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 Insec​ure​.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. 

X‑Men 2′, ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ and assorted sci-fi / Sridhar Dhanapalan by Sridhar Dhanapalan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.
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