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Posts Tagged ‘Days of Future Past’

This month’s movies are A remake of a recent classic, a retelling of a fairytale, a sporting documentary, a literary adaptation two very different revenge thrillers and three summer blockbusters. Edge of Tomorrow came out two days before the end of the month and I haven’t seen it yet, hopefully it will be on next month’s list.

Brick Mansions: Remake of the 2004 French film District 13 written by Luc Besson. The late Paul Walker again proves to be a likeable leading man and the parkour skills of David Belle (reprising his role from the original) are always thrilling to watch. Unfortunately the film is unoriginal and a little dull.Brick Mansions

Pompeii: Gladiator-a-like action film set in the last days of the titular Italian city before Mount Vesuvius buried it is ash. Paul W. S. Anderson’s movie is rubbish but it is such good fun rubish its hard not to enjoy it.Pompeii

Blue Ruin: Low budget revenge thriller that is both considered and thoughtful. Throwing away the conventions of the genre it is full of suspense a tinged with a sense of despair and dread.Blue Ruin

Sabotage: What appears to be a more intelligent movie than you would expect for Arnold Schwarzenegger turns out to be as dumb as you would expect. intimately though, despite a critical panning and a week box-office, I enjoyed it.Sabotage

Next Goal Wins: Documentary about the national football team of American Samoa, described as the worth national team in the world. A timely reminder of what sport is all about away from with multimillionaire footballers. Jast as with Senna (2010), you don’t have to be a fan to enjoy the movie.Next Goal Wins

Two Faces of January: Based on Patricia Highsmith novel of the same name the movie is old-fashioned in a good way. Beautifully shot and fantastically acted (Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Oscar Isaac), Hossein Amini’s supremely confident directorial debut owes a debt to Hitchcock.Two Faces of January

Godzilla: After the success of his micro budget Monsters, Gareth Edwards is given £160million to play with. The film is a worthy successor to Ishirō Honda’s original and helps wash away the bad taste left by the Roland Emmerich version. The human characters aren’t great but we are here to see the monsters.Godzilla

X-Men: Days of Future Past: Based on the seminal 80’s two part X-Men story of the same name. The casts of First Class and the original trilogy come together in one of the best X-Men movies yet. It also opens the door to tell future stories without worrying about the continuity of original trilogy.x men

Maleficent: The concept is good and it looks really good. Angelina Jolie is fantastic and clearly having fun but it is all let down by a really dull story.Maleficent

I could happily have chosen Blue Ruin, Next Goal Wins, Two Faces of January or Godzilla as my movie of the month. But I have to go with the film that I am most looking forward to seeing again, allso the film that has inspired two articles this week: X-Men: Days of Future Past. X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-Movie-Poster

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* SPOILER WARNING** SPOILER WARNING** SPOILER WARNING*

Having watched the X-Men: Days of Future Past I decided to look out the original comic book first published in 1981 in The Uncanny X-Men issues #141-142 by writer/artist team of Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin. I had read it many years ago but didn’t remember much beyond the basic story. I was most surprised at how short it was consisting of around 40 pages over two issues. So unlike so many films that cut out large chucks of source material, Days of Future Past expands on the idea. The film has always been sold as “Inspired” by the comic and not a direct adaptation. The differences in plot are for the continuity of the film series as well as for dramatic reasons. I thought I would list a few.

  • The future in the comic book is 2013
  • The film future is 2023

days of future past comic cover

  • In the Comic; Kate Pryde travels back in time to inhabit her younger self, chosen, as the newest and youngest member she hadn’t been trained to defend herself against psychic attack yet. She is referred to as Kate in the future and Kitty in the past.
  • In the film Wolverine travels back to inhabit his younger body as he in the only one whose mind can survive the process. (and because it was the only way of writing him into the story as in the film timeline he doesn’t meet the X-Men until around 2000)

wolverine and kitty pryde

  • Kate is sent back by Rachel Summers
  • Wolverine is sent back by Kitty Pryde.kate pryde
  • Kate is sent back around 30 years to 1980
  • Wolverine is sent back 50 years to 1973days of future past 1980
  • In the comic book Mystique has formed a New Brotherhood of Mutants: Avalanche, Pyro, Destiny and The BLOB.
  • In the film Mystique acts alonebrotherhood of mutants days of future past
  • Mystique and The Brotherhood of Mutants kill presidential candidate Robert Kelly, Charles Xavier and Moira MacTaggert.
  • Mystique kills Bolivar Trask, the designer of the Sentinels.Trask
  • In the comic book the future resistance are made up of: Sprite (Kate Pryde), Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Franklin Richards (from the fantastic Four), Rachel Summers (the daughter of the alternate future counterparts to Cyclops and Jean Grey, she has not appeared in the movie universe) and Magneto
  • The future resistance in the film are: Kitty Pryde, Storm, Wolverine, Iceman, Bishop, Colossus, Blink, Sunspot, Warpath, Professor Xavier and Magneto

days of future past

  • In the comic book we don’t see Mystique killing Kelly, Xavier and MacTaggert, we are only told about it.
  • In the film we are shown Mystique killing Trask.mystique days of future past
  • In the comic Mystique’s attack sets of a chain of events leading to the sentinels taking over America and about to embark on a nuclear war with the rest of the world.
  • In the movie Mystique is captured and her ability (and those of others we are shown) help create a next generation of Sentinel that recreates mutant abilities and uses them against their enemies.Days-of-Future-Past-Sentinels
  • In 1980 Wolverine has his adamantium.
  • in 1973 Wolverine is yet to have his adamantium.Wolverine-Bone-Claws-X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past
  • In 1980 Xavier is bald.
  • In 1973 he has hair.days of future past
  • In the comic the attack happens during a senate hearing in Washington.
  • In the film the attack happens in Paris, were the Americans and Vietnamese are negotiating the end of American involvement in the Vietnam Wartime out of mind
  • In the comic the X-Men team who stop Mystique are Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, Angel, Sprite and Nightcrawler.
  • In the movie they are: Wolverine, Professor Xavier, Magneto and Beast.Blink-and-Warpath-in-X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past
  • In the comic book the X-men resistance escape from a concentration camp try and break into Sentinel HQ to stop the nuclear war from happening.
  • In the movie they hold up in a monastery in China knowing they will be found and killed but holding out as long as they can, Wolverine being their only hope.days of future past movie
  • After the attack on the senate hearing fails the story in the comic book is over.
  • The movie has another act where magneto fucks things up and they have to stop him too.

maneto

  • The characters in the comic book version of the future do not know if they have succeeded in changing the future. Rachel Summers (herself from an alternate reality) speculates “our world may not change at all, instead Kate’s actions could create an entirely different timeline… an alternate parallel earth”.
  • The movie appears to exist in a single changeable reality, when they succeed the future is rewritten, the characters disappear and reappear in a new reality with only Wolverine remembering the dystopian world.

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-Kitty-Pryde-2

I’m sure there is lots more I have missed.

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* SPOILER WARNING** SPOILER WARNING** SPOILER WARNING*

Over 50 years and 23 movies James Bond has moved with the times without aging. The stories in the films are largely self contained. The continuity from one film to the next is shaky at best. Comic books have a different approach having story arcs that last months or years, eventually however they rewrite history often as new writers come in. Sometimes this is done within the story other times it is simply what we now call a reboot. Comic books often contain more than one story at a time, these stories can appear at any time in the within the timeline of the characters, this helps distract from the reinvention of the characters. This has found its way into the movie adaptations. Batman, Spiderman and Superman have all had the reboot treatment recently.The X Men

The X-Men took a different approach. Bryan Singer’s first film in 2000 took all already established group, any origin or back story was told in flashback over the first two movies. Instead of rebooting the series, X-Men: First Class (2011) went back and told the origin of the characters in the 1960’s keeping the existing continuity (more or less). Despite positive reviews and a strong box-office the film has never received much love. When everyone expected a First Class sequel or another origin movie. What they came up with was nothing short of stunning in its audacity. Returning director Bryan Singer has come up with sequel to The Last Stand (and The Wolverine (2013) that was a sort of sequel to The Last Stand) and First Class, that at the same time rewrote continuity of the entire franchise except First Class and part of Origins: Wolverine, wiping out the events of The Last Stand. A similar thing was achieved in Star Trek (2009), while that series gave the opportunity to reboot and recast the series within the continuity of the original films and TV show the X-Men has a far different agenda and appeal. All the events from 1973 onwards can be re written without having to worry about continuity of the original trilogy, and best of all within the new continuity, the events of X-Men: The Last Stand did not happen. Like so many other comic books, the X-Men seem to pick and choose between a multiverse and single changeable reality.  The way characters disappear from the screen when the past changes suggests that it becomes a “dead reality” and not part of an alternate reality.

the last stand

So where does that leave us? The possibilities are endless but a few thoughts on what this opens up. Days of Future past ends with Wolverine in the hands of William Stryker (or does it?), I think we have seen enough Weapon X and Wolverine getting his adamantium, but what he does after this is up fro grabs. A new path in his life could result in Wolverine joining The X-Men prior to 2000 as he did in the original movie. This allows him to appear in X-Men Apocalypse. It would mean he doesn’t meat Rogue when he did in that movie. That will change her timeline dramatically, although we do see her at the School at the end of the movie, so she makes it to the X-Men one way or another. This leaves the door open for a Mystique and Rogue Movie. The biggest criticism many fans have of The Last Stand is the way it handled The Dark Phoenix story, this could now be retold. It could work as a standalone movie told in two time periods, the other story coming from The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix. However poorly handled Phoenix/Jean Grey was in that movie Famke Janssen is perfectly cast. The other character who was short-changed in that movie is Psylocke aka Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock. She was unrecognisable from the character in the comic book. She could be re-introduced, however, she was famously missing from the original Age of Apocalypse comic.X2

There are a few clunks and contrivances along the way but when you look back at it the X-Men franchise has done what so many other franchises have failed to do. Just eight years after Tim Burton reinvented Batman (1989), Joel Schumacher had killed the franchise with Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997). It took Christopher Nolan another eight years to reinvent the character with Batman Begins (2005) and the rest of the Dark Knight trilogy. It took Sam Raimi just five years to reboot and destroy Spider-Man between 2002 and 2007 resulting in a reboot in further reboot in 2012. The X-Men has recovered from the disasters of The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine to come up with three decent films X-Men: First Class (2011), The Wolverine (2013) and now X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).days of future past

The post credit sting doesn’t reveal anything we don’t already know, the next film, X-Men: Apocalypse based on The Age of Apocalypse story arc has been announced and is set for release in two years time. As long as Bryan Singer stays onboard as director I am looking forward to it.

 

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The contenders for movie of the month are:

The East: Brit Marling plays a former FBI agent now working for a private intelligence firm, she is sent undercover to infiltrate the East, an anarchist collective. A suspense filled thriller with a fantastic performance from Marling. The East

The Bling Ring: Sofia Coppola’s film based on the fame-obsessed teenagers who robbed the Hollywood homes of a string of celebrities. Emma Watson is great and the film has the dream like quality you would expect from Coppola, but it is ultimately dull and repetitive.The Bling Ring

Chasing Mavericks: The true story of legendry surfer Jay Moriarity and the seminal summer when he trained to ride Mavericks. The film isn’t great but the surf scenes are really well shot.Chasing Mavericks

Pacific Rim: Giant robots fight alien monsters in a movie written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, what more do you need to know.PACIFIC RIM

The Frozen Ground: An Alaska State Trooper (Nicolas Cage) is on the hunt for a serial killer (John Cusack). Well acted but a bit dour and low key. Vanessa Hudgens gives a grat performance in a supporting role.The Frozen Ground

The Worlds End: Five school friends reunite to finish the epic pub crawl that defeated them 20 years earlier. The night is interrupted by an alien invasion. A fitting conclusion to the “Cornetto Trilogy”, it loses its way from time to time and not all the jokes work but on the whole it is fun and funny.The Worlds End

The Wolverine: A second solo outing for Wolverine is a massive improvement on the first film. Hugh Jackman is on great form in the title role and there is some great action, unfortunately there is also some bad CGI. Just enough of a taster to get me excited for Days of Future Past next year.The Wolverine

Frances Ha: Co written by star Greta Gerwig and director Noah Baumbach. There isn’t much in her way of plot, instead relying on some amusing scenarios and the charm of Gerwig. Directed with a soft touch that has been compared to Jean-Luc Godard than Woody Allen.Frances Ha

I am really tempted to pick The East or Frances Ha, but Pacific Rim was just too much fun and gets the July movie of the month award.pacific-rim-poster-banner

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