Tag Archives: Ray Park

The Set of 400: #277 – My Favorite Statue of Liberty Showdown

Today! Because the war is still coming, Charles, and I intend to fight it by any means necessary –

X-Men (2000)

Directed by Bryan Singer

Starring Hugh Jackman (x2), Patrick Stewart (x2), Ian McKellen (x2), Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, James Marsden, Ray Park (x2), Rebecca Romijn (x2), Tyler Mane, Bruce Davison, Shawn Ashmore

For everyone who bemoans the epic length of today’s superhero movies, realize, large cast comic adaptations can come in under two hours, but they’re going to look a lot like 2000’s X-Men. Sure, it didn’t have a lot to compare itself to back then – it’s preceded by little more than the ’90s Batmans, the ’80s Supermans, and…Blade, I guess? So how would they know to give equal time to the characters and not have it just be, like, Wolverine and his costumed bubs? Halle Berry’s Storm has like fifteen lines in the whole movie! She would win an Oscar within a handful of years of this film, and she’s got slightly more lines than the random wrestler who plays Sabretooth!

And yeah, it has aged terribly in comparison to the films that followed – not only the Spider-Mans, the Marvel Universe, and the Nolan Bat films, but in the X-Men franchise itself. Hey, it’s still better than every stab at the Fantastic Four, anyway! And it is a pretty fun movie, if you can overlook the completely lousy non-Magneto villains, and some of that dialogue. Oh, man, that dialogue. But this was the film that pulled Jackman from the stage and made him a huge star, after the original Wolverine had to drop out, thanks to Mission: Impossible 2 running over filming – thanks, Dougray Scott! Ah, what could’ve been! Would these movies have worked without Jackman? Would we have nine of them??

He’s worked steadily since, but off the top of your head, what’s the last Dougray Scott film you saw?

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The Set of 400: #332 – My Favorite Door Melting

Today! Because yud say boom de gasser, den crashin der bosses heyblibber, den banished –

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Directed by George Lucas

Starring Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Ahmed Best, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Brian Blessed, Terence Stamp, Ray Park, Warwick Davis, Pernella August, Samuel L. Jackson, Dominic West, Sofia Coppola, Keira Knightley, Greg Proops (x2), Oliver Ford Davies, Hugh Quarshie

Let me just start by saying SHUT UP. I know, I’m not exactly in the majority for my enjoyment of this film. And rest assured, I recognize the amount of ridiculous bullshit that’s in it. Why did I use a Jar Jar Binks quote at the top? Because I’m owning it, and I want you to know I’m not overlooking the crammed in nonsense that ruins this movie for people. And perhaps I’m projecting backward onto this film – because I largely haven’t enjoyed the Star Wars things that have come since 1999 – but I think this is a hugely underappreciated movie, with a lot to like. So just shut up.

Let focus on the big things – the lightsaber battle at the end is the best lightsaber fight in any Star Wars movie. Hell, it might be the best swordfight in the history of film. John Williams score for this movie is my favorite of the series. The pod racing scene stands up with any sequence in any Star Wars. Ewan McGregor was a terrific choice to carry the prequels, and is always excellent as Obi-Wan. Darth Maul is a terrifically cool villain. Mace Windu is pretty cool, too. Plus it cannot be overstated how eagerly anticipated this movie was in ’99, to the point that I can’t believe it could’ve been warmly accepted no matter how it turned out. Look at The Force Awakens – the only reason people fell all over themselves in love with that thing is because the prequels were so hated. The logic – let’s just straight remake A New Hope and pray no one notices – worked great, as things got so out of hand by Episode III that fans just wanted anything resembling the original movies, no matter how derivative.

Groan!

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