Friday, May 23, 2014
Ask Me a Question: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Continuity has always been an issue in the X-Men franchise because the original was a difficult production that studio Fox didn't quite believe in. When it was a success, it was more about getting to the next film than it was maintaining a cohesive timeline. In The Wolverine, we saw Hugh Jackman's gruff, adamantium metal fitted bones and clawed anti-hero hanging out in Japan. Upon return he's greeted by friends-enemies-friends Professor Xavier (Stewart) and Erik Lehnsherr aka Magneto (McKellan) who have put their differences aside to face a larger threat and need Wolverine's help. From there we jump right into Days of Future Past with a small contingent of X-Men; Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Colossus, Bishop, War Path, Sunspot and Blink as they continuously evade seemingly unstoppable mutant hunting machines, The Sentinels. I think it's Warpath who can sense them coming then Kitty transfers the consciousness of Bishop to his body a few days prior to warn his comrades so they can escape death. Xavier, Magneto, Wolverine and old standby Storm catch up with the crew and think they can change the present by altering the past. With Logan's healing factor and slow aging, he's the perfect candidate to go back 50 years to 1973 to help stop an assassination that will cause the Sentinel program to take root.
With the two casts jockeying for screen time, I was slightly astonished that much of the film takes place in the 70's with the First Class cast and Wolverine in a bit of a supporting role. I figured it would jump between time lines with conflicts reflecting each other a la Inception but for the most part, the present day cast is confined to what seemed like only a handful of meaty scenes which don't really utilize or showcase characters like Kitty Pryde, Iceman and Bishop or the actors who play them. That's actually a departure for this series that has always been so Wolverine centric and then gave Storm a boost at the expense of Cyclops when Halle Berry won an Oscar. There are some great cameos throughout and the film ends on a high note that gets you pumped for future installments. If you're going to see this, forgo the post-conversion 3D as it adds nothing to the experience. NOTHING. The Arclight's glasses are incredibly heavy and uncomfortable and they're battery operated so you get power flickers too boot.
- Project was brought to Donner's attention by former development exec, she read Wolverine's bio in a series bible and loved him.
- X-Men was most difficult because they didn't know what direction to go, she shrugs off part 3
- Story hammered out by Bryan Singer, Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman and Simon Kinberg then bounced off of Donner and then Kinberg went off to write script.
-X2 writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris did a few tweaks and are coming back for X-Men: Apocalypse which is still in story development mode.
- Had a subplot where present day Magneto, Professor X and Iceman go to the Mansion to rescue Rogue (Anna Paquin) but was cut due to time restraints. Will be finished and scored and included in DVD release.
- It was kind of a low key affair but Omar Sy was visibly excited to be there and won the audience with his love for the franchise, gratitude for the opportunity and French man charm.
- Evan Peters was offered the role flat while Ashmore had to audition 5 times back in 2000 and was cast as a different character before taking over Bobby Drake.
- Shooting the movie was like a family reunion and Sy's first day was working with Professor X, Magneto, Storm and Wolverine which also meant Patrick, McKellan, Berry and Jackman.
- James McAvoy is a practical joker and cut the cheese in the middle of a scene
- Scheduling nightmare as Jackman was promoting Wolverine, Ashmore on The Following, Paquin on True Blood, Patrick and McKellan starring in a play together, etc.
The Arclight does stuff like this all the time I feel but this just felt underwhelming. From the eh moderating to the volume of the microphones being barely audible to the 20 minutes to get out of the parking garage, it was just like all the energy and goodwill from the film had been sucked out.