Going to watch a movie in the theater is one of my favorite pastimes, but sometimes it’s just not worth it.
Seeing “The New Mutants,” the latest and final entry in the X-Men series of films which started at Fox and now ends at Marvel, is one of them. The film, written and directed by Josh Boone, isn’t horrible, but it’s not entertaining enough to be the movie that brings you back to theaters during a global pandemic.
The film is based on the first spinoff comic-book series from Marvel’s X-Men in 1980s, and in many ways, it’s a fairly faithful adaption of the popular “Demon Bear” storyline, that featured the innovative, evocative, and surrealistic art of Bill Sienkiewicz and story by Chris Claremont, whose collaboration made the story stand out among comics of its day.
It’s not a straight adaptation as Boone adds a layer of mystery to the story that was not in the comics, but it also feels very reminiscent of the plot of “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.” Boone just replaces Freddie with the Demon Bear monster from the comics and then casts the New Mutants as the ones being stalked by the nightmarish character, while being restrained in a mental hospital-type setting,
I don’t mind derivative entertainment when executed well, but unfortunately “The New Mutants” plays blandly, which is a sin for any movie based on comic-book characters set in a horrific world like the one Boone attempts to craft in the movie.
As a comic-book fan who read the New Mutants from the comics inception in 1982 throughout that decade, it’s entertaining to see some of the characters on the big screen, but that’s about the only kick I got out of sitting through this lukewarm, hodgepodge of a film. It’s now easy to understand why the movie has been delayed since 2017.
It would fit well into the category of movie that often goes straight to a streaming channel, which is where I’d suggest you watch this film in a few months if you must see it. I personally feel a bit foolish having this movie be the one that got me back into theaters for the first time since March.
It certainly wasn’t entertaining enough to risk catching the corona virus over, although I felt relatively safe with the measures the theater took along with wearing my M95 respirator mask.
If you haven’t been to theaters since March or before, I wouldn’t suggest that “The New Mutants” be the movie that brings you back, even if you are huge fan of the comic-book characters or the X-Men series of films. The movie is mediocre at best.
Anyone who sees “The New Mutants” will be reminded of “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors,” if they have seen the schlocky 1987 film. I’ll let you decide if “The New Mutants” director Josh Boone crafted a successful homage or just ripped off the earlier film.
While I have enjoyed the classic horror or monster films of Universal and Hammer studios since grade school, slasher films have never been my favorite brand of horror. Growing up as a teen in the 1980s, I’ve seen most of the key slasher movies, or at least the first entry in most of the key slasher franchises. How could I have avoided them? But they aren’t exactly my cup of tea. Give me a werewolf, vampire or Frankenstein’s monster over any of the slasher anti-heroes any nightmare of the week.
However, it’s hard not to appreciate the Nightmare franchise because of Freddie Krueger. He’s as scary and funny as any bogeyman who has ever haunted the silver screen. Director Wes Craven’s 1984 original was a shot in the arm to the slasher film craze fueled by director John Carpenter’s 1978 classic “Halloween” and lesser films like “Friday the 13th” among a host of others.
Craven’s surrealist and brutal take on the slasher film energized the genre, and no doubt Freddy’s caustic humor and personality were the key to the franchise’s success and popularity. It was the role of a lifetime for veteran performer Robert England, who found a way to make Freddy likable even though his goal was to slice and dice his way through your nightmares with his razor-blade tipped fingers.
While I’ve seen most of the original entries in all the key slasher film franchises, I really don’t care much for the sub-genre of horror, but I have to admit that Freddy is a fine horror character. He injected an energy into the slasher genre that was missing with his frightening and funny disposition. Freddy is a wickedly funny and brutal character that lifts the series above the slasher norm.
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