X-Men-Wolverine's Story (2003)
Menu Animation & Audio-Stan Lee Episode Introductions
Bonus Episode-Enter Magneto
Episode Introductions-Stan Lee
Featurette-Stan Lee's Soapbox
|Year Of Production||2003|
|Running Time||82:12 (Case: 88)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (40:44)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
It amuses me to be reviewing X-Men: Wolverine's Story a few months after the release on DVD of X-Men 2, because that big budget film is also concerned (in part) with the story of how Wolverine came to be. Whether you've seen the film, or not, it's interesting to see the TV series version of events. No, they don't agree, but I doubt we ever expected them to.
One piece of advice: do not play these episodes from the main menu. Go into the extras, and play them with Stan Lee's intros. He only speaks for half a minute before each episode, but it is interesting to hear what he has to say about each episode.
The episodes on this disc are:
Interestingly, the first three of these episodes take place during a longer story arc in which Professor Xavier has disappeared with Magneto and the rest of the X-Men are looking for him — they are in The Savage Land (a prehistoric jungle in Antarctica). It's a shame we don't get to see the rest of the episodes in that longer story arc, but we can grasp the basics of it from what we see here.
There are several other groups of mutants in these episodes. There are the Canadian mutants of Alpha Flight (former colleagues of Wolverine). There is the gang led by Mr Sinister, and the "mutates" of The Savage Land. I suppose that readers of the comics (sorry, I keep forgetting to say "graphic novels"...) will know what to expect in the way of special powers, but it's not too hard to guess in context.
The first episode concerns attempts by the Canadian group to reclaim Wolverine and learn the secret of his Adamantium skeleton. We learn more of Wolverine's past in flashback than we do in the present day. The second and third episodes are a double-episode, the climax of the Savage Land sequence. The last one is a separate episode that provides an extra twist on Wolverine's past, but it looks like it is the last episode of a sequence concerned with Wolverine's delusions, and we don't get any of the earlier episodes.
In all, these are interesting, and add considerable depth to Wolverine's back-story, but you don't need these to enjoy the movies. I'd prefer to see the episodes released in complete season sets, rather than this piecemeal approach.
These are episodes of a TV series made on what seems like a slim budget. The 1.33:1 aspect ratio in which these are presented is an accurate reflection of how they were made.
The animation is crude, drawn roughly and coloured without subtlety — it looks like they used children's texta colour markers for everything except skin tones. Another way to view it is as though it was drawn to be printed on newsprint. The transfer is sharp enough to show the deficiencies in the drawing. There's no visible film grain, but there is just a touch of low-level noise occasionally.
Colour is fairly well-rendered, showing all the crudeness of the colouring work. There are no obvious colour-related artefacts, although there are moments when we seem to get a touch of colour bleed.
There are more than a few film artefacts, but they are mostly small black flecks, and occasional white specks, and of no significance.
There is some aliasing, some of it rather obvious, but it is easily overlooked in animation this crude. There's no significant moiré. There are some MPEG artefacts visible when you freeze the frame, but they are not visible when watching at normal speed. There is plenty of interleaving, suggesting that this is an NTSC to PAL conversion.
There are subtitles in English and Dutch, plus English for the Hearing Impaired. I only watched the English for the Hearing Impaired. They are quite accurate, well-timed to the dialogue, and easy to read.
The disc is single-sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is at 40:44, positioned between the second and third episodes, making it effectively invisible.
The soundtrack is provided in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Italian. I only listened to the English, which is Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround-encoded.
The dialogue is mostly clear and readily comprehended. I spotted little in the way of audio sync errors, but there's a silly passage at 69:03 where we see Wolverine's and Sabretooth's mouths moving, but with voices interchanged — quite an obvious mistake.
The score comes from Shuki Levy. It's not bad stuff, generally enhancing the on-screen action, but somewhat lacking in subtlety.
The surrounds and subwoofer aren't used by this soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is easy to operate. The main menu is animated, with sound.
Another episode, this one concentrating on the origin of Magneto, but in the form of flashbacks while The Beast is waiting in jail for his trial. There's a brief introduction by Stan Lee.
This is the best way to view the episodes, complete with a few words from Stan Lee before each one. He only speaks for half a minute before each one, but it's interesting stuff.
This is basically an interview with Stan Lee, discussing the origin of the X-Men and the development of the series in both comics and TV series. The ending of this piece has him answering a series of questions in rapid-fire form.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Most of these episodes have been released on DVD in Region 1, but on different DVDs — this particular grouping is not available in Region 1. Interestingly, they get a disc called The Legend of Wolverine, but it has a completely different collection of episodes — the only thing it has in common with this disc is Stan Lee's Soapbox.
A reasonable collection of X-Men episodes, on a half-decent disc.
The video quality is adequate, but this is fairly crude animation and will never be up to the quality of other shows.
The audio quality is adequate.
The extras are pretty decent.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|