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X2: X-Men United
DVD disk
10.07.2004 By: Indiana Sev
X2: X-Men United order
Director:
Bryan Singer

Actors:
Hugh Jackman
Patrick Stewart
Ian McKellen

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
X2 reunites your favorite crime fighting mutants with an exciting assortment of newer ones. In this second installment, Professor X and his students have a bigger problem than just Magneto and his henchwoman Mystique; William Stryker (Brian Cox) plays a military leader obsessed with eliminating the entire mutant race. What follows is one of the most impressive and exciting superhero films ever put to screen.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Director Bryan Singer takes what he started with X-MEN and expands on it – big time! This sequel is better in almost all capacities, most notably the FX. The special effects during the action sequences are extremely energetic and eye-popping, particularly during the opening scene when Nightcrawler does his disappearing act and kicks some serious secret service ass. I enjoyed Pyro’s fire manipulation powers the most; specifically when he lets loose on some dumb cops thinking they can actually stop these badass X-Men. That’s a scene that definitely got my heart pumping and even had me attempting to look cool with my trusty Zippo later on. It worked…naturally. Then there is Mystique and her shape-shifting abilities that are just as flawless and sexy as they were in X1. I’m not one who gets easily impressed by the special effects in a movie, but they really do go out of their way to deliver some pretty fun, believable and attractive action sequences in X2.

But forget all that. There really is only one reason to catch this flick: her name is Kelly Hu, better known to her mutant friends as Lady Deathstrike. Yum-my. Another fine addition to the already sexy array of X-Girls, Lady’s sexy, mysterious and dangerous persona, added oodles of spice and interest to the picture. I love her. So with newer mutants introduced, a deeper exploration into the romance between Iceman & Rogue, a solid, well-balanced story, superior acting and still more sly bits of humor thrown around, X2 becomes one of the most well-rounded and absorbing superhero movies to ever be released. Singer had already introduced the characters and the “X-Story” in film one, I’m glad he had the sense to just let these X-Men loose and do their thing in the sequel.
THE EXTRAS
This DVD is comprised of two discs:

DISC 1:

2 Audio Commentaries: The first audio track is the one you should look out for. Director Bryan Singer and cinematographer Newton Thomas Siegel display great camaraderie, having already worked together on 4 film. It’s a pleasure to listen to them voice their thoughts on the filming of this hugely anticipated sequel. The second commentary track comprises of 5 of the writers and producers from the film. More great nuggets of X2 lore are discussed and dissected with this group, but honestly, this is for those who really want to know everything…

DISC 2:

Guess what? Just as in the DVD of X-MEN 1.5, once again the loading process to get from one feature to the next is uselessly long and pointless. I don’t like having to wait (even it is a few seconds) to get to the next feature just to bear witness to some cool graphics. The graphics in the film were enough, okay? Okay. J Rant over. Let’s get to the special features now…

History of the X-Men:

The Secret Origin of X-Men (approx. ~ 15 min.): X-Men creator Stan Lee and writer/editor of the series Chris Claremont track the origins of the popular book from its shaky start to its blossoming future. I didn’t know much about the characters or the history in the first place so this really sets the tone nicely for those who want to be properly introduced to the X-Men phenomenon. The history of the movie franchise is also explored with the filmmakers involved with the film commenting as well.

Nightcrawer Reborn (approx. ~ 7 min.): The writer of the Uncanny X-Men & Nightcrawler comic books, Chuck Austen, takes us through his love of the Nightcrawler from back when he was a teenager to his dream job of working on him now on his own comic book. After Lady Deathstrike, Nightcrawler was, by far, my favorite X-Man in the film and learning more about his history and evolution was pretty sweet indeed. Check this one out.

Pre-Production:

Nightcrawler Attack : Multi-Angle Study: By far the most impressive sequence in the film was Nightcrawler’s attack on the President and his men. This feature offers multiple angles upon which you can view that scene, as well as options to see it at different points of its evolution. Very, very cool.

Evolution in the Details - Designing: X2 (approx. ~ 18 min): X2’s production designer takes you through the various sets of the film. From the secret passageways in Professor X’s school for the gifted, to the Oval office to Magneto’s plastic prison, he covers it all.

United Colors of X (approx. ~ 8 min.): Read above and replace the word production and set by costume(s). Actually, I got a kick out of seeing Halle prance around in some of her clothes in this featurette.

Production:

Wolverine/Deathstrike Fight Rehearsal: A minute and a half of the stunt actors for these X-Men going through some of the exact same moves seen in their battle in the film. Meh.

The Second Uncanny Issue of X-Men: Making of X2 (approx. ~ 59 min.): Wow. A very thorough 'making-of' documentary produced specifically for this DVD. It’s got everything from interviews with all the stars and the director to footage from the many action scenes shot in the film. But all that really pales in comparison when you consider that a very large portion near the end is dedicated to the charming Miss Hu. This includes a shot from her screen test and a sample of her at work in her fight scene with Cyclops. What a hottie! This is a superb documentary and perfect for any fan of the film.

Introducing the Incredible Nightcrawler (approx ~ 9 min.): Everything you wanted to know about Alan Cumming’s portrayal of the German-born, former circus performer named Kurt Wagner or Nightcrawler as he is known around X circles. From his work with a movement coach to get inside the skin of the superhero to his custom-made outfit and painstaking make-up session, they cover it all in this featurette. This is entertaining mostly because Cumming is one cool S.O.B.

Nightcrawler Stunt Rehearsal: A very quick run-through of the Presidential attack sequence that combines some actual footage with a digitized impression of what they wanted the entire sequence to look like. Pretty cool.

Nightcrawler Time Lapse: Man, they really like this little bugger, don’t they? Quickly cut snippets of what an entire make-up session looks like for the character. It’s obscene how long this takes...poor guy.

FX2 – Visual Effects (approx. ~ 24 min.): How they created the great effects in the film using CGI and all that jazz. Impressive how they can make all that happen and yet excruciatingly dull to actually watch the process.

Post-Production:

Requiem for Mutants: The Score of X2 (approx. ~ 11 min.): The film’s composer (and editor too!?) discusses his process (or lack thereof) when scoring his films. For X2, he explains how he chose certain themes for specific characters to help emphasize their traits.

X2 Global Webcast Highlights (approx. ~ 17 min.): This would be one of the features I enjoyed the most. Some dude at a computer asks all the X-Actors (they’re actually all there and sit down one at a time), the director and producers questions submitted to him on the internet from all over the world on the eve of the film’s release. This is a lot of fun and it’s no big surprise that Hugh Jackman is the most charming of ‘em all. Well, second charming, anyway…

11 Deleted Scenes: There are some pretty nifty scenes here that are definitely worth checking out. Pyro starting a campfire and Jubilee getting a bit “excited” at the museum are just a couple of my favorites.

Galleries: There are tons and tons of galleries here for your viewing pleasure and quite a few things that weren’t actually used for the film too. This is an excellent feature for all you die-hard fans. I loved all those Nightcrawler circus posters, I have to get my hands on those…

Trailers
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
X2 is the perfect escapist comic book flick. With fun characters, a decent story and sexiness for one and all, I had a ball with this much superior and commendable sequel. As far as the extras are concerned, well, you’ve hit the mother lode! Prescription: Purchase. Bring on X3!
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