Wolverine the Movie (X-Men Origins: Wolverine)

wolverine

This prequel to the X-Men trilogy of films is quite a good watch. It runs just under two hours and though very violent, there is no blood (and therefore has a PG-13 rating). It is directed by the Oscar-winning director Gavin Hood (Tsotsi and Rendition). This poster is for the release in France, I think – but I liked it more than the others.

The story is interesting from several perspectives, not least of which is Jimmy Logan’s (Hugh Jackman) Canadian citizenship! I went to see the film with a sister who was stationed at our convent/book store in Toronto for 9 1/2 years and another sister who is visiting here now from Toronto; they loved the Canadian link! So Wolverine is both a mutant and an ‘alien’, so to speak…. The source materials say it was filmed in Australia and New Zealand.

According to Wikipedia the X-Men trilogy has grossed more that $1 billion worldwide. X-Men and Wolverine fans will surely like this film.

I don’t have much time to do an in-depth review right now so I will just say, that I bet there will be a sequel to the prequel… And be sure to stay after you think the film has ended.

This has a comic book-into-film feel to it, as would be expected. The super-hero story is pretty thin but it has heart, even when revenge seems to become Logan’s motivation. I was glad that there weren’t too many characters to keep track of. There is the usual “free will” choice vs. revenge theme, but watching Hugh Jackman zoom through this comic book universe (that at times reminded me of Spider-Man and other Marvel characters) made it worth the time as an entertainment.

The fact that it has no blood resulting from the violence can be problematic for kids who may not yet be able to distinguish between fantasy and reality – so it is a good talking point for parents and children.  Many films don’t show the consequences of violence, like blood, to keep a PG-13 rating from the MPAA. But consequences are important to consider.

I liked it well enough.

Gene Luen Yang on the Catholic Church & Comics

Greg Yang at the Catholic Library Association Meeting on April 16, 2009, Hyatt, Anaheim

Gene Yang at the Catholic Library Association Meeting on April 16, 2009, Hyatt, Anaheim

Talk about an “Ah ha!” moment! Yesterday I attended a workshop at the Catholic Library Assoication’s annual gathering and heard comic genius Gene Luen Yang speak about the Catholic Church and Comics.

Yang gave a fascinating history of comics, the roots of comic book heroes in the Hebrew Bible, the Church’s iffy relationship with and attitude toward comics from the 1930’s on (I know a lot about the Legion of Decency and movies but I had never heard of the “List of Publications Disapproved for Youth” that included comic books – and the pledge that Catholics were urged to take against comic books back in the 1940s. I tried to locate the list online but only found references to a similar list in post-war France.) Even in U.S education, researchers tried to make a link between juvenile delinquency and the reading of comic books.

Gene Yang has an impressive resume and I am very happy to let you know that Pauline Books & Media published a comic book written and illustrated by Greg (we also have a comic book about Padre Pio and John Paul II):

Gene made everyone laugh when he said that it took him so long to finish the 15 mysteries of the Rosary and just when he had finished, Pope John Paul came up with the Luminous mysteries… and it was back to the drawing board – literally.

Check out Gene’s website at Comics in Education. Hearing him speak made me esteem comic books as he defined them: “juxtaposed images in deliberate sequences in order to convey an idea or evoke an aesthetic response”. He made a case for stained glass windows and even the Sistine Chapel as evidence of the Catholic Church’s sacramental understanding of art… and the use of sequential images to tell a story.

Gene makes a solid case for comic books (anime, manga, graphic novels) as … art that can lead to greater literacy and understanding.

In 2007 Yang won the Prinz Award for young adult literature, a first for a graphic novel. (See more on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Yang.

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