Page 24 THE VILLADOM TIMES I & III • May 13, 2009 Revealing the genesis of a superhero by Dennis Seuling Superhero origin movies are troublesome. If the subject is a wildly popular superhero, such as Superman, the origin saga is already near mythic and is etched in fans’ memories as indelibly as the Pledge of Allegiance. If the protagonist is a lesser superhero, an origin tale appeals more to a loyal fan base than to a mainstream audience. The latter is the case with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” a movie as cumbersome as its title. Reprising his three-feature role as the title character, Hugh Jackman shows how Wolverine was transformed into an invulnerable, angry killing machine. The story begins in 1840 in Canada’s Northwest Territories. After a traumatic incident, brothers Logan (Jackman) and Viktor (Liev Schreiber) run away, wind up in America, and find themselves fighting side by side in several wars. An impressive montage shows them in the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Vietnam War. Why they never age is unclear. After leaving the army in Vietnam, Logan and Viktor join a clandestine unit headed by General Stryker (Danny Huston) and Logan is chosen as subject of a Frankensteinlike experiment to turn him into an amalgam of flesh and machine. At this point, I was lost, though I paid attention and tried to follow the plot. Characters appear who probably figure importantly later in the series. The clue: A guy with sunglasses burns a swath of destruction through a building when the glasses are removed. Other mutants who pop up seem nods to fanboys, the group at which this picture is aimed. Even in character as Wolverine, Jackman is interesting to watch, but he is worthy of a much better film. He is given little to say. Instead, there are several set pieces of Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Viktor (Liev Schreiber) are brothers who have become enemies in ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine.’ The Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company will be performing “The Sorcerer,” one of the lesser known, but delightful and enchanting G&S operas, Saturday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 31 at 2:30 p.m. at the Ho-HoKus Public School auditorium located at 70 Lloyd Road, Ho-Ho-Kus. The Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company has been delighting local audiences with two complete G&S operas per year since the group’s founding in 1937. This production promises to continue this long-standing tradi- ‘The Sorcerer’ to be performed on-screen mayhem that seem unusually tepid, considering the frightening powers of Wolverine, no doubt to preserve the movie’s PG-13 rating. I am weary of comic book movies. Yes, they seem a natural, since the wildly drawn images on paper can now be duplicated with the benefit of computer generated images, but the screenplays have diminished to such a degree that plot cohesion, clarity, and characterization have been dominated by explosions and violence. Another problem is the character of Wolverine. He seems a paste-up of Superman, Batman, the Incredible Hulk, and a werewolf without enough singular qualities to make him interesting. He is more like a dull next-door neighbor, only with mutton chops and a scowl. Rather than enrich the character, this origins story makes him look more like a supporting player. Schreiber, an unlikely choice for a superhero, conveys an intelligence at odds with Viktor’s sociopathic tendencies. In certain scenes, when he is supposed to look especially menacing and he bares those budding canines, the image is more an office worker trying to scare his coworkers than a genuine threat. Since Viktor is a key character, miscasting the role further hurts the movie. Sometimes, particularly in horror films, back stories are absent altogether and do not hurt the film because viewers simply do not care. They care that there is a dangerous character on the loose and lives are at risk. How the “monster” got that way does not matter. Comic books have a tradition of concocting elaborate origin fables, and movies seem to be following the tradition. In the case of Wolverine, they should not have bothered. Running time for “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is under two hours, but seems endless as the movie rambles on and on. When an action film dulls the senses and makes the viewer look at his watch repeatedly, it is not working. If origins need to be told, and I am not convinced they do, perhaps they would fit better as flashbacks in films with more substantial, interesting plots. tion as a love potion is given to everyone in an 18th century village of nobles and peasants. Music Director James Biddlecome of Teaneck and Stage Director Carol Ciancia of Oakland ably direct the opera. Principal roles will be sung by Fred Bernardi of Wyckoff, John Holmboe of Pearl River, Tom Jeszeck of West Orange, Eileen Karlson of Teaneck, Marjy Lewis of Ridgewood, Eileen Mager of Englewood, Peter O’Malley of Oakland, Bill Ramey of Tenafly and Amanda White of New York (continued on Crossword page) Anthony Francos Ristorante & Pizzeria from Across vie the Mo r Theate State Line 375 State Highway 17 North, Mahwah Open 24 Hours, 7 Days Join Us For Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner The Best Got Better! Diner - Restaurant 201-529-3353 Now Serving Cocktails, Espresso & Cappuccino Pizza • Pasta Chicken • Veal Seafood Salads• Appetizers Hot & Cold Sandwiches FREE DELIVERY TO ALL LOCAL AREAS (Ample on-site parking) • Open 7 Days • Major Credit Cards Accepted Full Menu at $ 00 128 E. Main St. • Ramsey • 201-236-8000 On $10.00 and over. With this coupon only. 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