A few weeks ago when we published the reviews for X-Men Origins Wolverine and Star Trek, I was astonished to find out that my colleagues had given high ratings to both. For one thing I had never thought much of Star Trek as a franchise and I was not expecting much from Wolverine after the X Men The Last Stand disaster. Nevertheless I was willing to give both films the benefit of the doubt. After all there was no reason for either to be bad, they were both based on franchises with solid rich mythologies; Star Trek is known for its hopeful philosophy on mankind while X Men grounds itself with discussions on segregation and the nature of humanity. Well I think that neither mythology could have anticipate the power that corporate conglomerates will one day exercise over entertainment, or how it will reduce the mythologies under which pop culture once grounded itself to mere action flicks appreciated because they are simply fun and/or pretty.
REGARDING: X-Men Origins Wolverine
After watching this film, I read some reviews of what professional critics though about it. It seems most agree with me: this movie sucks. I disagree – however - on the reasons on why it sucks. Most seem to think that since Wolverine (AKA Logan AKA Jim Howlet) can’t die there is no way we can care for him as a character; this would therefore render any plot useless, which means that both character and plot can therefore only serve as a vehicle to hold pretty and exciting action scenes together. Because the film accomplishes and delivers this and never attempted to be anything else many think it deserves praise. I think these are very low standards; I also believe Wolverine can be one of the most tragic, if not interesting, characters conceived. And if Christopher Reeves managed to make a good movie about Superman, the lamest and most one dimensional of all superheroes, we should be able to make a good movie about Wolverine.
For starters, I think the film should have recognized that not being able to die is not cool but quite the contrary. Imagine how horrible it must be to fall in love just to watch you lover grow old and die while you stay young and continue to live. If every year seems goes by faster than the previous imagine how time will fly once you reach 170; life no matter what will become dull, monotonous and most importantly tragic. In this film Wolverine escapes when he hears his memories will be erased. This makes no sense; having your memories erased would be an excellent way to “die”, start all over again, and not carry the burden of 170 years of memories. It would have been much more interesting if Wolverine had actually volunteered to have his memories erased; that would make him a hell of a good character. But it is not the fact that he wants to keep his memories that truly bugged me, after all memories are experience and experience is knowledge and some have claimed knowledge is true pleasure (I personally disagree but it doesn’t change it from being valid opinion); what truly bugs me is why he wants to hold on to his memories. He thinks his girl id dead and he wants to remember her. Ok this is stupid, for some one that has lived 170 years and has looked like Hugh Jackman for the last 145 having a 6-year girlfriend should mean absolutely nothing; he probably has had enough time to go though very single type of relationship possible! Twice! The fact that the girl happens to be alive, tricked him to fall in love with her with psychic powers and that he still loves her after that is too much for me to forgive. The least interesting thing of all is that by the end of the film Wolverine has lost all his memories all his past and therefore we are left with an empty character when we started with a one-dimensional character. As I said, this is not a very interesting film.
In the comics, and the Singer films, Wolverine tends to become a sort of father figure to the younger X Men particularly Rogue, Kitty, and Jubilee (who was never in the films). This makes sense he is a man without a past trying to create a new life for himself starting with a family: the fact that he grows fond of young girls can be interpreted in Freudian using Elektra complex or other sick ways; it doesn’t matter which my point simply is that Wolverine is an interesting character, which this movie made no justice to. It would have been much more interesting to see a film in which Wolverine is trying to figure out his past: Why he voluntarily gave up his memories? Does he really want/have to find out? Or could he learn to live with the mystery understand that it was probably for the best and start his life anew with his adopted family in the Xavier Mansion? My friends, I must say that could be a hell of a character sketch.
REGARDING J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek
Oh My God! It so looks pretty! That is the only compliment I can give this movie. For a film targeted at a male audience ages 15 to 25 it is too girly a compliment to consider it a good one. Yes the special effects are fantastic and the photography is beautiful and the costume designs quirky, cliché but effective. I don’t think – however – that this is enough to recommend a movie as a must see experience.
I do not know much about the original Star Trek franchise; I do – however – know that it was deeply rooted in a hopeful and humanistic philosophy in which people will one day place aside their differences and explore space together rather than against each other. I also know that it always attempted to stick to plausible technologies, or at least pretend it was, and to a strict science fiction world. J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek fails on all these points.
The original humanistic view of the show was somewhat naïve; it explains why the crew is mad up exactly of: a white American (Kirk), a black female American (Uhura), a Eastern European (Checkov), an Asian (Sulu), a British (Scotty) and an alien with weird eyebrows and ears (Spock). For the 1960s this was progressive for the 21st century this is very out dated (it would need a Middle Easterner and Mexican/Cuban crewmember as well to reach our PC standards). Humanistic hopeful views have been replaced by trans-humanistic realist views. It would have been quite interesting to adapt Star Trek in this direction rather than making it simply into another action/ adventure space operetta. We fear and know today that if all of humanity joins together in a hippie yay-yay manner that we would loose much of our diversity and identity and that inter-racial mixing will give us all a brownish beige skin color; in short Checkov’s and Scotty’s accents would not be around in the 23rd century. And although I am 100% all for world peace and inter-cultural exchanges and relations, I also agree with the post-modernistic view that in the long run it might result in monotony, boredom, and drive-thrus all across Earth or the galaxy; either way, it is not fun. But we can also have a more Huntigtonian view in which our cultural divisions will remain no matter what; however if this is the case we probably would not be able to unite peacefully no matter what. But no matter the view taking either side would have made this movie much more interesting and thought provoking.
Instead we are given the most one dimensional, idiotic villain ever thought out by human literature. Can’t Kronos simply acknowledge that he has arrived to a time before his planet was accidentally destroyed? And instead of hunting down the only one who can help him and destroying the two most advanced planets in the galaxy could he not come to his senses and warn the galaxy of what is about to happen? And maybe with the extra time and second chance he was given save his planet? Could not Eric Bana, who plays the villain read the script in advance and tell Abrams how retarded his character is? And demand some changes?
From the final result I guess not.
In the matter of technology I just have many questions but I guess the most important one is: if you have the ability to teleport a person from the space ship into a planet and vice versa, why would you ever under any circumstances parachute them down to a giant space drill when you could simply teleport them with more accuracy and better results? You would spare one man’s life in the process.
Oh, just how shallow have we become to rate such trash as “recommended” or “must see”? Fellow Cinephiles, I implore you. We must demand better movies; we must not pay to see such trash in theaters; we must not buy the two disc special edition of a movie we know its bad only for the commentary, which will probably be just as bad. If we continue to accept such trash they will continue to produce such trash and make tons of money from this practice.
And don’t say I am asking for too much for a superhero or action movies: I think Iron Man and The Dark Knight, which came out last year, are the proof that superhero movies can be though provoking and have depth. We’ve also had X Men 2, the first two Spiderman film, the first Hellboy film, the first two Superman films, Ang Lee’s Hulk, the Tim Burton Batman Films, and maybe one or two more. So no asking for a good Wolverine movie is not too much. And we have the original Star Wars and Serenity to defend the Space Operas. As well as, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sunshine, Minority Report, Knowing, and many, many others defend the strict SciFi thrillers.
I award X Men Origins Wolverine with a 1 “broken” and Star Trek with a 2 “mediocre”. They deserve nothing more.
Oh and by the way, I don’t know what they did to Wolverine’s claws but they looked really fake in this movie compared to the others.