Witness the beginning of the X-Men Universe. Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their superhuman powers for the first time, working together in a desperate attempt to stop the Hellfire Club and a global nuclear war.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:
Extras:
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

84
Details:

Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 132 minutes
Genre: Action/Sci-fi/Fantasy

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Oliver Platt
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Music by: Henry Jackman
Written by: Matthew Vaughn, Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 4, 2016
"Witness the beginning"
My Take:

I Reviewed X-Men First Class when it was originally released on Blu-ray and have included my comments from that review here. The ratings for the 1080p audio/video and bonus content will be the same as they are identical to the original release. New comments and ratings for the new Ultra HD video are below.

Before they were superheroes, the fate of humanity depended on an extraordinary group of youngsters who went on to become X-Men: First Class. This prequel tells the origins of Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Fassbender) who would become known as Professor X and Magneto, two very different young men who discover, together, that they are part of a large brotherhood unlike the world had seen. Erik is brash, bitter and vengeful while Charles is diplomatic, hopeful and forward thinking. Brought together by fate they are assigned to the CIA’s Division X and tasked with locating a group of rogue mutants seeking domination by taking advantage of the U.S./U.S.S.R tensions during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Using the first design of Cerebro they band together the early remnants of what would later evolve into the X-Men. Unfortunately, mankind isn’t ready to accept such a mutant force…

Set primarily in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis the story focuses on the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr (Magneto) and the origin of their groups, the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. I saw First Class in the theater and thought it was very well done as it sets the stage for the original X-Men film series. The script is strong and appropriately defines the concepts of what will become the struggle between humankind and mutants while clearly drawing the lines between heroes and villains among mutant kind. I liked the idea of using the Cold War era as the backdrop and thought it was integrated nicely. Character development, especially among the principles, is quite good and the blend of drama and action is spot on which keeps interest high. The film runs for well over two hours and is paced briskly but never glosses over the story’s elements.

The special effects/action is engaging and the strong performances by the ensemble cast sparkle throughout. As a fan of the X-Men film franchise I appreciated the various aspects of the story that tied into the others (including the unnecessary but apropos cameos for Hugh Jackman/Rebecca Romjin). X-Men First Class turned out to be a better film than anticipated thanks to its excellent production elements, capable direction and solid casting. I wondered how well it would hold up this second time around and am pleased to report that the experience was just as rewarding.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief/partial nudity and language.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE= 92-100/EXCELLENT= 83-91/GOOD= 74-82/AVERAGE= 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE= under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Audio: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



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UHD Presentation: 76
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



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Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

For those not willing to refer to the article linked above, I have included some comments here. The implementation of high dynamic range as it stands currently, doesn't appear to have exacting standards and no calibration tools to allow for a foundational threshold for setting up a visual system. This leaves us to do the best we can to determine what appears to be accurate, at least for the time being. With that in mind, my approach to reviewing Ultra HD Blu-ray will be to assess the elements observed which I find to generate the most significant visual impact when compared to standard high definition Blu-ray.

For me, Ultra HD’s high dynamic range/wide color gamut, with its broader spectrum of colors and emboldened highlights in the areas of contrast and brightness, is where the potential lies in the format. The increase in resolution, while an important component, isn't going to be definitive in every case, especially given that currently many of the Ultra HD Blu-ray releases are derived from 2K Digital Intermediates that are up-converted to 4K. This shouldn't be strictly construed to mean that such up-converted images won't look noticeably better than their 1080p counterparts. Conversely, a release finished on a 4K Digital Intermediate isn't a guarantee that it will be heads and shoulders above the rest. So, what can you expect to hear from me when discussing what I observed from Ultra HD Blu-ray? I will hit upon the things that struck me, the impact, or lack of impact, of HDR and the improvement, if any, in resolution when compared to 1080p Blu-ray. The outcome will be a rating as seen above.

Front projection for home theater is just stepping through the door with respect to the reproduction of HDR. My goal is to present readers with a reasonable expectation of what they can expect when viewing the same content that I have. There may be variables that differ slightly however I believe that in general the outcome will be close. As we are exposed to more and more content and calibration tools come onboard we will have better perspectives from which to gauge. Thanks for reading!


X-Men First Class comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.

X-Men First Class is entertaining and among my favorite of the X-Men films. As a bonus it looked and sounded great in 1080p, leaving me with high hopes for its presentation on UHD Blu-ray. Its presentation in Ultra HD is rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K. With the limited exposure to Ultra HD either sourced from 2K or 4K Digital Intermediates we are left to judge based upon what we have seen thus far.

The film was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind and that comes through in both presentations. This isn't an overtly colorful film however its palate of autumn based hues, sepia tones and variants of blue benefited from UHD's wider color gamut, appearing noticeably warmer and pleasing to the eye. Resolution gets a slight boost although the differences between the UHD and 1080p renderings are closer than I would have liked. Close-ups tend to be better refined with resolvable texture on surfaces and physical features being a bit easier to detect.

There is intermittent use of visual elements that utilize high dynamic range. I wasn't especially impressed with its application although some of that may be owed to the nature of the photography. There were instances where bright elements looked appreciably vibrant, and alternatively, low level sequences had excellent depth of field and emboldened contrast. One of the best examples of this can be seen in the nighttime sequence when Erik boards the boat in an attempt to kill Sebastian Shaw. The deep black of the sea water, darkened background/sky, and the glow of the deck lighting/Coast Guard search lights looked terrific. Viewing X-Men First Class in Ultra HD wasn't an eye opening experience, however I found it to be an appreciable improvement over the standard Blu-ray presentation. I am not so sure the differences warrant an upgrade especially in light of the fact that an immersive sound mix isn’t included.

The DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix is equally impressive and sounds superb. This soundtrack runs the gamut between subtle passages of spoken dialog and music to dynamically charged sequences that deliver opulent surround sound. Dialog 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 can be demonstrative as the active elements within the surround mix resound with superior authority and powerful deep bass transients. Henry Jackman’s music score is carefully integrated into the sound design and is wonderfully detailed, acoustically transparent and dimensional. Surround use is prevalent and achieves a high level of envelopment that is appreciably involving. This is a terrific audio/video presentation that essentially mirrored its theatrical one and will make for great demonstration material.


Blu-ray Video:


Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



  • Resolution/Clarity:
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X-Men First Class comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps.

X-Men First Class looks great on Blu-ray and features excellent high definition video quality that exhibits high level detail, defining sharpness and exquisite definition that brings out lifelike textures captured by the camera’s lens. Dimensional perspective has a near infinite appeal that can be visually stimulating. Close ups are noticeably refined and revealing of the subtlest details within facial features and objects within the frame. Mid-level camera pans are equally enriching and offer excellent depth and dimension. Colors are appreciably delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stand out among the remaining spectrum of secondary hues. Fleshtones are rendered with vivid tonality and discerning complexional description. Contrast is boldly applied without overstatement as it enlivens colors and empowers whites without washing away detail. Blacks are rich, gradationally strong and dynamic which makes them pop nicely during sequences containing a mix of light and dark elements. Detail in uneven light and darkened environments reveal visible shapes and structure in backgrounds. This is a solid encoding that looks terrific on my big screen.





Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: X-Mn First Class Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Disc 2: X-Men First Class Blu-ray
  • (HD) X marks the spot: Explore the creation of X-Men First Class in this interactive in movie experience that looks behind the scenes via picture-in-picture vignettes (which can also be viewed separately – see below
    1. Erik in Auschwitz
    2. Charles meets Raven
    3. Mr. Howlett declines
    4. Mindscape
    5. Emulsional journey
    6. Rebecca’s return
    7. Cuban beach: Previz sequence (side by side comparison
    8. Retro cool
  • Composer’s isolated score in 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • (HD) Cerebro: Mutant tracker – interactive search feature
  • (HD) Children of the Atom (seven segments):
    1. Second Genesis – 10 minutes
    2. Band of brothers – 12 minutes
    3. Transformation – 10 minutes
    4. Suiting up – 8 minutes
    5. New frontier: A dose of style – 10 minutes
    6. Pulling off the impossible – 10 minutes
    7. Sound and fury – 6 minutes
  • (HD) 13 Deleted/Extended scenes
  • Digital HD Copy
Final Thoughts:

X-Men First Class is a rewarding and well executed prequel that presents fans with an entertaining action/drama that compliments the X-Men film franchise. It makes its debut in Ultra High Definition in this Ultra HD Combo Pack from 20th Century Home Entertainment that features fair Ultra High Definition video, excellent high definition audio/video quality and a gratifying assortment of bonus material that looks behind the scenes at the making of the film. As a fan I am pleased to own it in Ultra HD. For those considering an upgrade I would recommend a rental prior to purchase as the difference in video quality may not justify it.
 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player
Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package