Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Guest Review: David Hankla on X-Men Origins: Wolverine

David Hankla is a Gonzo journalist and Halifax Sex Knight with an assload of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in film from Duke, NYU, and USC. So you should trust his judgment. For future reference, this site will grade films on a five-star scale.

If you’re going to scrap 30 years of carefully crafted history, at least have the courtesy to make the end result entertaining.

What an utter waste of talent. What a waste of potential. Worst of all, what a waste of time. Not just the audience’s time either, but the time of so many countless people who clearly worked very hard to make those trucks blow up, or that nuclear power plant fall down, and even those dozens of people who worked on the simple moments, like when Logan’s claws spark as they touch each other. Ah, what a great scene: straight out of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, both in the quality of the CGI and the laughability of the moment. The sad difference though, is that Roger Rabbit wanted to make us laugh.

How did no one ever stand up and shout out, “PEOPLE, DOES ANYBODY KNOW WHAT WE’RE DOING?” Someone had to wonder. A lot of people had to wonder. This movie cost close to two-hundred-million dollars to make. That’s a number with eight zeroes. That’s like winning the mega-millions lottery twice. When you play with that kind of money, shouldn’t someone demand that a script be written that wasn’t scrawled in the back of a limo during rides to the set? There were more groan-inducing lines in this butcher’s slop than in Spider-Man 3. And Spider-Man 3 was terrible. How did nobody demand a rewrite?

This script felt as if it had been coddled together from a series of web comics written by people who neither knew comic book history nor ever spoke to one another. There was no storyline, no emotional development, and no character arc, very little logic and the closest thing to range shown was behind the characters, when silence often was compared, then broken by sounds of massive explosions. Talented actors appeared and were wasted, characters who could have been major components or even carried films of their own were cast aside in five-lines or less. Entire centuries of history bearing limitless potential for multiple, independent Wolverine origin films were thrown aside during the opening credits alone. Talented people worked on this film. A lot of talented people. Award-winning people. How did nobody care that what they were making was garbage?

Normally, paragraph four is where the critic is supposed to describe the plot of the film so that the potential viewer reading sed review can decide whether the film is really the kind of story he/she might like. Well, as previously stated, the story is a half-coddled mess, so let me summarize in bullet point so as to save us all time.

a) Wolverine starts as a boy. He kills his first person.
b) Then he grows up. He is played by Hugh Jackman, who is fit, but looks old.
c) He kills a lot of people.
d) Then he grows tired of killing people and falls in love in Canada.
e) Creed, his brother, kills Wolverine’s girlfriend. He is played by Liev Schreiber.
f) Wolverine gets mad, then gets metal grafted to his bones. He kills a lot of people.
g) A lot of things blow up. Nothing is resolved.

That was fun. Much more efficient too. And wow, no details wasted. Back to the viscera.

To ignore so many years of talented, painstaking effort is more than just laziness: it is arrogance. It isn’t hard to adapt a comic book well. Comic books are storyboards already. Just take the dialogue and stories that have already been written and combine them in a linear fashion. If the film is done well, the original writers will be proud that their stories and words made it into such a well-done film. The only real way to mess this process up is to either have bad material to being with (not the case here), or to rush the work and assume that the audience will be dumb enough not to care if the story presented to them is boring, effects-driven tripe.

In the final moments of the film, during the rolling of the unending credits, came the hidden scene. This is after the great pay-off that made no sense and the burning of the digital world, of course . . .but there it was. It appeared suddenly out of that black-and-white Courier font simplicity and lasted only four lines, but was meant to whet our appetite for the obvious sequel. As the scene ended, a fellow audience member promptly shouted out “Are You Serious?!?!?” with both gusto and horror. Whoever you are, honest teenager, you put it perfectly. If only you’d been on set for this production as well.

One Star

Directed by Gavin Hood
Written by David Benioff and Skip Woods

Hugh Jackman – Logan/Wolverine
Liev Schreiber – Victor Creed/Sabretooth
Danny Huston – William Stryker
Will.i.Am – John Wraith
Lynn Collins – Kayla Silverfox
Kevin Durand – Frederick J. Dukes/The Blob
Dominic Monaghan – Chris Bradley/Bolt
Taylor Kitsch – Remy LeBeau/Gambit
Daniel Henney – David North/Agent Zero
Ryan Reynolds – Wade Wilson/Deadpool
Scott Adkins – Weapon XI
Tim Pocock – Scott Summers
Julia Blake – Heather Hudson
Max Cullen – Travis Hudson
Troye Sivan – James
Michael-James Olsen – Dog (Young Creed)
Peter O’Brien – John Howlett
Aaron Jeffery – Thomas Logan
Alice Parkinson – Elizabeth Howlett

David Hankla owns and operates He is a bad enough dude to save the president. Are you?


Bearfight Jones said...

As a fan of comic books, and even bigger fan of the X-Men, and even bigger fan of the Wolverine hurts to read this.

Boutros will tell you, I was quite excited for this. But now my heart has been ripped from my chest and toasted along with one of Hugh Jackman's turds to later be spread on a sandwich for Will.i.Am

Anonymous said...

i'm shocked by the allegations of crappy CGI. didn't this movie cost $200 million?