25 May 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

A little later than most, I'd guess, but this past weekend I finally went up and watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I liked it, with a few caveats, and I don't regret spending my money to watch it in the theaters.

SPOILERS follow....

Wolverine aka Logan is one of my two favourite comic book heros, on par with Peter Parker. As the movie's title suggests, X-Men Origins: Wolverine delves into the history of Logan prior to the X-Men trilogy. None of Logan's history is surprising if you've followed the comics. My familiarity with Logan's past may have contributed to the slow pacing of the earlier portions of the movie. Fortunately, once Logan is bent on revenge the pace picks up.

Random thoughts:
  • As I said above, I think they spent too much time on Logan's happy days. It made the film feel slow at the start.
  • Are the admantium bullets still rattling around inside Logan's skull?
  • Wait, so Logan's mutant ability can not only heal biological injuries, but can also repaire adamantium?
  • The bit about Logan's memory loss could have been better done. Sure, two bullets in the brain will cause appreciable damage, but how could Stryker have known it would cause memory loss? In the movie, Stryker explicitly went out to cause Logan's memory loss by shooting Logan in the head. I can't fathom how Stryker could have been so certain. How could Stryker have known that the memories he wanted lost would be lost? Puzzling. The movie would have been better served if the memory loss was consequential but not deliberate.
  • Many different mutants appear in the movie. Some I recognized from the comics.
  • Xavier makes a not so surprising appearance near the end. I wonder how much make-up they had to put on Patrick Stewart to make him look younger.
  • This is another movie where you should stay until the end of the credit roll. Apparently there are actually two different endings after the credits. I saw the one with Deadpool. I would much rather have seen the ending I've read about – Logan in a bar in Japan.
  • Speaking of... if Logan in Japan is a preview of a Wolverine 2 movie then I'm happy. The Logan-in-Japan stories in the comics have always been interesting, what with the dichotomy of Japanese honour and behaviour along with Logan trying to tame his berserker nature.

    • I give X-Men Origins: Wolverine 3.5 out of 5 stars.

      20 May 2009

      What's G? An Empty Claim to Fame

      Recently I've seen a Gatorade commercial during the NHL playoffs, though I guess it's probably used for other televised sports. The explicit message of of this 'What's G' commercial is that Gatorade is "the heart, and soul, of the game".


      My immediate thought was if that's true then why do they bother playing? Stick a bottle of Gatorade at center ice and call it a day. Great game, everyone! I'm sure the thousands who paid $100 a ticket will be satisfied -- Gatorade is, after all, the heart and soul of the game. Why even bother with anything else?

      Upon a second viewing and some further thought I've decided this particular commercial irritates me because of its hubris. It's like claiming I conceived of, designed, and built the automobile just because I put gasoline in one.

      06 May 2009

      Balsillie, the NHL, and money

      In my previous post I wondered what fiscal or other reasons explain why Bettman and the NHL refuse to let a bankrupt team relocate to Canada. Upon further thought, I remember a time when many Canadian NHL teams were in danger of failing and I would have hated it if the NHL had relocated them to the U.S. But then I remember the Winnipeg Jets, which relocated to Phoenix on Bettman's watch in 1996.

      On CBC I heard the best reason why Bettman and the NHL will likely do everything in their power to prevent the Coyotes from relocating to southern Ontario. They want Balsillie, or anyone else, to pay $$ for an expansion team in southern Ontario. The NHL owners could get $400 million (according to the person CBC interviewed) for an expansion team while if Basillie has his way the $212 million offer will only go to the Coyotes' creditors.

      Anywhoo, it's not my money. I just can't shake the belief that Bettman and the NHL owners are giving faithful Canadians the financial finger in their ofttimes quixotic quest to expand NHL U.S. viewership, just because they can. Let's face it. Bettman and the NHL would have to do a lot more than this to make Canadians stop watching hockey.

      05 May 2009

      Canucks 3, Blackhawks 1

      How do you spell relief? The Vancouver Canucks finally put in a 60 minute effort in this series. Tonight the Canucks took a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference Semi-finals, versus the Chicago Blackhawks.

      Despite leaving Vancouver with the series tied 1-1 I was pretty depressed because of the way the Canucks collapsed with the lead in the first two games. If the Canucks play the rest of the series like they played tonight I'll be happy.

      Sometimes I think some hockey god has it in for the Canucks, or has some cosmic sense of irony. The Canucks came in to this series with a long layoff to heal. In the first 3 games of this series Salo, Demitra, and now perhaps Ohlund are injured such that the former two at least aren't able to play.

      On a related note regarding the Phoenix Coyotes entering banckruptcy and Jim Balsillie's $212.5 million offer contingent on the team relocating to southern Ontario, I hope it happens. I really hope it happens... but I'm not optimistic. For some reason Bettman and whoever else makes these decisions hate the idea of more Canadian NHL teams. Canadian teams relocating to the USA -- fine and dandy. USA teams relocating to Canada -- not until hell freezes over.

      It has to be the money, I guess, but I just don't get it. Do they think the market in Canada is too small? Southern Ontario can definitely support two NHL franchises, I don't know why they think otherwise. Meanwhile they stick teams in southern U.S. locales with no significant fan base. No such problem in Canada.

      I can see that if the NHL is to up its profile/profit it needs to expand in to the U.S. but I don't understand why they can't do that without forsaking Canada. Get more U.S. teams via expansion, but don't prevent a bankrupt team from relocating to Canada.