X-Men: Days of Future Past Blu-ray Review
When Bryan Singer reimagined the world of the X-MEN for the big screen in 2000, Fox was the only known commodity in super-hero films. Now almost 15 years later the X-MEN films have had continued box office success despite some meandering storylines and questionable filmmaking since he stepped away from the director’s chair for the series following 2003’s phenomenal X-MEN 2. With Singer returned to the director’s seat for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST he had to do something perhaps more difficult than introducing the world to a group of superheroes; he was tasked with melding together two disparate universes of X-MEN films (the original, older cast and the new, younger one) to create a cohesion from the mess the property has become since he stopped directing them. What results is a roller coaster 2 hours but thanks to some incredible acting I’m happy to say he is largely successful. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is a great, fun ride.
The future is a bleak canvas where both mutants and humans have been hunted to the brink of extinction by the sentinel program. At the end of their ropes, Professor X and Magneto (the amazing Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen reprising their roles) have only one idea. To change this future they have to rewrite their history and stop Raven/Mystique from committing her first murder. Assembling a huge cast spanning the entire X-MEN universe to this point, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is a true sequel to both the wonderful X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and the awful X-MEN: THE LAST STAND. Thankfully, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST merges the two in a beautiful way where there is little, but believable, crossover and a fairly simple and elegant solution to what could have been a horrific time travel plot device.
Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), as the only member who can possibly survive the trip, is sent back into his younger body to try to help reunite Charles and Erik (McAvoy and Fassbender), who have been on very different paths since their violent clash at the end of X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. To find and stop Mystique they will have to work together… but Erik is locked in a remote prison and Charles no longer has his powers. Things couldn’t look bleaker for the chances for these men to come together but somehow it all works BECAUSE it’s Logan who has to come back – something about his no-nonsense attitude and brutal honesty make him the perfect choice to help save the past.
But even with these things working for it, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST could suffer the same fate as a thousand confused science-fiction movies. Thankfully it doesn’t because of the stellar acting of the cast. This marks the seventh time Jackman has donned the claws of the Wolverine and this is his strongest work. Where the character felt lived in as early as his first performance in the original X-MEN movie, Logan is now a fully-realized flesh and blood extension of Jackman. McAvoy and Fassbender, two incredible actors in their own right, still had to deal with the unenviable task of inheriting roles from elder-statesmen Stewart and McKellen. Both delivered strong performances in FIRST CLASS but they have equally come into their own here and for a time travel, comic book, event movie X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST feels far more authentic and organic than many Oscar-nominated dramatic films.
In addition to the great performances X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is a further example of director Bryan Singer’s incredible talent. Singer is a master of creating a believable world around phenomenal acting (see: THE USUAL SUSPECTS) and here he brings his full arsenal to bear. Both of the worlds with which we are presented feel like authentic alternates to our own world. Re-imagining the X-universe through a time-travel plot was perilous at best but Singer pulls it through deftly by using available technologies to create scenes that don’t feel or look like CGI.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST really accomplished something special in melding together the two casts in a coherent story that somehow doesn’t fall apart upon repeated viewings. If you are a fan of the X-MEN films, of Wolverine, even time travel pictures, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.40:1) The clarity of the HD picture for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is breathtaking and immersive and actually enhances the presentation of the time-faded scenes and other ways they chose to present the film.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) The audio for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is immersive and incredibly mixed.
Deleted Scenes (05:36) Presented with and without Audio Commentary by director Bryan Singer, these scenes are just things that had to be cut from X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. I very much enjoyed these scenes but also understand why Singer chose to cut them from the final film.
Kitchen Sequence (06:28) Several snippets present a really interesting scene, along with director Bryan Singer introductions. The ‘Kitchen Sequence’ is a great example of how good a filmmaker like Singer is at his craft; while the sequence provides some nice context and is equal to many scenes that would have simply been included in lesser films (or films from lesser talents). Instead Singer gives us a look into his creative process for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST and shows us how even a great scene could have slowed the pace and ultimately hurt the final film.
Gag Reel (05:40) X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST includes a gag reel that’s pretty standard fair but could have easily not been included. Not bad but not required viewing.
Double Take: Xavier and Magneto (11:51) A great featurette on X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST this one focuses on the four men playing these two roles across time. Absolutely worth the time.
X-Men: Reunited (09:47) This feature looks at how Singer planned and ultimately reunited the casts for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.
Classification: M (11:54) A short feature that provides some context and background on some of the lesser-known mutants in the film. For big fans of the X-MEN films or comics.
Sentinels: For a Secure Future (09:19) The Sentinels get their moment in the sun in this feature included on the Blu-ray disc of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. An interesting but not mandatory special feature.
Gallery: Trask Industries X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST allows us to view some of the imagery created for the film focusing on the experiments on mutants, blueprints, and sentinel construction. These are the kinds of things I like to see because they provide this completely otherworldly background and a look into all the work behind the scenes required to make something like this come to life.
The X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Blu-ray also includes access to additional content through a second screen app that pairs with the Blu-ray, theatrical trailers from additional features, and both a iTunes Digital Copy and an UltraViolet DigitalHD Digital Copy.