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Click above to purchase "X-Men" at



review by Zach B.

Rated PG-13

Studio: Fox

Running Time: 95 minutes

Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Bruce Davison, Rebecca Romijn Stamos, Ray Park and Anna Paquin

Screenplay by David Hayter
Story by Tom DeSanto and Bryan Singer

Directed by Bryan Singer

Retail Price: $26.98

Features: Deleted Scenes, "The Mutant Watch" Fox Special, Bryan Singer Interview, Trailers, TV Spots, Soundtrack Spot, Art Gallery, Animatics, THX Optimode

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Chapter Search (28 Chapters), THX Certified

I think it's pretty safe to say that when you adapt anything to the screen, it's generally hard. So many things have such a rich history, and to fit it into a ninety minute film, it's difficult to capture origins so fans of the original source material are pleased while people who were never into the source material before understand what's going on. I think comic books are especially tough, since so many have spawned many issues and spin-offs, and you have to capture a general feeling to please everyone.

While I was never a big comic book fan, I'm always interested in how filmmakers pull off a movie based on something so many enjoy. I know a lot of people had their doubts about the "X-Men" movie, but audiences really enjoyed it and so did critics. While I wanted to see the movie and missed it in theaters, I got my chance on DVD.

"X-Men" follows Rogue and Logan, two outcasts with mysterious mutant powers. America is not so accepting when it comes to mutants, especially a leading force in the government, Senator Kelly. Logan and Rogue soon become involved with Professor Xavier, who operates a school for the gifted (and those who have mutant powers) in Westchester County, New York (where I'm from, woohoo!). While Xavier and his crew of mutants don't have any intention to harm, Magneto and his team do. However, late in the film Rogue is kidnapped by Magneto and it's up to the good mutants to save her.

"X-Men" starts out good, but I think it suffers toward the last half-hour. It holds your interest well and is really entertaining, but as far as the story is constructed, there's not much of a backbone. Rogue is kidnapped and then they save her, that's the basic plot. While there is a focus on the discrimination of mutants, I guess that's focused on a little too much.

Characters are a toss-up. Some are developed really well, especially with them and their pasts as well as feelings (Magneto's take on hate and what he went through is interesting). However, some are just there and we never get a good background or sense of history about them. While they attempt to develop them, it doesn't really work out/ Ironically, McKellan played a Nazi in Singer's "Apt Pupil", and here we see his Magneto character is not a big fan of them.

It's not that I didn't enjoy "X-Men", I really did. I just felt it was flawed. Still, the movie gives a good introduction to the universe for those who have never read the comics, and it has some pretty neat special effects sequences. The film was a huge box office success, and most of the cast have signed on for a sequel, so that should be coming out in the future.

"X-Men" is presented in a THX-Certified 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and the results are gorgeous. The film looks incredibly sharp, with bold and well saturated colors. Shadow detail and detail in general is very good. The only problem is some edge enhancment and that the picture struggles a little during some of the night time scenes. This is a beautiful transfer, one of the best I've seen for a live action film.

Fox originally going to include a DTS track in additional to the Dolby Digital 5.1, but they said the video quality was horrible if it was added. My kudos to Fox on that. As far as the Dolby Digital 5.1, it's very good. Dynamic range and field directions are excellent, and surrounds are plentiful. The music uses the channels nicely. This is a top notch mix, and I'm sure if a DTS was included, it'd probably be just as good, so it's not much of a loss. English and French Dolby Surround tracks are also included as well as English subtitles.

As originally reported here first at DVDlaunch (yes, I posted the news right after reading the article that Sunday and made it a Monday story), there were going to be two edition of "X-Men". Singer denied that and said his quotes were taken out of context. While many were disappointed he did not do a commentary for the film, there's a lot to enjoy here.

First off are the Deleted Scenes/Extended Branching Version of the movie. Basically, you can make an "X" appear while watching the movie, and you can click the X to see a deleted scene in the appropriate spot. There are six deleted (one is actually an extended scene) scenes. You can also access each scene individually from the special features section. You can see why the scenes were cut, but they are pretty enjoyable. If there is a downside, it's that they are non-anamorphic and in two channel sound. Basically, if you watch the extended branching version it won't look and sound quite right. The video quality is not as good as the film either. Still, they're here and it's a good supplement.

The twenty-two minute featurette The Mutant Watch was shown on Fox television to promote the movie, and it's here on the disc. It's sort of promotional as it features interviews with the cast and clips from the films, plus a sort of mockumentary with the Senator Kelly character. A typical featurette.

The Byran Singer Interview features clips of director Singer talking to Charlie Rose about the film. They're just clips, and divided into five parts. In total it's not much, but Singer talks about the challanges he faced and what brought him to make the film. Singer is pretty insightful. I'm actually a Charlie Rose fan as he thinks he's a very good interviewer, and while short, it's a welcome supplement.

Hugh Jackman's Screen Test lasts two minutes and it a good watch, and there are Two Theatrical Trailers, Three TV Spots and a Soundtrack Spot for viewing. Plus, there's THX Optimode to set up your home theater correctly.

The Art Gallery is broken up into "Character Design" and "Production Design", and features various stills and concept art (it would have been nice if Fox gave instructions on how to flip through the pages. Despite it being obvious, it'd be nice for DVD newbies and whatnot).

Animatics breaks down the Statute of Liberty sequence and the Train Station sequence in computer animation, to show the visualization of the scenes before filming and what they wanted to accomplish.

Also, there are some Easter Eggs that are enjoyable and not too hard to find, so enjoy those.

While I'm sure most of you would have liked more in the supplements, what Fox has given us is a nice edition for the movie. The audio and video are superb, and it's a good overall deal. If you liked the movie, pick up "X-Men" for your collection.

(3.5/5 - NOT included in final score)




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