Hood’s X-men loses its way in Wolverine’s long and complex past

2009-05-03 00:00

CineCentre

Gavin Hood is in my opinion by far the most talented South African director of all time.

Tsotsi won South Africa its first Best Foreign Film Oscar and Rendition, a film shunned by American movie-goers and the Oscars alike, remains my favourite commercial picture of 2007.

This time around, though, he bites off a little more than he can chew in the computer-generated world of the X-Men series.

The fourth installment in the series explores the origins of the character Wolverine — a mysterious (and hugely popular) mutant whose loss of memory has intrigued viewers since the comic was adapted for film.

Giving too much away would make the film less watchable, so I’d prefer to focus more on the movies technical efficiencies and deficiencies.

After a short stint exploring Wolverine’s early years, the film takes shape through an engrossing opening credits sequence that ranks among the best of recent times.

X Men Origins: Wolverine spans some 15 decades, though, and the film’s major pitfall lies in its inability to convey efficiently and credibly Wolverine’s development through each era.

An emotional bond between character and audience is felt, but never truly explored as each passing age whizzes by.

It’s not all bad, though, and to Hood’s credit, the film has a subtly unique feel about it, as far as the franchise is concerned at least.

Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) produced the film and as such invested an enormous amount of time meticulously planning it out.

The danger in actors producing their own films lies in their inability to distinguish what’s good for the movie and what’s good for their performances, and this time it shows.

Some cheesy “money shots” — a tribute to ’80s action flicks — does little to enhance the overall value of the picture. The action does come thick and fast, though, and the film does ultimately satisfy the curiosity of all fans.

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