It’s no secret that X-Men Origins: Wolverine was supposed to be the first “Blockbuster film of summer” – and wasn’t. While it offered some visually striking scenes, and frankly, more Wolverine, there was a lot left that didn’t stoke the fires of love in the house of Wolvy fans everywhere.
While our coverage of the movie conveyed all you’ll need to know about the feature film in general, what follows is a special Screen Rant review of X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘s Blu-ray Special Features – an invasive, probing, look at the details NOT included on the regular DVD offerings, that promises to be at least as sharp as the steel tendrils that pumped adamantium into Wolverine himself. So like Wolverine, strap in, get prepped and ready as we crack the Blu-ray special features realm wide open here at Screen Rant.
The Cost: For those of you looking to spend $30-50 on a Blu-ray of X-men Origins: Wolverine, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Walmart, of all places, offered up the “Ultimate 3-Disc Edition” of this Blu-ray, complete with the Blu-ray disc, the DVD version and the always amorphous, DRM-ridden Digital Copy of the film (for portable/computer-based media players) for just $24. It’s the same price that I secured “The Dark Knight” for and even that offering didn’t include the DVD version of the film. It’s great to see little inserts like that and makes it a lot easier to plunk down $24, rather than the obligatory $14.99 for just the DVD version.
What You Get: Again, we’re all familiar with the movie that you can see both in the DVD and Blu-ray formats. The carryover in regard to resolution is outstanding on my plasma screen, making even the most heinous “bad effects shots” bearable. The contrast between dark and light is extraordinary. What you also get are some great special features that we’ll focus on here in this review.
DTS: It’s becoming more commonplace nowadays to offer up a DTS track in films. I can remember when there were a handful of movies that pushed this. Included in this track are some great environmental showcases using the array of speakers in your home theater. The opening montage of scruffy brothers Wolverine and Victor Creed battling across the ages has some extraordinary sound. The gargantuan end scene has some outstanding placement cues that make me realize I’m truly grinning and bearing the expense of my sound system a little easier. Tracks also included in this vein are a Spanish and Portugeuse version for those interested.
English Descriptive Audio: The English Descriptive Audio track is intended for Blind people to get a better conveyance of what’s being showcased on screen. I encourage everyone to give it a try, just to glean some perspective on what the blind use as a matter of course when it’s made available. Kudos to the powers that be for offering up a great track for those who are fans of X-Men and Wolverine.
Commentaries: The people that make the movie “go”: The commentary tracks featured inside this Blu-ray are worth the cost of the disc alone for me. I’ve always known that the people “Under the Hood” of a movie like this are infinitely more interesting when they’re telling people about the creation of something they’ve poured a lot of time and effort and often money into. While director Gavin Hood’s commentary provides some quiet introspection about his experience, and how he actually lobbied for some very different things and lines of thought inside the movie, the real golden stuff is in the subsequent track with producers Lauren Shuler Conner and Ralph Winter, who take you literally “Under the Hood” of each of the shots and details that I really do love to listen to while working on other things. I’d like to make a plea to other feature films of this caliber to add tracks like these into their films. I love the perspective, knowledge, how-tos, and details conveyed.
Captioning Subtitles: I’m not sure who was the master planner for this disc, but – how is it that the only subtitles or captions for this film – are in SPANISH, PORTUGUESE, CANTONESE and MANDARIN CHINESE? No closed captioning (because HDMI cables don’t carry the caption signal to fruition) and the only captioning is that for those living tens of thousands of miles away. If there was an “epic fail” in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, the X-Men Origins: Wolverine Blu-ray would be the item with the platinum record next to it.
For what it’s worth, none of the ads or special features on the Blu-ray feature subtitles or closed captioning either. A saving grace in the captioned section however is that the commentaries of both director Gavin Hood and another featuring producers Lauren Shuler Conner and Ralph Winter – which are both extraordinary. That they’re captioned is a great but smaller feature in the captioned cap. How on Earth did they miss subtitles in English?
(Pg. 2 for Special Features)
Included with another set of links to the commentaries from the three previously listed dignitaries, are a good set of features that stoke the fundamental fires of comic interest.
The Roots of Wolverine – A Conversation with Stan Lee and Len Wein: I work with another effort where we literally drop microphones between “2 Guys Talking” and record what they say during a variety of discussions. This two-man interview is just that: a couple of legends in the comic book business having a great conversation about the fundamental make up of Wolverine. When you consider the experience, talent, stories and knowledge conveyed here, this feature is all-too short to be sure. Included are a bits of Wolverine’s true origin, a complete disregard “for blogs” from both of these masters of Marvel, and breaking down how his original powers “worked” for Stan the Man. A great introspection for a man that wasn’t depicted inside of this Marvel offering.
Wolverine Unleashed – The Complete Origins Featurette: This is another great piece where we learn not only about the focus on impressing the “origins” about Wolverine in this movie to get it out of the way, but also that it was one of the edicts of the studio to get it on screen and out of the way. A series of behind the scenes and discussions showcase the interest in showing more detail of Wolverine’s origins and just how “badass” Wolverine is. There’s not only great discussion with and about Hugh, but with many of the other actors in the film. Mix in claw concept discussion, stunt detail and more, suddenly those of us that are hard-core Wolverine fans, have targeted another juicy but short steak to gnaw on.
Weapon X Mutant Files: Looking for a diamond in the rough in a Blu-ray? This series of quick visits to each of the characters inside the film (including the character of Stryker, gives you some great “what were they thinking” while making this movie – which is one of the largest questions asked by fans when this film was let loose in theaters. It includes a LOT of effects-based concept stuff.
The Thrill of the Chase: The Helicopter Sequence: I’ve learned that it took weeks to film this sequence and when you hear it explained, it makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is why this scene was so ridiculous in the film. It’s great to see the construction and “how’d they do that” but – wow.
Deleted and Alternate Scenes: There are almost 10 minutes of footage featured here, giving you four scenes that include a young Storm cameo in their raid on Africa, a strange appearance of Victor at John Wraith’s boxing gym, another series where Logan volunteers to let Stryker erase his memories via a strange electro-schock therapy and an Iron Man-like prologue in a Japanese bar.
Fox Movie Channel Presents World Premiere: When X-Men Origins: Wolverine launched in Tempe, Arizona, cameras were there to capture it all. Why? For those that did’nt know, Tempe won a contest to have the premiere be held there. This is the only feature that isn’t in high definition but it’s very short.
Ultimate X-Mode: This is the only feature on the Blu-ray DVD that lacks some polish. Those of you familiar with special feature will recognize this as the feature that allows you to “watch the feature film” and when you see one of a series of icons, you can then watch that piece as well. I think it’s a bit distracting but it all falls into the “more information about the making of the movie is a good thing” vein.
Fox on Blu-Ray: Had I mentioned that the advertisements for the movies featured on the front of this Blu-ray weren’t closed captioned or subtitled? Well, neither are any of these advertisements, featured on the tail end of the features selections of this Blu-Ray.
And now it’s time to tell us what you think of the features listed above. Do they add value to the “kind of cool” X-Men Origins: Wolverine? Discuss below!