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X-Men: The Last Stand(2006)
Experience the awesome power of The X-Men's epic, final battle. Join well-known mutant heroes and villains, and meet a cadre of all-new warriors — including Angel, Beast, Juggernaut and Colossus — in this thrilling, explosive adventure! After a controversial "cure" is discovered, mutants can choose to retain their superhuman abilities or give up their unique gifts and become "normal." When peaceful mutant leader Charles Xavier clashes with his militant counterpart, Magneto, the battle lines are drawn for the war to end all wars.
For more about X-Men: The Last Stand and the X-Men: The Last Stand Blu-ray release, see X-Men: The Last Stand Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on January 9, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin
Director: Brett Ratner
» See full cast & crew
X-Men: The Last Stand Blu-ray Review
The third film of the series and the first on Blu-ray is worth owning.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, January 9, 2008
The question is, will you control that power or let it control you?
The X-Men series of films have proven themselves to be among the elites of the comic book turned movie adaptations. Sporting a strong cast, well written stories, plenty of action and excellent direction by director Bryan Singer (Superman Returns), the first two films are in select company among the best of the genre. X-Men: The Last Stand is a film that became the subject of much speculation and controversy when Singer left the project before filming began to instead helm the aforementioned Superman film. After a search for a new director that included rumored candidates such as Alex Proyas (I, Robot) and Rob Bowman (Reign of Fire), Brett Ratner (Rush Hour 3) was brought on board. The result is a film considered by most to be the weakest in the series but a strong entry nonetheless into the lore of comic book movies.
X-Men: The Last Stand picks up where the second film left off. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen, Goldeneye) is dead and a new threat faces the X-Men: "the answer" for mutation. Some humans have deemed the cure a means of saving the mutants, allowing them to fully integrate into society by changing who they are fundamentally. The arch nemesis Magneto decides to gather his forces to attack the humans who wish to cure the mutants of their powers. The X-Men, of course, oppose the use of force, but team member Rogue (Anna Paquin, The Piano) buys into the cure as she longs to touch other people without bringing harm upon them. Meanwhile, Jean Grey appears out of the lake where she died in the second film, presumably killing her love, Cyclops (James Marsden, Enchanted) and becoming a being known as "The Dark Phoenix." Her powers are so great that they have morphed her into a being unable to control herself, letting only her darkest and most horrific powers and emotions loose, and killing off another prominent member of the X-Men in the process. Will she side with Magneto? Will the X-Men stop Magneto and return Jean to a state of normalcy? Both questions will be answered in an exciting finale.
This is certainly an entertaining movie, but it just doesn't reach the level of greatness of the first two films. Looked at in a vacuum and ignoring the existence of the first two films (only aware of their basic plots) this film looks very good, but in the context of the series, the drop off in quality is clearly discernible. The exit of director Bryan Singer was a major blow to the franchise, and the politics surrounding the hiring of his replacement have been well publicized and criticized. Ratner has delivered a film that is certainly worthy of the franchise and he continues the story in a logical and exciting manner, but the magic of the first two films is simply lost here, and the result is a fun popcorn movie that lacks the cleverness, spirit, and sense of awe that accompanied the first two. It feels like there is nothing we haven't seen already in this film and it becomes tedious at times. This film also introduces some characters from the comic book that we are meeting on screen for the first time, and it's no surprise that we see some of he "weaker" or perhaps better said "less interesting" mutants. A couple of them had me chuckling, like the "porcupine" mutant (Kid Omega) whose power allows his face to extend 8 inch long spikes. It came off as silly and, frankly, nearly worthless as a power. Other newly introduced mutants, like Angel, work better, but his character is not given sufficient time on screen so that we really care about his angle. It's a good one, and his character plays a role in the end of the film, but his angle is rushed as a subplot that didn't fit in completely with the rest of the story. However, this is a fun action film that is competently directed and acted with a lot of explosions and fun mutant on mutant on human brawling action.
X-Men: The Last Stand Blu-ray, Video Quality
X-Men: The Last Stand is a fine looking Blu-ray disc. This 2.40:1, 1080p transfer looks stunning from beginning to end. This image is of very solid clarity and high detail. I was very impressed with the blacks in this movie. They remained spot-on and consistently good throughout with a very true and natural looking dark and deep level. The movie was filmed in super-35 format, a film stock that is inherently grainy to begin with, so it comes as no surprise that a layer of grain overlays this image. I did not find it a distraction, but it is noticeable. Grain haters may not like this transfer, but do know it is supposed to be there and is not a fault of the transfer. Flesh tones looked mostly accurate and natural. This film has a very nice, natural, and lifelike look about it. Fox has been one of the most consistent studios in terms of releasing solid looking and sounding discs, and X-Men: The Last Stand fans are in for a treat. This is one very good looking release.
X-Men: The Last Stand Blu-ray, Audio Quality
X-Men: The Last Stand sounds as good as it looks. Presented in DTS-HD MA 6.1 lossless audio, this soundtrack is a nonstop barrage of comic book action. Currently, I can only decode the "core" 1.5 Mbps DTS track via my Playstation 3, but the results is still mind and ear numbingly good. The track is perhaps best described as completely enveloping and engrossing. This is an awesome sonic assault that will give your system a tough workout. The opening battle scene is marvelous with bass that rocks your seat, shakes your body, and rattles the windows. The remainder of the movies packs the same punch. If X-Men: The Last Stand is anything, it's a sonic masterpiece that will have you checking for shrapnel wounds every time you hear an explosion. The surrounds are more than simply active; they create a completely immersive and believable wartime experience during battle sequences and they form a pleasing and natural ambience during the calmer moments in the movie. This is a hard hitting and pulse pounding track that delivers on the promise and premise of the action movie genre as it sounds almost as good as it gets.
X-Men: The Last Stand Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Although the special features here may not be as in-depth as some fans would like, there is still a decent offering of extras to peruse after the movie is over. First up is a feature commentary track with Brett Ratner, Zak Penn, and Simon Kinberg. One of my favorite commentary tracks is Ratner's effort on the old Rush Hour DVD, and he provides another solid one here. This is your standard fare commentary track and with two writers chiming in, it comes as no surprise that the writing of the script is discussed quite a bit. The track is fairly entertaining, but unless you love this movie, I wouldn't bother listening for the entirety. The second track is a producers track featuring Avi Arad, Lauren Shuller Donner and Ralph Winter. This is a pretty boring track that rehashes much of what was discussed in the first track.
After the two commentary tracks the supplements get pretty thin. There are a dozen deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary by the participants of the first commentary track. The scenes are presented in 1080p with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The scenes combine for a total runtime of 9:13. There is also a trivia track that provides some informational nuggets in a small window throughout the film. Finally, trailers for this film, Fantastic Four, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Planet of the Apes conclude the special features.
X-Men: The Last Stand Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
X-Men: The Last Stand is the low point in the series, but it remains a solid, entertaining movie that might disappoint hardcore X-Men fans but should please general audiences as a hard hitting action movie with plenty of good special effects that showcase the powers of these mutants. The premise of the story is a good one that with some fleshing out could have been equal to the first two entries in terms of overall quality. This felt like a mostly recycled picture with nothing new to offer other than the basic plot and a few new mutants. In the end, it still winds up as a massive confrontation that is exciting but ultimately lacking in bringing another layer of depth to the franchise. For fans of the movie, this disc is technically astounding. We get top notch audio and video presentations. The supplements get rather short rather fast after the two commentary tracks, but what is included is mostly good. Despite not liking this movie as much as the first two, it was still a fun ride from beginning to end that delivered solid action. Recommended.
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