Thursday Night Movie Club
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Release Date: July 14, 2000

Director: Bryan Singer
Hugh Jackman
Patrick Stewart
Ian McKellan
Famke Janssen
James Marsden
Halle Berry
Anna Paquin
Tyler Mane
Ray Park
Rebecca Romijn-Stamos
Prof. Charles Francis Xavier/Professor X
Erik Magnus Lehnsherr/Magneto
Dr. Jean Grey
Scott Summers/Cyclops
Ororo Munro/Storm
Victor Creed/Sabretooth
Mortimer Toynbee/Toad
Raven Darkholme/Mystique
X-Men movie poster
X-Men grahics To be totally honest, the first fear I have when comics are turned into movies is that the movie wastes too much time developing the background of the main characters (Superman, Batman). I was pleasantly surprised by the X MEN movie in that the point was made that this was irrelevant because "change happens".

The film opens in Poland, 1944, during the Nazi persecution of the Jews. A young teenager goes into a rage when he is separated from his parents. His rage is directed against the iron gate which is destroyed by the boy's psychic powers. The boy grows up to become "Magneto. (Ian McKellan).

Cut to the near future and a few brief scenes of previously normal young people suddenly changing into mutants at the onset of puberty. The movie focuses on "Rogue" (Anna Paquin) who develops the power to drain the life-force from humans upon touch. Realizing that she cannot endanger people, she sets out on a life-long dream of visiting Alaska where she hooks up with Logan aka "Wolverine" "Hugh Jackman", a mutant with the power to regenerate quickly but whose skeleton has been fused with an indestructible metal alloy. Wolverine can extend claws from his knuckles. Logan also suffers from amnesia and is searching for whomever was responsible for his transformation.

What would a comic book be without villains. Onto the scene comes "Sabretooth" (Tyler Mane) who attacks Logan in the first good plot twist of the movie. What would villains be without good heroes and heroines. "Storm" (Halle Berry) and "Cyclops" (James Marsden) save the two travelers and take them to meet Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who has the ability to read minds. Professor Xavier is assisted by Jane Gray (Famke Janssen), He is the head of the Xavier Institute for Gifted Children, a convenient cover to house and help teenagers that are mutating when they reach puberty.

The story develops into human paranoia lead by Senator Robert Kelley (Bruce Davison), who wants to pass a law forcing mutants to identify themselves and their powers. Parallels to Nazi Germany are obvious. The movie doesn,t stay with this storyline though. It centers upon Magneto's efforts to turn high-ranking political/military leaders into mutants, thus ending the persecution of mutants. Of course the X-Men stop Magneto and not all of the evil mutants are detroyed. This is a comic book movie so some things are obvious going in.

The effects are quite stunning. The first thing I noticed was how fast Wolverine moved without any obvious camera tricks (ala "The Six Million Dollar Man"). This guy just moves very fast. The actors all play it straight to good effect here. There are a few jokes here, mostly between Wolverine and Cyclops. The movie should have been a little funnier, but that is no big deal here. The theme is quiet obvious. This is an engaging story of what it means to be just a little bit different from everyone else. Are you a freak to be rediculed and put on display in a zoo or is the mutation a gift to be developed and cherished. I guess that is a choice we all have to make whether the topic is racism, sexism, etc.

But overall, the movie is not too deep on this issue and it is a whole lot of fun. Enjoy!!