003778Reviews & Counting
X-Men (v1.5)
DVD disk
10.07.2004 By: Indiana Sev
X-Men (v1.5) order
Bryan Singer

Patrick Stewart
Ian McKellan
Hugh Jackman


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The world and its people have evolved so much that certain humans have begun to develop special skills and abilities from birth. They are referred to as mutants; some have the ability to shoot lasers (Cyclops), others can shift their shape (Mystique) and so on and so forth. They’re different so naturally there’s some loud politician (Bruce Davison) who wants to crack down on them. The less tolerant mutants led by Magneto (Ian McKellen) are willing to wage a war, while the more patient and understanding ones, led by professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) prefer to educate. Throw in some CGI effects and you've got yourself a superhero movie with a bit of heart.
When I really like a movie, I can watch it countless times and never get bored. Then there are other films, the horrible ones (Eddie Murphy, Brian DePalma films), that I wish I had never seen in the first place. Finally, there is the movie that I really liked in the first place, but upon watching again, I get bored, lose interest and quickly start to wear down. Like GLADIATOR, THE SIXTH SENSE and SPIDERMAN, X-MEN falls into the latter category. These are good movies, but ones that don't necessarily "hold up" the second time around. I guess the world that I was introduced to originally wasn’t fascinating or interesting enough to keep my attention again this time around. I guess my point is, X-MEN has enough positive elements (credible and convincing actors, a couple of inspired action sequences and a true sense of the comic book feel) that it’s most definitely worth seeing at least once; unfortunately for certain personalities like myself the additional viewing is a big “YAWN”.

Hugh Jackman established himself as a true star here, portraying Wolverine as a man who’s insides are laced with metal (that’s what my last date said). He can play “tough guy” and “wounded soul” with ease and without him in the movie, it definitely would have lacked that certain something. The rest of the cast doesn’t consist of too many big names, which is refreshing because you don’t get too distracted by their celebrity (you listenin’ Val Kilmer aka Batman). You got two Dutch cuties (Romijn-Stamos, Janssen), an Oscar winning Kiwi/Canadian (Paquin) another Aussie (Jackman) and couple of Shakespearean Brits for some flavoring (Stewart, McKellen). And let's not forgot the Scot who played Darth Maul (Ray Park). All that to say that this was definitely an equal opportunity production with the focus on talent rather than Kilmer. It could have used some style in the directing (a la Raimi) and maybe a few more deaths to make some of the majestic explosions believable though. In the end, I suppose that’s what the film needed: an identity, something to set it apart as unique. Unfortunately, the only truly extraordinary aspect of this film was the continually changing accent of Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry. Don’t write me letters!
You want extras, you got a ton of them here...and then there’s the 2nd disc too. First off, you got the man at the helm Bryan Singer commentating over the film with a “buddy” of his named Brian. He asked his friend to join him because he wasn’t too comfortable going solo. The audio commentary is pretty basic stuff, no real pauses or anything, well-paced, I guess true blue fans might enjoy some X-MEN 2 tidbits that Bryan lets slip once in awhile. There is a semi-complicated option (or maybe I’m just stupid) that allows you to watch the film with 6 deleted scenes as well as another choice to delve into scene specific behind-the scenes footage (17 in all, guys).

An icon will appear on the screen when both these features are either playing or available. If you’re a dedicated fan of the film then this will please you and then some. Before I get to the second disc (they spared us a third and fourth), I just want to say I hated the background for the menus, it’s basically all genetic compositions and the like, and I found it very distracting and difficult when trying to read instructions and info. It also stalls for what seems like a decade every time I want to get into another feature (or maybe I’m just an impatient jerk).

Okay, round 2. The second DVD features two parts: X-MEN2 and EVOLUTION X.

X-MEN2 is a six-minute ride with Singer on the soundstages of the sequel, it also features the cast’s comments and impressions as well as the trailer for the film at the end. They also dumped a Daredevil teaser on here. It’s fun to see what’s in store this coming May, but 6 minutes? Somebody’s skimping.

EVOLUTION X takes you inside the belly of the beast. If you ever wanted to know what goes into making a sci-fi/action/superhero/Jackman movie, than this section will educate you beyond your wildest dreams. At the end, you’ll feel so part of the process that you’ll wonder why your name isn’t in the goddamn credits! It’s divided into 6 sub-divisions (BTW, there is another very useless and confusing option (okay, I’m a moron) in which you have the option of going into another portion of the “making of” while watching the present one. When you’re done with your newly desired part, it will automatically take you back where you last left. Thankfully, you can turn this option OFF.

1. Production documentary scrapbook: cast and crew meetings, cast interviews and opinions, special moments on set, surprises, etc. (~hour long). 2. X-factor: costume tests, Toad’s makeup test, image gallery. 3. Uncanny Suspects: Jackman screen test/first reading, character gallery, evolution of the costumes. 4. Special Effects: mostly showcasing the many fight sequences, Senator Kelly’s “watery” breakdown. 5. Marketing the X-Men: Trailers, TV spots, plenty of internet interstitials. 6. Reflections of the X-Men: Ellis island premiere, premieres around the world.

Even though I’m not the biggest fan of the film I can still appreciate the effort put into making this; as complete an extras package as possible. True fans should have no complaints and should be busy for hours on end. Although I must reiterate the aggravation that the menus, instructions and format caused me. It made what could’ve been a nice stroll into a messy run. Sometimes too much can be a hindrance (or maybe I’m just an asshole).
If you haven’t seen X-MEN yet, I suggest you rent it now. You can certainly do much worse (BATMAN RETURNS, BATMAN & ROBIN). It’s got quite a few laughs, an original and well told story and plenty of foxes (Holland rules!) to keep the wolves happy. There is also an avalanche of extras from which you won’t soon recover…they deliver!
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