X-Men The Movie
Review by Geoffrey Kleinman | posted October 23, 2000
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The Movie
(Note: Before watching the X-Men movie I really had never been exposed in any way to the X-Men franchise so my expectations and experience may be a lot different from die hard X-Men fans .)

Coming at a time where many of the superhero franchises have begun to wear thin, X-Men helps breathe new life into a genre in desperate need of it. At its core, X-men gets its strength from the ensemble of superheros and villains that hold your interest and keep you wanting to see and learn more. X-Men stealthfully gives you the information you need to know about the characters and doesn't get bogged down in back story for each character.

What makes X-men an enjoyable film is the really fine work from many of the actors. I was particularly impressed with Hugh Jackman's performance as Wolverine and Anna Paquin's performance as Rogue. It is through the relationship of those two vital characters that X-men tells its story. Although many of the performances are good, I need to mention how bad Halle Berry is in this film. Her performance is a stark contrast to the level of Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and the others.

At its best X-men is engaging and exciting, at its worse it's just mindless fun, but in the end it's worth watching if you are a fan of the genre or if you're just looking for a fun film.

The Picture
Presented in 2.35:1 Widescreen anamorphic, X-Men looks really good on DVD. The picture transfer is pristine, with deep rich and clear colors. I saw X-men in the theater and the picture was clearer and crisper watching it on DVD.

The Sound
Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, the THX certified soundtrack sounds fantastic. The audio is crisp and clear, and the effects are well balanced with the dialogue. The X-men soundtrack makes really good use of all the surround speakers and in scenes like the train station sequence it exemplifies what a good DVD should sound like. As with many other THX DVDs, there's the THX optimode section to make sure your home theater is set up correctly.

Unlike many other DVDs which simply have an area in the special feature section for deleted scenes, X-Men allows you to see the deleted scenes within the context of the movie, which is labeled as branching - a X-Men logo pops up on screen when an extended or additional scene is available. Unfortunately of the six deleted or extended scenes only two are really interesting and none are really exceptional. I was hoping for more in the deleted scenes area and was pretty disappointed with what was on the DVD.

In addition to the deleted scenes there is a 22-minute Fox TV special called The Mutant Watch. It's poorly done as a mockumentary based on the Senate hearings (from the Movie) against mutants. Unfortunately the special doesn't come off very well and gets more caught up in its concept rather than giving a quality look at the making of the movie.

One of the special features I liked the most was the appearance of Director Bryan Singer on the Charlie Rose show. The DVD breaks down the interview by question so if you are not interested in the whole interview you can skip right to the section you are most interested in. Unfortunately there is no option to see the interview in its entirety, which is a pain.

Another highlight among the special features is the screen test for Hugh Jackman. It's a great scene (albeit too short) with him and Anna Paquin. In the movie there's such great chemistry between the two actors, it's nice getting a peek into the early stages of that relationship.

There are a number of trailers and TV spots on the DVD, all very well done. The trailers all capture the excitement of the movie. Under the trailer section there is an easter egg (the ice flower given to Rogue) with a gag single short gag screen. It is hilarious and I wish they had more like it on the DVD.

If you are interested in art design the X-Men DVD features a nice art gallery with both character and set design concepts. Also there are 2 animatics which were used to digitally storyboard two key sequences. Unfortunately there is no commentary for the animatics - a real shame.

What's really missing from the special features is a real good look at the making of this film. X-Men has excellent effects and makeup. It's a shame they aren't well covered in the special feature section of this DVD.

Final thoughts
X-Men is a very enjoyable movie, and the DVD shines where it's most important with a great film transfer and fantastic sound. In terms of special features, the DVD isn't what it could be and that's a surprise. X-Men was arguably the biggest movie of the summer, so it's too bad it isn't the biggest DVD.

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