Tuesday, May 20, 2014

8 Things I would love to see in X-Men Days of Future Past..... But probably won't

This weekend marks the opening of the 5th movie in the X-men titled franchise. Notice that I limited this to 5, and am not including either wolverine solo movies for reasons you probably already know. (This means you have seen them and answers might include, "dude, what if we put swords in his arms" or possibly "If the old man asked him for a bone marrow transplant this movie would have been really short, and had no villain")

I am super pumped about one of my favorite story lines coming to the big screen. As much as the first X trilogy doesn't hold up extremely well, it still has bright moments, and my pure argument for X3 being the best of them (My article on how movies need a rating system of "rewatchability" still has to be written) I still have a soft spot in my heart for everything and anything X-men related. As a young person I find it hard to believe that anyone would ever not like X-men and what it stands for. Things like oppression, hate, racism, fear, and over all political and social dialogue, X-men has always been the closest thing to actual nonfiction in a make believe world. You can find all of its heartfelt stories, and situations throughout our history. Points in our past (and present) where people have decided against fear, and rose out of love, and community. X-men is the closest fiction we have that parallels real life.

As a critic, there are always a few things I would personally change when it comes to these movies. I have always considered myself a movie "apologist' in the sense that I am mostly a glass half full kind of guy. I always point out the cool things before completely laying into a movie and its flaws. Let's be honest, Waterworld is a movie I like because if you look at all that is cool about it, its pretty great. But sometimes, thinking creatively about a movie is a fun thing to do. So with this new movie coming out I have compiled a list of 8 things that I would LOVE to see in the movie. I hope a few of them come true, but others are just wild dreams. I broke them down into two categories: 5 past, and 3 future. The thing about my list is, that you will notice, they in no way would change the movie for the worst, and all could easily be added, or included. I tried my best not to mess with the overall plot, or story line. Just to sprinkle the movie with a few fan pleasing moments.


1. Professor X: Alternate movement device. In the comics and cartoons, there have been 2 other forms of transportation that the Professor has used that we have not seen yet. Sure we love his wheel chair. I remember the first time seeing it in X1 with his X wheels, custom modern design. clean lines, with his tailored suit. But bring on the 90's yellow hover chair! bring on the 90's leg harness's that he used in several story lines. When accompanying magneto in the savage lands, or in most recent incarnation (wolverine and the x-men) Charles running around with metal leg braces a bit like Forest Gump. This was a great way that to take such a strong mutant, but draw him back to the viewers in a realistic way showing them he is just like us, he isn't perfect or without fallen human traits. Either of these methods would have been a nice nod to the source material and added for the future scenes. I am sure somewhere Singer is saying, "but this would have confused new fans" in which my response is, "So when was encouraging fans to look into the source material a bad thing."

2. Wolverine Mask: This one baffles me. The movie will probably clear things up, but from the trailers it seems they almost seek out wolverine to help them on this mission to go back in time to clear things up. So why does wolverine dress in gear that basically matches X, Magneto and what seems to be sort of a new incarnation of X-Force? Wouldn't he dress differently? In the future, with wolverines powers, I feel like he would be the last one that would "dress like the rest of the guys" I picture him showing up, tank top and jeans, and say, "you guys are still all dressing like that?" But hey, I'm also the guy that would have never made him leader, or lead character of the franchise, so maybe I'm wrong here. I still think him entering the scene and at least having one battle with his mask on would again be a great nod to the fans, an opportunity for multiple looks to the toys, and hear the fans give a cheer that they have wanted to give for over a decade.

3. Future Beast: It has been rumored that Kelsey Grammer is in this movie. Man would I love it. In my mind beast is one of the few mutants that would last into this futuristic world. His knowledge, spirit and abilities to me would keep him alive and fighting for the side of good. I remember when they added him in X3 and it still might go down as one of the best castings ever as a marvel character in live form. (Thomas Hayden Church as Sandman takes the cake for me, it was like seeing the comic panel in 3D) Beast might play more of a Forge style roll in the future, but from what Logan says to Hank in the trailer to the question, "do I make it in the future?" his No means that we most likely will not see this. unless it is to throw us off, then I applaud this.

4. MegaMold: Now there is a chance we might see this, simply because it hasn't been talked about, and seems to be the only way to explain how we go from Trask's original sentinel program, to the dark future we see them in. In all of the incarnations of humans build robots to think like humans, we all know what the outcome has and always will be. We are not the best creatures to tell anyone/things to act like. MegaMold is basically the beginning of the end. Whether they make him the first sentinel ever built, or give him another story line, I hope they touch on this to show the true progression of this robotic force that takes over the world.

5. Give the fan's some Sugga': Not a single person in the world was completely happy with what Singer chose to do with Rogue in the first 3 X-men films. he basically retooled her to be Jubilee from the cartoon, or kitty from the animated feature Pryde of the X-men. He used her to be our eyes into the world of the x-men. Now buzz has been going around the internet about how her small parts were cut from the new movie. whether she wasn't important, or didn't matter, this really confused me because I think she could have been really utilized. (her hooking up with magneto would have been super creepy, is it me, or does everyone fail to notice Ian McKellen's wrinkles have wrinkles?) Imagine this world dark, and taken over by sentinels. Only a handful of mutants have seemed to survive. One of them is Rogue, who's powers are to absorb others abilities. She comes flying into the screen, using her super human strength. Even if only for a few scenes we actually give her character (powers and personality) some growth. Outside of you stole my boyfriend, lets face it, she really hasn't been given much to work with. But what if as an, "I'm sorry, and here's your girl" singer used this opportunity to have her grow into the Rogue we all knew and loved, all while showing , "this is why she is one that makes it, she becomes completely bad ass." I doubt we will see this, but I have still a sliver of a hope.


6. Burger King Kids Club: Lets face it, Not a soul has been completely happy with what they turned Pietro into. I get the music and goggles, and still think the costume is lame, but using quicksilver in the X-men series and not having him be Magneto's son is a complete waste of space. We all know that we are going to see Marvel's version of him in the new avengers movie. Everyone's money is on that one being the one we like better, i get that. Marvel sort of has a better track record of doing things right. (I think they would make a version of mystique ten times better than the one we have) But why are they using him? because he was a name on a list they had? I hope he, as a character means so much more than just "we need a fast guy" because if its that, I am going to roll my eyes. This is the same reason why Gambit was in Wolverine Origins. This was the same Gambit that could apparently levitate cards, sort of try to speak in an accent, and spin like a helicopter with his bostaff. Gambit was used because he was a name on a list. It is very obvious. I hope Quicksilver was more than just a name on a list.

7. Moira McTaggart: I would love to see more of her. Her relationship with Charles was done really well in First Class, and I think that it would be great to show the audience where she ends up, and where this story takes her. Played by  in the first movie, Moira's connection to the audience as a normal person wrapped up in a crazy mutant world worked well for her personality, and especially if these story lines in the past are what they seem (conspiracy theory, assassinations etc) I expect to see her around, which would be a good thing.

8. Red and Slim: Since the past they are going to is the "first class" past, then its simple to say this is before the events of x-men 3 by a few decades. That being said, give me Scott and Jean. They would have been alive at this time. They shouldn't just be cast aside because they were killed in the future, that makes no sense at all. They would appear young, and maybe they are just being recruited. Scott and Jean have always been a foundation to the world that is X-men. I highly doubt we would see a young jean and scott, but considering this would be limited, and no reason to have these actors in future movies (since it has been announce that we are moving on to AoA in the next feature) it feels like a missed opportunity.

This is why I use to have issues with the fox universe of X-men. I don't think Singer cared as much for the source material as much as he should have. Sure both have died, more than once in the comics, but over all it was obvious that the audiences love for wolverine was what he listened to, and tweaked the stories the ways he felt fit. My brother said it best when he said, "there's a reason why this shit is called fan fic". and I completely agree with him there. Somewhere there should be an internet troll writing his own personal story about superman, and how it would be cool if he got lois pregnant, but wasn't there for the kid at first. That's fine. But singer took it one step too far. He took his fan fic, and said to everyone, "I want you to like my personal version". This is where he goes wrong. This where Vaughn went wrong. This is why it would, and always, always should have been Cyclops walking up to jean at the end of X3, telling her its going to be ok, I'm here. In everyone's version of that scene, every fan, it was NEVER wolverine walking up to her. maybe in a dream, but not really. The real wolverine might not even show up for that last fight. But people that do not respect, or love the source material as much as i think they should got a hold of it.

This is why marvel movies are kicking so much ass. Sure you might not completely like them, but you can tell, they REALLY really care about the characters, the history, and what they are making. For that I have a lot of respect.

I look forward to Thursday night when I get to see this movie. X-men has always been and will always be my favorite superhero property. For all of the random flaws I might personally find in each movie, the core message of acceptance, and being yourself will always be an age old lesson that will never fade. The celebration of our differences should always be a the forefront of our minds.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Misrepresentation and what it means

I asked my dad tonight what he thought of the new movie, "Noah". He took my mother, along with some relatives to see it yesterday afternoon. My dad just shook his head, looking down, and with no eye contact he said, "It's bullshit."

I couldn't help but laugh, if you know my father there is one thing he has always been good at, and that is being honest. I feel like I knew where he was coming from, I mean, He is 70 years old. He has almost the same amount of time creating, revealing, and drawing up his own "version" of this biblical tale. Through church, men's groups, his own thoughts and bible studies, etc..... So I get it. Believe me, I get it. I don't blame him one bit for not liking the movie. He felt like it was a misrepresentation of a story that he knows well.

So lets talk about misrepresentation. A lot of people are taking this stance on the movie. Why someone like an atheist would choose to make it? Why such a Hollywood blockbuster, big budget? Why would they chose to misrepresent such a classic tale? There has seemed to be some backlash not only before seeing the movie, but a vast amount of Christians that have seen it have felt betrayed.

Let's start at the beginning. If all of us Christians stop and think about what we are taught, is it possible that the entire story has been misrepresented all along? Since our own childhood? I am in no way defending the movie. I just want to talk about the actual biblical story. Lets break down what we are taught:

1. The world is bad.
2. God likes Noah
3. Builds a boat
4. Noah lives with all the animals
5. Rainbow ending!

I mean, I can picture the images right now in Kings Kids. Smiling Noah, smiling animals, water, rainbow..... it all means well, it is all a great image. An image of God's love, and hope in one man.

But do you think that this image I just laid before you is not more misleading, and representing of the bible than this movie that just came out? Mind you again, I didn't see the movie yet... But I am speaking on what I know, and what i have learned so far about it through the magical internet.

Do we consider the world to be evil in today's day? When it comes to murder, rap, suicide and genocide. War, politics, money, business and greed...... Do we consider the world to be evil? Are we evil? From a Christian perspective I will discuss this: "every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time" - Story of Noah, from the book called Bible. Damn. That is heavy. That is heavy heavy stuff. If we think about our world today, and how you and I are not "evil" (in that killing someone sort of way) but everyone was like that. Everyone was evil. All the time. Every where. In everything.

That is some heavy, heavy, deep dark. It could be the worst ever moment in the bible. Think of the worst thing you could ever do, and that is how everyone was, and what everyone was doing. In my mind it is the most ugly story in the bible.

It quite possible could be the darkest moment in the entire bible. To actually think about it makes me a little sick. It's pretty messed up. And God. Kills. Everything. Not just everyone. Everything. Sorry if I sound like a glass half empty person right now. I just would like to try and get across the actual story. Not the one we know. Is this at all what any of us our taught about this story? Noah, animals, smiling, rainbow. And this atheist is the one misrepresenting OUR story? To understand the depths of God's love, sometimes you need to understand the depth of his heart, and his pain as well.

When it comes to the story of Noah, I personally think we have done a poor job of explaining what actually happens. The story is told in a "God of love" lenses, as we see Noah. I think it should be told in a "God of justice" lenses, in which I can only assume is more of the angle that this movie discusses, much more dark, much more evil, much more death and destruction. We too often think we are God ourselves when it comes to perspective. I understand that we can relate this story to the Jesus, and the new testament. I understand that from our perspective, we have a lot more to go on, and a lot more to relate to or visualize. Do we tell our children, our youth, and our churches that they are the ones on the boat? I feel like as a whole we do. Christians are on the boat. Non believers are not. Listen people, NONE of us are on that boat. Noah, was barely on that boat. Let's not kid ourselves. Lets be real.

Perhaps the telling of the story is both sides of the same coin but some haven't even realized it yet. So in this, and obviously this is just a movie we are speaking about, I can not at all blame my father for this reaction. I was thoroughly pissed when Wolverine was much taller than Cyclops in the X-men franchise, so again, on a much smaller scale, I understand. But does any of it call for mockery?

I recently read a blog of a more well known Christian blogger who's title of the blog was simply to troll people to read it. Funny how even with all the technology in the world, writers still will twist titles to get clicks. Somethings will never change. Upon reading, I discovered that not only was the blogger hating on the movie, and saying it was not biblical (very well could be true) but he was...... mocking it. Such a small, small word. But it is something I really deal with. I believe at my core that mockery (not joking, or friendly banter, you can tell the difference) but actual mockery is not a christian attribute. I do not believe you can mock out of love. I think it is a sin that most Christians over look. It sort of rubs me the wrong way. I continued to read, and then asked myself mid sentence, is this article from a christian?, or is it a christian article? Because it seemed to lack the love of a christian. Blog; review; post or not, as a christian, love should easily be our first attribute people see. But in the world of blogs and media, obviously even Christians must play by the rules of the world. We must stoop to the levels of controversy in order to get our views up high enough to gain traction, and readers. Or is it that this Christian is mostly speaking to just Christians therefore he does not need his "love the world" attitude switched in the "on" position.

Its kind of sick if you ask me. Play by the rules of the world, but mad when the world touches your precious stories? Which brings me to my next point.....

With all of the wealthy western Christians complaining, how the heck do we take ourselves seriously? An ATHEIST has the guts or gumption to make a blockbuster big budget film of OUR STORY? Where were all of the Christians? Seriously. Do you know how much money is given to the churches in the united states? Should we talk about the average household income of an average sized christian family in the u.s.? I'm just saying because with this much money floating around our churches, and our faith system, and not a single person had enough guts to do these biblical tales before this Atheist got to it? I don't think it is at all wrong that he chose this story, because its a story, whether you believe its real or not. Do non christian do christian better than we do? What I mean by this, why do Christians get mad when people with no faith system out do them at something. (another article I would love to write) But I will leave the point here: How come Christians have CHOSEN to fail reaching out to the world in the world of media. reaching out does not include media/movies/music that is made for christian's. Throwing seeds at each other is not what the sower said to do.

"never again will i curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood." - God, same story, same book.

So this entire thing was pointless? God obviously still knows that we are evil from childhood. and that we always will be. So what is really the point of it all. did it mean anything? These are interesting questions.

Let's compare my list again, with what the movie will show me (from what I have read):
1. The world is bad, Check, I think they will get this one
2. God likes Noah, Check, I have reservations, but I think Noah will be chosen just like in the bible
3. Builds a boat, Check, with exact dimensions of the bible, I cant wait to see this one!
4. Noah lives with all the animals, check
5. Rainbow ending!..... This one, I am looking forward to, I have no idea how this movie will end. I am glad I have not seen any spoilers about it!

Another part of this story, that could be my favorite part of the entire story (from a creative standpoint) is one verse: "The Nephilim were on the earth in those days...." Chapter 6:4. I have no idea, outside of my own thoughts on what this might mean. I am looking forward to that. Sounds like angels right? Sons of God having children with daughters of man. Sounds like Hercules or something like that. I am down. I mean, with only half a verse to go on, this director is going to have to somehow do this right. If it was a christian director would it be any more biblical? Considering there is only one word to go by, Both would be creative expression. It seems to be that the one by the atheist is going to be less acceptable, at least to christian bloggers.

Why are Christians allowed to interpret it ANY WAY they want to. Why are we allowed to jump positions of, 1) if its written its true 2) if its not, it no way could have been 3) This isn't written, but its what I personally think 4) that's what you think? But its wrong, cause its not what I think.......

I guess what I am trying to say is if YOU have formed an interpretation, why is another persons interpretation wrong? That makes absolutely no sense to me what so ever. It's sad to read these bloggers, and posts, and see how they hate the movie, but its mostly because it doesn't line up with what they think happened. I get the biblical stuff (3 sons ) type of stuff, sure, but if you don't think it was HEAVY for Noah to do this, or you think that people didn't try to raid the ark, I mean, that is ALL interpretation, BOTH sides. Neither side can be confirmed or denied!

Throughout history, even biblical history, what side do you want to error on? The side that over thinks, or makes the words of our faith overly literal? Or do you want to error on the side of love and discussion? Does your faith sound more like a pharisee or more like Christ? I ask this to myself as well. Are all these bloggers going up to this random guy saying, "hey, but this is what the book says, what do you think about that! HA!" and random guy doesn't have to respond, because bloggers are proving his point for him. During the bible, this random guy was Jesus. During this movie, random guy is this atheist.

 Now don't start JUMPING to conclusions here. I don't need to deal with it. The only parallel I am saying is that pharisees knew the book well too; and they knew it well. So when we catch ourselves knowing it too well, we need to be aware of this.

My wife said, even if this movie leads one person to Christ it would all have been worth it. And as a true follower of Christ, I believe you need to have that same perspective. Being cynical never leads anyone anywhere good.

For me outside of loving others, there is a key principle when dealing with human faith, and reasoning. You really need to look at it from a scientific stand point. Expect to be challenged and to challenge others. Ask questions, and always seek. I would be a liar if i was to tell you that I have never questioned by faith in God and Jesus Christ. God will not find fault in our questions, though he might find issue with our answers. That is why when speaking on topics like blockbuster christian themed movies, and whether or not they are accurate in the biblical sense, I encourage you to ask yourself this: Is your pastor weekly a biblically accurate representation of the bible? Are your actions? Is your heart? So many slivers in our world to find, when as a christian culture we think we find one, we make sure everyone knows it is found. We scream at the roof top those who would make mockery of our God and our stories (while mocking them of course). When instead, as Jesus did, we should relish in the dialog of God, the world, nature, our spirit, and most importantly his son, and the promise that he holds. I promise you this, Hating this movie will not earn you one more Jesus point. As our pastor says, "there is nothing you can do that can make him love you more, and there is nothing you can do that can make him love you less....." I personally think its amazing how much dialogue within the christian community & secular community this movie is causing. And guess what, not an OUNCE of it would have happened if it wasn't for that atheist director. How good of a job, if our job is to spread the word of God, and create dialogue, are we doing? Did this guy just do a better job at it?

Our job is to live the book out, and let others decide

We need to get that through our heads. sure share what we think, but like this 8 question guy did, its just wrong. Its wrong to write, "Noah accepted and invited people onto the ark", because its simply not true, even if you write a paper on why YOU think it is.....

I look forward to seeing this movie. And I am completely open to hating it. But when discussing the topic of "Is something accurate according to the word?" There are a lot more attributes and aspects to my own life that I should have in line with the word of God before spending too much time worrying about a movie, about a really old story, in a really old book. Even if I do believe the story to be true.

A. M. Hensby