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X-Men: First Class (+Digital Copy) (Blu-ray) by Directed By Matthew Vaughn
Review by Charles Mohapel
20th Century Fox Blu-ray  ISBN/ITEM#: B004LWZW4C
Date: 30 September 2011

Links: IMDB.com / Show Official Info /

You would think that X-Men: First Class is a prequel, you would not see any of the original cast, not even in a cameo. But you would be wrong, not once but twice. First, Hugh Jackman plays a younger Wolverine who looks like he hasn't aged a day. And saving the best for last, Rebecca Romijn appears as the older Mystique.

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Writing credits:
Ashley Miller (screenplay) (as Ashley Edward Miller) &
Zack Stentz (screenplay) and
Jane Goldman (screenplay) &
Matthew Vaughn (screenplay)

Sheldon Turner (story) and
Bryan Singer (story)

Cast overview, first billed only:
James McAvoy ... Charles Xavier
Laurence Belcher ... Charles Xavier (12 Years)
Michael Fassbender ... Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
Bill Milner ... Young Erik
Kevin Bacon ... Sebastian Shaw
Rose Byrne ... Moira MacTaggert
Jennifer Lawrence ... Raven / Mystique
Beth Goddard ... Mrs. Xavier / Mystique
Morgan Lily ... Young Raven (10 yrs)
Oliver Platt ... The Man in Black
Alex Gonzalez ... Janos Quested / Riptide
Jason Flemyng ... Azazel
ZoŽ Kravitz ... Angel Salvadore
January Jones ... Emma Frost
Nicholas Hoult ... Hank McCoy / Beast

Disc 1:
X-Men: First Class Theatrical Feature on Blu-ray (131:42)

Special Features:

'X Marks The Spot'

  • 'Erik in Auschwitz' with Matthew Vaughn (Director / Co-Screenwriter), Chris Seagers (Production Designer), Russell De Rozario (Visual Consultant), Bryan Singer (Producer / Co-Story), and Lauren Schuler Donner (Producer). (1.58)
  • 'Charles Meets Raven' with Matthew Vaughn (Director / Co-Screenwriter), and John Dykstra (Visual Effects Supervisor). (1:56)
  • 'Mr. Howlett Declines' with Lauren Schuler Donner (Producer) and Simon Kinberg (Producer). (1:55)
  • 'Midscape' with Eddie Hamilton (Film Editor) and John Dykstra (Visual Effects Supervisor). (1:49)
  • 'Emulsional Journey' with Wil Morris (2nd Assistant Camera), Simon Hayes, A.M.P.S. (Production Sound Mixer), Darren Rae (HD Dailies Colorist), and Adam Gough (1st Assistant Editor). (4:13)
  • 'Rebecca's Return' with Simon Kinberg (Producer), Lauren Schuler Donner (Producer), and Jennifer Lawrence ("Raven" / "Mystique"). (1:44)
  • 'Cuban Beach Pre-Viz Sequence' (3:07)
  • 'Retro Cool' with Simon Clowes and Kyle Cooper (Prologue - Title Design & Creative Direction) (2:51) They talk about how they studied how the legendary Maurice Binder created the original 007 title sequences from the early Bond films, using exclusively optical effects instead of CGI.

'Composer's Isolated Score 5.1 Dolby Digital' (On/Off) lets you watch the movie with just the musical score. Watching the film with only the musical score and no dialogue quickly loses its cachet, but on the other hand, I see it being of interested to someone looking to write the musical score for a film or TV show. (131:42)

'Cerebro: Mutant Tracker' This interactive feature lets you track down mutants and learn more about them. Phoenix, Cyclops, Rogue, Wolverine, Sabretooth, Angel, Professor X, Storm, Pyro, Iceman, Juggernaut, Gambit, Mystique, Emma Frost, Colossus, Beast, Jason 143, and Magneto. But make sure you click fast to choose.

"Children of the Atom" Filming X-Men First Class (69:45)

  • 'Second Genesis' with Lauren Schuler Donner (Producer), Simon Kinberg (Producer), Bryan Singer (Producer / Co-Story), Matthew Vaughn (Director / Co-Screenwriter), Tarquin Pack (Executive Producer), Jane Goldman (Co-Screenwriter), and Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (Co-Screenwriters) (10:01) This featurette provides an excellent view into the beginnings of this film.
  • 'Band Of Brothers' with Lauren Schuler Donner (Producer), Simon Kinberg (Producer), Tarquin Pack (Executive Producer), Matthew Vaughn (Director / Co-Screenwriter), James McAvoy (ďCharles Xavier), Michael Fassbender ("Erik Lehnsherr"), Kevin Bacon ("Sebastien Shaw"), January Jones ("Emma Frost"), Jason Flemyng ("Azazel"), Jane Goldman (Co-Screenwriter), Zoe Kravitz ("Angel Salvadore"), Jennifer Lawrence ("Raven" / "Mystique"), Rose Byrne ("Moira MacTaggert"), Lucas Till ("Alex Summers" / "Havok"), Caleb Landry Jones ("Cassidy" / "Banshee"), Nicholas Hoult ("Hank McCoy" / "Beast"), Alex Gonzalez ("Janos Quested" / "Riptide"), and Edi Gathegi ("Armando Munoz" / "Darwin"). (11:52) It was a real treat to hear the cast talking about how they came to work on the film.
  • 'Transformation' with Lauren Schuler Donner (Producer), Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. (Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc. - Beast & Special Make Up Designers), Dave Elsey and Lou Elsey (Beast Make Up Effects), Nicholas Hoult ("Hank McCoy" / "Beast"), Tarquin Pack (Executive Producer), Jennifer Lawrence ("Raven" / "Mystique"), Frances Hanno (Head of Make Up & Hair Dept.), and Jason Flemyng ("Azazel"). (10:06) This was an excellent featurette showing how the actors are transformed into their characters.
  • 'Suiting Up' with Sammy Sheldon (Costume Designer), Tarquin Pack (Executive Producer), Lauren Schuler Donner (Producer), Michael Fassbender ("Erik Lehnsherr"), January Jones ("Emma Frost"), Russell De Rozario (Visual Consultant), and Ivo Coveney (Costume Props Supervisor). (8:33) Did you know that the yellow color in the X-Men suits was the original color of Kevlar? That the blue in these suits is made of ballistic nylon. This was a very interesting featurette for costumers.
  • 'New Frontier: A Dose Of Style' with Simon Kinberg (Producer), Matthew Vaughn (Director / Co-Screenwriter), Chris Seagers (Production Designer), Lauren Schuler Donner (Producer), Kevin Bacon ("Sebastien Shaw"), Alex Gonzalez ("Janos Quested" / "Riptide"), Michael Fassbender ("Erik Lehnsherr"), Tarquin Pack (Executive Producer), James McAvoy ("Charles Xavier"), Christopher Corbould (Special Effects Supervisor), and Nicholas Hoult ("Hank McCoy" / "Beast"). (9:55) This was a great featurette, though Christopher Corbould goofed when he referred to the X-Jet as an American fighter, when it actually is based on the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance plane.
  • 'Pulling Off The Impossible' with Tarquin Pack (Executive Producer), Lauren Schuler Donner (Producer), Matthew Vaughn (Director / Co-Screenwriter), John Dykstra (Visual Effects Supervisor), Greg Steele (Visual Effects Supervisor - Rhythm & Hues Studios), Dante Quintana (Look Development Supervisor - Rhythm & Hues Studios), Johnny Gibson (Digital Supervisor - Rhythm & Hues Studios), Chris Grun (VFX Art Director - Rhythm & Hues Studios), Jay Barton (Visual Effects Supervisor - Digital Domain), Dan Platt (Character Modeling Lead - Digital Domain), Kiel Figgins (Character Animator - Digital Domain), Bernd Angerer (Animation Supervisor - Digital Domain), and Brian Gazdik (Effects Animation Supervisor - Digital Domain). (10:23) This featurette provided a very cool inside look at the computer animation used in the film.
  • 'Sound And Fury' with Henry Jackman (Music Composer) and Matthew Vaughn (Director / Co-Screenwriter). (6:29) I liked the Magneto theme best.

Deleted Scenes

  • Erik in Argentinian Airport (0:54) No real loss
  • Shaw with Cuban Generals (0:28) Say what???!!!
  • Charles and Moira's Tryst, Part 1 (1:23) Too bad it was cut - it was absolutely hilarious!
  • Charles and Erik Recruit Angel (Extended) (1:15) A second absolutely hilarious scene - Erik never looked so stunning (Smiley face).
  • The Russian Truck (Extended) (1:14) Another good and funny scene chopped.
  • Erik vs. Russian Guards (Extended) (0:21) No loss
  • Shaw's Plan (Extended) (0:49) Shame it was cut.
  • Havok Training, Part 1 (Extended) (2:08) Yet another good and funny scene chopped.
  • Banshee Training, Part 1 (Extended) (1:35) A third absolutely hilarious scene that was cut.
  • Havok Training, Part 2 (Extended) (1:09) No big loss here.
  • Hank and Raven in the Lab (Extended) (0:51) This was a nice scene.
  • Charles and Moira's Tryst, Part 2 (0:31) A real pity it was cut since it showed an unfamiliar side of Charles Xavier

Digital Copy 'How To' (3:35) A useful step-by-step featurette for the technically challenged on how to transfer the digital copy of the film to your PC or Mac. Best of all, it is not presented in a condescending tone.

'Live Extras' require a BD-LIVE enabled Blu-ray player and mine is not BD-LIVE enabled.

Disc 2: Digital Copy

According to IMDB.com, X-Men: First Class cost an estimated $160 million to make and had grossed a bit over $146 million as of September 25, 2011. I thought it was an enjoyable movie and was surprised to learn that it lost money for the studio. Maybe the audiences didn't like the actors used in this prequel, but I am glad I don't have to try to figure out the tastes of the moviegoing public.

Better than a lot of movies I've seen this year, X-Men: First Class is worth buying even if you're not a big X-Men fan, both for the movie and the excellent bonus features.

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