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X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Information about X-Men Origins: WolverineX-Men Origins: Wolverine is a 2009 (8 years ago) American superhero movie based on the Marvel (19 walls) Comics' fictional character Wolverine. It was released worldwide on May 1, 2009 (8 years ago). The movie is directed by Gavin Hood and stars Hugh Jackman as the title character, along with Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, will.i.am, Lynn Collins, Taylor Kitsch, and Ryan Reynolds. The movie is the fourth installment of the X-Men movie series, and serves as a prequel to the previous installments, being primarily set roughly ten to seventeen years before the movie X-Men. The movie focuses on the violent past of the mutant Wolverine and his relationship with his half-brother Victor Creed. The plot also details Wolverine's early encounters with Colonel William Stryker, his time with Team X, and the bonding of Wolverine's skeleton with the indestructible metal adamantium during the Weapon X program.
The movie was mostly shot in Australia and New Zealand, with Canada also serving as a location. Production was troubled, with conflicts arising between director Hood and Fox's executives, and an unfinished workprint being leaked in the internet one month before the film's debut.
PlotIn 1845 (172 years ago) Canada, young James Howlett sees his father killed by groundskeeper Thomas Logan. The trauma activates the boy's mutation: bone claws protrude from James' hands, and he kills Logan. With his dying breath, Logan tells James that he is his real father. James flees with Logan's abused son and brother Victor Creed. The two spend the next century as soldiers, putting their violent urges and skills to use by fighting in the American Civil War and both World Wars. During the Vietnam War, Victor kills a superior officer after he stops his rape attempt of a local villager. James defends his brother, and the two are "executed" by firing squad. They are locked up in chains after the execution fails due to their regenerative powers. Major William Stryker approaches the two and offers them membership in Team X, a group of mutants including marksman Agent Zero, mercenary Wade Wilson, teleporter John Wraith, invincible Fred Dukes and electrokinetic Chris Bradley. They join the team, but the group's questionable actions and disregard for human life cause James to leave.
Six years later, James - now going by the name Logan - is living in Canada with his girlfriend, Kayla Silverfox. Colonel Stryker locates Logan and warns him that someone is killing members of the team. Shortly afterwards, Victor murders Kayla and brutally beats Logan. Stryker offers Logan a way to beat Victor. Logan undergoes an operation to reinforce his skeleton with adamantium, a virtually indestructible metal. Before the procedure, Logan asks for new dog tags inscribed with "Wolverine"-- based on a story that Kayla told him. Stryker orders Logan's memory to be erased, but Logan overhears and flees and kills several guards, with former team member Zero tracking him. Wolverine takes refuge in the barn of an elderly couple who take him in for the night. Zero brutally murders the couple and attacks with two humvees and a helicopter, but Wolverine subdues and kills him and his men.
Wolverine locates Wraith and Dukes and asks them about the location of Stryker's new laboratory, referred to as "The Island." Dukes, now severely obese, explains that Stryker is performing experiments on mutants. One of them, Remy LeBeau ("Gambit"), escaped and knows the location of The Island. Wraith and Wolverine locate Gambit and ask for the Island's location, but Gambit suspects Wolverine was sent to recapture him and attacks. Victor kills Wraith and takes a sample of his blood. Wolverine notices this, attacks and, with his enhanced strength, almost kills him. Gambit interrupts the fight, allowing Victor to escape. After being convinced of Wolverine's honesty, Gambit takes him to Stryker's facility on Three Mile Island. There, Wolverine learns that Silverfox is still alive and was conspiring with Stryker the whole time in exchange for her abducted sister's safety, but still genuinely loved Wolverine. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Wolverine leaves, and Stryker refuses to give Victor the adamantium bonding promised for his service, on the basis that he will not survive the procedure. Victor, enraged, tries to kill Kayla, but Wolverine hears her screams and returns. Wolverine easily beats Victor and nearly kills him but spares him when Kayla reminds him of his humanity. Wolverine then agrees to help Kayla free the imprisoned mutants.
Stryker activates his Weapon XI, a "mutant killer" super-soldier with the abilities of other mutants. Wolverine holds Weapon XI off while the escaped mutants flee. The mutants escape through the facility's tunnels, guided by a young blinded Scott Summers who is following a voice in his head. The party is greeted by Professor Charles Xavier, who offers them shelter at his school. Kayla, mortally injured in the escape, decides to stay. Wolverine lures Weapon XI to fight on top of one of the plant's cooling towers, where he is almost killed until Victor arrives. Together, they battle Weapon XI and manage to decapitate him. Victor then departs and Wolverine is saved from the collapsing tower by Gambit. As Wolverine carries Kayla to safety, Stryker shoots Wolverine in the back and head with adamantium bullets, rendering him unconscious. Silverfox uses her powers of persuasion to order Stryker to walk away before dying from her injuries. Gambit returns, but the brain damage causes Wolverine not to remember anything. As the police and ambulances arrive, Gambit tries to convince Wolverine to come with him, but he declines, wanting to go his own way. Gambit and Wolverine run opposite ways as the emergency vehicles respond to the devastated cooling tower.
DevelopmentDavid Benioff, a comic book fan, pursued the project for almost three years before he was hired to write the script in Oct. 2004 (13 years ago). In preparing to write the script, he reread Barry Windsor-Smith's "Weapon X" story, as well as Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's 1982 (35 years ago) limited series on the character (his favorite storyline). Also serving as inspiration was the 2001 (16 years ago) limited series Origins, which reveals Wolverine's life before Weapon X. Jackman collaborated on the script, which he wanted to be more of a character piece compared with the previous X-Men films. Skip Woods, who had written Hitman for Fox, was later hired to revise and rewrite Benioff's script. Benioff aimed for a "darker and a bit more brutal" story, writing it with an R rating in mind, although he acknowledged the film's final tone would rest with the producers and director. Jackman did not see the need for an R-rating. The film's final rating was PG-13.
Deadpool had been developed for his own movie by Reynolds and David S. Goyer at New Line Cinema in 2003 (14 years ago), but the project fell apart as they focused on Blade: Trinity (8 walls) and an aborted spin-off. Benioff wrote the character into the script in a manner Jackman described as fun, but would also deviate from some of his traits. Similarly, Gambit was a character who the filmmakers had tried to put in the previous X-Men films. Jackman liked Gambit because he is a "loose cannon" like Wolverine, stating their relationship echoes that of Wolverine and Pyro in the original trilogy. David Ayer contributed to the script. Benioff finished his draft in Oct. 2006 (11 years ago), and Jackman stated there would be a year before shooting, as he was scheduled to start filming Australia during 2007 (10 years ago). Before the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike began, James Vanderbilt and Scott Silver were hired for a last-minute rewrite.
Gavin Hood was announced as director of the project in Jul. 2007 (10 years ago) for a 2008 (9 years ago) release. Previously, X-Men and X2 director Bryan Singer and X-Men: The Last Stand (22 walls) director Brett Ratner were interested in returning to the franchise, while Alexandre Aja and Len Wiseman also wanted the job. Zack Snyder, who was approached for The Last Stand, turned down this movie because he was directing Watchmen. Jackman saw parallels between Logan and the main character in Tsotsi. Hood explained that while he was not a comic book fan, he "realized that the character of Wolverine, I think his great appeal lies in the fact that he's someone who in some ways, is filled with a great deal of self-loathing by his own nature and he's constantly at war with his own nature". The director described the film's themes as focusing on Wolverine's inner struggle between his animalistic savagery and noble human qualities. Hood enjoyed the previous films, but set out to give the spin-off a different feel. In October, Fox announced a May 1, 2009 (8 years ago), release date and the X-Men Origins prefix.
FilmingPreliminary shooting took place at the Fox Studios Australia in Sydney, during late 2007 (10 years ago). Principal photography began on Jan. 18, 2008 (9 years ago) in New Zealand. One of the filming locations that was selected was Dunedin. Controversy arose as the Queenstown Lakes District Council disputed the Department of Labour's decision to allow Fox to store explosives in the local ice skating rink. Fox moved some of the explosives to another area. The explosives were used for a shot of the exploding Hudson Farm, a scene which required four cameras. Jackman and Palermo's Woz Productions reached an agreement with the council to allow recycling specialists on set to advise the production on being environmentally friendly.
Filming continued at Fox (where most of the shooting was done) and New Orleans, Louisiana. Cockatoo Island was used for Stryker's facility; the enormous buildings there saved money on digitally expanding a set. Production of the movie was predicted to generate AUD$60 million for Sydney's economy. Principal photography ended by May 23. The second unit continued filming in New Zealand until Mar. 23, and were scheduled to continue filming for two weeks following the first unit's wrap. This included a flashback to Logan during the Normandy Landings, which was shot at Blacksmiths, New South Wales.
Hood and Fox were in dispute on the film's direction. One of the disputes involved the depiction of Wolverine as an Army veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, with the executives arguing that audiences would not be interested in such heavy themes. The studio had two replacements lined up before Richard Donner, husband of producer Lauren Shuler Donner, flew to Australia to ease on-set tensions. Hood remarked, "Out of healthy and sometimes very rigorous debate, things get better....I hope the film's better because of the debates. If nobody were talking about us, we'd be in trouble!" Hood added he and Thomas Rothman were both "forceful" personalities in creative meetings but they had never had a "stand-up" argument. In Jan. 2009 (8 years ago), after delays due to weather and scheduling conflicts, such as Hugh Jackman's publicity commitments for Australia, production moved to Vancouver, mostly at University of British Columbia. Work there included finishing scenes with Ryan Reynolds, who had been working on two other movies during principal photography.
Gavin Hood has announced that multiple "secret endings" exist for the movie and that the endings will differ from print to print of the film. One version shows Wolverine drinking in an oriental bar. The bartender asked if he is drinking to forget, Logan replies that he is drinking to remember. The other shows Weapon XI on the rubble of the destroyed tower, trying to touch his severed head.
EffectsMore than 1,000 shots of Wolverine have visual effects in them, which caused three effects supervisors and seventeen different companies to work in the film. The most prominent was Hydraulx, who had also worked in the X-Men trilogy and was responsible for the battle in Three Mile Island and Gambit's powers. Many elements were totally generated through computer-generated imagery, such as the adamantium injection machine, the scene with Gambit's plane and Wolverine tearing through a door with his newly-enhanced claws. CG bone claws were also created for some scenes because the props did not look good in close-ups. Extensive usage of matte paintings was also made, with Matte World Digital creating five different mattes for the final scene of the film—a pullback depicting the destroyed Three Mile Island—and Gavin Hood handing company Hatch Productions pictures (wallpaper) of favelas as reference for the Africa scenes.
MusicComposed by Harry Gregson-Williams, the score for X-Men Origins: Wolverine was mixed by Malcolm Luker, engineered by Costa Kotselas, and featured Martin Tillman on the electric cello.
In a 2008 (9 years ago) interview with Christopher Coleman of Tracksounds.com, Gregson-Williams said that Gavin Hood attracted him to the project, adding: "I happened to meet him at the Golden Globes dinner about three years ago. That night we were both nominees, but both losers. He had been nominated for Tsotsi and during the dinner I had spoken to him and he seemed like a really smart and creative guy...and into music. So I was really delighted when I got a call to meet him and discuss the possibilities for Wolverine." At the time of the interview, Gregson-Williams was already working on the score for Tony Scott's remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, but the earlier release date of X-Men Origins: Wolverine eventually led him to sidetrack that project, as well as the score for Disney's upcoming G-Force.
In late Mar. 2009 (8 years ago), Jon Burlingame of Variety was at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century-Fox to listen and report on the recording of the score. Gregson-Williams conducted "a 78-piece orchestra and a 40-voice choir (20 male, 20 female)" to achieve the sound. At the time of his visit, Burlingame noted that the choir was singing "stanzas from an ancient Norse poem in Old Icelandic" to underscore what would be first track, "Logan Through Time." Director Gavin Hood commented on Gregson-Williams' style, saying: "Harry's challenge is to give us operatic scale, but also keep it intimate and human. Harry's music has a kind of muscular confidence and strength that is very useful for the action, but he also has tremendous soul." Hood also called the recording performance "frigging brilliant!"
ReceptionThe movie was not well received by critics. Rotten Tomatoes currently reports a 36% rating—or 15% when filtered for their "Top Critics"—with 232 reviews (85 "fresh", 147 "rotten"). Metacritic reports a "metascore of 43 out of 100 from 36 critic reviews." Comparatively, Yahoo! Movies currently reports a grade of "C+" averaged from 13 critic reviews.
Richard Corliss of Time commented on the film's standing among other Marvel (19 walls) films, saying that it is "an O.K., not great, Marvel (19 walls) movie that tells the early story of the prime X-Man, and attempts to make it climax in a perfect coupling with the start of the known trilogy." He also said that "superhero mythologies can be so complicated, only a lonely comic-book-reading kid could make sense of it all." James Mullinger of GQ also commented on the structure of the story in saying that the "film clumsily tries to explain the origins of James [Howlett], AKA Wolverine, which had wisely only ever been briefly referred to in the original X-Men saga. In doing so, it creates a fairly bland plot which is full of holes." Lou Lumenick of the New York Post was generally more favorable towards Origins, stating "Fortunately, Jackman is well-matched with Schreiber, who can sneer with the best of them and wears fangs well. The two have three spectacular battles together before squaring off against a formidable enemy atop a nuclear reactor." Peter Rainer of The Christian Science Monitor also praised Jackman's performance, saying that "Hugh Jackman demonstrates that you can segue effortlessly from a tuxedoed song-and-dance man at the Oscars to a feral gent with adamantium claws and berserker rage." Claudia Puig of USA Today considered the movie "well-acted, with spectacular action and witty one-liners".
Roger Ebert gave the movie two stars out of four and expressed his views on the title character: "Why should I care about this guy? He feels no pain and nothing can kill him, so therefore he's essentially a story device for action sequences." James Berardinelli gave Wolverine two and a half stars out of four, calling the action scenes competently executed but not memorable, and considering that when dealing with Wolverine's past "there's little creativity evident in the way those blanks are filled in", and that the revelations made Wolverine "less compelling". Comparatively, Bill Gibron of AMC's Filmcritic.com website gave the movie a positive "4.0 out of 5 stars," saying that although Hugh Jackman is "capable of carrying even the most mediocre effort, he singlehandedly makes X-Men Origins: Wolverine an excellent start to the summer 2009 (8 years ago) season." He did however predict that "there will be purists who balk at how Hood and his screenwriters mangle and manipulate the mythology;" and further said that "any ending which leaves several characters unexplained and unaccounted for can't really seal the full entertainment deal."
Regarding Wolverine within the context of the X-Men movie series, Tom Charity of CNN commented: "Serviceable but inescapably redundant, this Wolverine movie does just enough to keep the X-Men franchise on life support, but the filmmakers will have to come up with some evolutionary changes soon if it's going to escape X-tinction." Similarly, A. O. Scott of The New York Times expressed that "X-Men Origins: Wolverine will most likely manage to cash in on the popularity of the earlier episodes, but it is the latest evidence that the superhero movie is suffering from serious imaginative fatigue." On a more negative note, Philip French of The Observer said that the film's "dull, bone-crushing, special-effects stuff" are "of interest only to hardcore fans who've probably read it all in Marvel (19 walls) comics."
Sukhdev Sandhu of The Daily Telegraph stated that "Wolverine is an artificial stimulus package of the most unsatisfying kind. Aggressively advertised and hyped to the hills, it will no doubt attract full houses at first; after that though, when word-of-mouth buzz-kill goes into overdrive, there’s bound to be widespread deflation and a palpable feeling of being conned." Similarly, Orlando Parfitt of IGN (UK) praised the performances of the actors and the action scenes, but stated that the movie felt underdeveloped: "There's an enjoyable time to be had with Wolverine, but it's also somewhat unsatisfying." Furthermore, Scott Mendelson of The Huffington Post gave the movie a grade of "D", noting that "Wolverine was the lead character of [the X-Men] films, and we've already learned everything we need to know from the movies in said franchise," adding that "the extra information given here actually serves to make the character of Logan/Wolverine less interesting." Trevan McGee of Ink also commented on the supporting cast, saying "the movie bends over backward trying to inject as many cameos and secondary characters into the movie as possible. The mutants invented for the movie are uninspired and boring..."
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