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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

X-Men First Class [Blu-ray]

 

(Matthew Vaughn, 2011)

 

   

   

   

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: 20th Century Fox

Video: 20th Century Fox

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:31:38.796

Disc Size: 47,098,276,475 bytes

Feature Size: 33,196,861,440 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.79 Mbps

Chapters: 17

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 9th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3915 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3915 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
* Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
* Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
* Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
* Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

Disc 1:

Theatrical Feature Blu-ray
X Marks The Spot
Composer's Isolated Score
Cerebro: Mutant Tracker
Children of the Atom – 8 Part Featurette Series (13:14)
Deleted Scenes (14:07)

Disc 2:

Digital Copy

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: X-Men: First Class is the thrilling, eye-opening chapter you’ve been waiting for...Witness the beginning of the X-Men Universe. Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their superhuman powers for the first time, working together in a desperate attempt to stop the Hellfire Club and a global nuclear war.

***

X-Men: First Class follows the classic Marvel mythology, charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga. Before Charles... Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-Men.

***

X-Men: First Class brings together the epic scale and action of a classic blockbuster with a character driven story that unveils the beginning of the X-Men saga--and a secret history of the Cold War and our world at the brink of nuclear Armageddon. As the first class discovers, harnesses and comes to terms with their formidable powers, alliances are formed that will shape the eternal war between the heroes and villains of the X-Men universe. The British dream team behind Kick-Ass--director Matthew Vaughn and writer Jane Goldman--are joined by a stellar cast including James McAvoy (Wanted), Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds), Nicholas Hoult (A Single Man) and Jason Flemying (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) in one of the biggest comic book blockbusters. 

 

 

The Film:

Judge “X-Men: First Class” not on the color of its mutants’ skin but on the content of its characters.

In Matthew Vaughn’s eagerly awaited prequel to the filmed adaptations of Stan Lee’s iconic comic books, even the strangest-looking genetic outliers take on disarmingly human frailties, quirks and admirable qualities. Charles Xavier, whose benevolent persona was channeled by a paternal Patrick Stewart in previous “X-Men” movies, turns out to have been a bit of a Carnaby Street Lothario back in the swingin’ London of the 1960s. Raven, also known as Mystique, was once just a teenage girl with skin that tended to break out (albeit in blue scales). And who knew that Magneto — Xavier’s nemesis — could be worthy not just of understanding but sympathy?

Actually, “X-Men” fans probably know all this, and they’re the ones who will be best served by “First Class,” which begins, like the comic book series itself, in 1944. That’s when a young German boy named Erik Lehnsherr watches his parents being hauled off to Auschwitz. In a fit of fear and rage, he bends the metal gate separating him from his family, commanding the attention of a scientist eager to harness young Erik’s telekinetic powers.

Excerpt from Ann Hornaday of the The Washington Post located HERE

After a close call with franchise death (diagnosis: anemia), the X-Men film series has bounced back to life with its fifth installment, rescued with a straight injection of pop. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, “X-Men: First Class” reaches back to the early 1960s for an origin story of mutants, mad men and mods that takes some of its cues from James Bond and more than a few costumes from Austin Powers. Like “Mad Men,” this new “X-Men” indulges in period nostalgia as it gazes into the future, using the backdrop of the cold war (and its turtlenecks) to explore how the past informs the present (while also blowing stuff up).

Like the first “X-Men,” this one opens in the 1940s in a Nazi concentration camp, where a young Erik Lehnsherr tries to destroy a metal gate that’s separated him from his parents with what appears to be the power of his mind and his anguish. It’s a futile endeavor, but one that attracts the attention of a tea-sipping sadist first called Dr. Schmidt and later Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon, enjoying himself), whose venality earns Erik’s wrath. His anger and Shaw’s evil drive a story that leaps from World War II to the cold war when, as the United States and the Soviet Union play a rigged game of chicken, the adult Erik (Michael Fassbender) will brood across a chessboard at a future nemesis, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy).

Excerpt from Manohla Dargis of the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

X-Men First Class looks pretty darn sweet on Blu-ray from Fox.  The image quality shows precise proportions of everything that makes a strong image.  This dual-layered and I suspect gives an authentic reflection of what the film was like theatrically. Contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels, special effects are seamless enough to demand attention and the visuals showcase some impressive detail - most notable in close-ups. If there are any flaws - I can't identify them. It looked highly impressive on my system. No one was turning their head away.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The audio is as good as the impressive video with a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a whopping 3915 kbps. Jackman's rhythmic and pulsating score, also available isolated, runs through your head for hours after viewing. Aggression in the film is dealt with dynamically exporting effects supporting well separated, crisp sound while also maintaining the powerful, depth of the score. There are optional subtitles.

 

Extras :

A very healthy collection of extras including an X Marks The Spot feature covering a variety of production topics, Henry Jackman's isolated score (no, he can't be related to Logan, who makes a 30-second cameo in the film), an untested Cerebro: Mutant Tracker interactive extra, 14-minutes of fun deleted scenes and the 8-part featurette series Children of the Atom. Plenty to amuse and intrigue the fans and a Digital copy disc is included for use with your portable devices.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I think I might rank this right up there with X-Men 2 as being the top of the heap. I still have my X-Men comic book collection (#94-132) sitting in mylar bags - so I am probably biased as to my opinion on the film. Critics gave a 'ho-hum' thumbs up - but this was geared to the mutant-loving fans. The Blu-ray is a super package and, is it just me, but are these discs coming out sooner and sooner from theatrical release dates? No complaints from moi - X-Men First Class is an engrossing rehash of the mutant super-hero evolution fable - told with some intelligent swings in storyline but the premise, that gives the entire series a Shakespearian edge, was left in-tact to continue down the road of adventure - battling evil and, of course, prejudice! I loved every minute. 

Gary Tooze

August 31st, 2011

 

   

   

   

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

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Gary W. Tooze

 

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