Generation-X: The First Live Action Mutants of Marvel

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Relationship: I read Generation-X as it was being released by Marvel. During it’s early issues, it was a favorite of mine. It took B-Characters and gave them the spotlight. Later, I stuck with it as it jumped the shark and eventually the Academy was shut down and its students found their own way in the Marvel universe.

Synopsis: Skin and Jubilee are recruited into Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters during a time when Banshee and Emma Frost acted as headmasters for Xavier. Russel Tresh, a former associate of Emma Frost is working to invade the dream dimension in an effort to manipulate people for corporate greed. When Skin accidentally gets captured by the villain, Mondo, Refrax, Jubilee, M, Buff, and their teachers must invade the dream dimension to rescue their classmate.

Review: This is the one that started it. Before X-Men debuted in 2000, this movie, originally intended to be a television pilot for FOX Studios, graced the television sets of comic book fans everywhere. We had high hopes, we wanted to see our favorite super powered high school students fight to save the world. What we got; a special effects disaster, bad Irish accents, and cheap knock-offs. Basically, the calling card of the 90’s.

With X-Men the Animated Series in full swing, launching the popularity of Jubilee, it made sense to have her as a story focal point. It also makes sense to use the most disgusting superhero of all time, Skin, a man only known for drooping lips, elongated fingers and…wait, why the hell did they use Skin? But it’s okay, because there’s a strong supporting cast, by cast I mean boobs, and by supporting I mean Emma Frost’s brazier.

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On my second watch, I watched the British televised casting of the show and I was shocked by the hyper-sexuality in the movie. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a nice bust shots and some skin-tight pants on my men, but Jubilee stripping in the first fifteen minutes made me uncomfortable. Later as the villain uses the term “wetback” and threatens to mindrape a character’s sister, I thought, wow, censors were sleeping on this one! But of course, I like my villains evil, extra evil if they can sneak it in, but this villain was just flat-out lunacy. I mean, come on, he licks the face of a potential victim, laughs at his own jokes, and would have been my top pick to replace Jack Nicholson as the Joker. Bat. Shit. Crazy.

The story left behind the comics, filling in gaps when the budget couldn’t afford the extra cool mutant powers. They had to replace Chamber and Husk, which is understandable for the limitations of SFX at the time. However, the whole movie starts in a really weird spot as new mutants are brought to the school yet they all act as if they’re new to the academy. The pilot is chock full of back story references, which I’m sure were placed there for when the series was picked up (it was not.) And the dream dimension? Seriously? Was this a way to come up with insanely mind-numbing waste of money effects? Nobody working on this film had the balls to stand up and say, “Uhm, does anybody else think this idea is dumb?” Instead they all just nodded heads until this splayed itself across the Fox network.

Upon rewatching this twenty years later I have a whole new insight into the show. The 90’s were a time in which we tried way too hard to pretend we were still in the 80’s. The love of denim, neon lip gloss, and sad catch phrases are an instant transport to my youth. The movie’s determination to make shooting every scene at a 32.7 degree angle with an abundance of gel lit backgrounds (more blue light, more I say!) is done with such gusto you’d think it was shot by a college film student taking, “Experimental Film Techniques.” The only thing more detrimental is the dialogue. Emma Frost sounds like a 4-year-old repeating sexy talk they overheard from mom after a box of wine.

Would I suggest watching it? Sure, it’ll help you remember that X-Men was state-of-the-art when it reached the big screen. Thankfully you can find it on Youtube so you don’t need to spend those hard-earned dollars on a riot-fest.

Grade:
Plot – D
Script – D-
SFX – D-
Comicness – C+

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