"Damn you, Brett Ratner..."
For those of you who don't know who he is, the aforementioned Mr. Ratner is a movie director of unparalleled talent who has brought to multiplexes near us, such cinematic masterpieces as the Rush Hour (I, II and III), Red Dragon and most recently, the concluding episode of the X-Men franchise, "X-Men: The Last Stand". It is this last factoid (his direction of X-III) that has caused me much aggravation. While "The Ratner" did a decent job with the Rush Hour franchise, I can't imagine why anyone would want to put him in charge of one of the most eagerly awaited superhero movies of all time. It makes about as much sense as having Michael Bay direct "Philadelphia". .. or letting GWB run a country... OK, I agree the last analogy is totally ridiculous... besides GWB already runs a country!!! But I digress... The point I'm trying to make is... well, you get the point , right?
Note to X-Men fans: The following section may contain possible spoilers and expletives. Furthermore, it isn't intended to be a review but a private rant in which I shall generally berate the Rat. Proceed at your own risk!!
I'm a big fan of the X-Men comic series. I'm also a big fan of the X-Men and X-II movies. In my opinion, director Bryan Singer did an excellent job with the movies in terms of character development, adding of emotional content, pacing of the movies and most importantly, the action sequences. X-II in particular is replete with really good action sequences... the opening sequence that introduces Nightcrawler to the viewers, the military assault on the Xavier Institute and the climactic sequence at Alkali lake leave viewers breathless and in total awe. In contrast, not a single action sequence in X-III comes even close. The climactic action sequence of the movie, the "Last Stand" at Alcatraz is particularly disappointing. One gets the feeling that every character on the screen is fighting everyone else... and the viewers.
In some fairness to the Rat, he does introduce a lot of the fringe X-Men characters into the movie, but the characters appear and disappear even before you can register their presence. No character apart from Jean/Phoenix gets any kind of screen time at all and ever her character is not very clearly drawn out. She switches between the much-loved Jean and the malevolent Phoenix so frequently that for the most part viewers are totally lost. And the dialogue writer of the movie ought to be hanged from the nearest tree. Agreed, the X-Men series has never been known for memorable dialogues, but those in X-III are plain atrocious. Even Wolverine's normally entertaining sarcasm comes off as mildly annoying....
And while the previous editions really engaged viewers' emotions, X-III totally fails on that front. The climactic scene of X-II in which Jean sacrifices herself to save the rest of the team really resonates with the audience... there's nothing of that sort in X-III. Quite a few of the more identifiable characters are done away with (and not too subtly either) but apart from Prof X's departure, the viewers don't grieve their absence. A sure sign that something's inherently wrong with the movie...
So, that about sums up what I think about X-III. It's not quite the disgrace Matrix III was, but it comes mighty close. It would have taken Simon West to totally drive X-III into the ground and we can only thank our lucky stars that Mr. West was kept away from the project.. Well, as I come to the end of my narrative, I realize that this effort has not been as colorful and animated as some of my earlier ones. Maybe age has mellowed me ... or maybe not... find out in the next post.. until later.. cheers.. 8-)