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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: X2: X-Men United w/ Screenshots!! (VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)



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#121 of 134 Dan Kaplan

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Posted December 14 2003 - 09:24 PM

Gary, I hear ya. I liked X2, but far less than expected. Very average movie, in my opinion. I know very few share that opinion, but it's nice to know of at least one other. Posted Image

And yes, the opening Nightcrawler scene was definitely the highlight of the movie for me. In fact, I'd probably have to say it was the only one that wasn't a letdown.

Rather than try to recreate the back and forth here, here's a somewhat more detailed "review" of the movie on my behalf, for anyone interested:

http://www.aota.net/....176#post102176

Dan
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#122 of 134 Gary->dee

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Posted December 15 2003 - 07:00 AM

To be perfectly honest, I lay the blame on Fox. I think X2 should have been released on DVD no later than September. I bet I would have appreciated the movie much more than when this movie finally did arrive at my place at the end of November. By the time X2 finally came to DVD(R1) I was fully engrossed by so many other new titles(or in the case of the Indy boxed set, classic) that X2 was like Legolas' line to Aragorn in Two Towers: "You're late."

For me the music mostly still sucks regardless of the change of composers, having grown bored of those undefined, obscure movie scores such as the kind for the first X-Men(no disrespect to Michael Kamen-RIP) and X2. The Xavier/Jason storyline dragged the movie along like a dead carcass for me. And I still really can't accept the fact that Scott/Cyclops is barely in the movie and his abscene is hardly acknowledged. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big Cyclops fan(actually I'm a Wolverine fan, which is good in the case of these movies). But he's supposed to be Jean's main love interest and a main character, no? I think he should have featured more prominently in the movie. At least more scenes with Stryker, probably doing some dirty work like Lady Deathstrike and Nightcrawler in the beginning of X2. THAT would have been fun seeing Cyclops doing the Superman 3/dark version of a popular hero. As it stands I simply don't forgive what they did to his character. Halle Berry was mad because she didn't have a lot to do as Storm? That's nothing compared to the injustice done to Cyclops in X2. I could equate the X-Men franchise to the Star Wars prequels:

X-Men/Phantom Menace - good start
X-2/Attack of the Clones - we're getting there
X-3/Episode III - better be great

Lastly, I think X2 worked for me more on the big screen than at home. Ok that's enough of my rant. Two Towers Extended Edition rules and is the best DVD of the year IMO. Posted Image

#123 of 134 Sean Laughter

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Posted December 15 2003 - 12:08 PM

Quote:
For me the music mostly still sucks regardless of the change of composers, having grown bored of those undefined, obscure movie scores

I think John Williams has done the film scoring world a disservice by creating people that seem to think the only way to score a film is with a highly lite motif score with hummable themes.

#124 of 134 Chris Farmer

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Posted December 15 2003 - 01:36 PM

Williams' leitmotif-infused scores have done film a disservice in the same way that Lucas and Spielberg did film a disservice by inventing the blockbuster (Star Wars and Jaws). While there's something to be said for a subtle score that perfectly compliments the action on screen while not working on screen, that's not to say the other is bad either. There's a place for both (as an example, look at Williams' own Saving Private Ryan score, except for Hymn to the Fallen over the closing credits, it's a very introspective, mood-setting score that has few, if any memorable themes), but to blanket say that Williams is bad isn't at all fair. Indiana Jones, as great as it is, wouldn't be the same movie without the raiders march, the same can be said for Star Wars, E.T., Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and a host of other Williams-scored films.

The short version is, like everything else, you have a bunch of composers that don't have Williams talent trying to emulate him, just like everybody was trying to emulate the success of Star Wars, or Jaws, or Pulp fiction, or whatever the trend of the month is. But to lay the blame with Williams is drastically unfair.

#125 of 134 Gary->dee

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Posted December 15 2003 - 02:21 PM

Quote:
I think John Williams has done the film scoring world a disservice by creating people that seem to think the only way to score a film is with a highly lite motif score with hummable themes.

I think your opinion is just wrong on so many levels, Sean. I wasn't suggesting that the X-Men movies needed a composer like John Williams. What I am suggesting is that the X-Men movies could use much better scores, whether leitmotif is used or not.

IMO John Williams has raised the level of film scores. Whether it's as hummable as his score for the Indiana Jones movies or as obscure as his score for A.I. He is versatile and clearly realizes when a movies can use large, robust themes or keep it subtle and less defined depending on the movie.

On the contrary, I think composers like Danny Elfman(Batman/Spider-Man), Michael Kamen(X1), and John Ottoman(X2) do a movie a disservice by making forgettable scores that are being copied for future comic book movies.

However, I know it's all subjective and to each his own, especially when it comes to music. Posted Image

Btw I do like some of the X2 score, just not the majority of it.

#126 of 134 Rob Tomlin

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Posted December 15 2003 - 03:20 PM

I really enjoyed this movie.

I don't have the DVD, I have the D-Theater version which is fantastic. I thought this was every bit as good as the first one.

And Gary gets my vote for best signature line ever!

Posted Image

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#127 of 134 Sean Laughter

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Posted December 15 2003 - 03:40 PM

I only point out John Williams because anytime I hear any talk about film music it always inevitably turns to how influential Williams' score for Star Wars was in creating the abundance of leitmotif (thanks, couldn't remember how to spell it) based film music. I'm not saying he doesn't know when to use it and when not to use it, as he obviously does. I'm saying there are too many people that seem to think any superhero/comic book/action movie's score has to be thematic or else its crap.

Personally, I hated the score to the first X-men (ironically aside from the track "Logan & Rogue" which was probably the only real "themey" queue in the entire film), but really admire the score to X2 in that it still has thematic material, but it is subdued to a point where the music doesn't become a caricature musical signature of each character. There are undercurrents to the score pointing out the dignity of the characters and their menace as well, whereas Kamen's first score just registered as "well, I've got to do this silly movie, hmm, it's kinda futuristic, let me do something metallic sounding with some off-beats in the action scenes!" This isn't anything against him either, as I love his score to "The Iron Giant" (which seems to be another score very few like).

I've only seen Spider-Man once or twice so I can't comment on its score. However, I can somewhat see why highly thematic material would work for him better. I always thought of the X-men as being a group, so why would you want to divide them up so much by giving them highly recognizable, separate themes.

#128 of 134 Gary->dee

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Posted December 15 2003 - 04:32 PM

Sean I agree with just about everything you posted above. But to a large extent I do think comic book movies should use themetic musical devices to either portray its characters or certain scenes, which is why I like X2's score better than the first movie's score. As for John Williams, I would rank Superman as one of his best scores.

The way I see it is like this: these people are supposed to be larger than life. They're not cops, scientists, or other normal folk, etc. They're superheros and I think that would justify having larger than life musical themes applied to them. I was kinda pissed when I first saw Spider-Man because I thought to myself, "isn't this the same mundane and generic music from Batman"? And essentially it was because it was Danny Elfman's work. Yes I admit that I am partial to John Williams and his musical style. But I would also love to hear what a composer like Howard Shore(LOTR), Jerry Goldsmith(many movies!), Wendy Carlos(Tron, Clockwork Orange), James Horner(Star Trek 2&3), Brian May(Mad Max trilogy), John Barry(Bond movies), and a myriad of other film composers could do with an X-Men movie. Basically I want to hear a more recognizable, rememberable and larger score to match the large scope that these X-Men movies cover. Instead what I'm hearing is comparable to an X-Files episode or any other TV show music.

For me the music betrays the characters, the action and in the end the movie because the music seems unimportant(as you suggested with Kamen's work) and I think with movies like the X-Men the music should be just as important as the characters and story. It all has to be on the same level so it's balanced or else what you get is a different composer for each movie as if it's still trying to find its musical identity when there are so many other movie franchises that have got it right the first time.

Quote:
And Gary gets my vote for best signature line ever!

Thanks, Rob. :b

Edit: Unfortunately it had to be removed because it was 93k. That would make it the 401st Blow.

#129 of 134 Chris Farmer

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Posted December 15 2003 - 05:07 PM

Well Gary, James Horner I can at least tell you what it would sound like. Exactly like all his other scores (cheap shot I know).

#130 of 134 Gary->dee

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Posted December 15 2003 - 05:25 PM

...and of course the requisite comment about James Horner's seemingly similar film scores... :P)

I could easily apply that to Danny Elfman, as I pointed out in my post above.

#131 of 134 Rob Tomlin

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Posted December 16 2003 - 02:37 AM

Quote:
Thanks, Rob.

Edit: Unfortunately it had to be removed because it was 93k. That would make it the 401st Blow.


Bummer.

I guess that sig was just too cool to last!

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#132 of 134 Dave H

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Posted April 10 2004 - 03:28 AM

I finally got around to renting this last night. While the video is reference quality, I didn't think the audio was reference. Yes, it was very good --- but it was lacking in expansiveness and dynamics. I was a bit disappointed compared to other action movies.

#133 of 134 JonZ

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Posted April 12 2004 - 03:37 AM

I though the DTS track kicked ass Posted Image

#134 of 134 Anthony Neilson

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Posted April 12 2004 - 04:58 AM

I've been a bit disappointed with John Ottman's scores too.
Mainly because I thought his score for THE USUAL SUSPECTS was one of the best I've heard in years.

Still, it's nice to have someone OTHER than Danny Elfman score a superhero movie. Everything he writes sounds like a one-man-band falling down a flight of stairs.
I've been going to bed early . . .


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