APOCALYPSE: Needing to Stage Him as Larger Than Life

Staging a character — whether within a camera frame or on a storyboard panel, can be the difference between success and failure.  We just screened the recent feature X-MEN: APOCALYPSE.  There was all sorts of cool stuff in this movie (way too much — a bit of a “kitchen sink” problem).  One of the few things that I felt was mishandled had to do with the title character.  Oscar Isaac is a great actor.  His lines weren’t bad, and his interpretation had weight and intensity.  His costume worked (not a small thing with a “living god”), and he had majestic, scary powers.  Why, then, wasn’t I overwhelmed by him as I was by the Apocalypse in X-MEN:TAS?  True, John Colicos’s voice was awe-inspiring — but there are many ways to sound formidable, and Oscar Isaac’s was fine. It was something more subtle: it was where the character was placed and how and why he moved.  The Apocalypse in X-MEN:TAS was massive, immobile.  His opponents “crashed against him” (see just below).  In the movie, the filmmakers sometimes worked to keep Apocalypse larger-than-life, but often they neglected to, as in the scene below, where 5’9″ Oscar Isaac (the man can’t help his height) looks like adolescent Storm’s playmate.  If Apocalypse is larger-than-life, he can’t be smaller than Michael Fassbender.  Also, there are scenes where Apocalypse walks over and interacts with people (including a fist-fight with skinny, 5’7″ James McAvoy).  Our Apocalypse didn’t walk over to interact with anyone — they came to him.  I doubt we were even aware of this as we wrote him and posed him and drew him.  It was just his nature.  And in that subtle lack of physical deference (posing, movement) to the character’s stature, the movie lost something for me.

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2 thoughts on “APOCALYPSE: Needing to Stage Him as Larger Than Life

  1. I instinctively felt that in the writing.  On the Apocalypse scripts I worked on, I never gave him physical movements like the other characters in speed and agility.  He was a massive force — ancient, with a menacing form of dignity, a malevolent gravitas. Michael  

    From: X-Men: The Animated Series To: m_l_edens@yahoo.com Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2016 4:42 PM Subject: [New post] APOCALYPSE: Needing to Stage Him as Larger Than Life #yiv0570175099 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv0570175099 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv0570175099 a.yiv0570175099primaryactionlink:link, #yiv0570175099 a.yiv0570175099primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv0570175099 a.yiv0570175099primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv0570175099 a.yiv0570175099primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv0570175099 WordPress.com | xmentas posted: “Staging a character — whether within a camera frame or on a storyboard panel, can be the difference between success and failure.  We just screened the recent feature X-MEN: APOCALYPSE.  There was all sorts of cool stuff in this movie (way too much — a b” | |

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  2. Fascinating. While I think that there were other problems with Apocalypse in the movie, I hadn’t noticed this. I do feel like the film version felt very old and tired whereas the TAS version had a kind of manic intensity that made him more compelling.

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