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.
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)