Antipundit Rides Forth

Saturday, May 10, 2003:

Best Books

Historical - Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson

Non-fiction - All The Trouble In The World by P.J. O'Rourke

Fiction - Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

SF - First three books of the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov

Ali Choudhury // 11:41 PM


X-Men 2

I've seen a lot of comic book movies good (The Crow, Blade, Batman 1 and 2), bad (Spawn, The Shadow) and mediocre (Batman and Robin, Mystery Men).

Comic book movies are yet to give moviegoers a genuine classic viewing experience i.e. something along the lines of Jaws, Empire Strikes Back, Pulp Fiction etc. About the nearest to approach such levels was last summer's Road To Perdition based on Max Alan Collins' graphic novel.

Given the subject matter it is to be expected since comic book movies are, like the industry itself, still dominated for the most part by superhero stories.

And X-Men 2 in terms of dialogue, action, acting, plot and effects, is undoubtedly the best comic book movie to date - although not my favourite which remains The Crow.

The opening scene featuring Nightcrawler was superlative and watching Alan Cumming, I couldn't believe this guy was the same actor who'd played an effeminate, emotional Roman emperor in the movie Titus which I'd seen a few days ago.

And it was nice to see a character who was religious yet not portrayed as a bigoted nutjob as they usually are.

There wasn't a single duff performance in the movie with the only jarring note being Anna Paquin's attempt at a Southern accent. Doesn't work and they shouldn't have persisted with it.

Everyone did an excellent job with Hugh Jackman continuing to show his leading man qualities and Sir Ian McKellan continuing to elevate every scene he's put in with quietly understated power. James Marsden's Cyclops hardly gets enough screen time but I suppose someone had to be sacrificed for the sake of giving Halle Berry a beefed-up role.

The villain of the movie, Stryker, was also refeshing in that he actually had a reasonable motivation in wanting to rid the world of mutants and not having to resort to the cliche of a mad, power-hungry, moustache-twirling villain.

The plot was great too with enough time given for some decent action but a healthy amount of character development also. Much better than Spider-Man where I was checking my watch every ten minutes after the origin story was complete.

Actually the action component could have been upped significantly since the Matrix Reloaded trailer before the movie did suck some heat from the crowd during X-Men 2.

The movie left me wanting to see the next instalment a lot more than the first movie did which was far too short. However I doubt X-Men will ever really reach the height on the movie screen that it does on the printed page simply because bringing characters like The Sentinels and Apocalypse to life would probably be too expensive.

And as good as these movies are, I'd like Bryan Singer to other movies and scripts too since I just rewatched The Usual Suspects on DVD and was reminded of how awesome a movie it would be.

Ali Choudhury // 11:40 PM


Wednesday, May 07, 2003:

Superman 2

Saw this today (well, yesterday) it being Bank Holiday Monday.

The action sequences were nowhere near as impressive as how I first remembered them showing how far SFX have progressed since then.

What action there is looks incredibly fake since 90% of the stuff on screen was plywood. Any fanboy whining about the amount of CGI in say Blade or the latest Star Wars movies would have thought they were freakin' documantaries compared to this.

That being said Superman 2 does have a lot of charm probably because Richard Donner directed a lot of the scenes before being replaced.

The performances are mostly excellent from Hackman's weaselly Luthor, Stamp's Zod, Kidder's Lois Lane and most of all Christopher Reeve's Superman.

And the movie did bring home why Superman remains an endearing character. Unlike a lot of the cooler super-heroes like Spider-Man, Batman, the Punisher, Wolverine etc. he isn't a superhero because of personal guilt or angst. He just does what he does because he thinks it's the right thing to do.

Corny but heart-warming.

Ali Choudhury // 11:58 PM


Sunday, May 04, 2003:

Star Wars

What you think of the prequels so far

Attack of the Clones was amazing, best film of the year. I thought Menace wasn't bad either although the middle of it had me checking my watch, something I've never done with the others.

What you want to/think should happen in Episode III

We all know what's going to happen. I just hope Tarkin plays a major role and Obi Wan gives Anakin a proper schooling.

Your favourite of all 5 current movies

Jedi. Derided as the most kiddie movie but I loved how everything came together and got resolved in the end.

Your favourite moments/quotes from the films

Luke losing it in Jedi, "I am your father", Han's comedy in A New Hope, Yoda vs Dooku.

Any questions you have that you think someone else may be able to answer

I would like to ask why people keep bitching about the new movies.

Granted the dialogue in places is atrocious but the original trilogy would have received just as much criticism if it came out today.

The new movies are pretty good entertainment.

And while Jackson and Raimi are doing great jobs with their adaptations, they don't have the twin problems of coming up with the mythos AND dreaming up all the visual content at the same time.

And that "George Lucas is nothing but a capitalist whore raping his own legacy" guff is just so much BS.

Favourite characters

Luke Skywalker.

Expanded Universe: Your favourite book, game etc.

I like Rogue Leader best on the GameCube.

Don't read the EU stuff since I think the adventures should have ended after Jedi and not gone on with interminable crises.

Ali Choudhury // 12:26 PM


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