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Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
I'm sometimes available to some degree as a paid writer, editor, researcher, or proofreader. I'm sometimes available as a fill-in Guest Blogger at mid-to-high-traffic blogs that fit my knowledge set.
If you like my blog, and would like to help me continue to afford food and prescriptions, or simply enjoy my blogging and writing, and would like to support it --
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"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
BYO X-MEN. Am back from X3. Some general obserations to follow, reasonably spoiler-free, and then since I can't do a "below the fold" (if anyone knows HTML I could add to my template to allow that, I'd be quite thankfull if you told me), I'll add some spoilerish observations in comments.
Okay, I liked it without loving it, but the problem of this movie is plain, simple, and obvious: to really care about it, and the characters, you have to be familiar with them.
And I don't mean just the characters from the previous two movies, who were already somewhat thin on the screen; I mean that you have to have read at least some of the comics since Len Wein (and later Chris Claremont) and Dave Cockrum invented most of them, and the essence of their character development, in Giant-Sized X-Men #1, lo these 36 years ago, in 1975. (And the characters they didn't invent, but re-invented, such as Professor X, Cyclops/Scott Summers, Marvel Girl [as she was then known]/Jean Grey, they did re-invent, and vastly deepen, pouring deep wells of character and personality and history into them, whereas previously they'd been relatively shallow, but with a number of character tics, rather than characters.)
Now, although the last comics I bought, with two exceptions, were priced at twelve cents, because it was still the 1960s, I've sporadically read a number in batches throughout the Seventies and Eighties, albeit years apart, as I'd end up sharing a house or apartment with a comics collector, or I'd hang out for a weekend at a friend's and do a lot of catching up, or whatnot.
At this point, it's been at least a decade since I've actually read any comics, and maybe fifteen years or more that I had more than one weekend's worth of reading.
But I do a smattering of reading of comics websites now and again, just to get a vague idea of some of what's been going on.
But bottom line for this movie is that you don't need more than some smattering of familiarity with X-Men in the Seventies, and then another smattering of developments from the Eighties wouldn't hurt, but if you have that, you're set, you're done, you know the characters, you know the basic dynamics, you know the personalities, you know the interactions and the people have emotional resonance for you: you care about them. They matter. When they bleed, you'll bleed for them; when they weep, you'll weep for them.
Unfortunately, if you don't have at least that smattering, you're very likely not going to care, because you're not going to get much from this movie. It's pretty much not there. It's pretty much all Bring Your Own.
I don't want to exaggerate; doubtless if you've just seen the previous two movies, it's perfectly possible that you'll care enough about Logan/Wolverine, and Professor X, and Storm, and the storyline, and so on, and maybe you'll love the action and fights and fast-moving pace, and that's all you want, and you'll be happy.
Certainly while I think this could have been an endlessly richer, deeper, films, I'm still basically happy in the sense that I enjoyed it, and don't feel burned or terribly dissatisfied. But I am kinda sad that they didn't go for the richer, deeper, more character-laden film that it could have been. I think in the long run that would have expanded the franchise much much more, and made the likelihood of continuing the films much greater, and brought a far larger audience in.
As it is, as we can see from the reviews, about 60% of the critics basically liked it, but about 30% thought not, and that's the response I'm seeing in comments online, too. People who know from X-Men aren't too unhappy, but a noticable number who don't are with the huh, wuh? -- who wuzzat? -- what was the point of that? What did that mean? And so on.
So for fans of the X-Men comics, and perhaps the previous films, I give it a mild recommendation -- though even for us, it could have and would have been a much better film if they'd let it breath a bit more.
This was not a long film. It clocks in at 104 minutes running time. While I'm not saying they should have made it a three-hour extravaganza -- that really would have been only for the fans in yet another way -- I do think they should have allowed for another ten, fifteen, maybe twenty minutes worth of time for dialogue, slower moments, character moments, time to get to know the newer characters (to the movie-only audience) a little, so as to care about them, and let everyone know what their personalities are like, and why you'd want to care.
As it is, Colossus is a complete cipher, with maybe four lines. I can live with the fact that he's apparently no longer Russian, but apparently American, and "Pete," not "Piotr," (although I don't see what harm there would have been in leaving him with a Russian accent and being Piotr), but the fact that on-screen, he has no character or personality whatever, or even hardly any lines, means that audiences unfamiliar with him from the comics have no earthly reason to give the faintest damn about whether he lives or dies, any more than they care about the horde of Brotherhood mutants Wolverine runs through like a threshing machine (good job as that was at showing what it's like in the comics for Wolvie to be Wolvie -- he's the best there is at what he is, bub, if you know what I mean).
I was pleased that Kitty got a little more screen time, and some more lines, and we got at least a minimal sense of why we might care about her, but she's also the most endearing character Chris created, beloved by the overwhelming majority of X-fans for decades, the quintessential spunky young kid who is tougher than anyone thinks, and we only get a very little taste of that. (As pointed out by John Robinson, in his review, which I encourage you to read, but which any fan knows, without Kitty Pryde, we'd have no Buffy -- Joss Whedon, current writer of one of the X-books, has specifically discussed how inspired he was by Kitty.)
(She didn't appear quite the way she's ever been drawn, or exactly how I pictured her -- unlike, say, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, who is perfect, as is Patrick Stewart's Professor X or Ian McKellen's Eric Lensherr/Magneto, but I found Ellen Page's Kitty very satisfactory, and am only sorry we couldn't see a lot more of her. I also was disappointed they couldn't find even one second for her Star of David to fall out of her shirt and get tucked in, given her status as the first major super-hero who was not just overtly Jewish, but to whom it was a significant part of her character; I mean, they found plenty of chances to refer to Magneto's experiences in the camps -- it would also be nice to demonstrate that not all Jews are Evil Super-villains, not that I'm accusing them of anti-Semitism -- or am I? -- okay, just kidding!)
Anyway, I think they could have made their money and turned around enough showings per day with another fifteen minutes in the picture to allow for more character, and I think both the film and the franchise would have been far better served by that, but there we are: now we know what it meant for Brett Ratner to do the film instead of Bryan Singer.
As the action and plot went, I was otherwise okay with it. I'll save any comments on quibbles for the comments (in a while).
And for those coming to this film cold: well, good luck; if you like plain action/adventure, maybe you'll like it fine; if not, you won't. And if you just saw one or both of the previous films, and that's all you know: well, I hope you like it, but don't expect other than a lot of good fights and fast-moving action; if you want more, this probably isn't the film for you.
What did you think? (Some have already said in comments in my post on the reviews, here.) Feel free to speak up, or leave pointers, in comments.
For those curious to know more about the characters that flashed by so quickly, or the background of the X-verse, there are endless numbers of fine websites; here's another, for example. You might want to jump directly to the character files, though. Some history here. More history. It's all ludicrously convoluted, of course.
[SPOILERS:] I had similar feelings about the movie, although I think that to make sufficient room for character moments they should have stuck with one or other of the two plots -- either the cure or Pheonix -- and left the other for the next movie. I have a long review on my own blog here: http://stephenfrug.blogspot.com/2006/05/x-men-last-stand-review.html SF
So somehow my enthusiasm for talking about the specifics of the film has diminished by this morning, or at least for now.
One thing is that I watched X2 again last night for the first time in a long while, and was depressed by how vastly better it was than X3.
It had that grownup feeling I missed in X3; the delicate handling of the characters that made them important, that made it about them, as people, whereas X3 either depends on that pre-existing feeling already being there on your part, or it doesn't provide much of it at all, absent fleeting moments like Kitty skating.
And speaking of that, yes, of course Piotr and Kitty should be making eyes at each other, but obviously in a film with no time for anything but plot, they had no time for it, so using Kitty as the third angle in a love triangle to push Rogue to run off for the Cure is all very logical, and all very understandable, and in the end, all very mechanical. Manipulate lever/character Y to get X to place Z. Yawn.
It was nice to see the little bows to readers, such as the Danger Room, the Sentinal head, the Fastball Special (twice), Hank's "oh, my stars and garters," but they're no substitute for real characterization and character, damnit.
Minor note: given that Trask is currently an advisor to the President, or Secretary, or something, clearly the X-Men haven't encountered Sentinels yet, so how they're in a Danger Room program, I dunno an explanation for. Destiny wrote them a prophecy on a postcard? They ran into a prototype somewhere?
Random thoughts: didn't mind Juggernaut. I have no idea who Vinny Jones is -- some sports figure? I could check, but don't care. Anyway, Juggy's never been more than a guy who runs through walls and threatens his half-brother, best as I recall, anyway, and not much of a bright bulb, so I didn't see anything wrong here.
Slightly annoyed that Callisto seemed to be rather radically different. I can understanding condensing Caliban's powers into her, given the profusion of mutants as it is, but why give her Quicksilver's speed on top of it?
I'm also understanding of not bringing the Jewel of Cytorrak in, and leaving Juggie as just a mutant, though.
I can live with making Leech (did they ever call him "Leech"?; I forget) look nearly angelic.
I think it would have been much better if Jean had been shown reassembling the Cure gun with her mind, after taking it apart in front of Magneto, thus showing that she can put together that which she destroys and thus foreshadowing her potentially reassembling those she killed. But they didn't want to go that way.
Yeah, throwing Leech at Jean occurred to me, too, though it's certainly possible she wouldn't have let it happen. But, then, that she couldn't stop Wolverine doesn't really make any sense, either, though I grant that the execution with him being peeled down to bits of skeleton was well-done.
Generally, I agree with most of what Stephen Frug wrote in the post he linked above, albeit with better spelling. :-)
In any case, as we all know, none of the deaths or power losses need remain permanent, though whether there will be another picture, and if so, what direction they'll go: who knows?
Maybe we'll see Storm in a mohawk, next.
Anyway, my conclusion is that if there's to be another film, Brett Ratner should be no where near it, under pain of dealing with Mr. Sinister, and that there are only two people I can think of to ask to do it.
Both are obvious. One is, of course, Bryan Singer coming back to fix his child.
The other, of course, is the equally obvious: Joss Whedon.
I'd like to see that.
I can't bring myself to talk about more specifics about the film just now; too depressing. I'm sure I'll be more in the mood sometime later, for some value of "later." Sorry. See you about that then.
Oh, and I thought Storm spinning like a top was completely stupid. She's not the frigging Red Tornado.
She makes Tornados. She's doesn't play-act them. Dumbest thing in all three movies. Painful.
Naturally, it's the scene shown on tv in every chat show appearance Halle Berry's made that I've seen.
Although I don't have any problems with her performance. I thought she was still under-written -- we still know, onscreen, nothing of her background, her feelings, her thoughts, who she cares about, what she does in her spare time, what she likes to eat, nothing, nada, a cypher -- but what little was given to her I thought she did perfectly okay with.
I wonder if they essentially wrote the guy who plays Cyclops out just to keep Halle Berry in; that's what it has the appearance of.
Gary, I think we're basically in agreement here -- I would concur with most your points, too. In general the departures from the comics don't really bother me as such -- they're inevitable, and I care more about whether they're well done than what they changed. (For that matter, I think that most of the changes made in the first two movies were clear improvements (e.g. making it feel more like a real school, the uniforms) -- unquestionably in a movie context.
I wonder if they essentially wrote the guy who plays Cyclops out just to keep Halle Berry in; that's what it has the appearance of.
The wikipedia entry for the film said as much. For what that's worth.
...albeit with better spelling.
Ooo, busted! For the record, I got it right on my blog -- I just didn't bother to spellcheck my comments here. My bad.