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Bryan Singer
Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Michael Fassbender, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage
Writing Credits:
Simon Kinberg

The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

Box Office:
$200 million.
Opening Weekend
$90,823,660 on 3,996 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Russian DTS 5.1
Czech Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Ukrainian Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 131 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 10/14/2014
• Deleted Scenes
• “Kitchen Sequence”
• “Mutant Vs. Machine” Documentary
• Gag Reel
• “Double Take” Featurette
• “Reunited” Featurette
• “Classification: M” Featurette
• “Sentinels: For a Secure Future” Featurette
• Trailers
• Booklet


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


X-Men: Days of Future Past [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 6, 2016)

Back in 2000, Bryan Singer directed the first X-Men and helped kickstart the modern era of superhero movies. Singer also helmed 2003’s X-Men 2 but he let Brett Ratner take over 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand.

Via director Matthew Vaughn, the franchise returned to its origins with 2011’s semi-reboot X-Men: First Class. Singer returns to the series for 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, an effort that manages to combine the “throwback” cast of First Class with the actors from the first three X-Men films.

Past starts in a dark future in which robots called Sentinels hunt down both mutants and the “normal humans” who aid them. Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) leads his X-Men against the Sentinels but it seems likely they’ll lose this war.

We learn that the DNA of mutant Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) helped create the Sentinels back in 1973. Professor X wants to stop this at the source and the powers of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) can send someone’s consciousness into the recent past, but she believes that a trek all the way back to the Nixon era would kill the time traveler.

Except for Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), perhaps, as his regenerative abilities should allow him to survive the trip. Wolverine’s mind goes into the past to join with his circa 1973 body and stop the Sentinel program before it starts.

When I found out Vaughn wouldn’t come back for Past, I felt disappointed. I really liked First Class and thought it offered easily the best film of the X-Men franchise, so I wanted to see what else he could do with the characters.

I also wasn’t too excited to greet the return of the original X-Men franchise cast. That’s not meant as a slight on any of those actors, of course, as the first three movies boasted a whole lot of talent.

However, I thought those performers had run their course. We saw many of them in three films – even more for Jackman, who had a cameo in First Class and also starred in two separate Wolverine efforts – so I wanted a First Class 2 that focused on the new actors. Sure, they’d also be in Past, but they’d have to share the spotlight with the prior castmembers, which seemed like an unfortunate compromise.

And a bit of a cop-out, I think. While it didn’t do poorly, First Class earned less than any of the prior three X-Men films. Perhaps the powers that be always intended a crossover between “old” and “new” casts, but it feels like a panic move to ensure box office receipts.

The return of Singer comes across the same way. If you remove those first two X-Men movies, he’s not done all that well as a commercial director. 2006’s Superman Returns did muster $200 million in the US, but that ended up as a disappointment given expectations for the film.

Singer’s two subsequent efforts – 2008’s Valkyrie and 2013’s Jack the Giant Slayer - couldn’t even approach the $100 million mark, so I suspect the greener pastures of the X-Men franchise began to look pretty good to him.

Excuse the cynicism of the last few paragraphs, but given the direction I hoped the franchise would take after the delightful First Class, the decisions behind Past disappointed me, and the product on the screen didn’t change that attitude. While Past offers a decent X-Men adventure, I don’t think it ever becomes especially memorable or involving.

Perhaps it just bites off more than it can chew. Past boasts an astonishing cast, and that leaves it with a lot of mouths to feed. It can’t nourish all of them, so too many of the actors get left on the sideline.

At its heart, the movie focuses on Wolverine, Mystique and the young versions of Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). I don’t have a major issue with that concentration, though I think we could use less of Wolverine.

Except for First Class, Wolverine dominated the other X-Men movies, and he got his own adventures as well. I understand he’s the rock star of the X-Men, but his prominence in these movies feels a bit lazy, like those involved can’t imagine an X-Men tale that emphasizes anyone other than Wolverine.

The sluggish nature of the narrative doesn’t help. At the core, Past gives us a pretty simple story related to Mystique’s development/fate, but it conveys this tale in a rather plodding manner. Occasional moments enliven the proceedings, but too much of the movie progresses in a slow way that makes it less than enthralling.

Matters do pick up in the third act, but by that point, it threatens to be too late. I’ve now watched Past four times, and I continue to hope it’ll eventually click with me. So far that hasn’t happened. Though not without its positives, Past feels like a long journey that lacks a great payoff in the end.

Footnote: Past includes a post-credits sequence that hints at the next X-Men film.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus B-

X-Men: Days of Future Past appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a satisfying image.

From start to finish, sharpness looked good. Only the slightest hint of softness affected wide shots, and those examples occurred too infrequently to cause problems. Instead, the film looked concise and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws.

In terms of colors, the movie featured a palette that favored yellow, teal and orange. None of these tones became overwhelming, so the elements don’t overwhelm like often becomes the case in modern movies. Across the board, the hues looked fine within their design parameters. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I thought the movie consistently looked positive.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack, it offered a dynamic superhero experience. With a variety of action and ambient elements, the audio brought the events to life in fine fashion.

Battle sequences added the greatest punch, and the pieces used all the speakers to great advantage. Quieter scenes contributed good breadth and smoothness as well. All of this meant the audio filled out the spectrum in a nice manner.

Sound quality satisfied. Speech was natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music demonstrated good range and clarity as well. Effects worked the best of the bunch, as they were consistently dynamic and vivid. All in all, this was an active and engaging soundtrack.

Five Deleted Scenes run a total of five minutes, 36 seconds. We see “Farewell to Logan” (1:50), “Logan Attacks Hank” (0:59), “Nixon’s Tape Recorder” (0:29), “Sentinels Cancelled” (0:46) and “Logan Recovered (Alternate)” (1:32). None of these seem major, as they mostly offer minor tidbits. Some interesting material results, though, especially via a revelation about the future timeline’s Wolverine/Storm relationship.

We can watch the scenes with or without commentary from director Bryan Singer. He tells us basics about the clips and why he cut them in an efficient overview.

Note that Singer states we won’t find the deleted scenes in any other version of the film, and that holds true. The extended ”Rogue Cut” of Days includes none of these shots.

Kitchen Sequence lasts six minutes, 28 seconds and provides an odd behind the scenes look at that scene’s shoot. As he mentions in an intro, a vocal cord problem meant that Singer couldn’t speak in his normal voice – instead he had to use a falsetto. We watch the cast’s inability to stay focused in the face of Singer’s silly speech patterns.

After this we get a Gag Reel. It goes for five minutes, 40 seconds and presents the standard mix of goofs and giggles. Some of it entertains but it’s pretty average.

Some featurettes ensue. Double Take: Xavier and Magneto occupies 11 minutes, 51 seconds and offers info from Singer, screenwriter Simon Kinberg, producers Hutch Parker and Lauren Shuler Donner, and actors Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Patrick Stewart. “Take” focuses on the dual generations of performers who play Magneto and Xavier and related challenges. This doesn’t become a meaty piece, but it offers some insights.

With the nine-minute, 47-second X-Men: Reunited, we hear from Singer, Donner, Stewart, McKellen, Parker, Kinberg, McAvoy, Fassbender, and actors Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Shawn Ashmore, Daniel Cudmore, Ellen Page and Jennifer Lawrence. “Reunited” covers the mix of old and new actors. It offers minor details but usually just talks about how great everyone was.

Classification: M goes for 11 minutes, 54 seconds and includes Singer, Donner, Parker, Kinberg, SPFX supervisor Cameron Waldbauer, visual effects supervisor Richard Stammers, additional visual effects supervisor Matt Sloan, sound designer Warren Hendriks, supervising sound editor John A. Larson, sound designer Chuck Michael, stunt coordinator Jeff Habberstad, and actors Booboo Stewart, Omar Sy, Adan Canto, Evan Peters, and Fan Bingbing. This one looks at new characters/cast, but it emphasizes areas like effects and audio more than the actors. That makes it a surprisingly informative piece.

Next comes Sentinels: For a Secure Future. It lasts nine minutes, 19 seconds and provides comments from Kinberg, Donner, Singer, Stammers, Waldbauer, Parker, Lawrence, Hendriks, production designer John Myhre, assistant supervising sound editor Skip Longfellow, foley artist Dan O’Connell, rerecording mixer DM Hemphill, and actor Peter Dinklage. As expected, this one looks at the design and creation of the movie’s robotic creatures. It becomes a reasonable examination. Like “Classification”, it adds a nice array of details.

We also get a Gallery. Subtitled “Trask Industries”, this breaks into three areas: “Mutant Experiments” (14 stills), “Blueprints” (11) and “Sentinel Construction” (8). We find a moderately interesting array of images.

The disc opens with an ad for Exodus: Gods and Kings. We also get three trailers for Days. The 3D disc also presents a 3D version of the Exodus promo.

Finally, a booklet presents some fan art. It offers a cool collection of movie-related images.

In relation to the rest of the series, X-Men: Days of Future Past offers a middle of the pack experience. It keeps us moderately involved but it never turns into anything especially exciting. The Blu-ray brings us solid picture and audio along with a decent set of supplements. Past offers a watchable but not great superhero tale.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

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