X-Men: First Class Blu-Ray Review

September 22, 2011

With all of the tom foolery going on at Netflix, it’s time to watch a Blu-ray. Not every movie is Blu-ray worthy, but X-Men: First Class definitely is. Of the entire series of live-action X-Men films, this one has the strongest story. It covers the origins of the X-Men, of how Professor X and Magneto became who they are and their complex relationship. Relationships are really what this movie’s about. What’s amazing is how many story lines and relationships the film successfully conveys in just over two hours. Set in the 1960s, the film’s backdrop is the Cuban Missile crisis giving the film a Sean Connery Bond-esque feel. Of course, there’s lots of great special effects too.

If you’re a comic book purist, the X-Men movies don’t hesitate to make changes such as rearranging the timelines of the mutants. One of the mutants featured is Havoc, who is supposed to be the younger brother of Cyclops. It does attempt to stay true to the previous X-Men movies. Cameos from both Hugh Jackson and Rebecca Romijn (who you will miss if you sneeze) create continuity.

X-Men: First Class takes advantage of what the Blu-ray can offer for picture and sound. The visuals are stunning. Color is balanced with fine detail in the picture. With the right HDTV and Blu-ray player, it will display in the film’s native 24 frames per second. There were no apparent visual artifacts while watching the film. The soundtrack by Henry Jackman gives a lot of depth to the film and its emotion (I landed up purchasing it separately). There was also good balance between soundtrack, effects and dialog making it easy to hear everyone during the film. There’s an option on the disc to just play the soundtrack without the dialog.  Our Blu-ray player properly selected the DTS Master audio track.
The set also comes with a digital copy of the film that can be imported into iTunes. Once there, you can sync it to all of your iDevices to watch on-the-go. While the digital copy is handy for on-the-go viewing, it’s not good enough for the big screen. The digital copy has a resolution of 853 × 362 at 1.5 MBps in 2 channel stereo sound. It would be nice if the digital copy came closer to the iPad’s native screen resolution. While you can stream it to your Apple TV, use the Blu-ray disc instead.
Before X-Men: First Class, I’ve never bothered to try out the BD-Live features on a disc before. Well, in the case of X-Men: First Class, you’re not missing much. There’s an extra behind-the-scenes feature and more mutants will become available over time in the Cerebro Mutant Tracker (BD-Live is not required to run the mutant tracker just to update it). The Cerebro mutant tracker is fun, but if you haven’t seen all of the X-Men movies, you may want to stay away from it
There’s a decent collection of other extras that come with the movie. There’s a bunch of deleted scenes which would have disrupted the tight story-line. If you’re interested in film making there’s lots of extras on how the film was conceived, cast, make-up done and how the film’s “dailies” were produced. For the Mad Men fans out there, the feature titled “Retro Cool” shows how this movie recreated the 60s look.
I’m a fan of video streaming since there’s lots of movies I can do with only seeing once. For me, Blu-ray is reserved for films that have great visuals and dynamic soundtracks. It’s also reserved for something I would want to see a second time. X-Men: First Class fits that bill. X-Men: First Class is available at Amazon. With the purchase of the Blu-ray, Amazon is kicking in a $5 credit towards Amazon Instant Video.
X-Men: First Class on Blu-ray

Tags: Blu-ray, review, X-Men

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