|Nudity and Sex||3|
|Buckets o' Blood||1|
Link in the Internet movie database
Synopsis: Take six troubled teens who are on the wrong side of the public's opinion in a troubled society. Put them under the tutilate of two troubled teachers who shelter them from the world. Menace them by a troubled man whose tailor is clearly very troubled, and you have the ingredients for a Grade-A succulent cut of troubled mutant angst! Teacher and mutant Emma Frost's old mentor comes back to haunt her from the Dream Dimension. Can this rag-tag band stop him before he... does... erm... something not very clearly explained in the plot?
The guy at the movie place told me that if I rented three videos instead of the two that I had picked out, that I'd get the third for nothing. Being a tight-wad cheap-skate with no head for economizing, I wandered back to the place's "Cult Movies" section, which tends to be my favorite spot to browse. I remembered... vaguely... hearing of a movie in 1996 called Generation X, which was loosely based upon the comic of the same name. Now I'm no Marvel fan, but I tend to really love superhero movies (You'll get me to part with my copy of The Flash pilot when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands), so I picked this one up and brought it back to the counter, laughing all the way.
To quote Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, nobody's laughing now.To best describe Generation X, I will compare it to a recent cinema sojourn of mine: The Matrix. What, you may ask, does this tale of the modern outcast share with Reeve's movie about humanity, the soul and massive running gun-battles? Simple, I say. Neither one of them has a new idea in 'em. I hear the sound of disembowling daggers being sharpened as I say this, but it's true. Both films are essentially pastiches of other films that have come before. During my first viewing of The Matrix, I found myself muttering Mission: Impossible, John Woo, Dark City... the list goes on and on... throughout the viewing. I'm sure more would hit me if I'd bother to go back a second time, but that's beside the point. The point is, however, that The Matrix took a lot of very stock elements and then began to turn them all on their ear in creative and innovative ways.
Generation X is essentially a conglomeration of The Breakfast Club, Beverly Hills 90210, any superhero teen comic you feel like tossing into the mix, Dead Poet's Society, To Sir With Love and many more that likely drifted onto the celluloid via a connection to the Great Unconscious Collective. Unfortunately, this film takes the directorial decision of not bothering to file off a single serial number before the part is added to the whole. And therein lies the crux of the problem. This was actually a fairly good script. If you closed your eyes and thought of England, you could just see where Stan Lee's magick touch comes through in the writing. By no means is it, well, polished as a script, but that relatively minor flaw pales in comparison to the most heinous crime of all... the direction.
You see, even the tightest script can be trod under by a poor directorial vision. From what I've heard, Star Trek V was a halfway decent movie until William 'If Pointy-Ears Can Direct Then I Can Too' Shatner decided to turn it into Hail to the Kirk day. This film shows the taint of far too many poor directorial decisions. For one thing, if you are a child of the early-day media like I am, you will find yourself unconsciously humming 'na-na-na-na-na-na-BAT-MAN!' repeatedly during the film. Why? Because a good nine-tenths of the movie is shot in Bat-Man Camp-o-Vision! The scene is tilted so that, gosh darn it, when the crook is on the screen you know that he's a twisted individual!
It seems that the director has a subconscious desire to prove that he too is a twisted individual, given how much of this film you have to watch with a phone cradled against your shoulder.
Many of the scenes which would set the stage for emotional impact are far too short, and are even left hanging. Jubilee's parental angst only becomes compelling the moment she drops it in favour of teammate Angelo (AKA Skin)'s own problems. Buff's various problems with her physique are used in a tangental moment that had the potential to be affective, but which fall short as they are starved for screen-time. And of course, backstory is shafted, though hinted towards. This makes it a very frustrating movie, much like trying to see through dirty eyeglasses. You know that something's out there, but there's just no way that you can see it for all the crud that gets in the way. Sigh.
Now that I've ranted on some of the movie's flaws -- and Murphy knows, there are many more than what I've set down here -- let me hit the one bright, shining aspect of this film. The one reason to watch it for all its cruddiness, if you can't enjoy badfilm for what it tries to convey. Let us bask in the deliver, the wonder and the sheer insanity of the man who helped us to laugh at doctors again: Matt Frewer.
Matt doesn't break any new ground in this film and frankly, I doubt he would've been allowed to, as this part seemed written specifically for his acting style. He's playing Rassmussin, the Mad Monk^H^HMad sci-tech hijacker of Star Trek: TNG. He's playing Max Headroom, that zany, stuttering cybernetic sellout of the 80s. He's playing pretty much all of his most memorable roles and god help me, I like it. Yes, Matt is being given some terribly dire lines to say and yes, I can't help but wince at a few of them. But a moment with Matt in his brilliantly stomach-turning jacket, acting his heart and soul out before the camera are more than enough to make this movie *fun* again. Slowly, we're losing actors who can play over-the-top, insane criminal geniuses who would cause flatulence attacks to prove a point... and to me, this is just a crying shame!
Sadly, he's defeated at the end when, after *shrugging off the team's most powerful attacks, he's pulled off of a ledge by a man who isn't fit to lick his idol Stretch-Armstrong's boots when said man wraps around him like a ribbon around a very evil, omnipotent Christmas Present!
Huff. Puff. Sorry. Disposing of the master villain is a hard thing to do in any case, and when you actually prefer the villain to any of the heroes of the piece, seeing him die in an unsatisfying way irks to no end. If you ask me, they should recast slightly, give bit parts to all of the kids and call the show FREWER! as we watch him act out the antics of the zany Russel Tesh, who kills off Gen Xers one-by-one, week after week as we cheer him on and call his name and start up fan web-sites about him and...
Well. Maybe not.