X-Men: The Last Stand Blu-ray Review
Movies reviewSRP: £24.79
PictureWhen I originally wrote my SD review, I pondered on how an HD version would improve the image as the SD one was fantastic (no comic related pun intended). Well, to be honest, this is a disappointment. The image has a graininess in the transfer, which is frustrating as I don't recall it being present in the SD edition. This somewhat takes the edge of what could have been a superb transfer. The depth of field is improved, but all is not great here either. In some shots it's still not as detailed either compared to other HD titles we've seen, although the movie does use quite a few soft-focus backdrops which while it limits the impressiveness of the new formats, isn't a fault of the technology, rather the movie itself.
It is however, a much sharper, crisper transfer which does suffer from occasional pixilation and even worse, slight pulsating. I checked this via both component and HDMI to ensure it wasn't a cable issue, but it was the same on both. The actual worse part of this disc is how the quality in scenes fluctuates, in a similar manner to the HD editions of “Tomb Raider”. One moment the scene is razor sharp and looks great, the next its slightly softer and this makes it feel like the deleted scenes are being inserted constantly. Colours are fine, with blacks being suitably dark and bright colours are suitably vivid. I still cringe that Jean Grey's hair is a purple-ish colour rather than being the orange-red it should have been though, but the colouring here is spot on. It's worth noting that the box tells us that the movie is encoded at 18mbps using AVC instead of Sony's preferred choice of MPEG2, although this is only a single layer disc. That said, the video presentation should have been much better than this.
SoundThe disc boasts a 6.1 DTS ES HD soundtrack, but sadly the Samsung can't output that, so I have to settle for a down sampled version. The good news is this is every bit as dynamic as the original SD DTS version, but the bad news is that it's not as impressive as other HD titles. With dialogue being crisp throughout, bass being superbly punchy and surrounds being utilised very effectively during the action sequences as well as during the more subdued scenes, there should be no grumbles from the perspective that it matches its predecessor. From the scene where Jean is reborn, we notice the dynamics in the soundtrack - the punch of LFE from the crash of water, the sound of the water flowing from rears to the front and the dialogue seconds before this bouncing from speaker to speaker to the finale of X-Men vs. Brotherhood, you can't fail to be engrossed. Reference quality? If it was a DVD, then maybe, but for the HD formats, you can find better examples, but for fans of the movie, this is perfectly fine.
ExtrasEugh. Fox have not included any of the exceptionally interesting documentaries on the 2 disc SD version here, but limited us to the deleted scenes, commentary tracks and a few trailers. The only inclusion that I don't recall on the SD versions (it might be there, I just don't remember it!) is a trivia track ala pop-up video. It's basically a subtitle track that could easily be done on DVD and as such, is a poor showing considering the versatility of the new formats. Very disappointing.
VerdictI prefer the comics over the movies - period. I prefer the first two movies over this - period. BUT, having said that, if you put the grey cells on hold for a bit, forget you ever read the comics and forget some of the things from the first 2 movies, then you should get a kick out of this. If not, then you've got a Blu-ray title that has a good, but not excellent soundtrack, a reasonable transfer that won't convince people to move to the new format and a disappointing set of extras. If you like the movie, I have to say that the 2 disc DVD is probably the way to go.
JUST don't turn the movie off when the credits roll - there's a final scene at the very end you will want to catch!
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
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