ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 5.04 - JULY 2000
Super Mutants Everyone Can Relate To: The X-Men
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With the fear of killing another human being with a simple touch, Rogue racks up more angst than your average teen. © 20th Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.
This is where Rogue enters the story. A teenage mutant that can absorb the powers and even the life of a person by a simple touch of skin to skin. She is confused by her new powers and angered by the hate that the world suffocates her with for being who she is. Wolverine identifies with her feelings and becomes her protector. In this relationship, comic book fans might see where the Rogue and Jubilee characters from the comic book are combined. However, the filmmakers decided to take the story of Jubilee as an alienated teen and combine it with the more dramatic power of Rogue, who would give anything to just be able to touch someone. (In the comic book Jubilees powers where big flashes of light that came from her hands.) The film story called for a tormented teen because with loners like Wolverine there is something that alienated him or her; something that made them choose their solitary life. Wolverine sees himself in the eyes of the bitterly confused girl, Rogue. With every moment of, 'Why me? Why am I so strange?' combined with every mean word from a stranger or questionable glare from a passer by, this confusion grows into hate. The kind of hate that justifies Magneto's belief that mutants should rule. If humanity won't accept them then they will destroy them.
The X-MenIsn't Just Explosions
Without a doubt, this superhero film will have action like all the rest. The movie's visual effects were lead by Michael Fink, who worked on Braveheart and Batman Returns. Arad boasts, "There was no way to tell this story five years ago. An excellent effect is one that is seamless, that doesn't seem like an effect. And with that, this movie delivers big time." Fox wants to make this picture a franchise with multiply sequels. The award-winning cast, which features the American debut of Australia's biggest star Hugh Jackson, has all signed three picture deals. Arad confirmed that other major The X-Men events from the comics will be the basis of future films.
When asked whether non-comic book readers will be interested in this film Stan Lee says, "People who don't read comic books still go to action movies. I'm sure all the people who went to see The Terminator aren't avid comic book fans." In addition, both Arad and Lee mentioned the quality of the director Bryan Singer and his fan following. Lee explains, "One of the challenges [of bringing The X-Men to the screen] is to make characters with such fantastic superpowers seem believable. I'm happy that a director like Bryan Singer is shepherding this project because he's an intelligent man who makes intelligent movies. And I expect he will be able to bring an intelligence and a believability to them." An interesting fact is that Singer hadn't ever read the comic book before the project was brought to him. With other upcoming superhero flicks like Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, the directors were self-proclaimed comic book fans. What would bring a drama director to a superhero special effects flick? This question circles back to what both Arad and Lee said when asked what would be the key to The X-Men's success -- the characters and the issues.
If comic readers loved the famous Wolverine vs. Sabertooth duels in the comics, then they will not be disappointed with the feature film. Will the feature feel the success that the animated series did? Early reviews say it will! TM & © 1996 Saban. All Rights Reserved.
"With such a big mix of characters, there is at least one hero a reader or viewer can identify and empathize with," Lee says. Arad agrees, "Every kid with braces and glasses is a mutant at least to themselves initially. Until they look around and say, 'I'm not that bad. There are other kids like me.'" The X-Men animated series ran for six years and a new version is scheduled for the fall. In every country it ran it created debate over these same issues. Each character is an archetype for a greater meaning. When coming back to the question, 'Will people from all walks of life go to see this superhero picture?' I think Arad sums it up best, when he says, "The compelling thing is that this is a very dramatic movie, laden with action. This isn't just an action picture. It has a message. It has an intelligent touch to it. It deals with something that two minutes into the movie your going to feel pretty involved -- pretty interested. You'll look at yourself and say, 'I remember me being a mutant. I remember my friend who was a mutant. I remember people mistreating people for all the wrong reasons."You'll walk out of the movie thinking."
By day, Rick DeMott is the Associate Editor of Animation World Network and writer of AWN's Animation Flash. By night, he fights crime under the identity of Yam Boy and baffles his enemies with his keen power of reciting useless facts about movies, comic books and sideshow freaks.
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