Monday, November 06, 2006

Death by Disintegration


There’s something about “X-Men: The Last Stand” that feels insincere. Yeah, I know it’s a comic book movie and therefore set in the land of make-believe, but still...

Throughout the film, a couple of major characters bite the big one and I just sort of sat there unmoved -- part of my beef with last week’s episode of “Lost”. None of the deaths resonated with me. Maybe the problem lies in the fact that there are too many damned characters running around (which has always been the case with this franchise) and not enough time for them to properly reflect on stuff. I might start to sound like a crotchety old humbug, but back in my day, death used to actually mean something. People didn’t disintegrate, they dropped dead. Whole bodies and everything. And it wasn’t always quick and neat either. Remember when Spock died in “Wrath Of Khan”? Now that’s a death scene. How about Joyce Summers’ quiet and unremarkable death on “Buffy”? One of my favorite death scenes was in “Fright Night” where Mr. Fearless TV Vampire Slayer stakes a real vamp and it’s nothing like what transpires in his movies. There’s pain, sadness and even a sense of regret between him and the dying vampire. I think if you’re gonna kill somebody, try to make it matter beyond advancing the plot. Didn’t stop the movie from making a bajillion at the box office though. Overall, “X3” is a lot like Chinese food. Enjoyable enough while you’re taking it in, but afterwards, it becomes a distant memory like... that.

6 comments:

Burbanked said...

ABSOLUTELY agree with you, and in the case of X-Men 3 I put all of the fault into Ratner's hands. These were extablished characters who we came to identify and sympathize with in the previous films, and they're dispatched in this movie with zero resonance.

Just because we SEE characters sad at a funeral doesn't mean we're going to FEEL the sad as well.

In general, this movie is just poorly staged, acted and in general conceived. It's a rushed, forced job that gives you plenty to look at, and essentially nothing to think about.

Reel Fanatic said...

There were so many things wrong with X3 that it's hard to pick just one, but I think what annoyed me most was Ratboy's shoddy treatment off the Dark Phoenix saga. Was it just too much to ask to have him read one X-Men comic before taking this on?

Robert Hogan said...

X-Men 3 and Lost spoilers ahead

I found that Professor X’s death in X3 got my attention because they were killing off a major character for the franchise, but a minor character for that movie.

My wife and I were both slack jawed at the death of Mr. Eko, but it was because that we really liked his character. I also don’t think they really finished his arc, but at least they gave it some closure unlike some other characters they have killed off on the island.

These days death seems to be used as much too common plot device by lazy writers who just need to get a character out of the way. Television and film audiences have become desensitized to death on the screen. To really make the death of a major character seem powerful these days a writer has to draw the audience in by creating a bond between the character who is being killed and the character that the audience is really invested in. I think Road to Perdition was the last film I saw that did this effectively.

screamwriter said...

Robert,
The "Lost" writers are claiming that they planned to whole Eko arc from the start.... right. I'll have to check out "Road to Perdition".

Burbanked and Fanatic,
Normally I'd agree with the Ratner comments but I don't know how much influence he had on the script. Singer left the project to do "Superman Returns", Singer's replacement didn't pan out and Ratner was brought in at the eleventh hour.

Burbanked said...

Here are some comments by Ratner that he gave to MTV prior to the X-Men 3 DVD release:

"Ratner: I did not change the plot of the film. ... Two of my other movies, I came into the project [while it was already in development]. Directors are, in my opinion, the auteurs of the movie. Not that writers aren't important, but that's why it's a Brett Ratner film and not a Zak Penn or a Simon Kinberg film. That's why it's a Bryan Singer film. I'm the most collaborative person with the writers. I actually had Simon and Zak there the whole time I was making the movie. They're the biggest "X-Men" fans in the world, so, you know, I'm not taking anything away from them. But what I'm saying is the script is not the movie. The movie's the movie. Where I put the camera, how I block the scene, the tone of the scene — but I did stay very true not only to the first two movies but to the comic books."

I don't know about you, but to me that sure sounds like he's taking a WHOLE lot of credit for the way the movie turned out.

screamwriter said...

So much for me giving him the benefit of the doubt. Talk about humble... geez!

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