Casting An X-Men Movie, My Way

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I am a big fan of the X-Men movie franchise, especially the first two X-Men movies.  They are far from perfect movies, but overall they are quite enjoyable. Director Bryan Singer and his crew did a lot of things right. However, there were a lot of missed opportunities and many questionable decisions across the whole X- Franchise. Although some of the casting was perfect, enough of the choices were suspect.

Take a journey with me across time as I attempt too cast a better X-Men movie.  This  version would feature a slight variation on one of the team’s classic lineups.  It would feature Cyclops, Phoenix, Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Sprite. Although he has been overused in the X-Men movie series I would go with Magneto as the villain.

In order to cast this movie properly I would require a time machine. Not only would the casting depend on certain actors.  It would also depend on them at different stages of their careers.

To really do this great comic book franchise justice on the big screen I would bring in The Russo Brothers to direct.  They have proven with their work on the Captain America movies that they are fully capable of handling extreme action sequences as well as serious drama.  I do love a lot of what Bryan Singer did with the franchise. His involvement would add so much to this movie as well. Now, on to the cast.

Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine

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There is no change needed here, Hugh Jackman is the perfect man for the job. To this day I still find it hard to believe that Dougray Scott was originally cast in this role. For this film I would opt for Jackman as he appeared in The Wolverine movie from 2013.  He was at his peak physical condition in this film.

Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier/Professor X

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Patrick Stewart was born to play this character. As great as he was on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Captain Picard, I know many were thinking the same thing that I was. This man absolutely needed to play Professor X one day. Is there a better example of perfect casting?

Iman as Ororo Munroe/Storm

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From the moment that I saw her in Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country, I thought to myself, “That’s Storm”. Many felt that Angela Bassett would have portrayed a great Storm. I am sure she would have done great in the role. But my perfect Storm would be Mrs. David Bowie

Rutger Hauer as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto

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I love Ian Mckellen’s performances as Magneto. He was one of the highlights of the X-Men movies. However, I feel that Rutger Hauer embodies Magneto so much more, especially physically. In the 1980’s watching Hauer in movies like Blade Runner and Ladyhawke I always envisioned him as Magneto. For this film imagine Hauer in his early 60’s, but as fit as he was in Blade Runner.

Brent Spiner as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler

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While watching Spiner portray Data on The Next generation two thoughts always crossed my mind: 1) Data was this Star Trek’s Spock and 2) Spiner would be the perfect Nightcrawler. Picture a leaner, meaner 1980’s Spiner.

Jonathan Frakes as Scott Summers/Cyclops

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I really enjoyed James Marsden’s portrayal of Cyclops. However I do not feel that the character was written properly and he was under utilized. Once again all those years ago, as I watched Jonathan Frakes on The Next Generation I thought, he would be a great Cyclops.  In the X-Men comic books Cyclops led the team with a commanding presence.  This was never really the case in the movies.  I always liked the dynamic on The Next Generation between Captain Picard and Commander Riker.  It reminded me of the dynamic between Professor X and Cyclops, in the comic books.  Picture a lean and mean 1980’s Frakes.

Daniel Cudmore as Piotr Rasputin/Colossus

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The all to brief appearance of Colossus in X2 is one of the highlights of the entire X-Men movie franchise. The fact that he was not utilized more in X2 is criminal. I always found it odd that Colossus was not cast in the X-Men movies from the start.  Cudmore was perfect as he appeared in X2.

Margot Robbie as Jean Grey/ Phoenix

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Of all the characters here, this was the hardest one for me to cast. No actresses really stood out to me as an obvious choice. After much thought I do believe that Margot Robbie would be great for the role. Femke Janssen was a really good Jean Grey and Phoenix, but she lacked a strong physical presence.

Natalie Portman as Kitty Pryde/Sprite

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Obviously I’m going with a very young teenage Sprite, as she appeared when she first joined the X-Men in the comic books. Imagine a very young Natalie Portman from the early 1990’s.

There you have it, my X-Men cast. Thank you for taking the time to indulge my X-Men fantasy.  Overall this is a movie franchise that should be amazing. But in reality the overall results have been mixed. With Hugh Jackman retiring his claws and the lackluster X-Men: Apocalypse the future is not looking very bright.  This is a movie franchise in need of an X-treme makeover.

Troy T.

Harrison Ford’s 21st Century Trifecta

The teaser trailer for Blade Runner 2049 was just released. The trailer offers the first glimpses of  an older Rick Deckard and the movie’s release date, 10/06/2017. Upon it’s release Blade Runner 2049 will complete Harrison Ford’s 21st century trifecta. The trifecta being Ford revisiting his three most iconic movie characters: Indiana Jones in 2008, Han Solo in 2015 and now Rick Deckard in 2017.

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I welcomed his return as Indiana Jones with open arms. The original Indiana Jones trilogy was all that one could ask for in action and adventure moviemaking. Yet there was still a desire in me for more from this great character. It felt like there was some unfinished business. The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull was a fun and satisfying way to see the character off. For me his adventures, as portrayed by Harrison Ford, now felt complete. But I am open to the role being recast, with the right young actor.

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Ford’s return as Han Solo in The Force Awakens is a different story. The original Star Wars trilogy felt complete to me. There was a window of time in the late 1980’s where another trilogy, post Return Of The Jedi, felt right. But as time moved on and the actors grew older I felt that the limited window had closed. As a fan I was not clamoring to see an aging Han Solo. I understand the force of nostalgia, but I was good with the memories of a young Han Solo. The Force Awakens obviously proved that  I was in the minority. I must admit that it was good to see Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker on the big screen again. However, the only character that really made sense being involved in a new Star Wars movie was Luke Skywalker. But, that’s just one fan’s opinion.

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The world of Blade Runner is wide open with possibilities. Rick Deckard is just one of a group of Blade Runners, so the story possibilities are vast. After viewing the teaser trailer I am now a bit excited and intrigued. Seeing Ford as Deckard, at least one more time, should be a thrill. I am still keeping my expectations low, but I do look forward to this long awaited sequel. Whether he is involved in further Blade Runner movies remains to be seen.

Troy T.

 

Harrison Ford: A Long Time Ago

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A big Happy 74th Birthday to my favorite actor, Harrison Ford. He has had an amazing film career spanning five plus decades that is far from over. I have been a huge fan since 1977 when he appeared in a little film called Star Wars. I feel very fortunate to have witnessed his growth from Han Solo into arguably the biggest movie star in the world during the 1980’s and 90’s.

Throughout the bulk of his career it is apparent, based on the earnings of his many films, that fans prefer to see him playing an action hero. That being said, he has appeared in some criminally overlooked movies throughout his career. Movies such as The Mosquito Coast, Frantic, Regarding Henry, Hollywood Homicide, Firewall, Paranoia and The Age Of Adaline. They may not all be classics, but they showcase a different side of Harrison Ford. As great as he is in action oriented pictures he is just as capable in dramas and comedies. If you have not seen any of these lesser known films I would highly recommend them.

Below, in no particular order, are my ten favorite Harrison Ford movies.

Blade Runner (1982) – A timeless classic, a movie like no other. Whether you watch the version with the voiceover or without it’s still a great, iconic film.

The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – The greatest Star Wars movie, and Han Solo at his best.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – As great as Han Solo and Rick Deckard are, I believe that Indiana Jones is Harrison Ford’s greatest movie character.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) – Harrison Ford and Sean Connery are absolutely fantastic together, one of the great pairing in movie history.

Firewall (2006) – I know that I am in the minority, but I really love this movie, a throw back to the action movies of the 1980’s and 90’s. He may be grey, but he’s still the man. A tense action drama that builds to a satisfying conclusion.

Presumed Innocent (1990) – Far from a perfect movie, but a great cast and a phenomenal performance by Harrison Ford.

Regarding Henry (1991) – A big change of pace from the action hero audiences were used too, but his performance is emotional and heartwarming.

Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984) – A bit darker than the other Indiana Jones movies, but this is prime time Indy.

The Fugitive (1993) – A roller coaster ride of action and drama from Mr. Ford.

The Mosquito Coast (1986) – What a shame that barely anyone saw this movie. He was nominated for an Oscar but failed to win. For me this is his best acting performance to date.

Bogart As Blade Runner

This is such a cool image I had to post it.  Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies.  Humphrey Bogart and Harrison Ford are two of my favorite actors.  The poster’s creator is Peter Stults.

 

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The Future Of Blade Runner

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Blade Runner is a flawed, but brilliant and beautiful movie. I can not get enough of this film. Since it’s release in 1982 I have watched it at least once every year. In Blade Runner director Ridley Scott helped to create a story so full of potential. As much as I love Harrison Ford’s portrayal of Rick Deckard, there are so many other stories to tell beyond this lone Blade Runner.

I can not understand why some fans over the years have absolutely rejected the idea of any sequels. There are other Blade Runners out there retiring replicants. Perhaps some of them actual enjoy the work. Perhaps others have been careless and accidentally retired humans. What about the beginning of the Blade Runner units? How about past and future generations of replicants.  What came before the Nexus 6 models and what would come after?   In The Terminator the T-800 was cool until we saw the far superior T-1000 in T2. There are so many stories to tell in the Blade Runner universe, why not explore them?

Perhaps some fans are afraid of a bad sequel. Even if that were to happen it would take nothing away from the brilliance of the original. Highlander and The Terminator are great movies which have been followed by a sequels of varying quality. Highlander 2 and Terminator 3 are really bad movies, but they do not lessen the impact or appeal of the originals. The first sequel to Blade Runner is currently in preproduction. I hope that it successfully expands the wonderful universe that Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford helped birth.

 

Blade Runner – New Questions

I was driving earlier today, recounting a rather long and vivid dream that I had last night. This dream got me to thinking about one of the quieter scenes in the movie Blade Runner and some questions that never crossed my mind before.

In the movie, after Zhora and Leon are “retired”, Rachael and Deckard retreat back to his apartment. After some talk Deckard cleans up his wounds and winds up falling asleep. Rachael sits down at Deckard’s piano and begins to play. Deckard slowly awakens, approaches Rachael at the piano and says, “I dreamt music”. Rachael plays again and replies, ” I didn’t know if I could play. I remember lessons, I don’t know if it’s me or Tyrell’s niece.”

This got me thinking, what childhood memories would she have besides Tyrell’s niece? Would she be able to read music and play piano based solely on the implanted memories or was this a built in replicant ability? Bryant refered to her as a Nexus 6 and Tyrell stated that she was an experiment. That’s pretty much all that we know about Rachael. As a replicant we do not know her Incept Date, her Function or her Mental and Physical Levels. Are replicants able to learn new skills on the fly, or are all of their abilities programmed?

One of the many great things about Blade Runner is that even after many repeated viewing over the years you still see new things. You still may have new and unanswered questions. These questions continue to help keep the movie fresh and inspire yet another viewing.