This week at the movies, we’ve got everyone’s favorite mutant (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber), a rake’s progress (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner), and interstellar conflict (Battle for Terra, featuring voice work by Evan Rachel Wood and Luke Wilson). What do the critics have to say?
Forced to choose, most X fans would select Wolverine as their favorite. Well, he’s got his very own feature film, and unfortunately, the critics say it’s a few cuts below the previous X-Men movies. In this prequel, Hugh Jackman reprises his role as the clawed, quick-healing mutant. The film follows our hero through his turbulent past, from his tours of duty in several wars to his complex, volatile relationship with his brother, Victor/Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber). The pundits say X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a step down from even X-Men: The Last Stand, with a middling story and overblown action sequences crowding out psychological nuance. (Check out our Wolverine character guide, as well as this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down every movie based on Marvel Comics characters.)
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past has a mildly intriguing premise: what if an unrepentant rake was shown the consequences of his philandering, no-strings-attached ways? (Heck, it made for a great scene in Fellini’s 8 ½). Alas, the critics say cribbing from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is about the only thing that distinguishes this thoroughly mediocre romantic comedy. Matthew McConaughey stars as Connor, a hotshot fashion photographer who’s contemptuous of his brother’s desire to settle down. He’s visited by the spirit of his Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), who gives him a guided tour of his failed relationships; could Jenny (Jennifer Garner), the one that got away, help him see the light? The pundits say this is a broad, unfunny romp with indifferent performances and an overall air of immaturity.
If you’re looking for a kiddie sci-fi romp that will keep you involved as well, you’re in luck. Critics say Battle for Terra isn’t particularly subtle, but its heart is in the right place and it looks great. Escaping civil war and eco-disaster, the last inhabitants of Earth discover the Utopian planet of Terra. However, soon the Earthlings and Terrians, filled with mistrust, are on the verge of war; can a friendship between a Terrian girl and a human help to foster understanding? The pundits say Battle for Terra occasionally suffers from over earnestness, but its message is heartfelt, and some of the battle sequences are visually stunning.
Also opening this week in limited release:
Finally, props to Sulaco2k for correctly guessing Obsessed‘s 20 percent Tomatometer.