Billy Soistmann

Archive for the ‘20th Century Fox’ Category

The Future of the X-Men Film Franchise

In 20th Century Fox, Bryan Singer, Comic Books, Comic Books & Superheroes, Coming Soon, Features, News, X-Men on March 18, 2010 at 6:39 PM

Today, in an interview with the LA Times, Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) talked about his return to the X-Men franchise. Before we get into the new stuff, let’s take a look back at the beginnings of the X-Men.

After receiving critical acclaim for The Usual Suspects in 1995, director Bryan Singer was approached by Fox to helm the upcoming X-Men film adaptation. Not being a big fan of comic books, he initially turned them down. However, he eventually came around and developed a story idea with his friend Tom DeSanto.

In 2000, the world saw a different kind of comic book film with X-Men. By grounding the film in the real world and just adding science-fiction elements, Singer elevated the genre into soaring new heights and kicked off the modern comic book film.

The director returned for the sequel, X2: X-Men United, which was met with even more critical acclaim. However, Singer then left to pursue a reboot of Superman, with the end result being the lackluster Superman Returns.

Meanwhile, Brett Ratner directed X-Men: The Last Stand, which suffered from being too much of an action picture without any real substance. Even after adapting The Dark Phoenix Saga, one of the greatest storylines in the X-Men mythos, the film was a disappointment.

The latest X-Men movie was even worse. In May, 2008, Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine proved to be wasted potential. The film failed on every level and, sadly, wasted one of the best characters in comics. However, the film did well at the box office and a sequel is already in the works.

Cut to December last year. Bryan Singer was returning to the X-Men. Atomic Popcorn reported that he had signed on to direct, X-Men: First Class, a prequel that would tell the story of how the team was started by Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Erik Lehnsherr (Ian McKellen), who would later become Magneto. This was great news – the skilled director could definitely pull the franchise up out of its current state.

Although a lot of the interview focused on the original film, Singer and producer Shuler Donner, also talked about the future of the franchise. So what can we expect to see coming from the X-Men universe?

Wolverine 2: Due to the success of the first “origins” story, a sequel immediately started development. It is set in Japan and follows Wolverine on more of his adventures. Although Singer said he had lunch with Hugh Jackman (who really came to own the character after being a last-minute replacement Wolverine), but there is no evidence that he will be directing the sequel, especially due to his busy schedule (he already signed with Warner Bros. to direct Jack the Giant Killer). I really hope he doesn’t. His style does not mesh at all with the first “Wolverine” film.

First Class: As mentioned previously, First Class, is the story of how the X-Men came to be. It is based on a 2006 series written by Jeff Parker. The movie will not be just about seeing younger incarnations of the familiar mutants, however, with Singer saying, “Just doing younger mutants is not enough. The story needs to be more than that. I love the relationship between Magneto and Xavier, these two men who have diametrically opposite points of view but still manage to be friends — to a point. They are the ultimate frenemies.” This is extremely good news. That friendship is a lot of what made the first two films work so well. With two fantastic actors (hopefully Stewart and McKellen reprise their roles), this could prove to be a great film.

X-Men 4: This is the unknown at this point. After the disappointing “Last Stand,” Fox focused on origin stories, originally planning both Wolverine and Magneto origin stories. We saw what happened with Wolverine, but the Magneto film was cancelled. There is definitely a fourth movie in the works, but it is at the very early stages of development right now and Singer expressed his wish to hold off on it for right now.

The X-Men franchise is alive and well, and now, with Singer’s return, things are looking up for the series.

Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

In 2010, 20th Century Fox, Action, Chris Columbus, Family, Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy on February 13, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is not the next Harry Potter. That’s exactly what 20th Century Fox was going for – based on the series by Rick Riordan, it stars Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson, a young man who discovers that Greek legends are real, and is directed by Chris Columbus.

Although based on an intriguing premise, “The Lightning Thief” falls flat. It’s a real shame, too. It could have been a fun adventure through Greek mythology. Instead, it falls into a simple movie formula that we’ve all seen many times over.

The film begins with Zeus (Sean Bean) confronting Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) over the theft of his lightning bolt. The scene plays off well as tongue-in-cheek comedy, although I don’t think that’s what they were aiming for. The dialogue is ridiculous, but if the entire film just stuck with this not-too-serious feel, I would have liked it much more.

The first major flaw is the lack of an introduction. We see Percy and his best friend, Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), but we never really get to know them before the plot quickens and the action begins. The writers hit the points they need to, but the characters never come alive.

The plot of the movie is terrible. This film takes a good premise and ruins it by making it so formulaic and predictable, there’s almost no point in watching it. The only redeeming factor is that the movie is actually pretty fun most of the time.

The acting is atrocious all-around. Even the excellent supporting cast, including Uma Thurman, Catherine Keener, Joe Pantoliano, Pierce Brosnan, and Sean Bean, are humiliated through silly dialogue with no real characters beneath. As for the stars, this film goes to show you that very few teens can actually act.

However, these shortcomings don’t diminish the movie as much as they should. Somehow, this mess of a screenplay plays out as a surprisingly fun family adventure. Although not a good film by any stretch, “Percy Jackson” provides a fun adventure suitable for the whole family, and is better than most films aimed at the same audience.