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The Post-Game Show » wolverine

Posts Tagged ‘wolverine’

Battle of the Blockbuster Boys

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

trekwolverine

This year’s two big early summer blockbusters do not have a lot in common. Sure, they’re both based on nerd franchises, but one is a reboot of a cult TV show about a crew of spacefaring ambassador-adventurers, and the other is a comic book spin-off starring an ageless and mysterious loner with pointy claws. One is about preppy kids in space band-camp; the other is about an angry emo jock. One is bright and breezy; the other is grim ‘n’ gritty. One has side-partings; the other has buzz cuts. One is good; the other is not.

Yet there is one odd feature that unites Star Trek and Wolverine. Man-candy. Both movies feature a surprising number of healthy young turks with thrusting chests and Pepsodent smiles.

We all know Trek beats Wolverine when it comes to things like story, tension, effects and character, and Wolverine currently has the edge when it comes to box office, but which movie comes out ahead when you look at the most important factor of all - the totty? Don’t worry; I have the answers.

(By the way, I think that my version of Photoshop is broken. There was lens flare all over my Star Trek images, and it looked terrible. I’ve done what I can to minimise it.)

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The Nemesis: Eric Bana vs Liev Schreiber

I have a friend who thinks Liev Schreiber is just a low-rent Russell Crowe, which I think is absolutely shocking. I think Liev Scheiber is a rent-controlled Vincent D’Onofrio in a bad neighbourhood. His face is a cross between a sticklebrick and a billboard. Mussing him up and giving him stubble does not render him magically sexy.

Eric Bana, on the other hand, is so handsome that it’s impossible to ugly him up. Cover him in crazy prosthetics and tribal tattoos, and he still looks like a prettier version of Lincoln Burrows from Prison Break. He could play Aileen Wournos and she’d still be gorgeous.

Advantage: Trek

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The Clown: Simon Pegg vs Dominic Monaghan

I used to have a mild thing for Simon Pegg back in the Spaced days, but I got over it pretty quickly. I’ve never had a thing for Dominic Monaghan, despite his claim to fame as being the least punchable of the Hobbits. (For the record, in order of punchability from least to most, it goes Monaghan, Boyd, Wood, Astin.)

That said, Monaghan’s rough-looking circus outcast loser freak looks like he’d be better in the sack than Pegg’s slightly misplaced bag-hat-wearing loopy Scotsman.

Advantage: Wolverine

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The Korean: John Cho vs Daniel Henney

Look everyone! Asians! Asians in our action movies! And they’re not there to do karate! One of these chaps does fancy gun-fu, the other has a flashing blade. It’s a revolution!

Now, John Cho is a handsome and funny guy, and I’d definitely court Harold over Kumar; but Daniel Henney is quite a discovery; the prettiest Korean to shoot at a good guy since Rick Yune in Die Another Day. Not that this propelled Rick Yune to super-stardom, mind you. Hopefully Henney will break out bigger.

Advantage: Wolverine

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The Wiseguy: Karl Urban vs Ryan Reynolds

On first impressions, this is an easy one to call. Ryan Reynolds is stupidly lovely. He’s handsome in a generic Ben Affleck way, and he has an amazing Men’s Health magazine cover body, and he’s funny and goofy and charming. Karl Urban, on the other hand, tends to look a lot better onscreen than off, and has a face a bit like a pissed-off chihuahua. He was at his best playing a Zoolander pretty-boy assassin in The Bourne Supremacy.

Until now, that is. As Dr McCoy, Urban takes on a lip-jutting matinee idol raffishness. While Scotty got the gags and Kirk got the pratfalls, McCoy delivered most of the best lines. Wit and a pair of delightfully full lips will take you a long way in the Federation. Reynolds failed to achieve his usual potential on Wolverine; Urban emerged as one of the nicest surprises in Trek.

Advantage: Trek

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The Father Figure: Chris Hemsworth / Bruce Greenwood
vs Danny Huston / Aaron Jeffrey / Peter O’Brien

The heroes in both movies have both real and surrogate daddies. Actually, James Logan has three dads; real, adoptive, and evil. James Kirk only has two; dead and fake. Wolverine’s dead dads are both played by good-looking Antipodean soap actors, but both are only fleetingly seen. The more substantial father figure is Danny Huston’s William Stryker. Had the part been played by Dexter star Michael C Hall, as originally planned, the character might have had a little more magnetism.

Kirk’s dad is also played by a good-looking Antipodean soap actor, Chris Hemsworth of Home & Away. Kirk’s surrogate dad is Captain Pike, played by Bruce Greenwood. The original Captain Pike was played by Jeffrey Hunter, one of the most beautiful man who ever lived, so it’s natural that they didn’t try to replicate that. In the five-way battle of the daddies, the Abercrombie good looks of Captain Kirk père put him way out ahead.

Advantage: Trek

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The Girl: Zoe Saldana vs Lynn Collins

Or ‘funny-shaped lads’, as I like to think of them. Saldana is a very beautiful woman, but she could stand to eat a few fried Tribbles. Poor dear is wasting away. Collins is likewise attractive, if you can get past the fact that she looks like she smells of hemp and quinoa. The simple truth of the matter, though, is that they’re girls, and you don’t get any points for putting girls in my boy movies. Silly filmmakers!

Advantage: None

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The Sidekick: Zachary Quinto vs Taylor Kitsch

This is where it gets really tough. Quinto is a very handsome man, who made being a brain-eating psychopath seem sexy (and, yes, Sylar eats brains, no matter what he says). However, his bowl-haired Spock is not anywhere like as appealing as either Sylar or Quinto himself. Even with the lengths the movie goes to in order to sex Spock up, fancying Spock is something not everyone is mentally equipped to do. Besides, Quinto is at his best with a bit of stubble. Bring on the Mirror Universe!

In contrast, Taylor Kitsch gets to have fun playing omnisexual flirt and acrobatic hustler Gambit, and his few short scenes are some of the best moments in an otherwise clunky movie. Kitsch convinced me that I’d much sooner watch a Gambit movie than Wolverine 2, Deadpool or Magneto. His hair may be foofy, but it’s still better than Spock’s.

Advantage: Wolverine

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The Hero: Chris Pine vs Hugh Jackman

With scores tied, it all comes down to the leading men. If you’ve seen Jackman strutting about all muscular and shirtless in Wolverine, you’d be forgiven for thinking this a no-brainer. Jackman got himself into amazing shape, and he’s a hugely charismatic actor who can easily carry a big action movie. And he can sing, and he can dance, and he can even raise the ratings for the Academy Awards! He’s a fricking miracle worker!

Then there’s the new boy. Chris Pine is pretty. Chris Pine is flawlessly pretty. He’s as close as any human could come to being a Ken doll. In fact, he was born in LA, the son of two actors; he might as plausibly have been custom-made by Paramount. Consider this; he was born in late August 1980, which means he could have been ‘conceived’ on the very day that Star Trek: The Motion Picture hit cinemas in early December 1979. He’s not a human being! He’s a back-up plan!

The worst you can say about Chris Pine is that he’s too handsome. I don’t believe in ‘too handsome’. As the young, insolent, swaggering Cadet Kirk, pouty-lipped, big eyed Pine is a new icon of cinema sexy, in the grand tradition of Russell Crowe’s Maximus and Daniel Craig’s Bond. Sorry, Wolverine; you’ve finally been out-hunked.

Advantage: Trek
Winner: Trek

Wolverine: What He Does Ain’t Pretty

Monday, May 4th, 2009

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Despite leaking all over the internet and being widely panned by critics and internet scuttlebutt, the new Wolverine movie was a box office hit this past weekend. This is not at all surprising. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is a big draw; people don’t really care if the movie is good or not, just so long as they can watch Wolverine growling and slashing and saying ‘bub’. I suspect the leak had next to bugger all impact. The few thousand people who bothered to dowload an unfinished copy of the movie were exactly the sort of people who would go and see the movie anyway.

The reviews weren’t wrong. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a bad movie. It’s not X-Men: The Last Stand bad, but it is bad. Blame can be laid squarely at the feet of the writers, whose attempt to reverse-engineer an origin for the franchise’s most popular hero involves a skimpy un-plot strung together with a golden classics compendium of dialogue clichés.

Jackman is still good, of course. He can growl and chomp cigars and say “bub” like he was born to it. Ryan Reynolds is predictably entertaining as Wade Wilson, and Taylor Kitsch’s Gambit is so spot on that I want to see that Gambit movie now, please. (And I’m not just saying that because he’s hot, but if he weren’t hot, he wouldn’t be Gambit.) Daniel Henney’s role as the cool and beautiful Agent Zero will hopefully be the start of a long and wonderful career in silly action movies.

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Beyond the pretty boys’ brigade, the performances are less convincing. As an actor, Will.I.Am makes a terrible rapper, while Liev Schreiber’s saucer face seems hopelessly ill-suited to the part of Sabertooth, and making him do those silly cat leaps was a mistake. I came to regard him as a supervillain version of Nermal, the World’s Cutest Kitten. Danny Huston is a dependable rogue, of course, but the man deserved a meatier part to get his teeth into.

It’s also rather important, in a big special effects blockbuster, to get the special effects right. Maybe the people who saw the leaked version without effects were lucky; they were spared the sight of claws that looked like cardboard covered in tin foil, and a de-aged plastic Xavier who looked like the water creature from The Abyss.

Now for the fanboy stuff. (This is where it gets spoilery.) The filmmakers threw some geek-chum into the waters to please the loyal base - guest appearances by the likes of Toad, Quicksilver and Storm. Unfortunately, they ballsed up most of the things that fans are actually likely to care about. Emma Frost as a funny-looking girl in a tanktop? Heather Hudson reimagined as Ma Kent from Superman? Cyclops using his eye beams to set things on fire? And they used the origin from Origins, which I personally think is disastrously stupid. Making Wolverine’s origin that of Little Lord Fauntleclaws feels like a fundamental misreading of the character.

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The biggest crime, though - apart from having Wolverine spending centuries fighting for the US military when he should have been fighting for Canada - was what they did to Deadpool. Ever since Blade: Trinity, Ryan Reynolds has been considered dream casting for that role - so of course they squandered it, turning the merc with the mouth into a mute goon who shoots fricking laser beams out of his face. Fans don’t like it when you pretend you’re going to give them what they want, then whip it away from them.

I’ve seen a lot of people complaining that the film got Deadpool so badly wrong that they cannot possibly do a spin-off. And, you know, they cut off his head. The fact is, Wolverine had the third most successful opening weekend of any Fox picture. Spin-offs are going to happen, and a little decapitation isn’t going to stop that. A sociopathic Deadpool with blades, teleportation and a healing factor is pretty consistent with the comics version (even if the blades do now come out of his arms). I just pray that they drop the laser beams.

The Gambit spin-off and the long promised Magneto spin-off have to be good bets as well, but apparently the most likely direction for the next movie (apart from X-Men Origins: Wolverine II: Wolverine in Japan) is X-Men: First Class, following the first class of Xavier’s students (probably Scott, Jean, Hank and some others, since Bobby and Warren won’t be available in this continuity). Mind you, if that means more of Xavier’s Oil of Olay face, I can probably live without it.

Uncanny Likeness?

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

movie-gambit

USA Today has some ‘exclusive’ fan-pandering pics of the Wolverine movie cast, including Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool and Taylor Kitsch (above) as Gambit - surely the one character X-Men die-hards have most been clamouring to see hit the screen, being the big wet predictable fanboys that we all are. (If you don’t know Friday Night Lights, then Kitsch may be best known to you as ‘guy with great abs who dies having sex in the toilets in Snakes on a Plane’.)

Says Hugh Jackman of Gambit’s interactions with Wolverine; “He starts off as a pest, but their relationship is a little gray”.

Yes, ‘gray’. I’m putting that down to a transcription error.

Austen Powers

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single author in possession of a good following must be in want of a zeitgeist. Or something. Look, what I’m saying is, that bitch Jane Austen just will not die.

All of her completed works have been adapted at least twice - four of them in just  the last two years! She only wrote six of the damn things! Only Emma has enjoyed any period of dormancy of late, having not been touched since the mid ’90s, when it was adapted three times - as a movie, as a TV series, and as Clueless. Now even the unfinished novel Lady Susan is getting a BBC Four series.

And then there’s Pride & Prejudice. Adapted six times for television; three times for cinema; at least six times for stage, frequently as a musical. (I’m still haunted by the terrible lyrics to the title song of the dreadful Pardon My Prejudice, which my sister appeared in many years ago.  ”Pardon my prejudice, pardon my prejudice, if you can; I’ll pardon you, if you pardon me, you proud, proud man”.)

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All of that is without counting Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Jane Austen Book Club, Bride and Prejudice, or the recent TV series Lost in Austen. And now things are getting really strange. Having seemingly exhausted Austen proper (at least for now), and having apparently also exhausted the modernisation angle, those seeking to further plunder the Austen franchise for gold are now looking to cross-breed the Hampshire hussy’s work with other concepts. 

Lost in Austen was an attempt to put a girly twist on Life on Mars (Life on Venus, if you will), with a modern day gal finding herself magically transported into the book. Such is the appeal of the concept that it’s being remade as a movie by Sam Mendes.

Then there’s this thing:

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Two tired slices of zeitgeist wheezily leaning against each other for support as they stagger ever onwards. And now comes news that Elton John’s production company is making a movie called Pride and Predator - in which, yes, an alien crash lands in 19th century England and tears a bloody swathe through genteel country society. It is probably not a witty and well-observed study of social manners and mores.

Worryingly, even the new TV spot for this summer’s Wolverine movie shows Young Wolverine discovering his powers in a quaint period setting with puffy sleeves and waistcoats (taking a misguided cue from the dreadful Wolverine: Origins comic, which saw the rough and tough action hero starting out life as Little Lord Fauntleclaws). Admittedly it looks more Bronté than Austen, but the fact that I’m even using those words to describe a Wolverine trailer is a bad sign.

With any luck we’re now coming to the end of the Austen Translation period, and eventually the Godzilla of English literature will return to her dormant state. However, just in case there’s cash in the old girl yet, here are some ideas you might want to adopt and adapt for your own Bastard Austen project. 

Pirates & Prejudice: The Bennet household is all atwitter when Netherfield Park is boarded and raided by pirates and dashing Cap’n Jack Darcy comes raping and pillaging in Pemberley.

Sense & The City: The Dashwood girls come to modern New York and experience the pitfalls of internet dating, ‘bad boys’, and not knowing how soon is too soon to call. Alternative title: He’s Just Not That In Want Of A Wife.

Dark Persuasion: Anne Elliott’s former fiancé comes back into her life, only now he’s a sexy brooding vampire with pale skin and attractively messy hair. Yearning. achingly tender sexual awakening ensues.

Emma Mia: Just like regular Emma, but with the songs of Abba. 

Mansfield Planet: Fanny is a human raised in a family of aliens on a strange foreign planet. Can poor Fanny fit in and find love in a world where she knows she does not belong and everyone looks down on her as an inferior race? And is handsome and reprehensible Henry Crawford secretly a treacherous Cylon? (Yes.)

Harry Potter and the Abbey of Northanger: The money pretty much prints itself. As does the cease-and-desist order.

For the record, if you successfully adapt any of these ideas, I want half.