( Max score: 100 )
Leading up to the events of X-Men, X-Men Origins: Wolverine tells the story of Wolverine's epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed and the ominous Weapon X program. Along the way, Wolverine encounters many mutants, both familiar and new, including surprise appearances by several legends of the X-Men universe whose appearances in the film have long been anticipated.
I rushed out to the theater and caught X-Men origins: Wolverine during its theatrical run. I liked it just fine although not as much as the first two films in the X-Men series. The movie provides us with the background on who Logan (Jimmy) was before becoming Wolverine and how he came to be so tormented by his past. The film opens with him as a boy and details his relationship with Victor Creed/Sabertooth. It further fills in some great info on how he came to know and work with William Stryker as well as the origins of adamantium, the impenetrable metal that Stryker arranges be grafted to Logan's skeleton. The film introduces several new faces to the mutant film gene pool. These characters along with Logan/Victor are recruited by Stryker as part of a military task force whose existence and mission status is classified. It is clearly obvious that this group was selected because of their skills and propensity for indiscriminate violence/killing. Although Victor and Logan spent years fighting side by side during some of our country's biggest wars it quickly becomes apparent that Victor's penchant for senseless violence knows no bounds. Logan decides that he cannot be a party to the violence and killing and leaves which creates a rift between he and Victor. 6 years later after the task force has disbanded its members are being found murdered. Stryker locates Logan living in Canada where he has found love and peace in a small lumberjacking community. Stryker informs him of what has been happening and that Victor is the one killing off their old squad mates. When Logan's girlfriend falls victim to Victor he finds himself face to face with his past and the rage of guilt and devastation over her death. Stryker uses that as the catalyst to bring Logan back into the fold with the promise of redemption. The solution and guarantee of success Stryker offers comes by an experimental process of grafting adamantium to Logan's skeleton. This, along with his ability to self heal will make him nearly unstoppable, if he survives. ..
Well as we all know he survives. The story continues and reveals more about Stryker, adds a few tidbits that integrate future X-Men/mutants, and details how Logan came to lose his memory. This essentially brings the story up to the beginning of the first X-Men film. I thought the plot here was developed well enough and offered plenty of action to keep things moving. I liked the mutant powers of some of the new characters, specifically Agent Zero, Wade/Deadpool, and Gambit. The dramatic elements here were not integrated as well as some of those in the earlier X-Men films and the CGI was a bit more obvious at certain points too. I did like the animosity between Logan and Victor and how it drove the story. After watching it a second time my feelings didn't change much. This isn't the best film in the X-Men series but I thought it was entertaining enough to keep interest high and its Blu-ray Disc presentation made the experience even more enjoyable.
The rating is for intense sequences of action and violence and some partial nudity.
X-Men origins: Wolverine comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate pf 22 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 mbps.
This is an excellent high definition video presentation that features resplendent colors dynamic, punchy contrast and crisp resolution. In all but a few instances images boast transparent imagery, with defining sharpness that highlights fine detail. Close ups can yield lucid visual acuity and an almost tangible reach out and touch perspective. Contrast is boldly applied which slightly overdrives whites while adding punch to colors and dynamic quality to bright sun drenched sequences. Blacks and shadow detail are strong which provides dark scenes with excellent depth of field and noticeable gradational highlights. Colors are rich and vibrant, with deep, beautifully rendered primaries that stand out but appear natural and tonally delineated. The video has a light grainy texture that rarely calls attention to itself during scenes with plenty of light. In dark scenes it occasionally took on more prominence but wasn't what I would describe as obtrusive. I also noticed in several instances that resolution dropped off slightly. From what I could tell that was innate to the photography and appeared to be related to the integration of CGI and green screen backgrounds.
The DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix is equally impressive and is of reference quality. I recently added the Anthem AVM50v audio/video processor to my review system and thought this would be a great disc to test it's internal high resolution audio decoding. The results were spectacular as this soundtrack runs the gamut between subtle passages of spoken dialogue and soft music to thunderous, dynamically charged sequences that deliver opulent surround sound. Dialogue rendering is terrific as it holds sway over the front soundstage. Detail is first rate which brings out the finely articulated nuance of background elements within the mix. Dynamics are demonstrative as the aggressive nature and strength of swooping helicopters, roaring engines, explosions and crumbling structures rumbles with superior authority and powerful deep bass transients. Don't miss the scene in New Orleans where Gambit fires off a volley of exploding cards at Logan. Listen (or feel) as each card emits a series of low frequency bursts that pulsate with deep bass energy. Harry Gregson-Williams' music score is carefully integrated into the sound design and is wonderfully detailed, acoustically transparent and three dimensional. Surround use is prevalent and achieves a high level of envelopment that is appreciably involving. From the gentle sounds of blowing wind or reverberant echoes to the familiar and enveloping effects of formidable enemies battling heroes sounds are seamlessly blended to create a stable and detail rich sound field. This is an impressive audio/video presentation that essentially mirrored its theatrical one and will make for great demonstration material.
X-Men origins: Wolverine is an entertaining action affair that gives fans a glimpse into the backstory behind one of Marvels most popular X-Men. It lacks the depth of the first two X-Men films but easily bests the third and makes for a great popcorn flick when your in the mood. Fox brings it to Blu-ray in a fan friendly two disc set that features reference quality lossless sound, excellent high definition video and a well rounded and fairly comprehensive assortment of bonus features that include Blu-ray exclusives like Live Lookup and Ultimate X Mode. This one is definitely worth adding to your collection if youre a fan. Enjoy!