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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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