Mutant X 1.1 (2001)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Various|
Beyond Home Entertainment
Lauren Lee Smith
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Originally Mutant X was meant to have been a sort of X-Men for television, but a contractual dispute between Fox and Marvel saw the original plans for this series radically changed and any inference to the X-Men franchise removed and a completely new set of criteria created for the series. Although there was a short-lived comic book series by the same name there is little, if anything, that is similar - all characters and plots were changed to protect the franchise. Still, the similarity to the X-Men can't be denied; a bunch of mutated humans, genetically altered to give them superhuman powers running around being super...although in this case they can't fully control their powers. Also involved is an organisation called Genomex, a legitimate scientific company secretly funded by the government, chasing after all new mutants. Mutant X itself is a group of self-serving mutants bent on keeping new mutants out of Genomex's hands.
Aided by some high-kicking martial arts, some very special mutant powers and a friendly non-mutant called Adam (John Shea), the team of Mutant X consists of Jesse (Forbes Martin) who can change his molecular structure, Shalimar (Victoria Pratt) a mutant with cat-like powers, Emma (Lauren Lee Smith) who has empathic powers/precognitive powers and Brennan (Victor Webster) a mutant who can create electricity from his body. The five of them fight against the Genomex corporation, run by the sinister Mason Eckhart (Tom McCamus) who wants all new mutants for his genetic experiments. He and Adam have some common history that will probably slowly unfold as the series continues but is merely hinted at in the early episodes.
The Shock of the New - 42:58
A young girl is on the run from unknown assailants and is helped by another man in a bar. While he is helping her, she touches his mind showing that she's a new mutant, as is he. The young man is Brennan, who has the power of electricity in his hands and is hanging around with a bunch of low-tech criminals trying to make ends meet. The girl is Emma, wanted by Genomex for her Tel-Empathic powers. As fate would have it, in saving Emma Brennan now becomes a target for Genomex himself, but Emma is saved by the timely intervention of Jesse and Shalimar and taken to Adam's mountaintop retreat and safety, leaving Brennan on his own. Inside Genomex there is a power struggle going on, albeit briefly. Mason Eckhart decides to get rid of Paul Breedlove (Cedric Smith), the current head of Genomex, and using another mutant, Frank Thorne (Douglas O'Keeffe) to kill Breedlove he takes over as head of the corporation. His first task is to hunt down and capture all new mutants, starting with Emma and Brennan. Emma begins her education with Adam but she seems disinterested so he arranges for her to escape the country. After appearing to go along with this she runs off at the last moment to find Brennan but it ultimately ends up with both of them surrounded by Genomex agents in a shopping mall. After a timely intervention by Mutant X, Emma is saved but Brennan is taken off by Thorne and the Genomex agents when Adam choses discretion over valour...
I Scream the Body Electric - 42:58
This episode opens with a flashback to the last episode and a recap. Back at Genomex, Brennan is given a choice - submit or be frozen - and after several abortive attempts to escape he is fitted with a sub-dermal governor which restricts the use of his powers. His first mission is to capture Emma. Adam and the Mutant X team decide to try and help Brennan out and gather all the information they can. In the meantime, Adam is setting up new safe houses and escape routes to avoid possible capture for his people, but one of their number, Ruby (Chuck Bryn), an ESPer is captured by Thorne and brought to Eckhart where he is turned and divulges the location of the new safe house. Using this information, Brennan and Thorne break into the safe house where they confront Jesse and Brennan is ordered to take him down. Hesitating just long enough for Jesse to change his molecular structure and escape through the floor, Brennan ends up electrocuting two Genomex agents instead. Escaping to tell Adam, Emma is asked to locate the other mutants now captured by Genomex but instead can only locate Brennan. Allowing her to be captured, Adam sets up a plan to free the other mutants recently captured and do some permanent damage to Genomex as well.
This is a relatively new television show, so you expect a lot more quality than for older series that have been transferred, although from the looks of it the production qualities aren't all that high to begin with. The series is fairly watchable without being exceptional. There is a lot of stunt work and some CGI which appears fairly well done, but there is nothing you haven't seen before and nothing totally mind-boggling.
The original aspect ratio appears to have been 1.33:1 although one of the trailers does show the series in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The series appears to have been shot on 35mm film.
Sharpness is severely diminished in some scenes by the excessive use of edge enhancement (at 7:42, the characters in the foreground have a black outline almost all the way around them making them appear 'placed' on the screen). Several scenes show some tendency to blur, but otherwise there are no problems. Shadow detail is good without being excellent. There is plenty of background definition and some depth to the picture. Grain is light but noticeable, although it never becomes an issue and is quite reasonable given the other aspects of the video presentation. Low level noise was not an issue at any stage.
The colour was good, if unspectacular, with a decent palette used. There is no evidence of colour bleed or chroma noise and there is a naturalness to the skin tones with good saturation levels otherwise noted.
Only two film artefacts were noted, both of those occurring at 4:27 in the opening episode. Apart from that, the other episode seems fine. Pixelization can be seen from time to time (6:37 around the model flyer) but a lot of these problems are masked because of the use of edge enhancement. Shimmering can be seen throughout both episodes, but it never breaks up into full blown aliasing which is good. Apart from those minor faults, this is fairly spotless.
There were no subtitles on this single layered disc.
For the most part, at normal listening levels I found the episodes a little hard to hear, although that was probably more to do with the actors mumbling than the actual sound levels. The only track on this disc is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track at a decent enough 224 kilobits per second.
The dialogue was a little muffled with the actors not helping by occasionally speaking into their navels, but it wasn't all bad. Syncing was an issue on a couple of occasions with obvious ADR being performed on something that either didn't sound right or needed to be changed for some reason, such as at 17:10 in The Shock of the New and 15:28 in I Scream the Body Electric.
The music is credited to Louis Natale (theme) and Donald Quan (theme and score). Both are regular contributors to television series, including Psi Factor, Relic Hunter and dozens more. It's not exactly the sort of music that sets the world on fire but it has its moment of techno quality.
Unless your system is capable of redirecting audio into the rear channels there is little in the way of surround activity on this disc. What little there is doesn't add anything of worthwhile quality, anyway.
There was no subwoofer activity on this disc.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There doesn't appear to be a release of this series in Region 1 at this time but there is a Region 2 release which appears to be in the format of a 2 disc set with 6 episodes in total. Additionally, a number of extras are listed including a genetic profile of Brennan (includes interview with Victor Webster), a special feature on Mutant-X stunts and wirework, an interview with stunt coordinator Paul Rapovski and an interview with Howard Chaykin. Also included are episodic trailers. The price is in the $60 region, but for fans this may well be the way to go - it's your choice.
Mutant X is a fairly slow-moving series during its first two episodes with some lacklustre production qualities. Still, it is watchable and there is definitely nothing offensive to be found in it, with some possible future points of interest as the cast get into their parts and hopefully the storylines develop a little more. The audio is definite TV quality - it does the job but little else. The extras are a bit thin but this has all the feel of a barebones release anyway.
|DVD||Toshiba SD5300, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Rotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Rotel RB 985 MkII|
|Speakers||JBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer|