Using the best elements of the past to give us the greatest X-Men movie yet
X-Men: Days of Future Past Movie Review
Singer has forged a superior ensemble epic bringing together old and new timelines seamlessly.He also erases the mess that was Brett Ratner's X-Men 3: The Last Stand, whilst continuing the great strides made by Vaughn's First Class. He even manages to reimagine a very different future for his X-Men - one which fans are almost certainly going to universally applaud. The crux to what makes Days of Future Past work so well is that Singer does not go for the standard ‘big bad’ alien invasion or grand-setpiece-conclusion that even Whedon’s unprecedented Avengers ensemble eventually devolved into, and instead remains set upon a strong and clearly defined dramatic story arc in which the characters stay true to themselves. He builds to a past/future climax which still boasts fantastic effects and jaw-dropping action, but is not defined by them. He still threatens – and even outright kills – big characters along the way, but he sees them go out with a bang, fighting to the end, and given the significant, dramatic conclusion that they deserve. He knows how to treat these characters, these classic stories, and thus this franchise’s fanbase, with respect – and it pays off in dividends.Certainly it’s great to see many of the old, familiar faces return to the franchise that they originally – and perhaps forevermore – defined, but actually its First Class’s lead stars that stand out in this piece, with McAvoy, Fassbender and even Jennifer Lawrence all given a chance to shine, as Hugh Jackman leads the crusade through time. Each has their own great character arc; each benefits from a distinct – and refreshing – lack of predictability, and all three come together to form the core of a tremendous First Class follow-up, which, once again, brings in relevant historical events from the 70s and sets the stage for the already-scheduled 2016’s release of the 80s-set sequel, Apocalypse. Of course, the film also not only benefits from a Terminator-esque time-travel story arc “the future is not set...”, but also from Terminator-esque unstoppable opponents; namely the T-1000-reminiscent Sentinels who deal out some serious pain. All of these ingredients Singer handles with consummate professional, resetting the course for this lost franchise with skill and vision.
X-Men: Days of Future Past Blu-ray Picture QualityX-Men: Days of Future Past hits UK Region Free Blu-ray with an expectedly stunning 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen. Detail is impressive throughout, with excellent fine object detail showing awareness of skin textures, clothing weaves and background flourishes, and no pursuant digital defects raising their ugly heads. Sure, there’s a hint of softness, although this seems more to do with the CG on offer than the Arri Alexa digital cinematography, which, itself, is largely flawless.
Popping with stunning detail, Days of Future Past offers a thoroughly impressive video presentation.
The colour scheme is obviously skewed by fairly overt grading, which is designed to juxtapose the cool blue/grey future sequences with the retro golden brown 70s past, but skin tones look healthy and there are still a fair few vibrant primaries on offer. Black levels are strong and allow for excellent darker sequences that still retain strong shadow detail. Overall, a standout effort, easily demo worthy and just shy of reference material.
X-Men: Days of Future Past Blu-ray Sound QualityThe DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track provided is just as impressive, offering a fantastic aural accompaniment which is both boisterous, bombastic and surprisingly well-nuanced in the more atmospheric sequences which require more acute surround activity. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout the proceedings, delivered from the fronts and centre channels, rising above and dominating the rest of the elements wherever required.
The audio presentation is just as impressive, as you would have perhaps expected.
Effects are punchy and powerful, particularly in the more effects-driven sequences, with Sentinels blasting and pounding at your walls; tearing your living room apart. Surround activity is noticeable and noteworthy, and the LFE channel gets a fair amount of input throughout, providing a welcome undercurrent which underpins the rest of the affair. Perhaps not quite the best audio track I’ve heard this year, this is still one of the top contenders, demo worthy in every way.
X-Men: Days of Future Past Blu-ray ExtrasOn the extras front things are marginally less clear-cut, mainly because we’re already well aware that Singer plans on giving us another extended cut release in 2015. It’s a shame that this announcement has already been made, tainting this release somewhat – as all double-dip announcements do – but the evidence that something was amiss is clear from the extras that are provided, which are, undeniably, underwhelming.
This extras package is still underwhelming even if we didn't know that there's going to be a 'Rogue' Extended Cut in 2015.
A few Featurettes are offered – a brief look behind the standout Kitchen Sequences; a look at the dual character presentations of key characters in Double Take: Xavier & Magneto; X-Men: Reunited looks behind the creation of this project and bringing back the old cast; Classification: M focuses on the supporting mutants; and Sentinels: For a Secure Future rounds out the Featurettes with a look at the villains of the piece. There’s a 6 minute selection of Deleted Scenes with optional commentary; a Gag Reel and a Gallery, with the disc rounded off by some Trailers, including an Exodus: Gods and Kings Preview, as well as a Second Screen App.
X-Men: Days of Future Past Blu-ray VerdictKudos to Singer for bringing us not just the best X-Men movie, not just one of the best superhero movies of the year, but one of the best movies of the year, and one of the best superhero flicks of all time. Action with impact, epic events with significance, stories with structure, and characters with depth. All in all, a blisteringly entertaining, breathtaking, and utterly satisfying blockbuster epic. Now, bring on Apocalypse.
It's hard to resist picking up one of the best movies of the year, even if we already know that there's an extended cut due in a few months.
This UK Region Free Blu-ray release boasts excellent video presentation and outstanding audio, as well as a selection of extras. It's a shame that it's overshadowed by the already-announced 'Rogue' Cut, which will undoubtedly boast at least a Commentary, if not a whole 'new' selection of extras which somehow didn't get included this time around. It's still a must-have movie, but will next year's release make this an unnecessary purchase?
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