The long delayed, wait I mean awaited
THE NEW MUTANTS (2020)
The long delayed, I mean awaited, The New Mutants is now upon us and is available to watch through a majority of VOD platforms, as well as physical video. With a recent sour history, Twentieth Century Fox brings us their final X-Men film, and it’s not particularly a proper send off for the universe we’ve all come to know. In fact, The New Mutants is an introduction to an entirely new group of characters that will be inevitably lost with the near inclusion of a new iteration of the X-Men in Disney’s MCU.
Josh Boone has been sidelined for quite some time waiting for The New Mutants to finally arrive for audiences to consume. His previous directorial effort, The Fault in Our Stars, was released six years ago, and The New Mutants was originally supposed to release on April 13, 2018; over two years later we finally have this very flawed film. The trailer for the film is slick, dark, and horrifying even, but the film itself is anything but. Having horror elements mixed with a superhero film, the movie doesn’t know what it wants to be. The horror appears out of place, with many great concepts and ideas that are never fully realized. The superhero aspect somehow generates a similar incomplete nature to it, with some incredible ideas that never really get fully shown to the audience and many of the characters barely utilizing their abilities until the overdone conclusion.
The plot centers around a mysterious happening that causes our lead, Danielle Moonstar to lose her father and force her to be admitted into an equally mysterious hospital. Headed by Dr. Reyes, they must try to get better and embrace their powers before being transferred to the next facility. What starts out as a secret program to train new mutants into potential X-Men soon takes a dark and sinister turn. The New Mutants had the potential to be so much more but is let down by the inconsistency of its material. Uncertain whether or not it wants to be an X-Men film, a teenage coming of age picture, or a downright horror experience, The New Mutants is muddled in it’s execution, making the setups and payoffs feel as though they are inconsequential considering how quickly the story moves along.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Boone usually knows how to utilize his teenager characters and make them be the thing you’re most invested in, but with The New Mutants, the story overshadows some of the best elements of the film: the companionship between our mutants. The film is filled with accents and almost none remain consistent; they come and go, randomly get thicker, and then disappear for a sentence at a time, becoming very distracting.
Trapped within one location, we have a limited number of characters, and apart from one crucial character (and the accents) every actor involved pulls their own weight and tries to do the best with the material they have been offered. Anya Taylor-Joy stands out as the most intriguing among the others, with her upfront attitude and fantastical powers. Every film, ensemble or not, needs a lead character. Ocean’s Eleven may have had Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck and Julia Roberts but our lead is clearly George Clooney’s clever Danny Ocean. Here we have Blu Hunt as Danielle Moonstar, and as the critical piece of this messy picture, her amateur acting abilities fail the film to an unfixable degree.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
The setting was by far my favorite visual aspect of the film, with the hospital taking center stage. It was rundown and poorly kept, making it a facility that was clearly only used to harbor these new mutants rather than make them feel at peace. The powers however that each mutant showcases are ultimately a mixed bag. From the powers themselves, but more importantly the way they were visually represented on screen. Whether an actor is giving their all or not, even the most badass of abilities can be reduced to nothing if the visuals fail to represent. Similar to Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four (2016), the visuals do get out of hand by the conclusion, throwing everything they have budget wise into the film. A fair warning to those unfamiliar with the material such as myself, prepare for some very weird elements to sneak up on you and just accept them when they do.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Mark Snow, the composer known for scoring entire runs of shows such as Smallville and The X-Files, transitions his talents to the big screen. Snow brings with him, as expected, a television score extended into a feature length runtime that makes for an experience just as confused as the director’s vision for the final product.
Filled with hype, constant missed opportunities, a miscast catalog of characters, and an over the top ending that seems to spend the entire budget in one scene, The New Mutants is Josh Boone’s very own Fantastic Four (2015).