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. 

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