Logan: A Fitting Epilogue, Hopefully a Prologue

Logan, officially the last X-Men installment starring Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman as Professor X and the Wolverine respectively, is the darkest journey the cinematic Wolverine has faced yet (except having had to kill Jean Grey, of course). The movie is every bit as gory as can be expected of one with the titular character having claws of indestructible metal, topped off with temper issues.

The movie is a great blend of story, emotion, dark humour, action sequences and (surprisingly uncut) colourful language.

Logan (Hugh Jackman) is a tired old man (we have the make-up department of nearly 26 people to thank for presenting us with Old Man Logan and X24), with his strength deteriorating because of the the toxicity from adamantium, in 2029. He takes to becoming a Chrysler limousine chauffeur, in 2029. The mutants are all seemingly gone, except for the ill Professor X and his caretaker, Caliban, who are both housed in Mexico by Logan. X23/Laura (Dafne Keene) is entrusted to Logan for safety by a nurse, and the movie follows Logan’s mission of saving her from strangely-without-conscience authorities.

My favourite part of the movie is, without doubt, X23, played by Dafne Keen, daughter of British actor, Will Keen (The Crown, Wolf Hall) and Spanish actress, Maria Fernandez Ache (Also a trained gymnast). She is mostly quiet through the film (much like Laura Kinney of the comics) , but Keen successfully manages to convey her intent and feeling.

“[Keen] has got such powerful presence,” Priscilla John, casting director, says. “She’s got extraordinary charisma. She’s either going to be heading a huge international company, or she’s going to be a big star when she grows up.”

There are many moments in the movie where X23 steals the show from Wolverine (who for some small part of the movie, keeps falling in and out of consciousness), and it is a treat watching her shouting down The Wolverine.

“Such a nice man!” – X23 to Logan

Watching her slash people’s throats in a shirt with a unicorn on it, is particularly amusing, as well as her habit of taking things into her own hands when Logan won’t co-operate.

And Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart make a great team, both of them adding to the humour with their bickering.

“Logan! LOGAN! … I have to pee.” – Professor X to Logan

Despite the humour, it is heartbreaking to see Professor X so ill and helpless, and Sir Patrick Stewart does a brilliant job in portraying the severely ill professor.

The movie is a great watch, and in my opinion, definitely worth the hype and wait.

Why to watch the movie:

  • Dafne Keen as X23 is brilliant! Just the right amount of bestiality and innocence.
  • You simply do not want to miss the X23’s *calmly eats cereal* moment in the movie.
  • The movie makes you realize why no one but Hugh Jackman could have played Wolverine.
  • The movie successfully makes you cry and laugh a little, while clinging tightly to your seats.
  • X-Men comics feature in the movie, which I found highly amusing because it was a situation of glancing through, rather than breaking, the fourth wall.
  • The Deadpool preview

Why not to watch the movie:

  • You don’t not watch it.

Although a certain era of the X-Men movies is over, I do hope we get to see X23 again in a standalone movie. I know Hugh Jackman thinks that Shah Rukh Khan would be a great Wolverine, but why go that far when we’ve got X23. Director James Magnold is already willing to make another movie with her character in the centre.

 

The Other Thing About Moana

But (of course there is a ‘but’ isn’t there) this is the year 2016, famously dubbed as the year where everyone is offended by nearly everything. I heard a woman behind me in the theatre say “What kind of movie is this, encouraging children to run away from their parents if they are not being allowed to do something!”. Her children probably do watch Tom and Jerry and Chhota Bheem , which are relatively oh, so realistic!

Another thing I have heard about is cultural inappropriation. One of the arguments for this was that Maui was a “lithe, almost teenaged heroic demi-god”, who is portrayed as goofy, buff demigod in the movie, which apparently takes after the stereotype that Polynesians are fat (what about Moana, grandmother Tala!). There was also some kind of problem with the use of coconut as a primary resource in the islands, which also an “insulting steretype”. Well, if that was what grew on those islands centuries ago, then coconut was by all means probably staple!

There are also protests from the Pacific Island communities with banners that read “Moana is not a Disney movie… It is our grandmother, the Pacific Ocean…”. Firstly, I don’t see why the movie is offensive in terms of Moana (which means ocean, by the way) because at not point is she shown to be weak. In fact, I love the idea that a girl named after the ocean, was chosen by the ocean to save the world (although, a little narcissistic on the ocean’s part, I suppose!)

Another issue someone raised was that despite the story being about “browns”, the movie had been “white-washed”. The movie apparently still deals with “white problems”, and does not address the “brown problems”. I do not understand this, what is that even supposed to mean? On so many cultural levels that does not make any sense! How is a plot revolving around a Polynesian myth, white-washing?

Lastly, some people expressed disgust at what they called “white hypocrisy”, given the timing of the release of the movie; the protest of the indigenous people at Standing Rock (the Dakotas). They seem to need a brief lecture on the production procedures to understand that the movie has been in works for months and it’s mere coincidence that the release of the movie clashed with the Standing Rock issue. Oh, and the tribe from the movie and the native people involved at Standing Rock are entirely different peoples.

I do respect the people whose sentiments have been hurt, but it is important to keep in mind that it’s a children’s movie and not a documentary. Small inaccuracies that have the potential to be blown out of proportion are present almost in every movie, and therefore, reading too much between-the-lines is simply too exhaustive for the mind, and anything will seem possible (for instance, The Lion King could be deemed racist just because the villain was coloured darker than the rest; the simple explanation behind that is that the colour palette used for Scar consist of dark colours simply because it resonates a certain intimidating and wary presence).

Moana is a great movie, with a great message; offended are those who think too much.

The Thing About Moana

I watched the movie yesterday, and as always (maybe I am biased) Disney did not fail to amaze. A really big plus point is that neither of the protagonist’s parents died, which is a first for Disney in a while. And a very important thing to remember, please – the story is set, not in Hawaii, but in the Polynesian Islands off the coast of New Zealand.

The movie can be briefly surmised as the story of a girl who is born into a certain tradition (Moana must take up the responsibility of being the next chieftain of her village), that forbids her from doing something that seems to be calling out to her (namely, exploring the sea), but she does so anyway because the ocean chooses her to be the one to save her people from the onset of something that began with an action rooted in legends (the demigod Maui stole the heart – a tiny glowing gem – of the island goddess Te Fiti, thus triggering attacks from a lava demon, Te Ka, who is after the gem).

I found this to be great movie; the soundtrack was amazing, the script was witty and humorous, the visuals were mind-blowing and the subtext was brilliant.

The minds behind the soundtrack are Mark Mancina, Opataia Foa’i and of course the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda. The songs are mostly about self-discovery, self-doubt and also the song which initially takes Moana’s mind off the sea. There were bits of songs in the Tokelauan language as well; although I did not fully comprehend the meaning, the songs are few of the songs that I loved listening to even if I did not know the language. There is also a pompous song sung by Maui, the demigod and a different boastful song sung by a crab-who-loves-shiny-things.

The dialogues and narratives I found funny as well, with just the right mix of emotion, humour and not too many unnecessary dialogues. They were just enough to pull in the audience, while ensuring that the story went forward.

As for the visuals, the trailers speak for themselves. My favourite bits were the goddess Te Fiti and the ocean itself.

When it comes to subtext, people have different aspects that they perceive; what I understood is the obvious “follow your heart” despite what your parents tell you. And also, Maui’s tattoos, which are medals of sort, appear only when he has earned them; this I think sends out the message that respect is earned through deeds that others consider as helpful/altruistic and not when someone does something they themselves believe to be a good deed. And of course, Moana not having a love-interest, but only the help of a friend speaks volumes by itself.

The movie is definitely worth a watch, even two if possible, but….

(Read the next part – two parts because that addresses a different issue and it’s not criticism of the movie.)

Review: Suicide Squad the Movie

What’s right with Suicide Squad:

  1. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie)
    Definitely one of the highlights! Can’t wait for the spinoff, puddin’! One of my favourite scenes was when she talks about the voices in her head and also when she asks for an espresso machine for her jail-cell.
  2. Deadshot (Will Smith)
    Will Smith. That’s all you need to know! The intensity and comic-timing make it extremely fun to watch!My favourite line – “I missed.”
  3. Joker (Jared Leto)
    Although Joker was not around very much, Jared Leto did a brilliant job of playing a crazed psycho killing machine! And wow, when he appears in Harley’s imagination without any of Joker’s makeup as her husband.My favourite moment – Emerging out of the vat carrying the potential Harley Quinn + When he [SPOILER ALERT] pushed Harley out of the plane.
  4. Music – Steven Price

    The movie was made so much better with the amazing background score! When the the Enchantress [SPOILER ALERT] is standing in the middle of a hall attempting to construct “…that which will destroy humanity…”, the music gave me goosebumps! The climactic scene had a hair-rising music sequence as well.
  5. Some surprisingly good comic element
    There were some really good comical moments, a surprising element in a DC Movie. Deadshot, Captain Boomerang and Harley Quinn bring in most of the little bit of comic element in the movie.My favourite bit – Killer Croc: “I’m beautiful!”

What’s wrong with Suicide Squad:

  1. The Harley-Joker Relationship
    Everyone who has read the comics would know that this relationship was nowhere romantic! Joker did not really care about Harley Quinn; especially not enough to sacrifice himself to save her life. I found it rather odd that Joker would busy himself with finding Harley Quinn, which is what he is doing throughout the movie, by the way.
  2. The storyline, or lack thereof

    The storyline was extremely off, with so many loopholes! For some reason, the middle of the movie felt like the climactic scene!
    And Amanda Waller’s justification to form the Squad in the first place, was so twisted, and could have been elaborated a bit more.”Take down the next Superman”It makes you wonder why she would hire supervillains to try take them down, rather than recruiting superheroes themselves!This is just one of the very many loopholes.
  3. Lack of character exploration
    None of the villains were provided with enough background (except El Diablo). Each character had a brief introduction flashed across the screen in trippy colours, but they literally flashed across so quick, that reading the whole thing was near impossible!The movie would have been better released a bit later after some DC movies had released, which would would invariably provide a little bit of a backdrop to the characters.
  4. The Enchantress (Cara Delevnigne) Cannot specifically say what was wrong, but the character of Enchantress left me unsatisfied. Although Cara Delevingne was really good as the Enchantress, the presence of the character felt very unfulfilling.

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