Review: X-Men: Days Of Future Past

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The latest *X-Men* film is a spectacular affair, a high-budget and frequently hilarious reassertion of the franchise after the dreadful *X3: The Last Stand* and *Wolverine* movies. It features all the most popular members of the group kicking ass in glorious action sequences that might be some of the best you’ll see this year and even makes room for a few *fantastic* new mutants. The narrative is good, if a little exposition-heavy upfront, and the pace is great. So it’s a real shame that, even with all these perfect elements, the film’s story makes such a dull thud. The problem isn’t that ┬áit’s badly told, it’s just that there’s not been any attempt to evolve the narrative threads that have been present since the first *X-men* film from 2000. It’s the same old story; a fight between Professor X’s peaceful integration and Magneto’s warlike assertion of mutant superiority, and after the fourth time it has lost its surprise and effect.

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Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit Desolation of Smaug

Peter Jackson is an interesting film maker. A background in indie films, specifically indie horror films, he was raised to the top of the A-List when he successfully pulled off adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s _The Lord of the Rings_ trilogy to the big screen. Those movies are not perfect by any stretch but the books were so rich and full of detail that the theatrical releases actually felt like they were lacking despite being a combined length of over 9 hours.

Now we’re on the second part of his adaptation of _The Hobbit_, the book that preceded the epic trilogy that was _The Lord of the Rings_. That book however is actually pretty short and while it has enough detail to serve the story’s purpose it has nowhere near the depth or scope that the later trilogy does.

Herein lies one of the problems with _The Desolation of Smaug_: You can’t turn a 300 page book into 9 hours of movie without padding the story, and Jackson has padded the story so much, and messed up the pacing so much, that while I don’t think it’s a bad film I also don’t think it’s a great one.

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