I saw X-Men 2 a few weeks ago. I’ve always been a fan of the comics, so I am rather sensitive to any ‘changes’ that are made just for the movie. However, I do realise that it is near-impossible to squeeze the entire X-Men universe into a 2-hour movie. I must conclude that they did an excellent job here. As in the first movie, the ‘changes’ were done very well.
There were a few little easter eggs hidden in there as well. In the first movie, you get a quick glimpse of Jubilee (the comic book character whom Rogue replaced in the movie), and just like in Spider Man (another fantastic movie) there is a short cameo by Stan Lee (This man is a GOD! If you don’t know who he is, stop reading right now for you have offended me.). In the second movie you hear Jubilee being called by name (by Storm), and on a television set you see a man with the caption "Dr Henry McCoy" beneath his face. The man appears as a normal (non-mutant) human being, but this man later becomes Beast. I think there were a few other easter eggs, but I don’t remember them.
Speaking of The X-Men, I found a great fan-comic, The Uncanny X-Sprites. Quite funny. I also stumbled across Wolverine’s real name. It’s not Logan, it’s James Howlett. It’s all explained in Marvel’s Origin series, which was released last year. There was also a Paradise X series which contradicts some of the fundamental aspects of Origin, but I wouldn’t take it seriously. Both of these (among others) are explained in vivid detail (beautifully illustrated, too!) at the Lost Soul Wolverine site. I spent hours reading all the stuff there; I was so riveted.
Last Sunday I saw The Matrix Reloaded. I am not going to compare it to X-Men 2, but I will say that this is another excellent film. The CGI was amazing. There were a few little flaws, but with all the action going on they were easy to overlook. I love Hong Kong martial arts movies (Jackie Chan and Jet Li are DEITIES!), and this movie satisifed my desire for some well-choreographed fight scenes. On the negative side, there is less continuity between the plot and the fights when compared to the original movie. Also, some parts were slow and unnecessary. I don’t want to see a bunch of Zionists (I assume that’s what the inhabitants of Zion call themselves?) dancing, and I don’t want to see Neo making love to Trinity. There’s enough pr0n on the Internet, thank-you-very-much.
Like the first movie (and the third, which arrives in November), The Matrix Reloaded was mostly filmed in my home town of Sydney. It’s weird to watch scenes from a movie and think, "hey, I was at that place only yesterday!" It also makes me wonder if I really am in the Matrix. Kooky.
The absolute coolest thing, however, was Trinity’s cracking of the electricity grid. She uses Nmap to scan for open ports and finds that port 22 is open. Port 22 is typically used by SSH, and sure enough Trinity uses a known SSH v. 1 exploit to gain access to the server! As her root password, she uses Z1ON1010. Not only does this make her 1337, it is also another easter egg - 1010 is the number 5 in binary (or so I’m told), and if you’ve seen the movie (spoiler alert) you know that Zion in the movie is in its fifth incarnation. More on this at The Register and Slashdot, and there’s a nice screenshot at Insecure.org, the home of Nmap.
Of course, what’s a movie these days without merchandising? Samsung has a ‘limited edition’ version of one of the phones used in the movie. To me it looks like a forgotten prop from Star Trek: The Original Series. It looks hideous, the ergonomics are all wrong, and the screen is too small to do anything useful. That won’t stop Samsung from charging a premium for it, or people from buying it. I feel sorry for those people. They obviously have some sort of psychological problem that has them convinced that they will only have friends if they have the latest mobile telephone. If it’s movie-themed and a ‘limited edition’, even better. They may even purchase a black trenchcoat to go with it. That will alleviate the symptioms of their inferiority complex for a little while, after which they will feel compelled to jump onto the next fad. Over-consumerism should be treated as a mental illness.