The X-Men (2000)
4th June 2001
In a time when race and religion no longer separate people, politicians now perceive a more serious threat from the emerging mutants in the population. One such American politician, Senator Robert Jefferson Kelly, is proposing the creation a register containing all mutants so that the government can know what strange, and sometimes deadly, characteristics they posses.
One such mutant, Professor Charles Xavier, decides to help all mutants by starting a special school for these "gifted" children whilst waiting for humanity to be more accommodating to their special powers. However, Erik Magnus Lehnsherr, a previous colleague and friend of Xavier is more suspicious of man and sets up his own group of mutants to oppose all of mankind. He doesn't like to be thought of as different, and for good reason. During the second world war in Nazi Germany he was separated from his family, and whilst they were put to death in the gas chambers he was used as slave labour.
Magneto is planning something special for the biggest gathering of world leaders in New York. He plans to change these leaders and the population of New York from "normal" people into mutants in order to create a mutant-only world. Now Xavier and his band of mutants Cyclops, Storm and Wolverine must battle with Magneto and his band of mutants before his can unleash his mutating machine on New York.
The picture on both discs is simply stunning with bright, rich and vibrant colours, with the region two PAL edition just taking the edge. The continuously high bit-rate gives a tremendous amount of detail in all of the scenes, especially in the dark and gloomy ones leading up to the finale, and there's no sign of artifacting or picture noise whatsoever. The CGI's are excellent and you get so involved with the film that you don't really notice them as such.
The sound is equally impressive on both discs, with plenty of effects in the surround channel giving your surround system a good workout. Many action films simply use the surround channel because it is there, however X-Men manages to use the channel intelligently with plenty of ambient effects plus those to be expected with an action film. The dialogue is locked in the centre channel without any bleeding to the other channels and there's plenty of LFE's to rattle those pictures.
The menus are nicely animated on both editions, and if you are lucky there are a couple of Easter eggs to discover, although I couldn't find the brilliant hidden clip on the region two edition. The extras are also good with both editions including the Mutant Watch featurette and an extended branching version of the film which includes a number of Deleted Scenes which can also be accessed directly from the menu.
I actually enjoyed this film more on the small screen than on the large and you don't have to be a fan of the X-Men comic books to enjoy the film - I've never seen an X Men comic in my life. The superb picture and sound really enhances this film and along with the excellent menus, a decent set of extras and the fact that it is a damn good action film, it lifts it above many of the run-of-the-mill comic-book to film conversions.
Director Bryan Singer certainly sets the stage for the sequel that should turn X-Men into the strongest comic-book franchise since the all conquering Batman. You should really add this disc to your collection.