Buy, Rent or Skip X-Men?

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Author Topic: X-Men (2000)  (Read 157 times)

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X-Men (2000)
« on: October 04, 2012, 01:18:02 am »

I don't remember the last time I saw this... I had the VHS of it but I don't think I ever got the DVD so it's been a good couple of years for me, but I can still remember almost every line and every beat.  I was overdue.  I actually wanted to watch X2 but I figured I had better watch this one first while I was in the mood. 

I can't really say much about the film from a film reviewers viewpoint because everything to be said has been said about it.  Love Patrick Stewart as Prof X, Anna Paquin as Rogue (okay, a Rogue/Shadowcat hybrid), Ian McKellan (whose Shakespeare stuff I've become a big fan of, no doubt as a result of this movie), and I was amazed listening to the commentary how much of the movie was put in halfway through or changed and what a mad rush it was to do it.

This came out at a time when I was still HUGE on comic books, three coffin boxes of them... I'd started reading X-Men at a trickling pace when I could get them in Rome (and became a fan of the 80s line in X-Men Classic) and it became a deluge once I started school and could WALK to the comic book store every week.  So I was pretty psyched to see this, and it was at the time when my dad and I would still go to the movies together all the time... about a year before he moved, so this is like one of the big movies I remember seeing with him and we both loved it.  And he's not a sci-fi superhero guy by any stretch of the imagination.

I think, as I grow older, I'm becoming more emotionally receptive to things, cause a part of me reacted much more to the whole "safe haven for runaways" aspect of the Xavier School, this place where these kids and adults can thrive and become better people and help each other and make a contribution to the lives of others and the world they live in.  I love **** like that.  And I think it helps that Patrick Stewart was explaining it too, I had the same reaction to Star Trek First Contact when they talked about what Earth was like in the future.  I guess I realize how much we need that.

On that note, I am VERY happy that the movies remembered and emphasized something that so often feels neglected in the comics (that I remember)-- that the X-Men are teachers and that they live in a school.  Love that the students are a constant presence and that we see evidence around the place of the conversion (modern walls in the dorms to bisect the bigger bedrooms into smaller ones, the tables in the conservatory).  In the second one we see Logan in the school at night and you see weird kids lingering around, the whole mansion feels lived in and real and I really like that.

The script, even though it apparently wasn't done when they started, is so tight, everything fits and moves along (the movie is a brisk 90 minutes, it feels like an oasis now in the world of 2 1/2 hour empty-feeling "epics" like Hunger Games).  There's quite a few characters but it doesn't feel crowded or packed in.  They're grouped but the groups splinter and characters interact with each other across groups and most get their own little moments... and it didn't fall into the "we're going to act like superheroes and supervillains" trap, everything flowed from the sci-fi nature of the set-up and premise.  Yeah, Magneto pulls off something grand but he's not trying to crown himself King or send out an army or **** like that, it's just the only way to do what he feels needs to be done (and he, and Senator Kelly, have valid concerns and viewpoints, which you want in an antagonist).

I must have read a novelization to the flick (even though I don't ever remember owning one or even seeing a cover for one) because I remember all the little extra parts like the Conversion of Constantine being discussed in Storm's class and Rogue's thoughts about the trucker who drops her off.

And I have to say, this movie totally influenced me to this day in terms of design.  In the comics, especially in the 90s, everything was overdesigned and detailed and it was like they just wanted to put more ink to paper and I couldn't figure out what the mansion or the lower levels looked like or anything like that.  I loved the simple design of the lower levels, blue panels and lines of light, the giant X-door for the simple global Cerebro (with the great helmet), that little locker room area.... not only could I wrap my head around it, it was sweet design, it was like Apple design now.  That's the standard to me now.

On that note, I totally forgot how great Magneto's office looked, that bored-out cave with rings of metal around, that metal desk and the clacking balls without strings.  It was grand and simple at the same time, it wasn't overdone or anything.  Not like a villian's lair but "well, I have to stay here for a while, it should look nice."  And it looks VERY nice.  And given how easy it would have been for him to make it, it makes sense.  That's the thing about so much of the movie:  it makes sense.

And the look of the costumes... not just the uniforms, which I liked (especially the fact that they were ripped apart at the end cause the actors couldn't move in them... something about that just makes me giggle) but things like Storm's hippie clothes, Rogue's long green cloak and scarf, Xavier's tie pin (which I don't know if I ever noticed before), Xavier's gorgeous suit and even that great satin shirt Magneto wears in his office.

One part I did find weird was all the TVs, people were watching CRT high-def sets... big glass things like in Contact, they looked expensive then but now it seems weird to imagine a TV that size (or any size) that's not flat.  And the little sets that just have the black bars put over them... that's just kinda strange now.  But I guess at the time seeing flat screens everywhere wouldn't have rung true either.  We just didn't make that transitionary step between widescreen tubes and flats in real life.

And can I say I don't feel as bad for not knowing how to play chess having heard that neither Sir Patrick and Sir Ian could play when they made the flick.

And I also like that the music in the trailer is the same music Jessica Alba was dancing to in "Sin City."

(this disorganized style is why I shuttered my movie blog, this doesn't read well).
« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 01:43:08 am by Neumatic »


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