Wait. Anna!? What are you doing?!? Don't tiptoe up to deadly people while they're having nightmares.
Well, don't say we didn't warn you. Anna Paquin is always hovering carelessly around killers, isn't she? Whether they be clawed or fanged. The girl can't help it.
The X-Men movie franchise was launched 10 years ago in July 2000 and I watched it again last week with the intention of celebrating it with lots of prurient screencaps of Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn and some discussion about the casting for X-Men: First Class (2011) aka
In some ways the original X-Men is a tentative mediocre movie: the budget limitations are obvious, Halle Berry is as lost as you remembered (though Storm is a strangely minor character), and the central evil plot is just dumb. But in other ways it's undervalued.
It makes smart choices about narrowing its focus for a first film (centering on Wolverine & Rogue) and the one character it totally reimagines -- that'd be Mystique -- is a major success.
What's more director Bryan Singer actually makes use of the widescreen in his mise-en-scène sometimes. Too few filmmakers do, just shoving everything into the center of the frame or shooting everything in relentless close-up. Even action sequences are shot with a preference for close-ups these days (see Inception for an up-to-the-minute example) but, much like musical numbers, they're more memorable and coherent when they include whole bodies in the frame.
And even if some of Singer's tricks get a bit repetitive, such as the out of focus introduction of characters in the background, they're aesthetically pleasing.
X-Men was lensed by Newton Thomas Sigel, who is Singer's constant collaborator. This is my favorite shot in the whole movie, Wolverine lost in the X-Mansion, bewildered by the new sites.
Isn't that a beauty narratively speaking? And Jackmanically speaking?
P.S. The Film Experience will be back tomorrow with Craig's Take Three column. I'll personally be scarcer than usual in the next week (off-web deadlines) but there will still be daily postings. We'll figure it out. We just keep putting it out there even though we don't have the recuperative powers of Logan/Wolverine. We sure could use them.