X-Men: Days of Future Past (spoiler-lite)

I just saw X-men: Days of Future Past, and I have to say it’s probably the best X-men film by a large margin. It’s not a superhero film, and deviates wildly from the original comic storyline, but I’d argue those are it’s strengths, not its weaknesses.

Overall, it’s a character-driven science fiction film that involves superpowers, as opposed to a superpowered science fiction film. The powers serve the story and provide nice visuals, but everything important comes from the very human characters making decisions based on their own goals and flaws, which is how it should be. The climax is one of character more than action, and surprised me with how it came together- always a plus.

The deviations from the original comic also work very well for the story it is. This isn’t a team-based superhero wrestling match, so using Wolverine as the focus works better than Kitty and keeps things at a more human level. None of the “good guys” are really high powered, and it keeps them at a disadvantage throughout the film, again, keeping powers from dominating the plot.

And the ending ties everything to date up in a nice bow, while leaving the future open for a new continuity. Good work all around!

4/5 stars.

Rob

Hammering Home the Horror

I’ve always had a fondness for oldschool horror, especially the Hammer Horror films from England of the 60’s and 70’s. They used to show them on Saturday afternoons when I was a kid, and I found them annoying because they were displacing my favorite movies involving giant monsters. However, as I’ve grown up, I’ve also grown to appreciate the contributions Hammer made to horror and film in general. If for no other reason than bringing Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee into the popular culture!

Today my friend Richard pointed me in the direction of not one, but two documentaries on YouTube about the history of Hammer. The first is written and hosted by Sherlock writer/actor (and Hammer Horror fanboy) Mark Gatiss, and is from a BBC documentary series on horror he hosted.

The second is an older documentary on Hammer Horror called Hammer- The Studio that Dripped Blood!, which was done by the BBC in the late 80’s. The quality isn’t the best since it’s transferred off videotape, and it’s been chopped into parts, but if you’re interested in the subject it makes a nice companion piece to Gatiss’ show.