something really good with it but the studio completely cut the legs out from under him.

What I was most baffled by was how cheap the film looked - I don't know what its budget was, but it just looked extremely cheap. Many of the special effects looked unfinished, like pre-viz, or circa 1994. Far too many scenes had a bizarre, unfocused green-screen background, and the first scene in which Wolverine was examining his claws looked like it was using Roger Rabbit animation techniques.

A wasted opportunity, with just enough cool bits to remind us of what it could have been. The suits strike again... they'll never learn.

Victor Creed said...

What does Honor Hunter know about a good summer popcorn film? He loves Disney. That says it all.

LuminousSpecter said...

First, I'm a pretty forgiving person when it comes to movies, and I really did enjoy Wolverine. Second, it's called "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" which is why it ties into the other X-Men films. "X-Men Origins: Magneto" will prove the same if it goes to production.

Second, while this film has its' problems, it does have some great plot devices.

Third, and this is the big one: how big a fan are you, really? You called Wolverine's claws Adamantite! What?

Honor Hunter said...

Fourth, you used Second twice LuminousSpecter...

Let's just say you're far more forgiving that me. But I've read the original script. I liked it. I liked it alot. I had my problems with it. I've never been a fan of the "bone-claw" story, but it was a really good script overall. It would have made a fine addition to the Marvel Universe and a great new franchise. Instead it turns out to be a collection of things thrown together(like X-Men 3) that comes off as confusing and incoherent.

I would have expected better from something that gestated this long in development...

Whyatt Earth said...

Actually Luminous,

The reason Fox is calling it "X-Men Origins" is to continue the option it has on the X-Men franchise. They can say that this is a continuation of the series and won't have to return the rights to Marvel.

Another shifty example of why I hate Fox.

SWatsi said...

I'm so conflicted about this. I'm a huge X-Men comics fans, and I hate that I don't want to go see the film and that I want the films to die. It really does feel like I'm cheating on the X-Men and on Hugh Jackman who I really like also.

Help me please.
Help.

Don't know if Marvel would be able to do any better, but I would feel better that they had ALL film rights back from ALL the other studios now.

As for the three X-Men films, I like a lot about them, there are some cool moments in all three, and the first two are vastly superior to the third, but they ain't what I loved about the X-Men. Such a shame in many respects because they managed to get a lot of the cast right over course of four films.
It's just no-one in control has any clue how to handle them.

Would love to see the original script for Wolverine though.

Is what I've heard about Sabretooth and Deadpool true?
What is Cyclops doing in there?
It makes no sense. I'm so confused!

Colorado Mommy said...

Didn't he get his claws for a different reason in the original X-men?? Aren't they now saying they appeared from childhood trauma??
The movie premiered at number one this weekend so a flop is out of the question.
Good or bad I smell more coming.

Tangaroa said...

SWatsi: I understand the conflict. It's even worse because I actually thought the film was ok, just not everything that it could have been. And that's compounded by the fact that I have a feeling that the creative team knew what they were doing, but the Suits came in and forced a lot of idiotic changes (as well as a small budget). After all, these are the Suits that shoehorned in the deaths of key characters in X3 because they didn't want to pay the cast for any more sequels.

I'm not sure how well Marvel would do, but they couldn't do worse than Fox.

I really like the first two X-films. The first one was hampered by - surprise - a quick development process and a small budget. I thought the second was aces. But the fact was that both were just getting a running start for real X-Men action once everyone's origins were out of the way. Instead they ran flat into a brick wall.

I don't know what you've heard about Sabretooth or Deadpool, but it's probably true. I like Liev Schrieber a lot, but he wasn't given enough of substance to do. I also really like Ryan Reynolds, but he was obviously shoehorned in to start a Deadpool franchise and has a tiny amount of screen time.

Cyclops... well, that didn't wind up being as horrible as I thought it would be. But it was very unnecessary, as was Emma Frost. As was Gambit. All wedged in there by the suits for heaven knows why.

Again - I *did* enjoy it, but that was due to the fact that it features some really good actors and they made the best of the story they were given.

Logan said...

"Good or bad I smell more coming."

Smells like Government.

MOLA RAM'S BROTHER said...

If they made the movie like the first 10 mins of the video game they would have had a classic.

Luke said...

I know everyone keeps saying how bad the special effects in this movie are, and it's true, they really are that bad. However, it's not because the studio stuck them with a small budget. It actually had a $150 Million budget (plus another $50 Mill. for advertising). That's the same size as Iron Man's, and over double what the first X-film had.

What disappoints me is that Fox always acts so surprised when their crappy adaptations don't make any money. "What, you mean Daredevil didn't make us heaps of cash like Spider-Man?" "Wait, nobody wants to see Ghost Rider or Fantastic Four either?" I mean those movies weren't the epic financial disasters that they could have been, but really it just baffles me that even after The Dark Knight and Iron Man they haven't realized that audiences will pay for quality. Heck, this year alone they've shoved off Dragonball, Street Fighter and Wolverine on us. I didn't expect much from the first two, but I'm convinced another studio could have done them better (after all if you can make an awesome movie from a crazy sounding premise like Hellboy you should be able to make a half decent Dragonball film as well). As for Marvel themselves, they've made two films on their own so far, and they've both been pretty good. Why wouldn't they make a good X-Men film as well? See, that's the wonderful thing like Marvel, they actually seem to care whether their films are good or not.

Scott Summers said...

What would you have preferred, Honor? Yellow spandex?

Honor Hunter said...

I would have preferred a script not made of spandex...

Digital Jedi said...

Having grown up with movies like Battle Beyond the Stars and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, I think people throw the word "drek" around way to freely these days. I'm no suit lover, lord knows (and anyone who's read my Re-Imagineering posts would see that very clearly). But Wolverine drek?

Sorry guys, I think maybe this time, you may be the ones just a bit out of touch. I hate to say it, because I don't necessarily believe it is true in all cases, but sometimes, the times can pass people by. I think maybe when it comes to movies, that's an axiom that's more true in that context.

Anonymous said...

I actually think drek sums it up pretty well. Go on Rotten Tomatoes and see why the critics only gave it 36% while the first two are in the 80's. I'll give you a hint, it's not because the "took liberties" with the character or ruined their childhoods. It's because it's a crappy film. It doesn't matter how much money it makes, crap is still crap.

Lord Vargas said...

I actually think the Superman IV comparison is pretty spot on. Like Superman, the original X-Men was a wonderful film and a milestone in the way comic book movies were treated. Bryan Singer has admitted that Superman II (along with The Wrath of Kahn) was a big influence on X2. In both instances however, a new director stepped in for the third film and the result was a campy mess. Then, just when you thought the series couldn't get any worse they release a fourth film that tosses all the things that made the original so wonderful (good character development, realistic dialogue, a timely plot that mirrors the problems our own society faces,a nd most of all a surprising sense of realism) right out the window. Yes, comparing Wolverine to Superman IV is just about perfect.

Anonymous said...

Either way, the damage is already done. They've officially announced a sequel. At least we're getting a Deadpool spinoff as well.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand all of the hate for this movie. I thought it was very entertaining and it was great to see Hugh Jackman back as Wolverine. Glad he'll be back for a sequel.