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X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
As a Singer Fan This Was a Tough One to Swallow
I've always thought Bryan Singer's X Men films were not just the best of the X Men franchise but also the best of the entire superhero genre as there was always something more intelligent going on with them. The mutant struggle for equal rights perfectly parallels the prior Civil Rights movement and the differing approaches on how to achieve equality shined in the lead characters of Xavier and Magneto. Xavier representing the path of diplomacy and peace like Martin Luther King and Magneto going the more forceful path like Malcolm X. When Singer left the franchise I had never been more let down by any film as I had been by Last Stand as all that was smart about the series was traded off for a generic action film with the team needing to defeat an all powerful mutant who was poorly developed and hardly used in the film. Of course Singer's return seemed to undo all this with the excellent Days of Future Past and it seemed like the series could move forward in a very positive way. Unfortunately I would go as far as to say that Apocalypse somehow managed to be much worse than Last Stand. The main reason being that Apocalypse himself is a very flat character devoid of any motivation for destroying the world and nowhere near as menacing as the version of Apocalypse from the 90's cartoon. The story also jumps all over the place between different characters without developing any sense of rhythm for story progression and I constantly found myself just wanting the film to get to the big dumb ending it was building towards just to get it over. The dialogue is very corny in many parts and it's nearly impossible to root for any of these characters played by these new adolescent actors. Worst of all, the complex friendship between Magneto and Xavier which was the driving force of all the films is completely absent and all we have is a special effects extravaganza of super mutants duking it out over a world ending event which we never feel invested in. At this point I don't know what the series can do to correct itself again and if Bryan Singer does not come back I don't think that would be so bad because he has clearly checked out with this latest attempt.
The Thing (2011)
Completely Missed the Point of Carpenter's film
First of all, like many others I have to say that I am a huge fan of John Carpenter's The Thing. I was looking forward to the Norwegian prequel as I love Ronald D Moore's version of Battlestar Galactica and thought he would really nail this as well if he wrote the screenplay. I first saw The Thing on VHS at the age of 16 over 20 years after it originally was released in theatres. What I loved about the film was the tension created based on the characters' paranoia of not knowing who to really trust to be a human. It was this quality that I believe made the film as compelling as it was. The monster effects were very impressive for their time, but for me they came secondary to the paranoia aspect of the film.
So if this is to be an actual faithful prequel, any fan of The Thing should accept Kurt Russell's monologue that the alien has tendencies to strike only when it is alone with another person and will try to take the whole group over slowly by hiding amongst them. The problem with this so-called prequel is that the alien does anything but that. We are treated with plenty of gross out monster revealing effects where the alien straight up attacks the humans, sometimes taking out three humans at a time. This action completely undermines the original where the idea was that the Thing was vulnerable when it was out in the open. All this prequel provides is gross images of a monster that attacks humans who then fight back with whatever weapons they have on hand. This aspect got boring really fast, whereas the paranoia aspect of the original played a very minimal role in this film. When a character was revealed to be a Thing, it really had no impact at all as there was not enough character development to really care about it. I realize Carpenter didn't have much more character development, but he still had enough for the audience to be blown away when the creature chose to reveal itself.
Yet the most flawed trait of this film could be pointed out by a young Stephen Spielberg or Ridley Scott 30 years before this film was even made. Much like Spielberg's shark in Jaws or Scott's original Alien, the alien in Carpenter's The Thing was hardly ever shown. The tension that was created from all these films was built off of what was not seen. The audience knows that the monster is a real threat to the characters and we also feel the tension of how the characters treat each other because of this threat. It was this aspect of these films that worked so well, not the violent gross out special effects of monsters attacking humans.
To summarize, I was highly disappointed with this film and would rank it with The X-Files: I Want to Believe as the worst movie I have ever gone to see in theatres. Fans of Carpenter's The Thing will not benefit in the slightest from seeing this film and the so-called tie-ins are so shallow that it is better to preserve the mystery of the Norwegians that the original film created.
I loved it (Spoilers)
I would have to strongly disagree with these negative comments. I started to lose interest after Escape Velocity, that was by and far the most filler episode. The one's with the Demetrius somewhat picked up more but still annoyed me, not as much now that I've seen them again. Then Guess Whats Coming to Dinner completely flipped my lid and I was back on board the fan train.
But this one I honestly think was the best so far. You learned so much about the characters that I felt was intense. Adama finally admits that he can't live without Roslin, well holy cow, he's just committed himself all the way in a relationship that didn't even involve sex. And the pregnancy of Six by Tigh, it might not make sense right now but come on!! The most bad ass guy on the crew is now going to be responsible for a child, it totally threw me off guard. And with Lee, you start to see how conniving he really is. You can tell from this that he always secretly planned on making it to the top. Now it's clear that he has some sort of ulterior motives for his actions, who knows where that is going to end up.
Obviously this review sounds adolescent, I honestly can't say why I liked this so much.