Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Wolverine (2013 Extended Cut) [Movie Review]

So here is yet another movie I did not catch in theaters. Instead I watched the BD extended edition. Sure it had the 3D disc included, but I'm not a fan of 3D in movies at all... in fact in a few cases it's given me a headache. So, best to avoid. I just watched the nice normal HD extended cut on a big flat screen.

Kuzuri - lit. Wolverine. Not monster.
I've been a big follower of the X-men films, I even saw X-men Origins: Wolverine (2009) which was honestly not very good. I did skip out on seeing First Class. I am however looking forward to seeing X-men: Days of Future Past.

Good thing I saw this movie as it appears to be the lead up to Days of Future Past.

4 out of 5 stars
Really? That lame non-Japanese 'Wolverine' banner? Really?
I should really start by saying: I have read absolutely nothing from the Marvel universe, not one single comic. I did watch the old Saturday morning cartoon of the X-men, it was pretty damn good. Beyond that the only things I know come from the movies.

I wonder if that is actually comfortable.
So this whole movie starts on a bit of a weird note. It begins in WWII Japan, down a well in a prison camp in Nagasaki. Yes, that was not difficult to figure out even without the obvious American B-29 flying in.   

So... that is what I assume is a heart shaped face. Right?
Wolverine watches as a Japanese officer, Yashida, frees some prisoners as the plane sets up its bomb run. Then the officer frees Wolverine. Finally he goes and prepares to commit seppuku with a few other officers. Wolverine saves him, dragging him down the well and covering him with a metal plate so prevent him from being burned by the atomic fireball. The fireball of course roasts Wolverine, who, of course, rapidly heals. Beard and all. (How does that even work? Shaving would seem pointless, but yet his beard is styled...)

I do believe those are "Apple Battle" pachinko machines.
Seeing Wolverine heal the Japanese officer calls him a kuzuri. This makes no sense, at all. Kuzuri (くずり) literally means: wolverine (gulo gulo), glutton, and carcajou. Maybe if he called him a bakemono (化け物), or akuma (悪魔), or something that means monster or demon or devil... anything.  Come on movie, some of us do have rudimentary understandings of Japanese and can hear when words are being translated in a way that seems 'off' (or 'wrong' or 'stupid,' your choice).  

Despite that 'odd' bit... the movie has a lot of Japanese in it, since for the most part it takes place entirely in Japan. I love practicing my Japanese by watching films and anime and the likes. Some subtitles, a lot not. It's fun!

Okamoto Tao. Kawaii!
Also it was filmed in Japan. I've only been twice, but I so wanna go back. When I watch movies set there I try and find the places I've been to. It's a little game I play.

I just wanted to include a second picture of her.
Too many ninjas. Alone a ninja is invincible, with many...
Ok, enough of those asides, back to the synopsis. Flash forward to Wolverine living up in the mountains of the Yukon. He is haunted by nightmares of his past, specifically the fact that he killed Jean Grey at the end of X-Men: The Last Stand. Then there is a scene were a bear kills some idiots, thanks to another idiot who shot the bear with a poison arrow. Wolverine returns the arrow, forcibly, to the idiot who shot the bear. During this little fracas, a Japanese woman, Yukio, shows up to retrieve Wolverine and take him to Japan. She is a mutant who has the precognitive power to tell when and how a person is going to die. That seems weird and not super useful. Still... she came to bring the Wolverine back to Japan because the Japanese officer, Yashida, now the head of a massive technology group (probably a zaibatsu), wants to thank him for saving his life all those years ago and say goodbye as he is dying. If you know film, you know this is a ruse...

So the Wolvering goes to Japan.
This is a going to be a bit more violent than Mr. Smith going to Washington. 

I'm going to stop the synopsis there. That's the real prologue of the movie.

Again, as when I reviewed Riddick, I only saw the extended cut. I think of these as the Definitive Cuts. I consider the directors cut, the extended cuts, the four hour versions of LotR, etc., to be the real films.Seriously, which would you rather watch Blade Runner or Blade Runner: Director's Cut? Only one of these is the true definitive and quality cut of the film, and that is the Director's Cut.

"Why?! Why would anyone do this?" - Archer
The cast was good, Hugh Jackman reprising his role as Wolverine again, Okamoto Tao (in her first film), Sanada Hiroyuki (been in a lot, including Helix), Fukushima Rila, Famke Janssen (Jean Grey), and many more... including some kick-ass cameos in the mid-credits teaser sequence.

She's just weird. Really weird.
I must admit that when rating this movie I was torn between three and half stars and four. My enjoyment of the overall series of X-men movies urged me to bump it higher, as does my anticipatory salivating at the upcoming Days of Future Past. Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame (and many other movies and tv shows such as Threshold) is going to be in it! Is that not awesome?!

I'm satisfied with my rating, and the movie itself. Considering it was the second best grossing of the entire X-men franchise, it must have done something right. My nerd sense says this movie was definitely worth watching... in fact it has kind of made me want to go back and watch all the other X-men movies, well save for X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I have no idea if this was worth money in theater or not... it was worth waiting for the BD to drop to a reasonable price. I liked it. And really, what else is there to say? I enjoyed it, if you enjoy the types of movies I watch, you probably will too.

Production Still: Sanada Hiroyuki and Hugh Jackman.

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