Movie franchises are getting increasingly convoluted these days, and the X-Men series is no exception. So, to recap: X-Men: Apocalypse is the ninth film in the X-Men series (counting the Wolverine and Deadpool solo features), the seventh film to have the word “X-Men” in the title, the fourth film in the series to be directed by Bryan Singer (who got the whole thing started sixteen years ago), and the third film to feature the younger cast that was first introduced five years ago in X-Men: First Class.
Joseph Sargent, an Emmy-winning director who worked on many TV shows and occasional films such as Colossus: The Forbin Project and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, passed away today at the age of 89.
Sargent played a key role in two of the genres that I follow on a regular basis.
First, in 1966, he directed an episode of the original Star Trek series called ‘The Corbomite Maneuver’. It was the first regular episode of that series, following the two pilots, and it was also the episode that introduced the world to Dr McCoy, Lt Uhura and Yeoman Rand.
Then, in 1993, he directed Abraham, one of the first TV-movies produced as part of ‘The Bible Collection’. It starred Richard Harris and Barbara Hershey as Abraham and Sarah (this was only five years after Hershey played Mary Magdalene in The Last Temptation of Christ), and while it meanders a bit — just like the biblical Abraham did — it’s a fairly decent adaptation of the biblical story.
Methuselah, who was recently played by Anthony Hopkins in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, wasn’t the only man in the Bible who lived to be over 900 years old. But he lived at least a few years longer than everyone else, so his name has become synonymous with extreme old age.
No one ever tells stories about Seth, Enosh, Kenan or Jared — all of whom lived to be over 900 years old as well — and the fact that Adam and Noah lived to be that old is generally forgotten in films about those characters. It is Methuselah that everyone remembers, simply because he lived longer than any of the rest of them.
This post has taken a lot longer to write than I expected. I saw Star Trek into Darkness on Wednesday night (the studio, in its wisdom, decided to hold this film back from most critics until the last possible second) and began writing this post on Thursday morning, but life got in the way and I couldn’t finish it all in one sitting — and then, whenever I came back to this post, I found that I had more things to say, or different ways of saying what I had already said, and so on, and so on. But here we are now, on Monday, and the film has finished its first weekend in North America (where it slightly underperformed at the box office), and I am finally going to force myself to finish this thing.
So. Here’s the thing about the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies: He throws so many things at you, so quickly, that you cannot help but miss some details that are actually fairly important, at least on first viewing.
For example, it wasn’t until the second time that I saw his 2009 “reboot” of Star Trek that I realized virtually all of Kirk’s fellow Starfleet cadets had been killed by Nero, except for the ones who were on Kirk’s ship. As you may recall, Starfleet gets a distress call from Vulcan while Kirk is in the middle of being reprimanded by Starfleet authorities — and the disciplinary hearing is put on hold so that all of the recent graduates can board their ships and fly to Vulcan. When all of the ships go to warp speed, the Enterprise accidentally stays behind, because of an error on Sulu’s part — and when the Enterprise finally gets to Vulcan, it finds nothing but a debris field orbiting the planet. Which, when you think about it, means that everyone on all those other ships — including the green alien roommate of Uhura’s that Kirk slept with — is dead, dead, dead. But by that point, the film has forgotten them and moved on to other things; and then, at the film’s conclusion, everyone at Starfleet Academy cheers when Kirk is promoted to captain. Do they make at least a token nod to the fact that they just lost dozens, if not hundreds, of their classmates? Nope.
So, take anything I say in this post with a grain of salt. I have only seen the new film once, and I may have missed all sorts of stuff that won’t register until a second viewing. (One e-pal has already informed me that the movie refers to an incident from the comic-book prequel Countdown to Darkness, but I completely missed that reference as I was watching the film. And I’ve actually read that comic!)
I had hoped to have a review of Star Trek into Darkness ready to go live this afternoon, but it’s taking longer to write than I expected, so it will have to wait. In the meantime, here’s a brief update on Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, which I haven’t mentioned here in a while.
Margolis himself calls his character “a 12-foot god”, and although he doesn’t say what his character will do, exactly, in the new movie, he does talk about what it was like to play the character, who will eventually be rendered in CG: