Movie review: ‘X-Men’

xmenWhen a performer or an athlete doesn’t do his or her best work, they are accused of “mailing it in.” Well, I’m not “mailing in” this review of “X-Men,” but I have to say I’m taking a shortcut to achieve a goal: I want to have reviewed a film with a title from each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Right now, I have 24 – missing just “V” and “X.” There are a couple of good contenders for “V” that I’ll have to choose between to review (“Vision Quest” and “V for Vendetta”), but very slim pickings in the “X” title race. So, I’m going to speed through by being ultimately superficial and do “X-Men” today. I don’t like superhero flicks and I’m reviewing a movie I’ve never seen (so don’t be a hater, OK?).

‘X-Men’
(2000; 104 minutes; rated PG-13; directed by Bryan Singer and starring Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellen)

SUPERHERO FANS CAN JUDGE THIS ONE FOR THEMSELVES

I’ve reviewed more than 300 films for my blog, but I haven’t reviewed any whose title begins with a “V” or an “X.” So, today, I’m taking one off the list by reviewing “X-Men.” Well, it’s somewhat of a “review” since I have to say I haven’t watched it or plan to watch it. How can I review a film I haven’t watched? Well, roll with the punches and follow me here …

(CLICK HERE FOR ALL MY MOVIE REVIEWS)

I’m not sure why, but superhero comics or films never resonated with me. Just as I liked World War II flicks over westerns (oh, the heresy as an American filmgoer), I went against the grain with superhero stuff as a youngster – and I did play “Dungeons & Dragons” in college.

So, I didn’t enjoy the rejuvenation of “Spider-Man” in film (I don’t like Tobey Mcguire) and all this new superhero stuff just looks plain awful as it prints money at the box office. Really? You have superheroes fighting each other? Strange; kind of like the age-old caustic question of, “Who would win a fistfight between Superman and Jesus?” I do like the trailers for “Suicide Squad,” but I doubt I’ll go see it.

However, I must review a film with “X” as the starting letter in the title. Hence, this “review” of “X-Men.”

I don’t know the plot or why they made or what made it popular, so I’ll give my impressions of some of the purported headliners …

  • Three-time Golden Globe nominee (not for this one) Patrick Stewart plays “Charles Xavier,” who, as “Professor X,” I believe heads up the superheroes. Well, I can’t say any more since I didn’t see it. I also didn’t watch Stewart in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (why would anyone watch that abominable series?) and I didn’t see him in any of his three nominated roles (“Moby Dick,” “Blunt Talk” and the TV remake of “The Lion in Winter”), but I did like him in the TV ads for some hard cider that I guess is essentially a fancy malt liquor.
  • Oscar nominee (not for this one) Hugh Jackman is “Logan,” who is known as “Wolverine.” I call him, “who cares?” I understand through an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” (click here for by critique of that TV series) that he has “bone claws.” I think I also saw this in the trailer a long time ago. Well, Jackman might have been nominated for “Les Misérables,” but I haven’t seen him in any film. OK, so, on to the next one …
  • Two-time Oscar nominee (not for this one) Ian McKellen plays “Eric Lensherr” and is known as “Magneto.” I can’t say how good he is because I haven’t seen “X-Men,” but he also could be bad enough to be called “Cow Pie-o.” Well, obviously not for an actor of his accomplishment. McKellen is known for the “Lord of the Rings” franchise. I didn’t watch those films, either (although he got one of his two nominations for one). He got his other for “Gods and Monsters.”
  • The female actor I’m most familiar with is Famke Janssen, as she is “Jean Grey.” I hope she did a good job here, since I liked her work in “Rounders” with Matt Damon (click here for my review) but she wasn’t as good in a bigger role in the 007 thriller “GoldenEye” (click here for my review). She didn’t have much screen time in “Rounders” and I’m hoping she got more here.

Well, that’s it except for Oscar winner (not for this one) Anna Paquin as “Rogue.” I’ll say the same about her as I did about Famke – except that I haven’t seen any of her films to be able to judge as I have Ms. Janssen. Paquin won her statute for “The Piano,” which I’d say is a droll, miserable “drama” that was the favorite of the critics. Yawn.

Running down the complete list of actors, I really can’t find any that I’d be interesting in writing anything about (save one – and you’ll find trivia about him in the cast and film notes below).

So, I come to the end of this so-called “review.” I hope you liked it and I also hope that all of you superhero fans don’t hate me too much. I just needed some help from the “X-Men.”

X-Men” was the eighth-ranked film at U.S. theaters in 2000 with $157.2 million, according to Box Office Mojo. It was made on a $75 million budget and raked in $296.3 million worldwide, according to Wiki. The No. 1 film of the year was “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” with $260 million. Here are the films from 2000 that I’ve reviewed on my blog (yes, I actually watched and then reviewed them):

Assorted cast and film notes (via IMDb.com):

  • Comic book legend Stan Lee has a bit part as “Hot Dog Vendor” and this is the first film based on a Marvel comic in which he has a cameo.
  • Directly from com: “Rebecca Romijn‘s make-up as Mystique consisted of 110 custom-designed prostheses, which covered 60% of her body and took nine hours to apply. She could not drink wine, use skin creams, or fly the day before filming, because it could have caused her body chemistry to change slightly, causing the prosthetics to fall off.”
  • Finally and directly from com: “Bryan Singer‘s first choice to play Wolverine was Russell Crowe, but he turned it down. Other actors considered for the role were Aaron Eckhart, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Viggo Mortensen and Edward Norton. Keanu Reeves and Gary Sinise were the studio’s preferred choices. Dougray Scott was cast, but he had to drop out due to schedule conflicts with Mission: Impossible II (2000). Finally, Russell Crowe suggested his friend, Hugh Jackman, to the director, who was cast as Wolverine, shortly before filming began.”

© Chuck Curry and A Gator in Naples, 2016.
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