X-Men (2000) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Science Fiction / Thriller
Fox || PG13 - 104 minutes - $34.98 || April 21, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-04-29


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer(s): Tom DeSanto & Bryan Singer (story), David Hayter (screenplay)
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Bruce Davison, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Ray Park, Anna Paquin


Theatrical Release Date: July 14, 2000


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Enhanced Viewing Mode
  • 7 Featurettes
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes
  • Bryan Singer Introduction
  • Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots
  • Internet Interstitials
  • Production Stills
  • Animatics
  • BD-Live


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, Cantonese, Mandarin

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.::THE FILM::.

It can be argued that the comic book-to-screen craze in Hollywood began in 1998 with Blade, but I say 2000’s X-Men put the genre into the stratosphere, launching the Spider-Man franchise in ’02, Fantastic Four in ’05 and even DC/Warner’s re-boot, Batman Begins the same year. And obviously the domino effect has taken place with Iron Man, Superman Returns, Ghost Rider and Daredevil. The list goes on and on and will continue with sequels to Spider-Man and Iron Man (as well as the third Batman movie).

Synopsis: Two mutants, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Rogue (Anna Paquin), are rescued from an attack orchestrated by Magneto (Ian McKellen) by Cyclops (James Marsden) and Storm (Halle Berry) who takes the pair to Xavier’s School for Gifted Children run by Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). What Magneto’s ultimate plan is, they don’t know, but it involves a Senator and his crusade to expose all the mutants and force them to report their powers.

For the most part, X-Men was a successful film both in terms of box office and quality. As an origin film, Bryan Singer made an entertaining and action-packed film with a solid ensemble cast and some decent writing (I could’ve done without the lame one-liners). The film also made stars out of Halle Berry and, more so, Hugh Jackman, whose character gets a solo movie with X-Men Origins: Wolverine coming out in May (2009).

Hugh Jackman is the star of the film being backed up by a talented supporting cast including Halle Berry (Oscar winner for Monster’s Ball), Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, Ian McKellen and James Marsden. Although the story is more about establishing the X-Men versus their arch nemesis Magneto’s plan to destroy humanity, Wolverine is at the forefront and for good reason since he is probably the most interesting of the X-Men character (and X2 would expand his story even more).

Despite the film losing a slight edge of the years (it is a fairly simple story), I still found it to be an enjoyable film and one of the better superhero flicks behind only a select few. What it does pretty well is setting up future sequels, adding a certain excitement to see the next chapter as soon as possible (not unlike Batman Begins).

The world of the X-Men will only continue to expand with not only the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine but X-Men: First Class (featuring the younger members of the X-Men) and X-Men Origins: Magneto.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

From what I can tell, all features on the X-Men 1.5 DVD release have been ported over to Blu-ray (most in SD and full frame).

DISC 1:
Audio Commentary by Bryan Singer and Brian Peck – The director and actor/friend sit down for an informative track.

Enhanced Viewing Mode (63:59) can be watched in conjunction with the film, individually or via a “Play All” option. This features behind-the-scenes footage along with the deleted scenes.

Deleted/Extended Scenes (11:02) – There are six scenes that for the most part weren’t really needed. An optional commentary with Singer and Peck is available if you want an explanation why they were not used.

FOX Special: The Mutant Watch (21:57) contains some interviews with the cast and crew explaining the story of the X-Men movie and it’s intertwined with a Senate session led by Senator Kelly railing against Mutants.

Charlie Rose Interview with Bryan Singer (6:17) has six segments with the director talking about “Why he made X-Men”, “Bringing X-Men from the Comic Book to the Big Screen”, “Directing Actors”, “Learning from Actors” and “The Challenge of Making a Studio Film”.

There are also a couple Animatics (2:03) including an Art Gallery (Character and Production Designs), 3 TV Spots (1:36), a music promo (0:31) and some Marvel Universe Trailers (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand).

Last on the first disc is a BD-Live portal where you can buy tickets to X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

DISC 2:
Intro by Bryan Singer (1:09) on the set of X2 explaining how it’s not his nature to release multiple DVDs...

Evolution X allows you to go deeper into the selected topics while you watch. During the documentary, an X-Men icon pops up; you press enter to view the additional material. These can be watched individually when selecting each segment on the menu.

5-Part Interactive Documentary (2:16:39)
The Uncanny Suspects (24:16) introduces us to the cast of X-Men (Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, etc), explaining their experience with the comic book (or television). Also features interviews with members of the crew, including Bryan Singer, as well.

X-Factor: The Look of X-Men (22:47) goes over the style Bryan Singer wanted for the costume and make-up for the X-Men. This features screen tests of the actors and concept art.

X-Men Production Scrapbook (63:26) – This is a raw behind-the-scenes look at the production of X-Men beginning with a roundtable introduction of various members of the crew (director, editor, executive producer, assistants, etc). I actually prefer these kind of featurettes because there’s you get more information from these than press interviews.

The Visual Effects of X-Men (17:28) – Bryan Singer explains the importance of visual effects for the film. Features pre-visualizations and more behind-the-scenes footage and how certain elements are filmed and combined.

Reflection of the X-Men Retrospective (8:38) – From the set of X2, cast and crew recall their experience working on the first X-Men and the wild success the film had on audiences and at the box office.

Finally, we get three X-Men trailers (5:25), 9 more TV Spots (4:46) and Internet Interstitials (11:00). I should note the trailers are presented in widescreen.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

X-Men makes its debut on Blu-ray with a nice looking high-def transfer (1080p, MPEG-4 AVC, 2.35 OAR) on a 50GB Blu-ray disc. For the most part it looks like Fox has done a good job as the video quality looks good with skin tones and black levels looking about right. I did find certain scenes to be a tad soft but overall images looked quite sharp and I noticed very little instances of noise or dust/scratches, an achievement for a movie that is nine years old.

The audio side is quite impressive that started with the opening title sequence and Michael Kamen’s incredible score (well, the score itself was OK, but it sounds great coming over my speakers). The DTS-HD Master (lossless) Audio sounds fantastic and even though I can’t say it’s the best I’ve heard (a title that goes to The Incredible Hulk), it is certainly one of the better audio tracks that have come to Blu-ray. Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are also available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.



.::OVERALL::.

The X-Men Blu-ray is jammed packed with plenty of features to keep you busy... if you haven’t already watched them on DVD. While I do appreciate Fox for porting over everything from the previous DVD release, I do wish that given the fanbase they could’ve added a new cast commentary or something. As it stands the picture quality is solid, the audio is even better and the overall set is definitely worth the upgrade.