For when “dislike” just doesn’t cut it…











There is something about superhero movies that turn me into a gushing fan girl. Usually, it’s the way a certain character (usually not the fan favourite) is portrayed that makes or breaks an adaptation for me… Gary Oldman’s James Gordon in the Batman movies, Patrick Wilson’s Nite Owl and Matthew Goode’s Ozymandias… they did justice to their roles and made up for all the ending changes and the throwaway one-liners.

I was so hella stoked to see the Wolverine movie, mostly because I knew it couldn’t get worse than X-3 (I’m sorry, is my bias showing?). I knew there would be cool action scenes and that I’d like it at least a little more than the average person. I did. I thought it was fun. I thought it was mostly well-acted and that the action scenes were awesome (albeit a little too Mortal Kombat in some places). I thought they mostly did justice to the characters.

I say mostly because there’s one exception: my lover, Gambit. They really dropped the ball on bringing Remy LeBeau to life. I think part of it was the fault of the actor, Taylor Kitsch, and the rest fell on the director, Gavin Hood.

My problems were:

  • His accent, or lack thereof. Gambit has a sexy Creole accent. It’s very thick, and as trademark to him as a kinetically charged playing card. Taylor could not for the life of him do one convincingly. At first he tried and it came out as some kind of southern robot. “That-de-pends-do-ah-owe-you-mon-ey?” After his first exchange with Hugh Jackman, he drops it completely and just sounds like a teenage boy again. Couldn’t Gavin Hood have said, “Um… can you maybe TRY to stay in character?!”
     
  • His card manipulation ability is deplorable. He tries a few (not entirely enough, but that’s the next point) and they are so obviously done by computers. Kevin, while waiting for the film to start, showed more impressive card tricks than the movie did with its blatant CG effects. Gambit is AWESOME, and his abilities with a deck of cards are definitely part of the characterization they wanted to emphasize. Fail.
     
  • As a follow up to my previous point, he throws very few cards at all. There was an over-reliance on his quarterstaff (actually, it’s a buck and a quarter quarterstaff, but I’m not telling him that!) but amid all the coat-flapping and metal-meets-metal noises, it really doesn’t *look* impressive. (I guess because they think it looks cooler than EXPLOSIONS!?)
     
  • Not much of a spoiler, but Wolverine beats him far too easily far too early in the film. In the comics (or even cartoon!), the Ragin’ Cajun would NOT be beaten in a minute – he is a street thief trained in Savate and specialized in hand-to-hand combat. I don’t care how overpowered you make Wolverine… I guess the one nerdy thing I can think of to explain it is that Stryker is not just filling that role, but also the role of Mister Sinister (who, in the comics, decreased Gambit’s power at his request so that he could remain more anonymous).
     
  • Where are his glowing red and black eyes? They flashed during the fight very briefly, and then went back to being *~*pritty*~*. His eyes are the whole reason he lives the way he does in the first place! (I know this isn’t “X-Men Origins: Gambit,” but still!)
     
  • Admittedly, what REALLY bothered me the most was that it was blatant fan service to even include him. He doesn’t actually play a role in Wolverine’s origin – he’s too young! He was cut from X-2. He was cut from X-3. His role is so minor, and they managed to screw up not just the character, but the continuity if they ever want to use him again. If they want him in a continuation of the trilogy (which they would have to if they want to do the Rogue coupling or anything involving his work with the X-Men), he’ll have to be played by someone who’s 40. Anna Paquin’s whiny bitch Rogue would not go for him, despite the sexual tension that taught nine-year-old me to make seven-card stud jokes.

I guess my boyfriend, who dressed up as Gambit for the film’s release, set the bar a little too high. I guess $130 million can’t compete with a $45 leather trench coat.

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{January 9, 2009}   Juno

Okay. This post has been a long time coming. In fact, when I started this blog it was mostly to encourage myself to finally put my hate-on for this badly-written, poorly-acted mess of a “film” into proper words. Until now I mostly just grind my teeth and sigh loudly whenever someone starts wanking about Juno, Diablo Cody or Ellen “Fivehead” Page (or as I sometimes refer to her, The Enemy). My floormates are all right now watching it, and they were all ~OMG TOTES SHOCKED LYKE WHOA~ that someone could dislike a movie as “cute” and “quirky” and… uh… other adjectives that are commonly used… as Juno. Hence, I left the common room, eyes rolling and head shaking.

This is NOT a response to the film’s popularity. I saw the film with my good friend Maddie before Christmas of 2007 (therefore before the movie got wide release). She will testify that I didn’t laugh. I walked out of it thinking, “wait… she learned NOTHING from any of it!” and I’m sure I’m not the only one who got physically nauseous at the non-sequitur ending where they butcher a song that no 16-year-old couple would know.

I thought, “there’s no WAY that this is gonna become popular.” And yet…

I’m also trying to make this about the movie, and not about my dislike for the people involved in the movie (Saint Ellen; Michael “SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN CAST AS SCOTT PILGRIM” Cera [trust me, that post is coming soon]; Diablo “Used to be a stripper, probably should have stayed one” Cody; Korean Pro-Life Stereotype Girl…). But that’s gonna fail. Cheap shots are going to be taken.

Problem #1) I hate movies in which bad people make bad choices and don’t have to face the consequences. Fox Searchlight (the production company) makes SO MANY movies with that theme (See: Little Miss Sunshine, Garden State, Confetti, Thirteen)

Juno makes a stupid mistake that SHOULD ruin her life (or at least seriously make her re-evaluate her priorities). She constantly gets out of things with minimal possible effort – she found foster parents in the Penny-Saver. There was no research done on her part and she expected to be all, “Hey. Have a kid. Don’t name it something dumb.” Her family didn’t punish her or even explain to her WHY TEEN PREGNANCY IS NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN TAKE IN STRIDE. When she found out, her first reaction was to hang herself. With licorice.

When Michael Bluth and Sydney Bristow start having problems, Juno made them worse by going DIRECTLY against all the advice she was given. She never realizes it.

She tells Paulie to date other people, then gets super-possessive when he thinks of asking out the girl who smells like soup (which was stolen from Strongbad or, going even farther back, “So I Married An Axe Murderer?”.)

And all this time she thinks she has a right to be sassy and judgmental towards everyone else? Ugh girl needs to be slapped.

Problem #2) The dialogue

Has there ever been another movie with a vernacular that so wormed its way into the minds of EVERYONE*? There are like 50 Facebook groups called “I wAnNa TaLk LyKe JuNo ItS sOoOoO cLeVaR.” 

Firstly, the dialogue SOUNDS written. This is more the fault of the screenplay than the actors, but don’t tell anyone I’m cutting Kitty Pryde some slack. However, delivering the dialogue completely monotone and deadpan makes it sound like she’s reading the script for the first time. Always. No Oscar for you.

Also, clever lives are given to every single character. I could understand MAYBE if Juno was the only one, because MAYBE we could believe that she does nothing but think of Last Comic Standing-rejected wordplay. Unfortunately, EVERYONE** gets a stab at the lowest common denominator euphemisms. That famous scene where Rainn Wilson tells her she’s preggers without using any real words is a great example. Their exchange makes Gilmore Girls’ banter seem well thought out. Her friend Leah is just as bad (“Phuket, Thailand?” Really?!) and even Jason Bateman is not exempt (though his best line, “Technically, that would be kicking it Old Testament,” was DIRECTLY stolen from VERONICA MARS, who is much smarter, sassier, prettier, stronger, a better role model etc.)

Also, this has been stated SO MANY TIMES by smart people but OH MY GOD MORGAN FREEMAN WAS NOT IN THE BONE COLLECTOR. IT WAS DENZEL WASHINGTON. I KNOW YOUR PROVINCE DOESN’T HAVE THE BEST TRACK RECORD AS FAR AS BLACK PEOPLE GO, BUT SHIT. She could at least get her references right. They could have easily redeemed ALL the bad references by having someone in the movie call her on them.

As my friend Sofi put it,

“Thunderbirds = Go.
Thundercats = Ho.
Juno = No.” 

Amen.

I absolutely can’t stand things that try to be quirky JUST for the sake of being quirky. I hate false non-conformity. 

Problem #3) Ellen Page

UGH. Bitch needs to get a new schtick. If I have to see or hear about her losing her virginity (which comes up much more often than you’d think, but that could just be the people I know) one more time while having the act betray her somehow (see: An American Crime, Mouth to Mouth, The Tracey Fragments)… 

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t like her and I don’t get the big deal. There are three or four dozen girls from my high school who have just as much character and can out-act and out-shine her. Oh, and the is-she-or-isn’t-she-a-lesbian thing? She’s playing it up on purpose because no one is telling her to shit or get off the pot. 

Juno fandom is one of the few things I actively hold against people, because I just don’t understand the obsession. I really did try to give it a fair, open-minded chance, but the negative and stupid parts outweighed what probably could have been a quirky love story. 

* I needed to redeem this post somehow
** Srsly, I needed to do it twice to counterbalance.



et cetera