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- Cyberpunk 2077 goes gold
- Amazon Luna
- October Releases
- Among Us
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BWN Nerds’ Movie Review: The New Mutants (2020)
Patrick and Dave staying fairly current with the movie review this week! New Mutants was almost a Chinese Democracy level of dragged out from planning until actually finishing the movie. Was the wait worth it? Did they both hate it?
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Nerd Review! Every week the Nerds give you their take on a different movie from the Nerdosphere. This week Dave and Patrick review the latest installment of the X-Men franchise The New Mutants!
The Flick: The New Mutants (2020)
What’s it About: A group of five teenagers kept in a mysterious hospital learn they have special powers and are branded mutants. As their time in the hospital takes a turn to the sinister, the teenagers attempt to escape. Only together will they have any chance to survive.
Metacritic Score: 43
The Nerds’ Take on The New Mutants (2020):
Patrick: Any time a film finds itself in production hell, red flags should immediately be raised. The New Mutants was initially conceived as a film possibility way back in 2009. Over a decade and five release dates later, The New Mutants finally saw the light of day (and the dark of theaters) in 2020. The movie was made, recut, set to release, reshot, set to release again. And again. And again. The final result is a teen horror movie that feels like it could have been pretty good if there were fewer cooks in the kitchen.
The story begins with young Dani Moonstar being awakened by her father during a tornado striking her home on a Native American reservation. During their flight, Dani sees some sort of creature giving chase. Dani’s father leaves her in a tree to hide and wait out the storm while he goes back to the reservation to help others. Dani hears her father die, and emerges from her hiding place where the storm continues to rage. Dani flees when she again hears some sort of creature pursuing her. This time Dani does not get far before she is rendered unconscious.
When Dani awakens, she is strapped to a hospital bed. In her attempts to free herself, she is confronted by a Dr. Reyes. Dr. Reyes explains to Dani she is in a hospital but that Dani is special. She has powers and therefore a mutant. Dr. Reyes tells Dani that she is here to help Dani learn what her powers are and how to control them. Dani learns there are four other teenaged mutants in the hospital as well. The other teens are Rahne Sinclaire, Sam Guthrie, Ilyana Rasputin, and Bobby De Costa. Each teen is carrying their own trauma that is preventing them from fully controlling their abilities. As their treatment progresses, each of teens begin to have disturbing nightmares that are manifestations of their past. As the teens grow to trust one another, they also learn there is something more sinister about Dr. Reyes and her motivations.
Watching this movie, it wasn’t over difficult to figure out the big twist, if we could call it that, relatively quickly. The movie was billed as a comic book horror movie and writer/director Josh Boone certainly leaned into the premise. The hospital is dark and appropriately spooky. The manifestations the teens face try to be unnerving. But I felt like The Ne Mutant just didn’t quite spread its wings far enough. And I think that’s where production hell set in. The film seems to be in a damned hurry to reach its climax. There’s supposed to be an element of mystery surrounding Dani, but half the hospital figures out her powers in what felt like no time. The teens are supposed to bond through their shared horrifying experiences, but really they bond over one night in an attic and everything is great. In researching the film for this write up, I found that the movie was pared down and chose to focus on the existing elements of horror after the initial cut had been shared with producers. It shows and the movie feels incomplete.
The cast is very small which does set up some intimacy among the characters and, you would think, the audience. Unfortunately, the brevity of the movie really doesn’t allow for any character connections to feel earned. This also made it hard for me as an audience member to really connect with any of the characters. I would be remiss though if I didn’t at least give a nod to the work of Maise Williams as Rahne and Blu Hunt as Dani. Both perform admirably as tortured teens who find each other, giving the audience the first true gay couple (take that, Endgame!)
There are also some nifty little Marvel/X-Men Easter eggs stashed away in the movie from the overt referral to the X-Men to the not so overt referral to the sinister Essex corporation. The latter being visible in multiple X-Men films from the recent past. They’re nice to see and seemed to indicate a path to more movies one day. Unfortunately the path will never come to fruition with Disney heading in what most presume will be a new direction.
The New Mutants had potential. As a concept an X-Men franchise makes a great deal of sense as the setting for a horror film. The problem to me it, we get an incomplete vision for our time. There are horror elements and some pretty impressive action sets, but everything seems rushed at the end of the day I was left wanting more pieces to give me a better whole. It is common knowledge that the final cut of the New Mutants was a watered down version of a larger cut that was well received in testing. I can’t help but wonder where we would be if that film had hit the theaters instead.
Patrick’s Rating: 2.00/5.0
Dave The New Mutants is, technically speaking, the last of the Fox/20th Century Studios line of X-Men based movies. The fact that there are no X-Men, at all, in the movie should likely throw up a few warning signals for you. The movies tortured production history should be another monumental concern for you. Despite all of that, it is not a bad movie, all things considered.
Primary filming of The New Mutants was, shockingly enough, finished in September of 2017. The movie would end up in release limbo due to reshoots and Disney’s acquisition of Fox. The running joke was that the movie would never actually be released. But, in the midst of the global pandemic, The New Mutants was released in theaters on August 28, 2020. The idiocy of this strategy did not help matters. Critics hated the movie and to say it lost money is an understatement and a half.
The New Mutants, in the comics anyway, are a teenage group of what can best be called “X-Men in training.” They have always trudged on the darker side of things, as far as Marvel Comics are concerned. The New Mutants, as a movie, steers into the skid of being somewhat of a super-hero horror movie. It is certainly dark and, in places, scary. It follows the story of Dani Moonstar, the sole survivor of what is originally believed to be a tornado strike on her Native American reservation. She ends up in a very strange hospital and is soon introduced to Sam, Illyana, Bobby, and Rahne. Dr. Reyes is overseeing everything but is also manipulating the kids, each of whom has a distinct power that none of them fully understand or know how to control. Death and destruction has followed the kids whenever their powers have manifested and it is Dr. Reyes’s alleged job to get the kids to understand and control their unique abilities.
As for the kids’ powers, they are easily the best part of the movie. Bobby (Sunspot) can manipulate solar energy; Sam (Cannonball) can fly; Illynana (Magik) can create interdimensional effects; Rahne (Wolfsbane) can turn into a wolf. Meanwhile, Dr. Reyes is a mutant as well who produces force fields strong enough to prevent any of the kids from, leaving. Dr. Reyes is the straw that stirs this drink. She convinces the kids they are being trained to be X-Men when, in reality, they are being manipulated to eventually become part of Essex Corporation (which opens the door to a potential appearance from Mr. Sinister somewhere down the line). As the story progresses, the focus shifts to Dani (Mirage) and her potential powers, which are never really defined until the very end. Dani and Rahne end up in a romantic relationship. All of the kids begin to experience terrifying visions and nightmares of their pasts and the suspicion grows that Dani’s powers involve being able to manifest ones fears into tangible terrors. This leads to the decision by Essex Corporation to gather up Dani’s DNA for study but to kill her as well.
This leads to the climactic and chaotic final stanza of the movie. It takes the combined might of all the kids to bring Reyes down but the damage has been done as Dani’s powers manifest her darkest fear, a massive Demon Bear. This is what really destroyed her people. The remaining four New Mutants try to fight the Demon Bear and fail. The Demon Bear devours Reyes. All looks lost until the spirit of Dani’s father convinces her to face down her fears. She accomplishes this and is able to calm the Demon Bear, who dissipates. The movie ends with the group of New Mutants free of Reyes’s prison and making their way out into a big, new, world.
Given its tortured history, I felt the movie was pretty good. It struggles to decide whether it is a super-hero movie or a horror movie and ultimately fails to excel at either. That being said, there are certainly horrific elements to the movie, especially The Smiling Men that appear as a byproduct of Magik’s powers, fears, and past abuse. Then there are moments meant to be horrific that miss completely, such as the Demon Bear. The acting is not particularly strong, even though the cast is not bad at all. The characters are just not strong enough on their own to make things interesting enough. The one moment I actually popped a bit for was when Lockheed actually showed up in true Dragon form sitting on Magik’s shoulder. That was awesome and Magik is, by far, the most interesting and coolest character in the movie. But the rest of the clan is as meh as meh can be, especially Dani/Mirage, who is the lead and feels like an afterthought too much of the time. The special effects are not going to blow you away either. Wolfsbane’s wolf transformation for instance, is nothing spectacular given modern technology. Ditto for Sunspot’s effects. Like much of the movie, it is very meh.
This is the quintessential middle of the road movie for me. I feel it is slightly better than average and more enjoyable than I thought it would be. But it just falls flat more often than not. Anyone familiar with The New Mutants from the comics will likely find this to be somewhat unsatisfying when compared to the source material. The movie tries hard to pay homage to that but never really gets there. A stronger tie in to the X-Men would have made a big difference here. Hell, even a cameo from Hugh Jackman would have brought this up a few notches. Ultimately, The New Mutants is better than one would expect for a movie that was finished three years before it was ever released. But it unfortunately is typical for the Fox X-Men franchise, which consisted of a few really good movies, some definite clunkers (X-Men: The Last Stand and Dark Phoenix, I am looking at you with contempt), and some middle of the road content. I would put The New Mutants squarely in that last category.
Dave’s Rating: 3.00/5
Overall Nerds’ Rating for The New Mutants (2020): 2.50/5.0
Mitchell’s Hyrule Puro-Resu News Report! (4/15/21)
HPW has an answer for Her Grace!
The Triforce Tournament Winner wants her title shot! When’s she getting it?
Hilda demands to cash in her opportunity at the HPW Triforce Championship! Will she be given her opportunity at the Great Forest May event?
Hilda, Yuga and Ravio sit at a conference table with Nicolas Foolyere and Humpback Hook Halibut.
There’s a tense silence as Hilda stares down the GM and COO. Ravio is a bit fidgety, though. Hilda says, “You already know what I want. What is there to talk about?” Nicolas says there’s plenty to talk about. They will need to consider that with the HPW Trios Championships #1 Contenders Gauntlet is also happening that night, what is the main event? The gauntlet has no time limit, uses the venue to its fullest, so wouldn’t it be best to close with it? And surely “Your Grace” wouldn’t want to be anything less than the main event. Hook concurs, the showdown of Triforce Champion and Triforce Tournament Winner, the first ever time this match-up has been possible, should be the main event of a card.
Hilda tells them to stop trying to stall for “him.” She won’t let the Hero of Hyrule just sit back again like he did for so long last year! He will defend the title in May, even if HPW has to make a stand alone vote just for their match. Well, HPW can’t do that… Nicolas speaks up and says they can’t do this without the champion’s approval. Only he knows how he’s feeling physically after that match with Zelda. Hilda sighs and rolls her eyes, but then there’s a knock at the door. They’re all confused, as no one else was invited to this meeting. Nicolas gets up to answer the door, and it’s Link! Before Nicolas can say anything to him, Link pushes his way into the room.
Yuga gets up as Link walks to the table, but Hilda has him stand down. Ravio looks quickly between Hilda and Link as they stare down. Link has the Triforce Championship and holds it up so Hilda can see it. “You want this belt? You’ll have to earn it.” Well, that sounds like approval to Hilda. Hook reluctantly says the Triforce Championship will happen, but it will have to be the penultimate match, not the main event. That’s fine by her. Hilda stands, Ravio also gets up, and Hilda smiles at Link. “Make sure to polish the plates for me. I want to be able to see myself in it as I hold it in my hands. Y’know, after I’ve taken it from you.”
Hilda laughs and has her henchmen follow her out. Link huffs in frustration, but will he be able to vent once he has Hilda in the ring?
Link VS Hilda for HPW Lost in the Woods! May’s event is big and only getting bigger! You’ll see, as I already have another announcement written up and ready to go in a few days!
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