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X-Men 1.5

Evolution has produced a new social caste of "mutants" who have nifty powers, brood and scuffle more than they ought, and serve as a catch-all metaphor for every oppressed class in history. Several of the above mutants make grandiose plans and fight; special effects ensue. That's the basic design behind Bryan singer's X-Men (2000), which serves as a cinematic introduction for such well known Marvel comic-book characters as Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Rogue (Anna Paquin), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Professor X (Patrick Stewart), and Cyclops (James Marsden). Revisiting the film with the DVD release of X-Men 1.5 the movie's flaws are more apparent than ever — but then so are its strengths: The fight scenes and wire-work are almost uniformly made-for-television, and the effects seem almost bare-bones. In short, all the stereotypical "comic-book" elements of the film are just dopey enough to make the movie feel like a two-hour pilot for an "X-Men" TV series, a function of a bare-bones budget and a famously truncated production cycle. But if the flaws make X-Men ultimately "forgettable" as pure action narrative, the picture is historically important as the second truly character-driven superhero film, and if it works — which it does — it's because of that. Solid performances all around and star-making work from Jackman makes this a keeper, even if it's still a bit low rent. Fox's super special edition version comes in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS audio. On the first disc is a commentary with Bryan Singer and Brian Peck, seven deleted scenes and 17 on-the-fly icon featurettes, all of which can be watched in the enhanced viewing mode. On the second disc there are five documentaries on the making of X-Men that feature multiple on-the-fly featurettes, an introduction from Bryan Singer, three trailers, 12 Internet interstitials, nine TV spots, a sneak-peek at X2, and the Daredevil trailer. Dual-DVD digipak in paperboard slipcase.

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