New X-Men, with an opening scene best left in the past

A review by Brenda Daniels

Mutants attack earth relentlessly in the opening scenes of this new X-Men movie. Despite their best efforts at retaliation, the X-Men clearly are not powerful enough to fight off their attackers and things look desperately grim.

The scene is accompanied by the voice of a narrator who asks a question worded something like this: Do we have to accept our fate or can we change what happens?

This question forms the basis for X-Men: Days of Future Past, the latest installment in the X-Men movie series. After the opening scene ends (which it did much to my relief), the story begins in earnest with the X-Men discussing how to solve the mutant problem that is decimating earth.

Their solution is to send one of their members back into the past in order to intercept Raven’s (Jennifer Lawrence) actions at a particular point, actions that had set the mutants in motion. Whilst Charles Xavier is the best choice to convince Raven, he isn’t physically capable of making the time-travel journey, bound as he is to a wheelchair.

Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), with his twitching muscles and visible veins, is therefore chosen to go instead. Wolverine makes the journey successfully and meets up with a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). A very different Xavier  then, he at first resists Wolverine’s efforts at persuasion before giving in and helping to contact Raven. The action then proceeds along these lines.

Apart from Erik’s (Michael Fassbender) metal-bending antics, I quite enjoyed the story. Peter Dinklage as the evil Dr Trask makes an interesting enemy and there is a good amount of depth displayed within and between the characters. The film ends with just a hint that it’s not all over yet… So fans can probably look forward to more…

X-Men: Days of Future Past opens at Nu Metro cinemas in South Africa in 2D and 3D on Friday 23 May.

Soon to be released in South Africa - X-men: Days of Future Past

Soon to be released in South Africa – X-men: Days of Future Past

Ian McKellen (Magneto) at the San Diego Comic Con International

Ian McKellen (Magneto) at the San Diego Comic Con International

Mr Peabody and Sherman – an animation for adults too

A review by Brenda Daniels

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a clever, funny, children’s animated adventure film. It contains fun science fiction elements, historic and educational features, and a modern setting with relationships. The 3D format makes for enjoyable viewing.

Based on a 1960s animated TV series, the story features an impossibly intelligent little dog as the title character, Mr. Peabody. Sherman is Mr. Peabody’s (human) adopted son. A scientist extraordinaire, Mr. Peabody has invented a time machine which he and Sherman use to visit past eras.

So we see them making a trip to an anti-royalist France and to ancient Troy and Egypt. They meet famous people like Marie Antoinette, Leonardo da Vinci, and many more. These excursions provide a wealth of education for Sherman, and the audience, and are a source of clever humour adults will pick up on.

Far from being a socially inept genius, however, Mr. Peabody is also into hip hop dancing, sword fighting, cocktail mixing – you name it; he can do it. And when it comes to looking after his son, Mr. Peabody is just as “human” as the rest of us. He worries about Sherman attending school for the first time. In fact it’s on Sherman’s first day at school that the story really begins.

After a rather sorry encounter with a mean school girl called Penny, Sherman and his dad are launched into an exciting adventure. The ensuing action sees them battling a collision of the past and present, dealing with modern school politics and personalities, and facing off the complications in their own relationship.

The film is rated PG and runs for an entertaining one and a half hours. As an adult I thoroughly enjoyed the clever humour and original mix of genres. Older children who like something a little meaty will enjoy the educational aspects, parcelled as they are in adventure and funny relationships. Very little children will miss the meaning in the dialogue.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman opens today, 20 March, at NuMetro cinemas (3D) in South Africa.

Source: Creative Commons

Source: Creative Commons

Source: Creative Commons

Source: Creative Commons