Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Wolverine review for my friends at "Hey Let's Talk About This" podcast

I haven't blogged since April and there's been many a thing that I have desired to blog about... Controversial reviews of Marvel's latest, "The Wolverine" movie have inspired me to break my silence.

My good friend Dave is a member of the talking heads of "Hey Let's Talk About This" ( ) a podcast about all things movie/game/tech etc that I tune in to on Saturday Nights when time affords. He said that tonight there would be a heated discussion about the film, and since I will be entertaining friends at my place & will be unable to chime in, I figured I'd give em my 2 cents ahead of time.

As an English Teacher, I will first prove my expertise on the subject of "Wolverine." As an expert, my opinion then holds more sway...hopefully.

It's like the beginning of the summer when I told my cousin that I really enjoyed "World War Z." He told me that it was a good movie, but as a zombie flick it wasn't that great. Now I'm not a huge zombie buff (I want to watch the walking dead but my wife gets queezy way too easily) so I have to appreciate that he's seen EVERY zombie movie ever made (not joking) and he's probably right. I still enjoyed the film, but didn't realize that it was lacking.

So let me first give me credentials:
Exhibit A: Wolverine #109, my letter to the editor printed in the I've been IN a Wolverine Comic...many of the films critics haven't even been IN a comic book shop.

 Exhibit B: My trade paper back copy of the Wolverine mini series purchased on January 17th 1994. How do I remember that date? Well it was a Monday...there was no school...Los Angeles suffered a devastating earthquake, and I went to Media Play in Orem where I purchased this trade paper well as my first album ever...Ace of Base' "The Sign."

I could go on and on and take pictures of the hundreds of Wolverine comics I own. I could show you my son's birth certificate (Middle name Logan)...but the guys at "" probably want to get to the meat of this review.

The X-men comic books, when focusing on the team, would highlight certain characters for a few issues at a time. Maybe Cyclops would have a 3-4 issue story arc where he does something amazing...though not likely...he's a tool. Wolverine would get his highlights here or there, but Marvel knew that he had more story to tell since his past was so mysterious and what not. So Marvel let us explore Wolverine by bouncing between 2-3 story lines. The first being: Weapon X. The second being: Japan. The fact that the movie was set almost entirely in Japan was so refreshing for me.

When was the last time a Superhero movie came out where a major city wasn't in danger? Whether it's the Avengers stopping Aliens, Superman stopping...Aliens, or Spiderman stopping...lizards, or batman running around with a nuke, comic book movies almost always focus on the SAVE THE WORLD mentality.

Did this summer's Man of Steel have better action than The Wolverine? Well it certainly had MORE of it. It was pretty epic. But tell me, did anybody within the sound of my voice care at ALL about Superman or Lois Lane in the end? Were you even aware that Lois was a character? This is where the strength of the Wolverine comes in. This movie did was the "Wolverine Origins" movie could not do in 2009, it explored Wolverine's character in an effective way. By the end, we cared about his journey.

I loved the flash backs/ dream sequences with Jean Grey. Logan's dealing with ghosts of his past helped bring depth to a character who is usually more animal than man. Many movie goers (the nay sayers) probably just wanted Wolverine to scream and slash people up the whole time. I get that, it would be Man of Steel was fun...but it'd all just be eye candy.

The direction in this film was great. The locations were awesome, and the almost entirely Japanese cast made everything so authentic that I felt like I was watching a foreign film.

Now the mini series doesn't go into the whole CGI Silver Samurai realm. As a comic book fan does it bother me that they strayed from the comic a bit? Not really. If they stuck to the comic book every time then they would have been fighting Dark Phoenix on the moon in X-men last stand. It doesn't always work.

Most reviewers said the same thing: The first 3/4 of the movie were great, but the last 1/4 relied on the CGI big scenes. I agree, I probably would have liked something a little less "robotic" at the end. However, the rest of the film was so good that it doesn't bother me. It's like the, "I can forgive Jar Jar's presence because I know that Darth Maul eventually shows up and is so cool that it overshadows any shortcomings...though just barely"

Spoiler Alert:

One thing that REALLY bugged me...unless they fix it in the first 5 minutes of next year's "X-men Days of the Future Past"... was the loss of Wolverine's adamantium claws. Given the fact that they are supposed to be fighting HUGE METAL SENTINELS in the next X-installment....they best fix him up and fix him fast. I collected comics from 5th grade until 10th grade. Sometime in 1993 they decided it'd be a good idea to take away Wolverine's adamantium, care of Mangeto, and then not give it back for like 5 years. 
They ALMOST gave it back once...then it didn't work out. At that point I quit reading marvel comics for about 5 years. Eventually they gave it back and now the character is back to being awesome...but if they think they can pull this off in the movie? They are going to be dead wrong.

Overall if I was going to give this movie a ranking, I'd give it an A-  simply because of the CGI cop out ending and the ADAMANTIUM ISSUE!  To overlook the rest of the movie would be a crime. Hugh Jackman was more Wolverine-ish than ever before. If you know the comics? You loved the movie. If you want a summer action packed blockbuster? You probably didn't get what you were coming for. Just know that this was a quality piece of work from this Wolverine specialist's point of view.

Go see the movie!
And tune in to Hey let's Talk About This"  on Saturday nights-


P.S. I'm also overlooking the CGI Kingdom of the Crystal Skull....never happened

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Shoot her! Shooooooot Her!

I was 11 years old when Jurassic Park first hit theaters. I recall reading a juvenile novelization of it and hearing about how my cousins had already seen the movie on opening day...I was jealous. One Saturday in June or July, can't remember, my dad took my brother Cody and I to go see the movie. We were very excited. I'd been dreaming about it all summer. Then...the first scene of the movie happened.

It started with some trees waving back and forth, and I was expecting for a T-Rex or something to pop through and roar. was a simple forklift. Little did I know that I was about to go through.

"Loading team step away...Gatekeeper.....Gatekeeper open the gate...."
Then, the outline of the dinosaur ran, kicked against the door, and the poor worker fell down. true Spielbergian fashion (just like in Jaws) an unseen creature grabbed the guy and pulled him in. The sound effects were horrifying as the raptor pulled the guy screaming into the cage. Muldoon did his best to get his fellow workers to "Work her back!"...but to no avail. Then...his desperate cries of "SHOOOOOOT HER!   SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOT HERRRRR!"   The grip that Muldoon had on the guy's poor hand slipped....and it was all over...

There I sat, my heart had fallen out of the back of my pants and I was pale. I'd been so excited to see this movie and now I was nervous to be sitting there. Truly an epic scene that I wasn't prepared for.

Fast forward almost 20 years to 2 nights ago. I sat with my friends Brent and John in a darkened theater with 3d glasses on for the re-release of Jurassic Park on the big screen.

It did NOT disappoint. Now you must realize that besides the Hobbit, I've never really enjoyed 3d movies. This is especially true of 3d done in post, which was of course the case for Jurassic Park. HOWEVER, they did such an incredible job with the 3d rendering (spared no expense of course) that there was no blur at ALL. The dinosaurs were crisp and kept trying to eat me I swear.
I know this movie like the back of my hand. In fact if I needed to I could quote the whole thing while I watched it...but somehow, on the big screen this was almost new. This is one of those rare movies that makes such an impact that it transcends a "movie" and becomes "an experience." I'm not sure if the girl sitting in front of me had ever seen it before. Based on her reaction to one scene in particular, I'd guess this was her first time.  Ellie Satler had just rebooted the system and turned the power back on in the shed. As the camera goes from floor to her face while watching the lights pop back on, she declares, "Mr. Hammond I think we're back in business" at which point a Velociraptor burst its head through the pipes and screamed at her. We were in stadium seating, but I swear the girl in front of me jumped up to my eye level and SCREAMED loudly. It was AWESOME!  Watch the clip here. 

Thank you Mr. Spielberg....Films of this quality are never made anymore...or don't I mean extinct?

Monday, March 25, 2013


So...I used to blog here a lot. Then I started Grad School and I disappeared because any time I was on a computer I was doing homework. Well, as I concluded my 10 page paper on Sunday evening, I knew that I only had a couple of smaller assignments remaining until I graduate from grad school in April.
I'm so glad to be finished with the program. It took a lot out of me, made me feel frail and mortal, and resulted in me being tired, sick, and blech. These last few weeks have been nothing short of AAARGH! I have work at the high school from 7:15-2:45. We are currently in the middle of the school elections which has found me staying late to do student interviews and such. On Monday and Wednesday I work (once again) at Discovery Academy in Provo until 8:45 at night. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have grad class from 4:30-7:30.  Plus, we had a new baby (Parker Logan Reeves) on 3-1-13. SO it's been a STRESSFUL month. Well, with the elections ending Friday night and Spring Break next week, I feel that I'm alive enough to come back and type my thoughts/feelings.

I love the Spring Time. I love when the weather warms to the 60's and 70's and life is...alive. The other day during lunch some students and I were playing ultimate Frisbee. Students were flying kites, kicking soccer balls, and a few were even making out under a tree like crazy. I think the kid came up for air twice...yuck.

One of the best parts of Spring is the excitement I feel for the upcoming movies about to be released. Today...I bought my first ticket to a new movie. I got my I-max Star Trek 2 ticket for May 15th.... I'm just gonna go through the list of movies that I'm most excited for, then I'll leave you alone.

(in no particular order)

1.  Iron Man 3- (preview looks awesome, and it'll be interesting to see what a post Avengers movie with an Avenger as the star in it is like.

2. Star Trek 2: Into Darkness- Considering the fact that the J.J. Abrams JUST signed on to do Star Wars VII, this movie will not only rock like the first one did, but shall also give me a good feel as to what we should expect in 2015.

3. Oblivion: Look, I know a lot of people dog on Tom Cruise for his choice of religion etc. But I for one love his movies, and this one looks pretty tight. Never hurts to boast "Morgan Freeman" in the cast either. Love me a good sci-fi flick.

4. Fast and Furious 6: Ummmmmm ok, I know that these movies aren't "great films" for snooty hipsters to enjoy. Fact is though, they are some of the best action flicks ever put to the big screen. In the trailer for part 6, Vin Diesel drives his car through the front of an exploding plane so...yeah...can't wait.

5. The Wolverine: Ok so I said there was no order....but this is probably the one I'm looking forward to the most, especially after the "nowhere near as cool as it could have been" Wolverine Origins, which I enjoyed...but did not LOVE. This could be the best movie of the summer for me.