X-Men 3: The Last Stand: Two Disc Edition (Blu-ray) (2006)
|Year Of Production||2006|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Brett Ratner|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 6.1 ES Discrete
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Korean Audio Commentary
Korean Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
After the awesomeness that is X2, fans were clamouring to see more of what Bryan Singer and his team could do with what a friend of mine once dubbed a study in what Batman would be like if he were given actual superpowers. But then the first wave of bad news hit: Singer had either passed on the opportunity to direct, or had been fired by Fox (it depends on who you talk to, and considering that Singer was one of the directors who turned down the opportunity to direct the new Wolverine film, it shows the wisdom of letting him leave or firing him very clearly). Worse yet, replacing Singer at the helm was Rush Hour et al "auteur" Brett Ratner. An equal amount of the blame is due to the screenwriters, of course, but a director has the power to reject any script he deems unfit. That Ratner did not do this to the script that ended up on the screen is a demonstration of just how little he truly groks the X-Men.
And the script is such a pungent piece of s*** that many of us could smell it from as far away as Melbourne. I will tell a little story here in order to give this criticism of the script its proper context. I first became involved in the autism civil rights struggle around 2003 or 2004. Among my activities in this direction have been the creation of videos describing the amazing levels of abuse on numerous levels that I had to tolerate as a child because of ignorance, and a statement that, in essence, anyone who tries to cure me of what makes me different to my former teachers or healthcare specialists will get their genitals ripped off/out and stuffed down their necks. Ratner and his creative team have doubtlessly seen videos like them, because they attempted to incorporate parallels to this struggle in the finished film, and they stuffed it up so badly that my fellows in the movement and I frequently refer to this film as X-Men In Name Only.
Two sequences in particular caused me to want to throw a Molotov cocktail at the screen in the cinema:
So in effect, X-Men In Name Only not only insults the people who were waiting for it since the last film mounted a serious challenge to other films in a similar vein, it insults its most guaranteed audience in the bargain.
Making matters worse is a clumsy attempt to sandwich a Phoenix saga story into the film. The Phoenix saga, in which Jean Grey (Famke Janssen in the film) dies and is reborn with powers that make her an enormous threat to the universe as we know it, is a comic book arc that spans hundreds of pages, and requires at least a dedicated film of X2's length to be told properly. Incidentally, the cure story arc also needs a film of at least that length to be told properly, spanning at least several hundred pages. Hence, X-Men In Name Only is not just an insulting film to its primary audience, it sucks dead animals through a straw on a general filmmaking level to boot. Any filmmaking student can tell you the choices of camera angle, composition, and editing style just flat-out stinks. The dialogue is clumsy at best and downright stilted at worst, with some Braveheart-style speeches that will make one wince to listen to. The only legitimately effective shot in the entire film is one where Magneto (Ian McKellen) uses his power to play toss with a bunch of cars. Other shots involve close-ups where medium shots or even long shots would make the onscreen action far clearer.
Hence, it disappoints and angers me beyond belief when I learned that not only did Fox decide to make X-Men In Name Only a forced sale in Australia, they also chose to package the discs so that removing the real X-Men films from the box and tossing the rest in the garbage where it belongs a non-option. In this one move, Fox has effectively told the consumer exactly why they had such a hard-on for BD to be region-coded, and strengthened the opposition to region coding manifold. When region coding is negated or defeated, and it is a matter of when rather than if, I plan to melt down this boxed set and (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) ram it into a Fox marketeer's butt , one piece at a time.
We now return to your scheduled serious reviewing.
The transfer is presented in the aspect ratio of 2.40:1 within a 1920 by 1080 progressive window.
For once, I will not compare this particular disc to its DVD equivalent, mainly because I would not even waste the time and effort to pirate it. The transfer is as sharp as one would expect on BD, with shadow detail being slightly improved over the previous two films. No low-level noise is evident.
The colours in the transfer are well-rendered, with no oversaturation or bleeding.
Compression artefacts were not noted in this transfer. Film-to-video artefacts are not evident. Film artefacts were not noticed, but I might have blinked and let one or two go by.
Subtitles are offered in English for the Hearing Impaired. They are accurate, but slightly lacking in detail.
Seven soundtracks are offered on this disc.
The first, and default, is the original English dialogue in DTS HD Master Audio 6.1, which I listened to in its entirety. Second is the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1, which I listened to briefly for comparison purposes. Third and fourth are Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs in Spanish and Portuguese. These are of slightly lower fidelity than the English soundtrack. Fifth is a dub in Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, which again sounds like it was recorded and mixed on the cheap. Sixth and seventh are a pair of audio commentaries in Dolby Digital 2.0, which I listened to as much as I can stand of.
The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, with even more separation of elements offered by the 6.1 soundtrack. It is ironic, then, that the soundtrack is in every sense less impressive than the DTS HD MA 5.1 efforts on the previous two films. No problems with audio sync were noted.
The score music in this film is by John Powell. Aping cues from the previous two films, the score has everything that a 210 million dollar total budget can buy, excepting originality, insight into what the story is about, or a sense of individuality. In contrast to the other two films, I was utterly unable to remember a single cue from this film after I was finished trying to restrain myself from destroying the theatre. And my reaction to the score music is no different after hearing it in a lossless format. Cues that should induce tears, especially in conjunction with the concepts of the scenes they accompany, are instead met with total indifference.
Now, one would think that a 6.1 channel soundtrack would have a wealth of awesome effects where the viewer is immersed in the location or onscreen action. Not so. Even clear opportunities for a solid directional effect, such as when a guard fires the weaponised cure at Magneto at 36:18, go begging. As does the subsequent use of Magneto's power to wrest the gun away from said guard. The film itself does not allow uses of disembodied voices like the other two, so no such opportunities exist here. One cannot help but compare the three transfers, and for sure, the other two transfers were gimmicky a lot of the time, but they also helped to justify one's investment in good sound hardware. In respect to surround channel usage, the verdict on X-Men In Name Only is one of disappointment.
The subwoofer is more aggressively utilised in order to support such bass-heavy effects as Magneto's powers. It supports these effects well without calling too much attention to itself.
|Surround Channel Use|
Quantity, check. Quality, absent.
I would rather see footage of these three reacting when they learn for the first time what their two hundred and ten million dollars bought them. But then, it is hard to make an interesting audio commentary when the subject is this patently awful.
The other extras, like this film, can blow me, so I will just list them here:
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
As if Fox could not announce any more clearly that they support region coding because it gives them the ability to discriminate against consumers outside of the USA, the real X-Men films were available weeks in advance of this boxed set. To call this a slap in the face with a concrete slab is an understatement. Fox's enthusiasm for Region Coding is demonstrated by the fact that they are the only studio to have used it on a hundred percent of their titles. Which prompts the following question: how do you expect us to respond when you force us to buy a product that we do not want?
The video transfer is excellent.
The audio transfer is surprisingly disappointing.
The extras are not worthy of a glance or listen.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S350, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic Viera TH-42PZ700A. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Wharfedale Xarus 1000 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, Wharfedale Diamond SW150 Subwoofer|