Monday, October 3, 2011

FILMonBLU-RAY: X-Men - First Class (Review)

X-Men: First Class
2011 - 20th Century Fox
Released on Blu-Ray & DVD on September 9, 2011

# of Discs: 3 (Blu-Ray, DVD + Digital Copy *Target Exclusive version comes with DVD disc of the movie*)
Runtime: 132 Minutes

Fox's fifth journey into the X-Men part of the Marvel Universe takes the audience back to the very beginning of the story. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS covers the years skipped over by the first X-Men movie from the time young Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) discovers his mutant ability in a German concentration camp to the meeting of Erik and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and the eventual formation of the first team of X-Men to the inevitable taking sides between the professor and Magneto.

Along the way they cross paths with the global meddling Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his Hellfire Club, saving the world in the 60's and facing the truth that homo sapiens fear the homo superior (mutants) too much to trust.

The recreation of the concentration camp scene from the first X film was a definite visual highlight of the early part of the film and seeing young Erik's anger awaken his latent mutant ability for magnetism. Then the film takes it to the next level by connecting that moment to the villain of this film Shaw, putting him in a position of power in the German force under the alias Schmidt and immediately displaying his evilness as he tries to figure out what triggers Erik's magnetic ability.

Following Erik's revenge journey globetrotting across the world hunting down those connected to the camps in his search for Shaw could have been a film on its own. The director's decision to channel James Bond with Erik really came through in these moments like when he went to the bar and took down two former German soldiers who had escaped punishment.

And as a nod to the previous films in the franchise, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS included cameos from two stars from the films. When Erik and Charles are going around recruiting mutants, they stop in at a bar where they come upon a drinking Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) who tells them rudely to go away which they promptly do. And when Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) is in Erik's bed trying to get his attention she turns into an older version of herself (Rebecca Romijn).

In the special features included with the movie was the "Children of the Atom" documentary that covered the entire production of the film from behind the camera, to the conception and the casting to the locations and the sets, it is a thoroughly entertaining and informative peak into the film that is just as worth watching as the film is. There is also a bunch of extended and deleted scenes that help flush out some of the moments of the film that might have felt too brief in the final cut.

If there is an X-men movie to watch, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS is it. While it may be confusing to someone not familiar with the X-Men movie universe and the changes that have been made in comparison to the source material in the comic books, the spirit of the world and its characters is right there in the film. And those that liked the previous four X films will definitely fall in love with this one, as it takes the best of those films and pays tribute to them by building the foundation for that world. This Blu-Ray is worth adding to your collection for the film alone, the special features put it over the top. A must buy.

Look to buy the X-MEN: FIRST CLASS Blu-Ray over at Amazon for $21.99.

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