PictureThe 2.35:1 Anamorphic image is very clean and free from digital artefacts or pixilation issues. The print has no signs of any scratches or dirt present and there are minimal amounts of grain visible in the darker settings. The action scenes look crisp and well defined and it is hard to see what is CGI and what is real such are the production standards. Close ups of faces are stunningly detailed with every line and pore being visible and containing copious amounts of detail. Colours are also spot on with no signs of bleeding or blooming and facials appear consistent and lifelike. Blacks are solid with plenty of shadow detail also present. Altogether this adds up to a very capable transfer that has the glossy blockbuster look and stunning cinematography captured perfectly, a very fine transfer.
SoundUnlike the first movies initial release, this R1 disc has both DTS 5.1 (768kbps) and Dolby Digital 5.1 (448kbps) soundtracks present.
Right from the start the sounds stands out as being something special. Patrick Stewart gives a solemn voice over with his voice sounding clear and with plenty of weight. The score begins to build and soon we are travelling around a CGI brain as the score and sound effects fill the room with crystal clear sound and containing some wicked bottom end. But it doesn't stop there, as a mutant makes his attack on the White House he has the ability to jump through walls and disappear into thin air, only to reappear in the rear of the soundstage. The various techniques used to convey his movements beats the previous films use of Professor X's voice following Wolverine around the corridors. At one point this Mutant even rolls behind your chair before reappearing front left again. Playing this chapter again in Dolby Digital is nearly identical apart from the feeling that the finer nuances such as that roll behind the chair just don't fill the soundstage as convincingly as the DTS track. Further into the movie things just keep getting better and there are instances of sub 20hz bass available, I wont spoil things for you however.
Both tracks perform very well, with DTS again just providing that edge in the overall consistency of effects placement, tighter bottom end and more detailed enveloping effects.
ExtrasThis two disc set is filled to the brim with extras. Starting with Disc 1 are commentaries from Bryan Singer and cinematographer Newton Sigel along with a track from the writers and producers. Both are interesting and full of details for fans to listen too for hours. For a quick listen you will be surprised with the detail contained within and the enthusiastic approach from all involved.
Moving on to Disc 2 and kicking things off are The history of X-men. This is split into two parts with Stan Lee discussing how the X-men were developed for the Comic books to Bryan Singer discussing the eventual film versions. The second part follows writer Chuck Austen who talks at length about the character of Nightcrawler, his development from comic book to the film. Pre-production is next with a multi-angle Nightcrawler attack feature, Guy Dyas production designer walks us around the sets of the film in Evolution In The Details and Louise Mingebach the costume designer discusses design of the costumes in United Colours of X.
Post-production focuses on the score of X2 with composer John Ottman and also features the Global Web casts. Rounding of the extras are 11 extended and deleted scenes, 9 galleries, 3 trailers and a strange public service advert.
VerdictThe R1 disc surpasses the recent R2 Japanese disc we reviewed in terms of extras but has the same impressive audio and visual performance. Recommended.
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