X-Men 2: Special Edition on DVD – The DVDfever Review


X-Men 2: I’ve never read an X-Men comic, didn’t think much of the first film as it just washed over me completely and so I really wasn’t expecting a great deal from this sequel. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised this time round and am looking forward to the third outing.

There’s a brilliant opening sequence which involves new character and baddie Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) breaking into the Whitehouse and attempting to assassinate the President, making it all the more tricky for the bodyguards to capture him because he’s rather good at teleporting, but once he’s been rumbled and fails in his mission he goes into hiding. Storm (Halle Berry) and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) go off to find him under the orders of Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart).

The real baddie of the piece, though, is William Stryker (Brian Cox), who wants to infiltrate the Xavier household and find out exactly what makes it tick, capture some of the mutants and adn kidnap Xavier while he’s paying a visit to Magneto (Ian McKellen). Stryker has his own personal reasons for doing this which will become clear along the way, but he needs Xavier to help him track down all the mutants around the world and kill them, testing out his own reproduction of Cerebro, which is like Yahoo Messenger for mutants. While Xavier’s ‘online’ he can be in contact with any or all mutants at the same time.

Pyro was always one for showing off.

And that’s the scene set. The film then takes its journey along until the end (a good, solid two hours before the end credits arrive) and you know that good will triumph over evil in the end, and while I could go into detail about it, none of it would sound sounds hugely original, but it is highly entertaining, which is more than can be said for the original.

Wolverine is forced to come to terms with his earlier life and how that ties with Stryker, however much he’d rather not be cajoled into remembering. There’s also the death of a major character, but I won’t say which one. And you knew Magneto would break out of his cell, but I didn’t think it’d be like that?!

In fact, in a strange twist of fate, Magneto puts it upon himself to help the good mutants get Xavier back and be rid of Stryker once and for all. This does make for an interesting storyline.

Overall, it’s a damn sight more balanced and enjoyable than the original. Here, each mutant does get to show off their own skills, but it’s done little by little – and often – rather than once or twice apiece in the first movie, which made that effort look like a series of set pieces with nothing of worth to connect it together.

Go to page 2 for the presentation and extras.

Anything Wolverine can do, she can do better…

Almost spot-on is the AV experience, with the 2.35:1 Panavision widescreen ratio looking fantastic with zero artifacts and a cracking anamorphic transfer, bringing the life of the comic book sparking onto the big screen (well, a 32″ WS TV is a fairly big screen :)

While I’m sure this would’ve looked great on the aforemention surface of large proportions, the advantage of watching it at home means you can rewind the fight scenes and check them out several times over. One problem with this DVD is that during very dark scenes, any semblences of light or white matter appear in a jittery form, which is something I haven’t seen before. I figured it was some sort of special effect used to denote certain scenes but there’s clearly something wrong with it.

For the sound, we’re given Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soudntracks. I always opt for the latter of the two options as it’s better, but still, better use could’ve been made of it. When it’s loud, it’s very good some of the time, but for such an actioner there’s too many quiet bits inbetween and there are a few scenes where it’s just loud for the sake of it without much in the way of directional sound.

“Well, we’ll see about that.”

All of the extras are on disc 2, apart from the audio commentaries:

  • Featurette: The History of the X-Men (23 mins): Actually two of them here. The Secret Origin of the X-Men (15 mins, 4:3) has Stan Lee, Chris Claremont (film editor), director Bryan Singer and others talking about the original comics and what came as a result of that, while Nightcrawler Reborn (8 mins, 4:3) does what it says on the tin with chat from Chuck Austen, writer of “Uncanny X-Men” and “Nightcrawler”.

  • Three Pre-production featurettes (29½ mins): First up is the opening Nightcrawler Attack: Multi-angle study (2½ mins, letterbox 2.35:1) mixing four versions including the final version and one with unfinished effects. Then, Evolution in the Details: Designing X2 (18 mins, anamorphic 16:9) takes a look at each individual set in more detail than you’d expect for a brief featurette, and finally United Colors of X (9 mins, anamorphic 16:9) spoofs the tagline of a certain clothing company to indicate that this segment is about the costume design.

  • Six Production featurettes (103 mins): This menu includes an hour-long ‘making of’ full of film clips and interview snippets, a brief fight rehearsal (1½ mins) between Wolverine and Deathstrike (well, in stunt co-ordinator form), 25 mins of Special FX chat and then three mini-featurettes about Nightcrawler.

  • Two Post-production featurettes (29 mins): Requiem for a Mutant: The Score for X2 (12 mins) is about the musical accompanient courtesy of composer John Ottman, while X2 Global Webcast Highlights (17 mins) shows the cast and crew answering questions from their fans online, with a dreadful video effect applied to it that looks like it was dripped in a bath of acid.

  • Deleted Scenes (11½ mins): Eleven of them in Dolby Surround only and looking a little less-polished than the film disc’s counterparts, including an extended version of the great fight between Wolverine and Deathstrike (Kelly Hu) – although not greatly extended so you won’t notice much difference. In fact, looking at many of these they’re extended scenes so most of it you’ve seen before. That’s a bit of a swizz. However, there’s a good, brief scene with Jubilee though, which would be worth making something of in the next movie.

  • Galleries: 8 of them, containing over 800 pictures in total (no, I didn’t count them)

  • Trailers (5 mins): Three here. A brief 30-second teaser in anamorphic 2.35:1, and then two more lengthy ones in letterbox 1.85:1, running for 2 mins and 2½ mins, respectively.

  • Two Audio Commentaries : One features director Bryan Singer, composer/editor John Ottman and Tom Sigel, while the other features producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, plus writers Michael Dougerty, Dan Harris and David Hayter.

So, plenty for big fans of the franchise to get into and a worthy look for those with just a passing interest. There are 40 chapters to the film (compared to just 15 on the original X-Men DVD) and excellent animated menus which really set the mood for the film.


Detailed specs:

Running time: 128 minutes
Year: 2003
Cat no: 24224 CDVD
Released: 2003
Chapters: 40
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Languages: English
Subtitles: English for the hard of hearing
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Disc Format: DVD9

Director: Bryan Singer
Producers: Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter
Screenplay: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris and David Hayter
Music: John Ottman

Cast :
Professor Charles Xavier/X: Patrick Stewart
Magneto: Ian McKellen
Wolverine: Hugh Jackman
Dr. Jean Grey: Famke Janssen
Cyclops: James Marsden
Storm: Halle Berry
Rogue: Anna Paquin
Sabretooth: Tyler Mane
Toad: Ray Park
Mystique: Rebecca Romijn-Stamos
William Stryker: Brian Cox
Nightcrawler: Alan Cumming
Senator Robert Kelly: Bruce Davison
Pyro: Aaron Stanford
Iceman: Shawn Ashmore
Yuriko Oyama/Deathstrike: Kelly Hu
President McKenna: Cotter Smith


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