Bryan Singer returns to the director's chair of X-men: Days of Future Past. After directing the first two movies in the series he left the franchise to the hands of others but returns with a bang. Loosely based on a classic two-issue story from Marvel's Uncanny X-Men comic, Days of Future Past introduces a favorite SF staple to the franchise: time travel. Managing to capture the fun, excitement, and adventure of his the first two installments, this film was a great choice to release on the new 4K Ultra HD format. Not only is it a great action flick, it is visually striking and really packs a sonic punch.
Things have not gone well for Professor Xavier's mutants: they are almost extinct. An army of giant robots, called Sentinels, are able to instantly counter any mutant power, and they've been programed to seek out and kill any mutants they can find. They have done a very good job of it. There is still a small group left however, thanks to Kitty Pryde. She's able to send a person's consciousness back in time to a period a few days prior. With this trick they've been able to stay one step ahead of the Sentinels but their numbers and resources are dwindling and it's only a matter of time before they're wiped out.
Holed up in an ancient Chinese monetary, Charles Xavier and his mutants decide on one last desperate gamble. Kitty can't send anyone back in time more than a few days due to the strain on the time-traveler, but what if someone could live through a trip farther in the past? Wolverine, who can heal from any wound or injury, volunteers to go back to 1973, a fateful time for mutant-kind. It was in that year that the shape-shifter Mystique tried to kill the inventor of the Sentinels, Dr. Bolivar Trask. She fails and was captured by the government, and Trask obtained some of her DNA. He was eventually able to integrate her ability to change into a new generation of Sentinels which made them unstoppable.
So after surviving a trip into the past, all Wolverine has to do is reason a young Xavier into help him break the most dangerous mutant in the world (Magneto) out of a high security jail, talk Magneto into aiding their plan, and then track down and convince Mystique to NOT kill the man who has been dissecting mutants as well as creating mutant-killing robots. Yeah, piece of cake.
This movie fires on all cylinders the whole way through, and it works on several levels. It's a great action flick with a lot of exciting battles that fans of superhero movies have come to love, but there's also a more dramatic element. There's a simmering tension between various members of the group back in 1973, and there are some questions about what Magneto really intends to do. The mutants, especially Xavier aren't portrayed as perfect and infallible, which is nice and adds to the appeal of the film.
The sets and design of the film are wonderful too. They've captured the look and feel of the 1970's wonderfully (and this is coming from someone who lived through it) and that add a lot to the fun of the film. The action sequences are stunning too. The battles with the Sentinels are impressive eye candy, but the highlight of the film is the memorable 'kitchen scene' where the fast Quicksilver really cuts loose. With a good story, great effects, and top-notch acting, this movie is a winner.
The Ultra HD Disc:
This release comes with both a 4K Ultra HD disc and a Blu-ray disc in a single-width keepcase. Unfortunately, the 3D version is not included, so you'll have to decide which is more important, 3D or 4K, or you could always buy both. I'm sure the studio wouldn't mind.
Like the many of the other first wave 4K UHD titles, this movie was sourced from a 2K master that was upconverted. Even so, this disc is an improvement over the Blu-ray release. There is an increase in detail, but the colors are where the big difference is to be found. The HDR encoding does really works well on this disc, and many of the scenes really pop. Having said that, there doesn't seem to be quite the difference between the (admittedly excellent) Blu-ray and this UHD disc. Doing and A-B comparison there is definitely a difference, but it's not as apparent as the other UHD's I've seen.
The movie arrives with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, but like Fox's other first wave releases, there is not a Dolby Atmos or DTS:X track available. Even without the newest audio on the disc, the movie still sounds very impressive. This is a movie that has a lot of audio presence and it is reproduced wonderfully on the disc. There are many scenes that simply fill the room with sound and the climax of the sequence with Quicksilver worked very well. While I would have loved it if Fox included an Atmos track, this will definitely do until one comes along.
There are no extras on the UDH disc. All of them are included on the BR disc, and therefore are not presented in 2160p.
The extras include a 5-minute gag reel that is okay, a short featurette on how the kitchen sequence was made, a 12-minute look at some of the supporting mutants in the movie, and Classification: M, which was a little bland for my tastes. There's also X-Men: Reunited a 9-minute look at how this project came together, a 9-minute featurette on the baddies of the film, Sentinels: For A Secure Future, a nice look at the four actors who play two important roles, Magneto and Xavier, in different times, and five and a half minutes worth of deleted scenes with optional commentary by director Bryan Singer.
The extras are wrapped up with an image gallery, a second screen app, trailers, and a sneak peak of Exodus: Gods and Kings. Though there's a lot of content, none of these were really very interesting.
X-men: Days of Future Past is a great action film and the 4K presentation is really does the film justice. With a bit more detail and more striking colors than the BR release, this is a winner. Highly Recommended.