They Were Kids

I must admit I’m not a big fan of the X-Men saga. I only know of Wolverine and Storm and Professor X. And, of course, the fact that it might have spurred all them superhero stories here in the Philippines.

Missing most of the other X-Men films, I wasn’t as excited with X-Men: First Class as many avid fans are. But a few thumbs up and a lot of positive reviews kind of made me want to see the movie.

And when I did, I was left hanging and torn between liking it and dismissing it as just one of “those movies”.

X-Men: First Class

I can’t be as eloquent right now to detail and categorize all of my thoughts about the movie. Usually, I go for a second run of the film before writing anything. But since time is of the essence when it comes to saving my blog from taking its last breath, allow me to do a list of uncollected thoughts.

1. Story

Asking around, I’ve had the impression that one doesn’t need to see all the other previous X-Men films to understand this most current one. And I appreciate that. For viewers like me, who only know from tell-tales the basics of the saga, it is a must that this film sticks to its being an origin film. It would be a real bum if the flashback strategy is used.

Also, the reference to the American and the world history at large is a good plus. It adds to the antiquity and the historic base of the plot.

2. Cinematography

The film is not as laden with breathtaking scenes, for me. Considering that this is a superhero film and one that supposedly precedes a franchise widely known for its photographic scenes. The settings were not as captivating, the scenes a bit fleeting, and the effects not as wild.

Save for that Magneto scene reverting the bombs to the Russians, I think many of the film’s portions can easily be branded as simple. Although I think it can be highly understood, because mostly, the film is not focused on the individuals and their abilities but on the making of an entire saga instead.

3. Characters/Casts

The Cast of X-Men

Costume-wise, some of the characters are well-made. Although there is an apparent case of the film being too laden with namely actors, I like that most of them are given highlights. I think the fact that each character must be focused on to highlight their mutant abilities has balanced the idea that there are way too many known actors in the film.

Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy are good opposites of each other. They deliver well together, ironically. From looks to lines and even exuding personalities, the two are very complementary.

Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy

Lucas Till is a revelation for me here, the angst and the mysterious-kid type working for his set features.

Lucas Till as Havok

The same goes for Jennifer Lawrence, whose Katniss Everdeen is much awaited by the viewers as well. I guess X-Men works for her enough to show that she can indeed deliver a very demanding role.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique

Finally, Kevin Bacon. He’s one of the best superhero-movie villain I’ve seen–giving the mean lines and showing as much prowess as the protagonists. He doesn’t outshine and allow to be eclipsed, a parallel performance that is truly admirable.

Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw

4. Themes

And ultimately, the themes. I like the incorporation of many themes: friendship, beliefs, courage, and the value of being in touch with one’s inner self. These themes defy the film’s being a superhero movie. It is like any coming of age film, with character and plot developments that are hard to miss. In the end, it will leave you with a feeling that what you’ve seen isn’t just X-Men. It’s the entire inner story of how our superheroes came to be.

So there.

I’d try to come up with something more comprehensive in the future. Although, I’m not promising anything. (Ha!) And for that, I’d leave just a few words: sometimes a superhero movie is not just about a good guy battling a bad guy.

Hollywood Gossips

In one of my rare free moments in the office, I got to surf the not-so-cooperative Net and found two entertainment news that had me both excited and well, disappointed. They’re about two important stories for me, those that never ceased to make me breathlessly anxious.

But in stark contrast, one news is about an end and the other refers to an anticipated beginning.

Nobody Knows Where They Might End Up

The first article I read bore the headline: Patrick Dempsey Leaving “Grey’s”. Expectedly, I hastily clicked on it and read on.

Grey’s Anatomy is a medical drama that features the life and career of doctors at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital. I’m not a big fan of TV dramas and I rarely stick with a story with as many seasons as Grey’s. But I guess the constant character and plot development are reasons enough for me to keep on hanging to every pilot episode and season finale.

Patrick Dempsey, also known to many as Derek, Dr. Shepherd, and (more popularly) McDreamy, plays the one of the lead roles in the medical drama . Six years into the role and finally, now, he’s saying he’s had enough and that after the current eighth season, he’s done.

Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepherd

While the news comes as a shock to everyone who’s been a McDreamy fan since the series has started, a few others claim Shepherd’s leaving opens up a lot of exciting twists to the story. Especially as we might be able to see the non-Shepherd-revolving side of Meredith Grey.

Personally, while I’m not as pro-Shepherd as most Grey’s fans are, I still believe Dempsey’s leaving the ninth season (if there will be one) will be a notable miss. He’s been a great antidote to all the immature features of the other characters.

But the buzzing departure of yet another and ultimately more important character from the said series created an entirely new dimension of reactions: the news about Ellen Pompeo herself leaving Grey’s as well after the current season.

Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey

The title-bearer has left word that she might not renew her contract with the series anymore after Season 8. And while co-star Dempsey’s departure does not seem as alarming, Pompeo’s definitely is. What would Grey’s Anatomy be like without the narrative voice-overs and the heavy lines from Dr. Grey, right?

I’ve been missing out on the two most recent Grey’s seasons, but I have the great inkling of how it would feel to not see the couple go through a lot of medical discoveries and personal adversaries.

The Best of Odds

The last two essential cast of the Hunger Games has been chosen. To loud applauses and, well, equally noisy groans. I myself finds it difficult until now to sort out my feelings toward these two new casting additions.

Why? Because when I first heard that the Hunger Games will be adapted into a film, I was at best most excited about Haymitch and Cinna’s characters. These two were probably the people who made life more exciting for their fellow characters and for us, readers. They were described as eccentric, almost detached people who understood life around them. And those personifications were really lovable.

As soon as the casting call began, there were speculations of who would be playing the roles.

The names of Robert Downey, Jr, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Hugh Laurie, John C. Reilly, and even Johnny Depp surfaced as possible actors to play Haymitch’s character. Noticeably, all of them has this certain rugged look that is quite perfect for Haymitch’s always-drunken state.

Christian Siriano, Hugh Dancy, and Adam Lambert (what?!) meanwhile were included in the predictions of being Cinna. I guess a lot of people came up with the idea that Cinna appears Caucasian, with a lean body, and inquisitive eyes.

While it’s actually difficult to ensure visualization of these characters looks (especially Cinna, with all his Capitol make-up on), the general aura is rather easy to feel. Which may well be the very reason that a lot of people’s reactions are all mixed up.

Take a look at Woody Harrelson, for instance:

Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy

Even in his most unshaven beard, he still looks considerably cleaner than Downey Jr., or Laurie. But of course, as I’ve seen only 2012 which he’s part of, I can’t really judge what can be done with or what he can do. So, the best of luck.

As for Lenny Kravitz, I still can’t place his huge hair and considerably brown skin in my imaginations of Cinna. But I haven’t seen him act, which I guess is a plus point in terms of excitement.

He also has admirable fashion sense, as in this one:

Lenny Kravitz as Cinna

As to how he’s gonna pull off that “Twirl for me” line though, I’m not particularly sure. I’ve always figured it to be said softly, with admiration and a pure sense of love.

*sigh* I just wish they all pull it off. That’s it. I love The Hunger Games probably almost as much as Harry Potter, so a ruined movie adaptation would be more than frustrating.

And I know you all think of that, too, right?

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Two sets of news, two sets of surprises. This is what I love with Hollywood–surprising, exciting, endearing, and frightening all at the same time.