Archives for September, 2011
That’s right the latest movie to hit the billion dollar club from its theatrical box office hits DVD and blu-ray today. So, could you say it…… transformed from big screen to small screen? All joking aside Transformers: Dark of the Moon continues an epic take over of the world as it comes home today. Surprisingly though, one of the best looking 3-D films ever is only available in 2-D, at least for now. On the upside the film can be enjoyed in a 1080p HD presentation on the blu-ray version. So, it won’t look like it’s coming at you but the eye popping detail and colors will surely blow your mind. We haven’t reviewed it here yet but our expectations are high. Come on, love him or hate him there’s no denying that Michael Bay’s movies at least always look awesome.
We actually really liked this film though. Check out our discussion of Transformers: Dark of the Moon on the official CineGeek Webcast here. So, there’s no 3-D and as far as we know outside of a DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital combo pack there are no extras but that’s not a bad thing for fans that just want to get past the muck and get right into the film. Get your copy now by clicking the link below:
Created by Chris Chibnall and Michael Hirst
Starring Joseph Fiennes, Jamie Campbell Bower, Eva Green, Tamsin Egerton and Claire Forlani
Is it weird that I originally thought this would be a biopic of the Kennedy administration?
Starz, still on its kick “adult drama” versions of classic stories, latched onto this co-production of the legend of King Arthur. The series sets about humanizing these mythic characters to modern day sensibilities, meaning the good guys become flawed and the bad sympathetic.
It generally works. Merlin takes an “end justifies the means” approach to his actions, which weighs on his conscious. Morgan, the antagonist and Arthur’s half-sister, becomes someone to feel sorry for with her past as well as her occasional good deed. All the actors do an excellent job portraying their given characters, with particular stand outs from Joseph Fiennes as Merlin and Eva Green as Morgan. If only Arthur weren’t so detestable.
That’s right. The hero is probably the most repugnant character in the series. He’s not all bad. Arthur tackles issues from border protection to institutionalized rape as morally righteous as one could expect. He even maintains a naivety about the allegiance of his half-sister. He just can’t keep his pants on, from the first episode onward. Guinevere is no better. It’s not an actor problem, as Jamie Campbell Bower (Arthur) and Tamsin Egerton (Guinevere) capably act what they’re given. The star football player and cheerleader of the series are of course the most annoying characters of the show.
Luckily though, their annoyance peaks by the beginning of disc two, which starts more episodes centric to the other characters. While the first few episodes are still decent despite Arthur, the show picks up here when concentrating less on the love triangle or Arthur’s whining and more on the hard steps in building this new kingdom of peace and justice. This includes an excellent reimagining of the Lady of the Lake portion of the Arthurian legend, which leads the audience through a complete 360 on their feelings towards Merlin.
Speaking of Merlin, the show’s approach to magic and Merlin’s use of it is particularly intriguing. Magic becomes a primal force that both weighs a heavy cost on the body as well as becomes a powerful addiction that is difficult to overcome. Morgan gives in and suffers the consequences, and Merlin struggles with the urge while the need for great power becomes ever more urgent.
The world in general is well built. All of the local politics seem fleshed out. The look with costuming, props, set design and the Ireland locale help put the whole feel together. Some of the clothing or weaponry may not be technically accurate to the time period, but that’s negligible for the sake of tying the aesthetics together.
Unfortunately for the series, the collection’s title should say “The Complete Series,” as Starz has halted any production for a second season. If the series ended five minutes earlier than it does, it would be a fine, self-contained series. Instead, it has a slight cliffhanger.
Still, Camelot is a decent medieval fantasy series with enough of an ensemble cast to overshadow its weak links for at least a few episodes, and those are worth watching.
The Video and Audio
The series is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. The series looks vibrant and colorful, particularly when out in the scenic Ireland landscape where much of the series was shot. At least when it’s not covered by subpar CGI, which scenes are thankfully few and far between. The dialog is often drowned out by background music and sounds, making it hard to hear at times.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The three-disc collection comes in a fold-out cardboard set kept in a board case. It’s glossy and sturdy.
The set has a good number of extras, but they’re all pretty mediocre. Most of them are character profiles, even on top of the feature that’s called “character profiles.” Several interview clips are reused from feature to feature. The bloopers are fairly bland. The scene breakdowns are the best, being an actual behind-the-scenes feature showing how things are made. Unfortunately it only covers three scenes.
Overall (Not an Average)
This show could probably have lasted more seasons if it wasn’t plagued with the scheduling conflicts of the cast and crew. The annoyances of certain characters looked as if they would be ironed out with development which doesn’t look like will happen now. It’s better than the BBC Merlin series, but I’m still partial to Sam Neill’s Merlin miniseries. For now, it’s worth a watch to satisfy your swords and sorcery hunger, at least until Game of Thrones hits DVD. In which case, you know what the right choice will be.
The Series 7/10
The Video and Audio 6/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 6.5/10
Amazon owned the news this week with new Kindle’s and a new iPad competitor called the Kindle Fire! We share our two cents. There’s also a new Wanted movie, more failures for Netflix, Videogames as reality….really, an much more!
Directed by Sam Irvin
Starring Richard Joseph Paul, Jackie Swanson, Musetta Vander
What happens when the western frontier meets the new frontier? Apparently a badly acted, poorly written low budget sci-fi mess of a movie.
In the town of Oblivion the evil lizard faced Redeye (Andrew Divoff) rides into town and challenges the sheriff to a dual. After shooting the sheriff down in cold blood he and his band of outlaws prepare to remake Oblivion into their own type of town. Only local shopkeeper Mattie Chase (Jackie Swanson) and the sheriff’s estranged son Zach (Richard Joseph Paul) along with his “native” pal Buteo (Jimmy F. Skaggs) stand in the way of Redeye’s plans.
Cowboys versus aliens, somehow that sounds familiar. This movie is a mess from the beginning. The acting is absolutely terrible. And I mean terrible! It seems that this was meant to be seen at three o’clock in the morning on cable. Just by the looks of it you would think this was a made for SyFy movie but worse. Some of the smaller roles in this movie are played by fanboy favorites such as George Takei (Star Trek), Meg Foster (They Live), Julie Newmar (Batman), Carel Struycken (The Addams Family) and Isaac Hayes (South Park). But none of these actors ,or a combined effort from all, could save this movie.
Probably the biggest problem this movie has is that it never finds an identity. It is trying too hard to be everything all at once. The biggest example is a show down between Buteo and the man who killed his family. It starts out as an arm wrestling match with a mutant alien frog thrown in to raise the stakes and careens its way across a revenge story (and an attack by said frog for no reason) only to ultimately end in a barroom brawl. Can anyone tell me what kind of point is trying to be made here? It seems that the producers wanted to make a bad movie. Well, if that is the case they succeeded.
This transfer is not very good. It was obviously shot poorly to begin with and the transfer to digital really brings out the flaws in the film. This presentation is in full frame 4:3 ratio.
The audio is clear enough to hear every bad line of dialogue.
The Packaging and Special Features
The packaging is about what you’d expect, just a simple clear clamshell case with a paper insert. And this release doesn’t have any special features. Which is fine, some movies simply do not need them.
This is just a bad movie and not even in a good way. Some movies are just not created equal to, well…anything. For your own sanity watch re-runs of Firefly and enjoy how good the space western can be.
Overall (Not an Average) 2/10
The Movie 2/10
The Video 4/10
The Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Special Features 1/10
Overall (Not an Average) 2/10
So last night was the two hour pilot for Steven Spielberg’s new television series Terra Nova. It seemed like the perfect show for his sensibilities. It’s a family drama, it’s sci-fi, oh and there’s dinosaurs! The two hour premiere clicks along at a fairly breakneck pace introducing us to the future and the past and the people who live in those times. The series focuses on one family that has broken the overpopulation rules in the future but managed to escape to the past, to a settlement meant to restart the world before it’s totally destroyed in the future. The father is a cop, or ex-cop, the mother is a doctor, and they have three kids, one to many apparently. I thought of population laws that are already in place in China and predicted that this would be an issue before it was revealed in the pilot. In Terra Nova the cop quickly becomes a part of settlement security and the mother gets a job in the hospital dealing with some pretty giant tics.
Initially this series may feel like Land of the Lost crossed with Jurassic Park and to some degree it is that but there’s an additional layer of mystery about the true nature of the settlement that makes the story much more complex. This mystery appears to be something that’s going to be revealed a little at a time each week. This is a series that literally requires some serialized element so thankfully that element comes into play fairly quickly in the pilot. We have a doctor and a police officer so there are sure to be some single episode “one shot” types of procedural stories but discovering the truth about Terra Nova through the eyes of these characters looks to be an entertaining ride.
As exciting as this pilot is overall it’s still not perfect (few pilots ever are, well except LOST). There’s a passage of time that happens in the first hour that comes off clunky in execution and is only saved by a bit of throwaway dialogue. That happens because the creators of the show are so desperate to get these characters out of the future and into Terra Nova. There are also a few instances of wooden character development with some teenage characters that are common with television shows but surprising coming from Spielberg who is generally good at developing young characters. The issues are far from show stoppers though.
Overall Terra Nova was a fantastic ride in its first two hours. The special fx looked great, the suspense was perfectly rendered, the mystery of the past was established and is fascinating, and many of the secondary characters are as interesting or more so than the main cast. The show actually feels too good for network television in a way. Terra Nova feels like a great AMC experiment with a bigger budget or a special Syfy Channel miniseries similar to Taken, another Spielberg event. That’s a compliment by the way because AMC is doing some great things with genre television. As of this writing the viewership for the pilot hasn’t been released but let’s hope a lot of people watched because this series demands our attention.
Directed by Albert Pyun
Starring Matt Salinger, Ned Beatty
The major studios are all beginning to offer less popular vault titles as “print on demand” releases. Basically these DVD’s are only printed when the title is actually ordered. If you’ve ever used Café Press then you are very familiar with this system. The Captain America 1992 television movie is now available via print on demand. Probably the easiest way to get it is via Amazon. It’s honestly a little odd that this film wouldn’t be hitting DVD and blu-ray in brick and mortar outlets to draft off the new Captain America movie a little. Sure, it would have to be precisely marketed in order to keep consumers from getting confused, but it can be done, and similar situations have been successful in the past.
Ok so this film, I use the term loosely, was originally intended for a theatrical release to coincide with Cap’s 50th anniversary in comics back in 1990. For some reason, I can’t figure out what that might be, the film only hit theaters internationally and it was dropped on cable here in 1992. The mysterious reason the film never hit theaters domestically may become apparent as this review progresses. This film was produced by Menahem Golan one of the men behind some low budget classic 80’s testosterone fests such as The Delta Force, Cobra, and the currently being remade Bloodsport. At first blush he seems the perfect producer for a Captain America movie right? This man’s previous films were classic good versus evil super patriotic action films that made great use of almost no budget. He made names for actors such as Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damm, Sho Kosugi, Charles Bronson,and even to a degree Sylvester Stallone. Unfortunately for every great movie he produced (Death Wish, Revenge of the Ninja, Life Force, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) there was a string of missteps (Over the Top, Invasion USA, Breakin’) and a bevy of glorious disasters (Breakin’ 2 Electric Boogaloo, Masters of the Universe, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace). Did you notice that a couple of the glorious disasters were comic book movies? That sort of history doesn’t bode well for a low budget Captain America movie does it?
Director Alpert Pyun worked with Golan on Cyborg, one of his more successful, if campy, films. So we would assume that these two obviously had some sort of repartee during the making of Captain America. Well Pyun’s directorial debut was a bad but fun movie called The Sword and the Sorcerer but the man also brought us the “classic” Vicious Lips. They seem like the perfect duo to bring us the epic Captain America film we deserve right? Well maybe not because we didn’t get that movie until 20 years later.
On the positive side the story of the star spangled hero is taken almost directly from the comic books in this film. A scientist attempts to create a super soldier in Germany only to botch the project and instead create the super villain the Red Skull. The scientist finds success in the United States with Steve Rogers just in time for the new super soldier to kick ass in WWII. After a fight with the Red Skull Cap, Captain America ends up frozen only to be thawed in the early 90’s to do battle with the Skull’s daughter. Now for the negatives, well the negatives are really everything else about the film. The special fx are truly laughable. In fact the special fx may offer an entertaining way to watch the movie if you enjoy laughing at terrible mistakes because this movie and it’s special fx are definitely that: a terrible mistake. When I saw Cap’s shield I wanted to take it from him and flip it upside down and put some drinks on it because it looks more like a plastic serving tray than a weapon. Cap’s body suit is also hilarious because the muscles actually stop at his abdomen. I guess the budget didn’t allow for additional muscles.
Ok, so bad special fx can be looked over in favor of a really great story. The problem here is the film just seems to latch on to the high points of Cap’s story and stitch them together with wooden character development and connect the dots storytelling. There are absolutely no surprises in this film at all. It’s almost like the writers and director of the film turned the first Captain America comic book into one of those old fashioned flip books and pointed a camera at it. The one cool scene, the fight between the Red Skull and Cap early in the movie is chopped off at the knees just like Cap’s muscles.
Captain America is just a bad movie period. It is however inadvertently funny at times and laughably bad at others making it a sad type of entertaining, at least for true Cap fans. It is entertaining nonetheless so it gets points for that.
The video presentation here is really rough. It’s full frame and so covered in dust and scratches in a few places that it looks like the film was rubbed with sand paper. It’s not that bad throughout but I’d never actually call it good at any point. Colors are generally washed out and black levels are really more gray.
The audio is presented in Dolby 2.0 so there’s no surround sound treatment here but the dialogue is audible throughout. There’s also no dynamic range and no low end for action scenes. This is as basic as it gets but it’s passable.
The single DVD is presented in a standard amaray case with cover art that’s so low rent your friends may think you bought a bootleg. In fact I’ve seen a couple of bootleg covers that had more thought put into them. For extras there’s just a trailer and we’re lucky we got that.
Ok yes Captain America is a bad movie but it still feels like it had more heart behind it than this past summer’s Green Lantern effort. These were grindhouse filmmakers trying to make a comic book movie with no money and well, no talent. Somehow there’s just something great in that. This one goes on the shelf beside the bootleg of Roger Corman’s never released Fantastic Four movie.
Overall (Not an Average) 4/10
The Movie 4/10
The Video 3/10
The Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 3/10
Overall (Not an Average)4/10
Monday night is the season finale of Syfy’s hit new series Alphas. The modern take on the super hero series airs Monday nights alongside Eureka and Warehouse 13. From the press release:
“The Alphas team is taking on their hardest project yet as they go up against their nemesis in Red Flag. Dr. Rosen realizes that his daughter is now caught up in the mission and is being followed by Red Flag.”
The series airs Monday’s at 10/9c and stars David Strathaim, Ryan Cartwright, and Laura Mannell. Check out the preview clip below:
Alphas: Original Sin
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, James L. Brooks, Ron Perlman
Drive is an oddity. The studio tried to promote it at San Diego Comic Con in the same way as other summer blockbuster films were being pushed. The problem is, no matter how many action scenes the producers screened or how fast paced the trailers were it just didn’t feel like your typical summer blockbuster. Not being a summer blockbuster however isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s not perfect by any means but Drive is most definitely not a cotton candy experience.
Ryan Gosling plays a part time Hollywood stuntman that takes the occasional gig at night as a wheelman for criminals. Like so many of these hardcore pros that we’ve seen in the past he has a very specific set of rules (see The Transporter, the first one only please) that anyone hiring must follow. He works with a shady garage owner to trick out cars for both his day and night job. Gosling’s character known only as the “Driver” is a socially awkward loner with a shallow past. He lives his life fairly precisely from day to day until he meets his new neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son. They bring a ray of light into his life and offer him new distractions that he either has never had before or hasn’t had in a very long time. Things change again in the Driver’s world when Irene’s husband gets out of prison.
Irene’s husband is in debt to criminals causing the Driver to take pity on him and help him mostly for the sake of Irene and her son’s safety. Things go awry when a robbery that the Driver is helping her husband with falls apart in some shocking ways. The film is basic in character development and plot but the elements of the story that are in place are utilized with great precision. There are many twists and turns, some predictable and others that aren’t. This small little movie features a fantastic cast to execute the story including Ron Perlman and the movie’s true MVP James L. Brooks, along with Mulligan and Gosling. Brooks gets the MVP because he steps so far out of his comfort zone for this role and he’s riveting. The man we usually know as neurotic and funny is dark, angry, violent, and completely icy in this movie. In other words this character is a far cry from the one Brook’s played in Defending Your Life.
Drive is assembled and presented in a very retro way with quiet moments and specific music carrying the emotional beats. The movie is reminiscent of early Michael Mann minus the pastel colors and deck shoes. The biggest problem with the film is that it feels like a complete remake of another amazing film, The Professional. There are notable differences but the overall story is remarkably the same. Notice I didn’t say remarkably similar. I said remarkably the same, and it is all the way down to some small character nuances. Normally this sort of near plagiarism would decimate the score for me and it does impact the score but I liken this film to The Magnificent Seven. It was a remake of The Seven Samurai but wasn’t promoted as such when it originally played in theaters.
Drive isn’t a particularly long movie which is a further compliment to the precise directing of the film. There’s plenty of action but there’s also room for all of those quieter unspoken sort of character moments throughout the film. This is easily the little film that could this year. It’s not getting the attention it deserves from the box office but the budget is modest so it’s still succeeding. There’s a bit of intentional very uncomfortable humor in this film and extreme violence is shown parallel to some gorgeous character moments with edge of your seat action peppered in between. Drive is a must see for people who truly love movies.
This week we dig into the Netflix news, see what films have joined the billion dollar club, talk about Marvel Collections, and try to keep Niko out of the racist rabbit hole!
We’ve got some exciting behind the scenes featurettes from the film
Drive starring Ryan Gosling and Carrie Mulligan. In the film Gosling plays a Hollywood stunt driver by day and wheelman for criminals at night. Things get complicated for him when he becomes attached to a woman and her son and decides to help her ex-husband who’s under the thumb of some thugs. Check out the featurettes below:
Nicolas Winding Refn featurette
Ryan Gosling featurette
Carey Mulligan featurette
Two years after they were popular, Hollywood is all about the flash mobs. Last week Jawas invaded NYC to celebrate the release of the Star Wars Saga on blu-ray. This week the single and desperate Bridesmaids crashed Times Square all decked out in pink dresses!
To celebrate the September 20th Blu-ray, DVD and digital download release of one of the year’s most popular comedies, Bridesmaids, a posse of pretties donning hot pink dresses took over the streets of Manhattan yesterday! Thanks to their flashy outfits, they could be spotted everywhere – from the train station to the endless lines at the hot dog vendors. Check out some of our favorite pics from the event below.
Bridesmaids Photo gallery
by Anchor Bay
It’s hard to believe that The Howling franchise still exists. The first Howling film was a drive-in camp classic but the movies that followed were fun late night viewings on HBO at best. Well Anchor Bay is bringing us “an all new original chapter”, to quote the press release, in the series. Joe Nimziki directs the film which features Lindsey Shaw (10 Things I Hate About You), Landon Liboiron (Fox’s upcoming TV series Terra Nova) and Ivana Milicevic (Casino Royale, Vanilla Sky).
The Howling Reborn hits blu-ray and DVD on October 18! Read on to see the box art, a trailer, and get the official synopsis.
On the eve of his high school graduation, Will Kidman (Liboiron) finally looks up from his books to catch the eye of the girl he’s longed for the last four years –the mysterious Eliana Wynter (Shaw). He’s always been the shy kid, flying under the radar, but when he discovers a dark secret from his past— that he is heir to a powerful line of werewolves — he finds he has a choice to make between succumbing to his primal nature, or turning against his own, and maintaining his humanity. In order to fight the destiny of his legacy, and save Eliana – as well as himself – he must battle not only his growing blood lust but an army of fearsome beasts bent on killing him, Eliana…and then, us all.
Body of Proof: The Complete First Season (Release Date: September 20)
Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) was second to none – a brilliant neurosurgeon in a class all her own – but when her lifesaving gift is destroyed in a career-ending car accident, she reinvents herself as a medical examiner. Armed with keen instincts and vast medical knowledge, Dr. Hunt uses the victim’s bodies to tell the story of their lives and untimely death. The first season of this hit new series allows fans to relive the twists and turns of each case as Hunt seeks justice for every victim while also embarking on a journey of personal redemption.
DVD Bonus Features Include:
- “Examining the Proof” – Cast, crew and creators discuss the fascinating elements that go into making death look real with the help of research and a team of medical advisors
- “If Looks Could Kill” – From Dr. Megan Hunt’s high heels to Curtis and Ethan’s scrubs and wardrobe, go behind-the-scenes with costume designer Roberta Haze as she dresses the actors and creates looks that kill!
- “Body of Goofs” – The season’s hilarious blooper reel
To win this awesome box set simply click Submit and give us your name and mailing address. One lucky winner will be drawn randomly by the office monkey! Contest ends 9/22! Continental US residents only please!
Directed by Mathew Vaughn
Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon
The first X-Men movie was really the film that started the modern wave of super hero summer movies. It doesn’t hold up really great beside the new films but the second X-Men film works a lot better. The final film in that trilogy, X-Men United destroyed the franchise. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a bloated film with a few good moments but it didn’t revitalize the franchise the way Fox hoped. So, X-Men First Class was not only meant to be a reboot to the franchise but it was also meant to be redemption for the filmmakers and the franchise as a whole.
This film is connected to the original trilogy in some real story ways and some winking cameo ways too. These connections represent some of the biggest failings of the film. These connections force you to consider the continuity of the greater story of tying all four films together and it just doesn’t work. Tying all of the films together just rips giant plot holes in the character development of First Class. So, you’ll get the most out of X-Men First Class if you attempt to pretend not to see the ties to the other films. Once you’ve done that you’ll find X-Men First Class to be a fairly satisfying experience.
As the title infers this film focuses on the creation of the X-Men, the school, and of course the first class. The story follows the two principles in the X-Men universe; Professor X and Magneto. These two began as young friends and the film does a really solid job of defining these characters and building a relationship between them. They are true friends whose backgrounds cause their belief systems to diverge when the chips are down. The entire film survives or fails on the backs of these two characters and actors that play them. Fortunately the characters are brilliantly written and owned by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. These two actors are both at the top of their game here and in scenes where they are the only two characters it’s nearly impossible to tell who owns those scenes. The film could have literally been called Charles and Erik: The Early Years and it would have still been riveting without the other X-Men.
The story of the film follows Charles and Erik discovering their powers and deciding to bring others that are similarly “mutated” into their fold. All of this happens with the Cuban missile crisis building in the background. There has to be a bad guy pulling the strings and causing trouble and this time around he’s played by Kevin Bacon. Bacon is a true joy to watch in this film as he totally embraces the role of the bad guy and he chews the scenes in ways that he’s never done before. So, a story about super powered beings is a tough one to ground in reality. Vaughn and his writers made a fantastic decision when they decided to set the story steeped in a real world historic event and even made the characters an integral part of that bit of history. Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw doesn’t quite get the development of Magneto and Professor X but his influence on history, and Bacon’s portrayal of him, make him and the story overall extremely compelling.
Action scenes are suspenseful, exciting and executed near perfectly. There are several battles between mutants and even some with many mutants on screen simultaneously and it all looks great. The only real downfall of the film are some of the secondary X-Men either being somewhat poorly acted or simply getting some clunker lines to deliver. The biggest groaner comes from the scene where the young X-Men decide how they are going to get their codenames and share this information with Magneto and Professor X. There’s also a really painful one liner that plays out a couple of times in the film and it gets more painful each time it’s delivered. January Jones, who is a fantastic actress in Mad Men, is just awful as Emma Frost in this film.
Flaws aside this is still the best installment of the X-Men franchise and it’s the most deserving of a sequel. The ending of the film is exciting and the closing credits leave you wondering what comes next. Oh and there’s a well publicized cameo from Hugh Jackman in the film. That cameo is the funniest moment in the film. Yes it’s one of those winks to the previous films I mentioned but hey, it’s funny.
The 1080p presentation here is one of the best of the year so far. The image is crisp and clean with great attention to fine detail, solid contrast, consistent inky black levels with no loss of detail, and a near perfect rendition of the color pallet developed for the big screen. The only real issue with the video presentation is that it looks so great that a few instances of cheaper CGI are even more obvious on blu-ray than they were in the theater. On the big screen that extra layer of grain from watching the movie on film helped muddy the edges of weak CGI. If you want to show off your new TV this is the blu-ray to throw in though. It looks near perfect.
The DTS-HD Naster Audio track is as solid as the video presentation. X-Men First Class is full of action and those scenes light up the soundstage throughout the film. Special fx whiz from the front speakers to the back and low end rumbles in the submarine. Dialogue is crisp and clean throughout the film too. Even the quieter scenes feature some minor ambient noise in the rear speakers making the film truly immersive. This is a truly perfect audio presentation.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
For all of the work put into the audio and video presentation of this film the packaging for the 50 GB blu-ray and digital copy is well in a word, boring. The two discs come packaged in a standard amaray case with a slipcover. The slipcover and actual DVD cover feature Magneto and the bad guys on one side and Professor X and the good guys on the other. The art comes off like cheap teaser poster art and not packaging for a truly deluxe blu-ray release.
The bonus features presentation is similar to the packaging in that it looks boring but what’s inside is surprising in quality. There are in total a couple of hours of featurettes covering the making of the film from special fx, to production and behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes, cast and crew interviews and much more. The menu system for the bonus features really wants you to experience most of the short featurettes as you watch the movie. It’s one of those u control like situations where an icon appears onscreen during the film and you click the remote. The movie will pause and a brief featurette having something to do with the current scene in the movie will play then the movie will start back where you left off. I prefer to watch all of the featurettes together rather than experiencing them while I’m trying to enjoy the movie. The featurettes are highly informative but they don’t fit together in a cohesive way. One lengthy two hour documentary would have been preferable than these brief little snippets.
Outside of the featurettes (seven in all) there’s a gimmicky game and pop up trivia feature. The presentation for the bonus features could have been better but the information within these features is all really great stuff for fans of the film. One question though: where’s the commentary track???
X-Men First Class is absolutely the redemption for the franchise that Fox was looking for. Mathew Vaughn does a fantastic job of balancing character moments with action and grounding the characters. It’s not perfect but the flaws are minor ones. This is the best X-Men movie and one of the best super hero films ever made.
Overall (Not an Average) 9/10
The Movie 9/10
The Video 9/10
The Audio 10/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 8/10
Overall (Not an average) 9/10
Better late than never! We talk movie remakes, the death of Spartacus, and the new Spider-man!