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Movie Review: Dark Phoenix

Dark Phoenix

With all of the rumors, buzz, and delays in the lead up to Dark Phoenix, you’d think the film was a disaster of a film. The end product though is neither good nor bad. It just kid of “is.” Rounding out the newest quartet of Fox‘s X-Men films before they’re inevitably rebooted by Marvel, the film is a bunch of good ideas taken in the wrong direction.

The film adapts the classic comic story The Dark Phoenix Saga with some twists and other material. Originally written by Chris Claremont with art by John Byrne, it’s a storyline that was also borrowed from in X-Men: The Last Stand, the last film in the original X film trilogy. Unlike X-Men: The Last Stand, this film isn’t a complete total disaster.

The story is simple. Infused with a comic force, Jean Grey’s powers are expanded and extended to a point she has trouble controlling them. And from there, disaster strikes pitting her against forces that want to control her and help her.

Dark Phoenix borrows liberally from the original material (the D’Bari and Vuk are included) as well as other storylines. Mainly that Charles Xavier is a completely horrible human being.

That’s really where the film revolves. Charles Xavier has done horrible things, mainly dealing with Jean Grey, and those decisions are coming back to haunt him. The exploration that the X-Men are a vanity project of his is there. An extension of his ego that he knows what’s right.

And that’s what’s frustrating about the film. The concepts are all there. The themes are all there. There’s an interesting psychological/thinking film within. Writer and director Simon Kinberg never seems to want to really commit to that, instead delivering a fairly popcorn focused film. The lessons from Logan are both present and not. These films can be more than just big action sequences. And even those sequences are underwhelming.

The Phoenix Force itself looks like leftover FX of Galactus from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. The climactic train sequence has moments that are both inspired and not. Too much space is present making the sequence feel empty and not focused on a primary point. Magneto, Nightcrawler, and Storm get moments to truly stand out. Especially the latter two characters. The train sequence almost makes up for it. It also had me thinking how Snowpiercer has shown that a film on a train can be amazing.

But, back to the plot….

The film is lazy. Characters come in and out of scenes and sequences without explanation (D’Bari for example). Foreshadowing is so present you almost expect the characters to look at the camera with a smirk. Kinberg’s direction feels like it doesn’t have an “eye” or “vision.” Shots are panned out too far and don’t focus on one thing. It’s a scattered vision for a scattered film. And the cast as a whole feels like they’re phoning it in.

The film feels like it knows it’s the end as opposed to setting something else up. And the cast are in on that reality. The acting is… subpar at best. There’s some laughable line delivery. The audience literally laughed. The make-up itself too is distracting with the women sporting caked on make-up with slight sparkles. It all feels very low budget and B-movie but at the same time a very high budget film. With a reported $200 million budget, the movie just feels like everyone is checking boxes off and going through the motion.

The true joy of the film, as it has been in a few X films is “spot the mutant.” There’s lots of “guest” appearances such as Disco Dazzler, Kitty Pryde, and Quinton Quire. When you find yourself paying more attention to background characters than the main cast, you have issues. And even that feels cheap. The make-up here too isn’t present enough and there are moments where in a panned out scene someone looks normal and up close there’s some make-up to say “mutant.” Most of the mutants just look like average individuals, with nothing spectacular about it. I guess prosthetics and costumes weren’t in the budget. Much like everything else, it feels a bit halfassed.

What’s weird though is, the film is somewhat enjoyable. It’s not one I want to pay full price to see but in a matinee or on television, it’s worth the svelte 113 minutes it’ll cost in time.

Dark Phoenix has some bang moments and you can see where it could have been great. Much like the Phoenix Force itself, the film both creates and destroys the legacy of the previous three films. It’s neither good nor bad. It just is.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 10

Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster Join Mouse Guard

Mouse Guard

Fox‘s adaptation of Mouse Guard has found its leads in Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. The film is being directed by Wes Ball.

Mouse Guard is based on the graphic novels by David Petersen and set in a medieval world where mice are warriors that protect the realm. Think a fantasy story with mice as the knights and foxes, eagles, other rodents as the enemies. The comic series published by BOOM! Studios imprint Archaia as won two Eisner awards.

The movie will be motion capture and is expected to begin production in May.

Dark Phoenix Gets a New Trailer

In Dark Phoenix, the X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. With Jean spiraling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite — not only to save Jean’s soul, but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy.

Dark Phoenix comes to theaters June 7, 2019.

Alita: Battle Angel Delivers the Goods Along with the Film

Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products is delivering a whole host of merchandise inspired by Alita: Battle Angel, the latest theatrical release from visionary filmmakers James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez.

The lineup of film-inspired products for Alita: Battle Angel includes figures, collectible prop replicas, cosplay and costumes, novelizations, making-of books and subscription gifts. Starring Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, and Keean Johnson, and based on “Gunnm,” the acclaimed manga series by Yukito Kishiro, the highly-anticipated film hits theaters worldwide beginning on February 5, 2019 and opens in the U.S. on February 14. 

From licensing partners such as FunkoWeta WorkshopTitan BooksLoot CrateHot ToysPrime 1, and Rubie’s, fans of Alita: Battle Angel can own a variety of merchandise and collectibles:

  • Available now, Funko introduces a set of Alita Pop! figures. The collection, highlighting the multiple bodies of the film’s cyborg heroine, includes Alita Motorball Body, Alita Doll Body and Alita Berserker Body figures. Plus, exclusively available at FYE stores and online an Alita Black & White Berserker Body Funko Pop!
  • Weta Workshop introduces an exciting line of Alita MINI EPICS, their cool and quirky vinyl figures from the world of film, television, gaming, and beyond. Now available for pre-order, the three Alita figures featured in the collection include:
    • Alita – Bad-Ass Battle Angel. Scrapyard-salvaged cyborg.
    • Dr. Ido – Hunter-gatherer of cybernetic scraps. And hunter-warrior against criminal cyborgs. Dr. Ido wields an iconic rocket hammer.
    • Zapan – As fractured as they come, Zapan’s part hunter-warrior, part hell-bent on revenge.

Additionally, to celebrate the film’s release, Weta Workshop harnesses its expertise in prop replica weapons and pop culture collectibles for Alita fans across the globe.  Crafted from the designs of Weta Digital – the visual effects team behind Alita: Battle Angel – The 1:1 scale cosplay prop is an exact replica of the Damascus Blade wielded on screen. The futuristic blade features the distinctive techno-detailed pattern of the lost URM Technarchy.  A super high-end stainless-steel version of the Damascus Blade is also available.

  • Hot Toys is set to release a highly-detailed Sixth Scale Figure based on the main character Alita in her Berserker Body. She includes interchangeable hands, a Damascus Blade weapon and a detailed display stand.  For all the latest details on the 1:6 scale figure, release date availability, and more please join Sideshow’s “RSVP list.”
  • Pre-order to begin soon for the Alita Berserker Quarter Scale Statue from Prime 1 Studio. The prototype of the statue was first unveiled at San Diego Comic Con 2018 and now a regular and deluxe version of the statue will be available in the coming weeks. The deluxe version comes with multiple interchangeable arms and the ability to change Alita’s expressions. Each version of the statue boasts the same impressive base — nearly 25” tall including – complete with an LED-light up feature. 
  • In 2019, fans can dress as their favorite cyborg heroine as Rubie’s is set to release Alita-inspired cosplay outfits including an Alita Doll Body Costume ($50), Alita Berserker Costume ($50), plus an Alita Wig ($30) and sword ($15). And from Rubie’s Grand Heritage collection – featuring added costume details – comes an enhanced Alita Doll Body ($150) and Alita Berserker costume ($150).
  • Key publishing partner Titan introduces an army of Alita: Battle Angel books – a novelization, prequel story, making-of book, and an in-world character journal:
    • The official prequel novel to the highly-anticipated film, Alita: Battle Angel – Iron City is now available. Hundreds of years ago, there was the Great War. The reasons for the war have been lost to time. On the shattered surface of the earth, there is a metropolis that lives amid the garbage thrown down from the inhabitants of a sky city floating above it. Welcome to Iron City.
    • Dr. Ido’s Journal – This in-world fictional journal allows fans access to the inner thoughts of cybersurgeon Dr Dyson Ido, who helps to repair the cyborgs of Iron City and reactivates the cyborg Alita after finding her remains in a scrapyard. Available February 19, 2019.
    • Alita: Battle Angel: The Art and Making of the Movie – Delve further into the world of Alita: Battle Angel, the film based on the classic manga by Yukito Kishiro. This lavish hardback, is packed with concept art, character and production designs, stills and behind-the-scenes photos, and interviews with director Robert Rodriguez, producers James Cameron and Jon Landau, and key creative talent. Available February 19, 2019.
    • Plus, The Official Movie Novelization of Alita: Battle Angel hits shelves on February 19, 2019.
  • This past summer at San Diego Comic Con, Loot Crate served as the premiere hub for the Pillars of Iron City Scavenger Hunt, rewarding fans with exclusive prizes, an Alita Meet & Greet and a special screening with the visionaries behind the film.

And now, leading up to the theatrical debut of Alita: Battle Angel, Loot Crate will be highlighting the film across a selection of their subscription boxes. Items will include an exclusive Alita Motorball figure (Loot Anime / January), an Alita Berserker figure (Loot Anime / February), an Alita Doll Body enamel pin (Loot Crate / February), a Black & White Alita Motorball variant figure (Loot Crate DX / February) and even Alita leggings (Loot Wear / February).
Additionally, Loot Crate will soon unveil details surrounding an Alita Fan Art contest for an opportunity to be showcased in a spring Loot Anime box.

Once Upon a Deadpool has Zero F’s Given

On December 12, Deadpool 2 is back in theaters with zero F’s given To kick off the holiday season audiences of almost all ages will soon be able to enjoy the Merc with the Mouth’s reimagining of Deadpool 2 filtered through the prism of childlike innocence.

Fred Savage will join Ryan Reynolds in new scenes for Once Upon a Deadpool in an homage to Savage’s starring role in the 1987 bedtime-story classic The Princess Bride.

For every ticket sold, $1 will go to the charity Fudge Cancer – previously known as Fuck Cancer, who have graciously changed their name to be more PG-13 friendly for the 12 days of Once Upon A Deadpool’s release.

Alita: Battle Angel Gets a New Trailer “Battle Ready”

From visionary filmmakers James Cameron (AVATAR) and Robert Rodriguez (SIN CITY), comes Alita: Battle Angel, an epic adventure of hope and empowerment. When Alita (Rosa Salazar) awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate doctor who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious history while her street-smart new friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers instead to help trigger her memories. But it is only when the deadly and corrupt forces that run the city come after Alita that she discovers a clue to her past – she has unique fighting abilities that those in power will stop at nothing to control. If she can stay out of their grasp, she could be the key to saving her friends, her family and the world she’s grown to love.

In Theaters February 14, 2019.

Watch the First Trailer for X-Men: Dark Phoenix

In Dark Phoenix, the X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. With Jean spiraling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite — not only to save Jean’s soul, but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is in theaters February 14, 2019.

The X-Men Trilogy Comes to 4K UltraHD September 25th

Coming this Fall, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is releasing a fan favorite in 4K Ultra HD. Grab the enhanced X-Men Trilogy on September 25th.

Relive the original X-Men excitement with the first three films starring Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry. Follow the group of mutant outcasts as they learn to control their powers in the first X-Men. Then, watch as the X-Men join forces with their enemies to save all mutants in X2: X-Men United. Finish the trilogy with X-Men: The Last Stand, as the discovery of a “cure” for the mutation starts a war.

Special Features: Audio Commentaries, Behind-the-Scenes Footage, Deleted/Extended Scenes, The Mutant Watch, Animatics, Character and Production Design Stills.

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