Saturday, April 28, 2007

Wolverine Script Review

First of all, let me stress that in my review of the Wolverine script I expressed a very, very strong opinion. A very, very stongly negative opinion. If you were to ask me what I thought of the Wolverine script, I'd have shaken my head, told you how bad I felt X-Men 3 was and then expressed how Wolverine was another, even bigger, step down in quality for the franchise. I'd tell you how it seemed to me that the thing just didn't hang together at all well.

To appease a couple of other folks involved in film ick, I have temporarily removed the Wolverine review that once existed at this URL. We know that Fox didn't have a leg to stand on, but some folks didn't want to spend the time necessary to prove it. Until these people's relationship with film ick is over, the review will be removed - at least, from this page. I might be the most active film ick person, but look at the list of contributors: I'm not the only one. And why would I want to upset my friends? If they say remove it, I'll do so, until restoring it could no longer effect them.

It doesn't matter anyway. The review lives on elsewhere. And in an increasing number of places too. And it will reach many, many more - and Fox will never have a chance to stem it. The thing will spread like a virus - partly to teach them a lesson, perhaps.

If you have the review and you want to post it anywhere, anywhere at all, feel free to put a link in the comments below. Get yourself some extra traffic, maybe. And if you have the script itself, I certainly wouldn't discourage you from mailing that around either. The more reviews the merrier, I say.

And just remember: the full review at least told you why I didn't like the script, gave you more of a chance to disagree. All that remains now is a simple statement: I read the Wolverine script and I absolutely hated it.


Anonymous said...

So any talking up Jackman did about making this film like THE ROAD WARRIOR was rubbish?

That idea sounded brilliant. Making it a low budget road film about Wolverine. Of course they won't do it.

Brendon said...

Bits of it are more or less like scenes from a low budget road film. That doesn't mean they're liked scenes from a GOOD low budget road film.

Anonymous said...

Do you think this is going to be the kind of thing that kills the Comic Book Movie Bubble? You've said the Dark Knight Script is nothing great. Wolverine is bad. Another Spiderman? I think that could be a bad thing.

Same Anonymous from above - Matt

Brendon said...

Not at all. Dark Knight at least tries to be a serious film for grown ups - in many ways, at least. Fantastic Four 2 is looking much, much worse.

Wolverine is no worse than, say, Elektra. In fact, it will have a better cast.

I don't think the bubble is going to burst too soon.

Another Spidey? If it is great, then great - if it isn't, then it would do damage.

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, the Wolverine character ages very slowly, so just darkening Brian Cox' hair would be enough to show that time passing to my liking. It's not like I'm going to watch them back to back and bitch about the differences.

Larissa said...

I'm curious as to why they will not incorporate a story of Wolvie taking a trip to Madripoor or Japan altogether. These were some of the best (millions of fans would agree) moments in Wolvie's life! Also, they should toss in a nod to Logan's C.I.A. adventures and his career with Dept. H in Canada. Where are these very important parts of his life at in the film? Probably on the cutting-room floor. Why does Marvel not simply get Chris Claremont to write the movie script? I mean, the guy knows Wolverine like Jubilee knows the local Mall! Anyways, here's to hopin' Sabretooth is much more ferocious than he was in X-men, bub! *SNIKT!*

Brendon said...

No, none of that is in there.

And Creed is virtually unrecognisable as the Sabretooth shown in X-Men. Totally different characters in movie lore, I think.

I'm less concerned about the content of the script than I am about the overall triviality of the thing, and the dodgy writing as referenced in the main review above.

Anonymous said...

If that's true, I'd written it completely differently. I'd used the Origin series and went to Weapon X, before the movie would half concluded with Logan reaching Laughin City and does the cage fight. In the last scene there should have been Rogue standing in front of the building and FIN.

Anonymous said...

[EDIT: Fox legal are trying to make me take this review down. They say that it is in contravention of their intellectual copyright. It's a review! A review! If some legal eagle can please confirm for me why I don't need to remove this, I will be grateful]

By now, I'm sure you know how I like to do script reviews. I like to fill them with excerpts. I like to show you just what the script is made of. If I can, I even resort to big swathes of cut and paste, because I know what I'd want to see in a script review.

Unfortunately, this time, I'm not going to be able to do that. Yesterday, I had a hard copy of David Benioff's Wolverine script in my hands. Right now, I do not.

[EDIT: I've been promised a copy of the script from another source in just a few hours. If that goes to plan, they'll give me the go ahead to use their copy as the source for as many excerpts and spoilers as I please. In the meantime, here's an overview of the film - and a critical appraisal]

But I remember details well, so there's still plenty to tell you. I've been warned to avoid spoilers, so I'll do my best - but some of the set-up will have to be discussed, and you need to know which characters appear, don't you? Sure you do. How on earth can I tell you anything meaningful about the story otherwise.

The story is a short one, really, and not much happens - certainly in comparison to the X-Men films. And it's a prequel: we begin with a pre-Adamantium Logan, go through his alteration at the hands of Stryker into Weapon X and then set him free to wander alone until Singer's first X-Men will pick up the pieces. As such, there's no role for Anna Paquin as Rogue, so her interview comments about her willingness to participate in the film are entirely moot. Sorry Anna, you're out in the cold - and a whole load of less interesting characters are in.

The film opens with a joint flashback-come dream-sequence in which Logan, aged 12, gets into an almighty ruckus with some jock types. He has big sharp claws and regenerative capabilities, the jocks do not, the outcome is inevitable.

Waking from this dream, Logan has shredded his bed sheets in his sleep. This scene is where we meet his partner, Kayla Silverfox, a full-blodded Innu. She's underwritten but given pseudo-insightful folkloric references to make and a plot Maguffin role to fulfill.

Before very long, we find out that Victor Creed, never once called Sabretooth, is hunting and killing mutants. Why? Because he's naughty. Beak - a Morrison mutant - makes a short appearance in a Creed scene. He doesn't have claws either, so the outcome is again inevitable.

Essentially, the lose plot is this: Stryker tracks Logan down, takes him to Alkali lake and gives him his adamantium skeleton. The descriptions of this painful procedure (to say the least) are bang-on accurate to the flashback nightmares - seems that logan has a lot of those! - in the Singer films. This was very respectful, I thought.

Of course, it happens that the Wolverine is tougher than even Stryker anticipated and, now encased in his virtually indestructible adamantium, and with claws more deadly than ever before, Logan just slashes his way out of the facility at Alkali lake. He'll return later and make even more of a mess - I'm not sure it is left in a state perfectly in continuity with Singer's films, but then again, I'm not sure it isn't - the details are quite vague.

Brian Cox has mentioned how the Wolverine script was set seventeen years before X2. There's no way to pin it down to an exact seventeen years - actually, in all honesty, it could wrap up very shortly before the first X-Men film begins. I think that is likely to be the way they go with this - so Jackman can play the part reasonably. And that way, Cox could quite happily reprise Stalker, no silly make up or digital de-aging required.

Logan's hunt for Creed takes up a healthy share of the page count. Barely drawn, throwaway characters are written in and killed before they nose past the cliche-spouting cypher stage. There's a Mos Eisley bar for Mutants, if you know what I mean - or maybe something more like the Vampire nightclub in Blade (this is where some chap called Barbarus turns up). My point is, essentially, this is very generic stuff, from top to bottom.

Are there any 'twists'? Well, some of the betrayals that come later are utterly predictable but still feel disappointing as they play out. Oh, and, while we're on the subject, faked-deaths that require heart-rate slowing injections and bags of blood being spilled should have been outlawed some time ago, really. Yawn.

Lip-service is paid to the idea of a Mutant war, and a few moral conundra are alluded to, seemingly insincerely and without any gravitas or insight. The whole thing seems like a light, shallow and pointless retread of bits and pieces from X2 - like off-cut scenes plucked from the dumper. This script might aim to be the Godfather II to X2's Godfather I, heading into the past and revealing more details, but it has so little to say, and is so utterly devoid of invention or surprise, the whole trip seems completely redundant. These might have been the deleted scenes from a tedious, excised subplot in a three hour cut of X2.

I'm quite sure that Jackman will come out of this very well, and Cox too. Even though their dialogue is far from special, and often rather woeful, to hear it spoken in their voices, given their particular cadences and personal timing choices, it will play much better than it reads.

And the badness doesn't stop there. There's a lot of bad logic too - "You brainwashed me to love you, but then you went off and I kept loving you, therefore the brainwashing was irrelevant, I really do love you". Explain that one to me if you will. If I brought you up to speak Spanish and I left the room you wouldn't suddenly start talking Dutch, would you? That's one important plot point that makes no sense whatsoever. Brainwashed is brainwashed.

Another truly silly moment? A character claims that they aren't frightened of dying and they are asked how they know because they haven't died before. I mean, that would have worked if they said they weren't frightened of death, but of course they'll know if they're frightened of dying or not. Think about it: only actually dying is going to negate that one, not being alive. Bad.

The most interesting detail for me is a fairly inconspicuous reference to the Ultramax prison - a prison for supervillains, the baddest of the bad mutants. I wonder if Justin Marks had read this script before cooking up his Green Arrow/Super-Max pitch?

So, I've wandered around and meandered a bit and not been able to go into anything like the detail I wanted to but, well, I think I've said enough. Botom line? This is a bad script and the best we could hope for is a mediocre, moderately entertaining, but by no means memorable, valuable or cherishable film.

Time to get a new writer in? Yeah, if there was any intent to make anything more than a cash-in, cop-out cheat of a film.

Anonymous said...

[EDIT: Fox legal are trying to make me take this review down. They say that it is in contravention of their intellectual copyright. It's a review! A review! If some legal eagle can please confirm for me why I don't need to remove this, I will be grateful]

Fox can and will go after you. I know someone who published an early review of X3 and not only did they sic their lawyers on her, but on several other people she was associated with. It's not much fun to have the Fox legal team swoop down on you like a SWAT team.

Uruloki said...

Look at this review from Latino Review:

It's the same with the same FOX advice.

Anonymous said...

I like how the review "lives on" in the comments section.

Brendon said...

I've seen it on a few other sites too, in the forums.

I don't know how to delete any of the comments... in fact, I don't think I can...

Anonymous said...


You mentioned that “Stryker tracks Logan down, takes him to Alkali lake and gives him his adamantium skeleton. The descriptions of this painful procedure (to say the least) are bang-on accurate to the flashback nightmares in the Singer films.”
Those flashbacks, along with other elements, are heavily derived from the original 1991 Barry Windsor-Smith WEAPON X story. Benioff has said that he re-read WEAPON X in preparation for writing the film. How much of the Benioff script is adapted from the BWS material, and how well is it handled?