Why X-Men 1.5? This 2-Disc special edition re-release is set to coincide with the theatrical release of X2, the X-Men sequel. The 1.5 release is set up to be sort of a Director’s Cut of the original X-Men film. This new version has allowed for the film to be viewed with a number of deleted scenes to be branched into the film (not seamlessly… you have to hit enter on your remote to view the scenes). I am sure you know the premise, but here is a recap:
“Marvel’s classic comic book comes to li…e in this exciting big-screen adaptation. The story focuses on the efforts of a well-intentioned professor, Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). By pulling together a group of superhuman mutants, Professor X hopes to prove to the world that these genetically enhanced beings are not the dangerous, evil villains humanity claims them to be. When Magneto (Ian McKellen), an angry mutant, vows to eradicate human existence, it’s up to the X-Men to save the day and keep the world united.” – Fox
The DTS track included on this disc is absolutely fabulous. The surrounds are used heavily, creating a wonderful soundstage that puts you in the center of the action. The bass is deep and clean, the front channels are loud and accurately placed, and the dialog from the center channel is second to none. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is unfortunately not as strong. This is not to say that it is poor, but it just sounds dull compared to the lively DTS track. If your system does not include DTS, this disc alone is worth the upgrade!
The video quality on this disc is very good. The contact is fabulous in dark sequences, and the colors are portrayed cleanly and accurately. This 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is free from image artifacts and edge enhancements, but there are a few instances of a slight (let me reiterate slight) grain. All-in-all, a wonder video transfer.
Disc one of this 2-disc set contains making-of featurettes that are branched into the film. These featurettes really interrupt the flow of the film, which can be expected, and are mostly uninspiring. Also branched into the film are a number of deleted scenes. These scenes don’t really fit the flow of the film, but are interesting to see. The main feature on disc one is the director’s commentary. This commentary by Bryan Singer is somewhat disappointing. Yes, you will get some good insight into the film, but he is somewhat long winded on some topics (while ignoring other key topics). Certain scenes seemed as though Singer was not even watching the film while condition the commentary. This commentary is worth a listen, but you may get a little bored at times.
Clear your schedule, because disc 2 will take a lot of time to sort through. This disc starts off with a rather lame intro by director Bryan Singer, but then sets up the features in the following sections (all of which include branching to further related content):
- X-Men 2: This section contains a 7 minute behind the scenes of X-Men 2 featurette. This featurette takes you onto the set, gives you a little insight on the film, and shows you some trailer footage. Since this disc’s release coincides with the theatrical release of X-Men 2, this section was expected. The only other feature found here is the teaser trailer for DareDevil.
- Production Scrapbook: The main extra in this section is a 60 minute featurette which is rather boring. It starts off as a round table discussion with all of the crew of X-Men, and then goes into a tour of the set (during construction), some insight into prop design, and location shooting. There are also interviews conducted throughout the featurette. Though very slow moving, and overly long, this featurette does give some interesting insight into what really goes on behind the scenes of a huge film production. This section also includes 2 multiple angle sequences. These sequences can be viewed from four separate angles, or one shot that contains all four angles in a split screen.
- The Uncanny Suspects: This section contains 3 featurette totaling 24 minutes. Topics covered include casting, interviews with the cast about playing the characters and their parts in the film, and comparing the mutant characters to other minority groups.
- X Factor: This section also contains 3 featurette, this time totaling 23 minutes. The featurettes touch upon costumes tests, make-up tests, and image galleries.
- Special Effects of X-Men: This section contains a 17 minute featurette on the special effects used in X-Men. You get to see how a number of scenes were storyboarded on the computer, and then transformed into the actual film. Also included are 5 scenes broken down by special features. These scenes are very cool, you can watch side by side comparisons of the computer animatic and the final cut.
- marketing of X-Men: Contained here are some of the basic marketing materials for the film – trailers, TV spots, and internet interstitials.
- Reflection of the X-Men: Here you will find 8 minutes of interviews with the cast and crew. They discuss their thoughts about the film, and the making of X-Men 1 & 2.
This is a very fun film. The characters are cool and well portrayed, and the story is strong for a comic-to-screen adaptation. This DVD, though not really needed (the original special edition was very good), is very good. The DTS audio track is of reference quality, the video look very sharp, and the animated menus are very impressive. There are hours of extras to sort through, but nothing to groundbreaking or outstanding. If you own the original special edition release, the extras alone are not worth an upgrade, but you may want to upgrade just to get the DTS track. Highly recommended.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- The Uncanny Suspects Casting Featurette
- X-Factor: The Look of the X-Men Costume Featurette
- The Special Effects of the X-Men Featurette
- Storyboard-to-Animatic-to-Film Comparison
- Reflection of the X-Men Featurette
- Multi-Angle Scene Studies
- Behind the scenes of X-Men 2