X-Men Origins: Wolverine (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
September 22, 2009 by Dennis Amith
“Action-packed and all out entertaining. Hugh Jackman is just incredible as Logan and a film where we get Victor Creed, the Blob and Wade Wilson (pre-Deadpool), that’s just awesome! ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ looks and sounds spectacular via High Definition on Blu-ray and is loaded with special features. For X-Men and Wolverine fans… Definitely recommended!”
© 2009 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine
DURATION: 107 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, AVC $ 22MBPS, Widescreen 2:35:1, Subtitles: English SDH, Cantonese, Mandarin, Portuguese
COMPANY: Twentieth Century Fox
RATED: PG-13 (Intense Sequences of Action and Violence, and some Partial Nudity)
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Directed by Gavin Hood
Screenplay by David Benioff and Skip Woods
Executive Producer: Richard Donner, Stan Lee
Producers: Hugh Jackman, John Palermo, Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter
Co-Producers: Louis G. Freedman, Peter MacDonald
Associate Producer: Whitney Thomas
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Cinematography by Donald McAlpine
Editing by Nicolas De Toth and Megan Gill
Casting by Christine King, Debra Zane
Production Design by Barry Robison
Art Direction by Michael Diner, Brian Edmonds, Ian Gracie, Helen Jarvis, Karen Murphy, Mark Robins
Set Decoration by Rebecca Cohen, Sandy Walker
Costume Design by Louise Mingenbach
Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine
Victor Creed as Liev Schreiber
William Stryker as Danny Huston
John Wraith as Will.i.Am
Lynn Collins as Kayla Silverfox
Kevin Durand as Fred Dukes/Blob
Dominic Monaghan as Chris Bradley/Bolt
Taylor Kitsch as Remy LeBeau/Gambit
Daniel Henney as David North/Agent Zero
Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool
Tim Pocock as Scott Summers
Julia Blake as Travis Hudson
Troye Sivan as James Howlett
Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier
You’ll go “berserker” for this pulse-pounding action thriller that sinks razor-sharp adamantium claws into the mysterious origins of Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Discover his epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed/Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber), his encounters with new, legendary X-Men and the ominous Weapon X program that unleashes his primal fury!
With the X-Men films becoming too expensive to feature all its stars, it has become more logical to focus on the storyline of each of the main characters. And what best than to feature one of the more popular characters in the Marvel and X-Men universe, Wolverine.
Taking the helm as director is actor, Gavin Hood (“Thug”, “The Storekeeper” and “Stas and Nel Adventures”), with a screenplay by David Bennioff (“The Kite Runner”, “Troy”) and Skip Woods (“Hitman” and “Swordfish”). Joining the men is composer Harry Gregson-Williams (“Deja Vu”, “Shrek the Third” and “Gone Baby Gone”) and cinematographer Donald McAlpine (“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, “Peter Pan”, “Anger Management” and “Moulin Rouge!”).
The film focuses on James Logan’s past and how he became to be the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, “X-Men” films, “Australia”, “Deception). During the 1800′s, two mutant boys – Logan and Victor Creed (Liev Schrieber, “Defiance”, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “Taking Woodstock”) have literally grown up with each other, without hardly aging and have a wild ferocity within them, which leads them to be part of many wars during the 1800′s and 1900′s.
Due to Victor’s hot temper, both Victor and Logan are put into prison but are rescued by a government official named William Stryker (Danny Huston, “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People”, “30 Days of Night” and “The Kingdom”) who offers them freedom and a job if they join his special team.
The two immediately take the offer and join other mutants such as the mouthy assassin Wayde Wilson (Ryan Reynolds,”Adventureland”, “The Proposal”, “The Nines”), the teleporting John Wraith (played by Black Eyed Peas member Will.i.Am), the very strong Fred Dukes (Kevin Durand, “Lost”, “Winged Creatures”, “3:10 to Yuma”), the electricity controlling human, Chris Bradley (Dominic Monaghan, “Lost”, “Lord of the Rings” films) and the weapons specialist known as Zero (Daniel Henney, “Spring Waltz”, “My Father” and “Seducing Mr. Perfect”).
The team must work together in obtaining a meteor fragment but when going to an African village, Stryker authorizes Logan to kill innocent people which Logan tries to put a stop to. Disgusted with the team, he leaves his brother Victor and begins his new life.
Six years later and Logan lives with his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins, “True Blood”, “Nothing is Private”) in Canada. The two are very much in love and works as a logger. Meanwhile, we get a glimpse of Victor going after one of his former teammates and killing him. One day, Stryker and Zero pay Logan a visit at his work-site and tell him that one of their own is hunting them all down and that Stryker needs his help. Logan has no desire to.
But one day, Logan senses Victor is nearby. He immediately feels that something terrible must have happened to Kayla. As Logan rushes to check if she’s OK, he spots their car with deep scratches on the metal. And then sees Kayla’s bloody body lying on the ground. He realizes that she is dead and now, Logan wants revenge against Victor and will do all it will take to get his revenge.
“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, the Blu-ray Ultimate 2-Disc Edition comes with two discs. The main disc is the Blu-ray, while the second disc is a digital copy.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is presented in 1080p High Definition with an AVC @ 22MBPS. The picture quality is quite solid with the skin pores of both Hugh Jackman and Liev Schrieber coming quite nicely on the HD transfer. The grittiness, the sweat, the grime, the vibrancy is also well-captured in the film. Blacks are nice and deep and with the film being shot outdoors, the areas that Logan visit are quite detailed. I didn’t see any compression artifacts or major scratches or dust on the video transfer.
The audio is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (also English, Spanish and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital and French 5.1 DTS). The lossless audio track is absolutely awesome. From Zero’s gunfire, Logan’s adamantium claws making the “snickt” sound, Wade’s swords as it deflects the bullets and Victor’s attacks and his growls, it’s all captured and sounds incredible. Also, there are plenty of action-scenes that really showcase the surround channels and a good amount of LFE is utilized. From the explosions to the gunfire, home theater owners should be happy with the Blu-ray lossless soundtrack as some scenes sound quite immersive.
As expected, Twentieth Century Fox has done a great job with the video and audio transfer for “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin and Portuguese.
“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” comes with the following special features:
- Commentary by Gavin Hood - Audio Commentary by the director Gavin Hood. For the most part, Hood does a great job in providing the details to the film. A very informative audio commentary.
- Commentary by Producers Laura Schuler Donner and Ralph Winter – There are some interesting details about certain scenes and what went on to create those scenes via the producers perspective. The only problem is that Donner and Winter have too many silent moments in where they are not talking. So, it can be a bit distracting.
- The Roots of Wolverine: A Conversation with Stan Lee and Len Wien - (16:16) Both Stan Lee and Len Wien discuss the X-Men, Wolverine as a character, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and the history of the character. An informative featurette in regards to the comic books. For some reason, I felt that Stan Lee was not his jovial self.
- Wolverine Unleashed: The Complete Origins – (12:02) Interviews with the director, producers, Hugh Jackman in regards to shooting the film, origins of Wolverine, training, making his claws and the set.
- Weapon X Files – This segment features each talent in character talking about themselves and then we hear from the director/producer about what they wanted to accomplish with their character and special effects that went into the making of that character. Probably my favorite was the featurette on Kevin Durand’s Blob and what went into making the fat suit.
- Victor Creed/Sabretooth (7:25)
- William Stryker (4:25)
- John Wraith (4:15)
- Kayla Silverfox (3:26)
- Fred Dukes/Blob (7:18)
- Bradley (3:18)
- Remy Lebeau/Gambit (9:08)
- Agent Zero (3:45)
- Wade Wilson/Deadpool (7:10)
- Emma (Kayla’s Sister) (3:25)
- The Thrill of the Chase: The Helicopter Sequence – (5:53) The making of the helicopter sequence.
- Ultimate X-Mode – While watching the film, viewers can watch the director, producers and cast talking about the film via picture-in-picture.
- Deleted & Alternate Scenes – (9:30) With optional commentary by director Gavin Hood, Hood introduces four deleted and alternate scenes which include: Young Storm, Victor at the boxing ring, Alternate Memory Erase Sequence and a Japanese Bar Scene.
- Fox Movie Channel Presents: World Premiere – (6:20) The “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” debut in Tempe, Arizona (The contest winners of where the red carpet premiere took place).
- X-Men on Blu-ray: Trailers for X-Men Trilogy and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”.
- BD-Live Lookup – With a BD-Live enabled Blu-ray player, viewers can access up-to-date information on actor filmographies, information related to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” on imdb (The Internet Movie Database).
I literally grew up with the “X-Men” and “Wolverine” comic books when I was younger. During the 80′s, you had your American superheroes but Wolverine represented a character that was just exciting, deadly and literally kickass.
Since the release of the three X-Men films, I have no doubt in my mind that Hugh Jackman was the best casting decision made for the character. He embodies the character completely and the amount of discipline he puts in working out and being Logan is just incredible and it shows in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”.
For the most part, the film is full of action and full of characters. The excitement is there, the killer instinct of both Logan and Victor are there and of course, we have pre-Deadpool Wade Wilson in the film as well, along with many other characters that makes this film fun and exciting. And to feature a storyline that revolves around Logan’s origin is not easy. After all, having followed the comic books for so long, I think even writers had their challenge of how the Weapon X program would be and even today, just seeing how things have evolved with the program is just staggering. So, before watching the film, I did have my reservations of how muddled the plot could be.
Fortunately, the filmmakers took a different approach and created their own storyline with some aspects of the comic book still part of the storyline. Keeping things simple and for the most part, for those who are not familiar with the comic books, at least exciting enough to understand where Logan came from and why he and Victor have had this dysfunctional relationship.
For the most part, Jackman is just great as Logan/Wolverine and Liev Schreiber can always play the definitive bad ass. Danny Huston as Stryker was quite effective and Lynn Collins as Kayla Silverfox did a great job as well. As for Taylor Kitsch (“Friday Night Lights”) as Remy Lebeau/Gambit, that was quite interesting but for the most part, I felt that Kitsch did a good job albeit the thick French accent that Gambit exhibits in the comic books and people are so used to hearing from the X-Men animated series. The others have small roles such as “LOST” and “Lord of the Rings” actor Dominic Monaghan as Bradley and Black Eyed Peas member Will.i.am also ventures to the acting world, appearing onscreen (instead of voice as he did in “Madagascar 2″). But one of the exciting parts of this film was seeing the Blob (Kevin Durand) and of course, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds). It was great to see on the Blu-ray of how they came up with the Blob’s outfit and of course, having Wade Wilson in the film. It’s important to note that if you are a fan of Wade Wilson, make sure you watch through the ending credits.
With all my gushing about how much I enjoy this film, one must wonder if I have any negatives. Well, what I didn’t like about the film was the overuse of CG, in which some scenes looked a bit too unrealistic. Also, the tweaking of the Wade Wilson character was a bit too much for my taste. I can understand some hardcore fans who may have a problem with the comic book continuity and how the film has quite a few differences but personally, many super hero films has its differences from its comic book counterpart that its not surprising anymore. As long as the soul of the characters are intact and the storyline is well-presented, it’s good enough for me.
As for the Blu-ray release, the film definitely gets a wonderful HD transfer as picture and audio quality is solid. A good number of special features are included, as well as a slipcase and a digital copy of the film.
With that being said, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is a good superhero film with a lot of action. Was it as deep and entertaining like “The Dark Knight Returns”, my answer is no. But I definitely enjoyed it more than the third X-Men film and even the “Hulk” related films. I felt that the storyline focused on Logan/Wolverine, his rivalry with Victor Creed quite well. If anything, it’s the CG that tends to be overdone at times that bothered me a bit but for the most part, I did enjoy watching the film.
But after watching the awesome Blu-ray version and seeing the film in High Definition and watching the special features, that actually enhanced my perspective towards the film. A lot went into the making of this film and to see that Hugh Jackman did most of his own stunts, that is incredible.
Overall, if you are a fan of Wolverine and the previous X-Men films, definitely give “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” a try. Definitely worth recommending!
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