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Generation X (1996)

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As if my weekly television didn’t consist of enough comic book properties on February 8th FX is premiering a new show called Legion which centers around David Haller, aka Legion, aka Professor Xavier’s son.  I am pretty excited, the previews so far have been pretty awesome (check out the trailer here) and I’ve always been a big fan of the X-Men.  Which brings us to the matter at hand!  Legion is considered the first live action adaptation of X-Men to come to television but that is wrong.  Back in the dark times before the internet (1996) the X-Men appeared on TV in one of the most epic trainwrecks of all time, Generation X.

generation-x-1-comic

Generation X the movie is based on Generation X the comic which was first published in 1994.  Generation X (Comic) was a spin off of the main X-Men series created by writer Scott Lobdell and artist Chris Bachalo.  It centers around the teenage students of the Xavier School, Chamber (Jonothon “Jono” Starsmore), Husk (Paige Guthrie), Jubilee (Jubilation Lee), M (Monet St. Croix), Mondo, Gaia, Penance, Skin (Angelo Espinosa), and Synch (Everett Thomas).  Some of which were mutants from other series and a handful of new mutants created for the series.  They are mentored by teachers at the Xavier School Banshee (Sean Cassidy) and Emma Frost (The White Queen).

In casting aspect Generation X (movie) was actually kind of faithful to the comics.  Banshee and Emma Frost are the teachers at the school in the comics as they were in the movie.  Jubilee, M, Skin, and Mondo are also in both the movie and comics, while they added two new mutants Kurt Pastorius and Arlee Hicks.  Kurt doesn’t appear in any comics, he seems to have powers simlar to cyclops but it is fairly unclear what they really are.  Alree has super strength powers which cause her to be really buff.

Movie Summary

The movie starts off with our villain Russel Tresh moments away from cutting the brain out of an unsuspecting mutant.  At the last minute steps in Emma Frost with some cops to shut him down.  However, after saving the mutant, he is immediately apprehended by the cops for being unregistered and Tresh goes away free.  Smash cut to an arcade.  A young Jubilee is playing Virtual Fighter which is also laced with subliminal messaging to keep the teenages playing.  In a trance Jubliee accidentally uses her powers which destroy the machine and cause her to be arrested.  Cut to Emma Stone waking up in a four post bed being all super sexy.  She Banshee go to pick up another mutant (Skin) and stop off to get Jubilee on the way.  They convince Jubliee’s parents to let her go to the Xavier school where she will learn to control her powers.  They then get Skin who we learn has stretchy limbs powers similar to Mr. Fantastic (except they seem to hurt him).

Jubilee and Skin are brought to the Xavier school where they are processed and meet the other students.  They join in a pick up game of football where they are hazed a little but seem to fall in with the rest of the kids.  There is a montage of the kids living together and all of them standing in line for the one bathroom in the school (seriously? just one?) where we learn that there is something weird with Arlee’s body and she wears baggy clothes to hide it.  We then see the kids at class where they learn to hone their telepathic powers which apparently all mutants have in this world.  Skin finds out that there is a machine locked away that lets you enter people’s dreams and shows Jubilee (this will come in to play later).  The kids then convince Banshee to let them take the car and go to town where Skin meets a pretty blonde but her jock friends pour food on him.

While all this is happening our villain is creating the same dream machine that Emma has for a super shady corporation.  He tells them it will be to sell products to kids while they sleep subliminally but he is really just wants revenge on Emma Frost.  After a disastrous presentation to the companies board of directors he is fired.  Tresh however is plugged in to the dream machine when they come to get him, pulling the plug and locking him in the dreamworld.  Tresh gets revenge killing his boss by making him jump out of a building while he is asleep.

Skin and Jubilee use Emma’s dream machine which Tresh is able to find them and freak them out.  Tresh then blackmails Skin in to helping him by threatening to harm his little sister.  Once Tresh is saved from the dream world by Skin, he turns on Skin and wants to cut out his brain so he can have mutant powers as well.  Jubliee discovers Skin is missing and alerts Emma.  The school goes to Tresh’s lab and defeat him.  The movie ends with the students getting suits.

Stray Observations

While this movie actually films at the same mansion that is used in the 2000’s X-Men movie there are literally no other mutants in the mansion.  Besides the 6 students and 2 teachers the school is empty.

Even though there are X’s everywhere and the school is the Xaiver school there is no mention of the X-Men or Charles Xavier outside the name of the school.

I’m still uncertain what was wrong with Arlee’s body.  There is a scene where Jubilee accidentally walks in on her in a dressing room and you see a sort of buff back for a half a second but it is still unclear.

Tresh is super annoying.  He has a Jim Carey Riddler vibe going on and his motivations are super unclear.  He focuses most of the movie around getting this technology built to go into the dreamworld but really seems to want to cut open a mutants brain to get telepathic powers.

If you thought you’d see a badass fight with mutants using their powers, too bad!  Almost all the action takes place in the dream world which is super murky and unclear what it is.  For a movie about mutants they spend a ton of time dealing with this weird dream world.

The version of the movie I watched happened to be the UK version which has a few differences.

  1. Jubilee has to talk her clothes off when she gets to the mansion for a full body scan.  There isn’t actual nudity but it was weird and doesn’t play out to anything (see the 18:45 mark).
  2. Jubliee goes on a weird F-bomb run after they first go into the dream world.  This is when I realized this version was different.  It’s only at this part of the movie that there is any swearing and its really weird (see the 52:13 mark).
  3. When Tresh threatens Skin he says he will rape Skin’s sister.  It’s really creepy and dark (see the 1:11:12 mark).

Final Thoughts

Generation X was better than I thought while still being weird and a disaster.  I was surprised they actually had a decent amount of big name mutants from the Generation X comics.  However they managed to barely have them use their mutant powers at all.  I get it.  The technology wasn’t there and on a TV budget they just couldn’t afford to have them use their powers and make it look good.  But still they had to no it was an issue going in to it and using this weird dream world was a huge mistake.  Anyways you don’t have to take my word for it, the entire movie is posted on YouTube for free!  God bless you internets.

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New Comic Book TV Part I: Gotham

Gotham Logo Fox

After a long summer drought of good television to watch we have finally reached the fall TV season.  And what is different about this year as opposed to most is the massive amount of comic book properties that will be debuting.  New shows this year include Gotham, Constantine, and The Flash.  Returning with new seasons we have Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Walking Dead, and Arrow.  We also have CBS picking up a Supergirl TV series, Preacher coming to AMC, and a possible Walking Dead spin off show.  Never has there been a greater time to be a nerd.  So as these new shows premiere I will give them a watch and report back to you, the peoples.

Gotham Central 1

First up is Gotham.  Last year shortly after the premier of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fox and Warner Brothers quickly decided to get on the TV bandwagon and where else but Gotham.  During its announcement it was revealed that the premise of the show would center around a young Jim Gordon early in his career in the Gotham Police Department and a very pre-Batman Bruce Wayne.  This concept of a police procedural style drama centered around the Gotham police department, with a lack of Batman is actually not a new concept to the comic book world.  In 2002 a comic book series named “Gotham Central” was released which did just that.  Instead of being a young Jim Gordan it took place with a Batman currently in Gotham but with him rarely making appearances and the book centering around the Gordon and the cops of Gotham.  Batman was treated more like a myth/legend in this book and mostly appears in the shadows and talked about as rumor between the cops.  The series was originally written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka and while it achieved a certain amount of critical success it had a hard time finding an audience.  The book never broke the top 100 comics in sales and after 40 issues was canceled.  While there are a lot of similarities between the book and the new Gotham TV show its been said that the TV show may be in the spirit of the Gotham Central comic book but will likely not follow any plot lines from the book itself.

Gotham – Episode I: Pilot

Gotham Opening Jock

Right before I began watching the show I was talking about what I thought about it and what my hopes would be.  The main thing I hoped for is that they would put off killing the Waynes until a few episodes in and establish them as characters.  This is something that I have never seen in the comics and would be an interesting take to actually see Thomas and Martha Wayne as real people instead of motivation for vengeance.  Cut to the opening scene of the show.  Dark alley, a young Bruce Wayne accompanied by his parents, leaving a theater, mother wearing pearls… We all know exactly what this is leading to.  So they not only kill the Waynes in the first episode, they kill the Waynes in the first SCENE of the first episode! They did a good job with the scene, and for an origin that we all know very well they knew enough to not spend a huge amount of time on it like some series (I’m looking at you Amazing Spider-Man).  I can’t be mad that it didn’t turn out the way I wanted but I was a little surprised they killed them in the opening scene.

Gotham Comic-Con Banner

From there we are introduced to a young Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock as they are the first detectives on the scene and assigned to the case.  Promises are made, shenanigans ensue, a suspect is captured and killed, suspicion is raised, and not all is as it appears. We are introduced to a slew of characters and the case of who killed the Waynes has begun.  It is a pretty great first episode.  Jim Gordon is our way into this world and we get a good sense of how corrupt the city of Gotham is in every aspect.  We get to see “business as usual” of crime in the city and we see Jim Gordon’s morality tested several times throughout the episode.

One of the more distracting parts of the episodes is the onslaught of cameos of every one who’s everyone in the Batman universe.  We meet Edward Nygma (The Riddler), Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin), Falcone (The Roman), Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Bruce Wayne (Batman), Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy, and yes I refuse to call her Ivy Pepper…), Alfred Pennyworth along with famous members of the Gotham Police Department Harvey Bullock, James Gordon, and Renee Montoya.  We even get a new character (i think) Fish Mooney played by Jada Pinkett Smith.  I actually really like the avalanche of characters from the DC universe and think it will play to the show’s favor.  I think that the inclusion of such was a big part of what made the show Arrow so enjoyable and hurt Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..  However, having ALL of these characters in the pilot is a little much.  I understand, this is a pilot and is made not for us audience but to sell the show to the network so there needs to be this sense of things to come.  It was just distracting and put things on such serendipitous level that it became ridiculous.

Things I Liked

Alfred Batman Earth One

My favorite part of the entire episode is the portrayal of Alfred Pennyworth as being a badass.

Batman Earth One

This was actually done recently in the comic books in a book non-canon book called Batman: Earth One, in which Alfred is a former member of the Royal Marines and all around badass.  We see this right away as Alfred takes Bruce away from the murder scene of his parents and tells him to keep his head up and look defiantly ahead.  It’s a fresh take on a character we all know very well and it will be interesting to see where they take him going forward.  I also liked the new character of Fish Mooney.  I think Jada Pinkett Smith did a great job and plays a very good ruthless crime lord.  She is cold, calculated, and looking to take out Falcone and take over as the new boss of Gotham.

What I Didn’t Like

Gotham Ivy Pepper

Two words, Ivy Pepper.  It’s a dumb thing to get annoyed over but it also makes no sense why you would change Pamela Isley to Ivy Pepper.  I can only guess that the stretch from Isley to Ivy was just too much for some people… But really my biggest complaint was the constant barrage of cameos from the villains of Gotham.  Again I get why they did it but it just was a little much and made the show feel desperate to show all its tricks at once.  I suspect that going forward they will retain a normal pace of giving us the story of each one of these characters but as for the pilot it was a lot to take in a once.

jerry final thought

Overall I liked the show and am looking forward to seeing more.  I can still see it going either way for me but I think they are heading the right direction.

 

 


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