We could use a few more ‘New Mutants’ to keep things interesting

We could use a few more ‘New Mutants’ to keep things interesting

We could use a few more ‘New Mutants’ to keep things interesting
The cast of The New Mutants, which was completed 3 years ago, but finally is out at local drive-in theaters around the country.

CONCORD, CA—The drive-in, once dying, has been revived as the only safe place (other than our homes) to view movies.

It’s a great divertissement if you can ignore the people who turn headlights on every 10 minutes, the freeway traffic, the bright streetlights and the far-too-dark screens.

I visited the drive-in for the second time this year and was pleasantly entertained by “The New Mutants.”

The film was completed almost three years ago. After several reshoots and release delays, it planned to open this past spring. Of course, that did not happen. After several more summer dates were postponed, Fox cut its losses and shoved it into theaters last month.

X-Men franchise

As the black sheep of the X-men franchise, the film was thought to be a throwaway – the last gasp of Fox’s X-men releases before being absorbed by the ever-growing Disney blob. “The New Mutants” is not nearly as good as the best of the X-movies, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the worst.

Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) barely escapes from her reservation during a horrific event only to wind up a guest (prisoner) at a hospital run by the ambiguous Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga). In addition to being a doctor, Reyes must be a fantastic cook, maid, janitor and groundskeeper as she is literally the only employee of the hospital we ever see.

With a scant six major characters and just one setting, the film could have used more of both. Keeping the characters locked up in a hospital creates a sense of claustrophobia, but it also limits the story.

The four others locked up with Dani: Ilyana summons a magic sword and baby dragon; Sam can zip around like a warp-speed cannonball; Roberto can kind of control solar energy; and Rahne turns into a wolf. Dani bonds with Rahne, while clashing with the ill-tempered Ilyana. Something has been triggering frightening hallucinations, causing newcomer Dani to take the blame.

The film does have a few good, very scary scenes, although they would be better seen in a dark theater or at home. As a decent addition to the X-films, it’s too bad there will be no chance of improvement with sequels. B-

Pandemic TV

Lovecraft Country. A Black family in the 1950s journeys across the country to find a relative. Along the way, they encounter typical Jim Crow racism, along with horrifying things only H.P. Lovecraft himself could dream up. HBO.

Masterpiece World on Fire. Although it aired in the spring, I finally caught up with this highly engrossing tale set in multiple countries during the 1939 German invasion of Poland. Incredible acting and brilliantly weaved plot threads make this miniseries a must watch. Episodes available for purchase on Amazon or the PBS app. DVDs available via Netflix mail.

The U.S. and French Opens: Not all the stars are there, but it’s nice to see high-quality tennis again.

Jeff Mellinger is a screen writer and film buff. He holds a BA in Film Studies and an MFA in film production. He lives in Concord. Email comments to editor@pioneerpublishers.com.