follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

20th Century Fox presents
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

"When an individual acquires great power, the use or misuse of that power is everything. Will it be used for the greater good or will it be used for personal or destructive ends? Now, this is a question we must all ask ourselves. Why? Because we are mutants."
- Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: October 02, 2006

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry
Other Stars: James Marsden, Anna Paquin, Kelsey Grammer, Daniel Cudmore, Rebecca Romijn, Ellen Page, Ben Foster, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Michael Murphy, Josef Sommer, Eric Dane, Haley Ramm, Kea Wong, Vinnie Jones, Dania Ramirez, Cayden Boyd, Omahyra, Mei Melançon, Zoltain Buday, Anthony Heald, R. Lee Ermey, Stan Lee
Director: Brett Ratner

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence, some sexual content and language.
Run Time: 01h:44m:00s
Release Date: October 03, 2006
UPC: 024543373926
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- C+C-A B-

DVD Review

X-Men faithful were a little agitated and a bit concerned when Brent Ratner took over directing duties originally intended for Bryan Singer (who made the first two films in the trilogy, and very well, I might add) for this so-called final installment in the comic book saga. Message board musings cast early aspersions on where the story would be going, and if Ratner was the "right" guy. Even with all of the principle cast returning, and a hefty budget to work with, Ratner had the volatile hardcore fanbase already nervous well before the film wrapped production. And what we end up getting is all pretty pictures and lots of action, but no real narrative heft.

Zak Penn, who co wrote X2, collaborated on this screenplay with Simon Kinberg (Mr. and Mrs. Smith), with the storyline picking up not too far after the events of the second film. This time around the government has perfected a mandatory "cure" for mutants, and Magneto (Ian McKellen) leads an evil army of his own—Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), Multiple Man (Eric Dane), Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones), Pyro (Aaron Stanford)—against this doctrine, whether it be against ordinary humans or any X-Men who happen to stand in his way.

In this case that would be the "good guys," including returning heroes Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), and Storm (Halle Berry), along with second-tier types such as Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), The Beast (Kelsey Grammar), Angel (Ben Foster), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), and Colossus (Daniel Cudmore). On the edge of alliances is troubled Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), resurrected from her Alkali Lake fate in X2 to return as her alter-alter-ego The Phoenix, a rare Class Five mutant whose powers of destruction apparently have no equal.

The plot here is meant to bring the recurring us-vs-them theme to a head (actually an us-vs-us-vs-them), and as Wolverine, Storm, and most of the good guys, who have no desire to be cured, find themselves fighting against their own kind. And despite the promise of a potentially deep storyline, the dramatics are somewhat filtered, as Ratner seems content to come through with noisy comic book excess in the form of action set pieces such as a Magneto-driven Mystique escape, a deadly fight in Jean Grey's childhood home, and a big Golden Gate Bridge destruction/Alcatraz Island battle that closes the film. There's also a clever chase between tiny Kitty Pryde and towering Juggernaut, involving alternatingly passing through or crashing through walls that is fun to watch, but characters like fan favorite Rogue (Anna Paquin) get barely a mention here, relegated to a goofy romantic subplot, and newcomers like Angel appear more as special effects fodder than as characters we should care about. Kelsey Grammar's diplomatic The Beast (aka Hank McCoy) is a weird casting juxtaposition, and though the actor seems to be a good fit for the swagger of the character, it was hard not to hear either Frasier Crane or Sideshow Bob whenever he speaks, no matter how much blue makeup he's wearing.

The arguments about the parallels to the comic are kind of moot for this third chapter, as this really lives to be a connecting point to the first two films. Regardless, it's not nearly as thematically satisfying as the first two, as Ratner's work is filled with well-done and highly enjoyable action sequences connected by blocks of stiff stock exposition (Halle Berry should be forced to return her Oscar immediately) butted up against occasional rousing dialogue; the best of the monologues are delivered by McKellen's eloquent Magneto, who could say just about anything and make it sound intense. This is touted as the "last stand," but enough money has rolled in that I'm sure we'll eventually see another chapter of some kind down the road.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.40:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This image transfer rating is based solely on the screener version. You mileage SHOULD vary.

My screener copy (love that 20th Century Fox logo that pops up periodically) is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen, but the quality of the transfer on the disc I have is pretty rough. I have to believe this is sadly part of their pre-street protection of the film, and that the final commercial copy will be a huge improvement. Colors look strong throughout, but there is quite a bit of grain, with detail often marred by very soft edges and significant pixelization.

I'll put good money the street version looks better. I hope.

Image Transfer Grade: C-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0French, Spanishno
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The two primary audio mixes are very well done, available in either DTS 6.1 ES or 5.1 Dolby EX. Take your pick, as both deliver nearly the same level of deep, deep bass; these are about what one would expect for a comic book film, a pair of aggressively active blends that feature extensive rear channel use and a very enveloping sense of directional movement. Small elements, such as Jean Grey's whispered disembodied voice, move around all channels just as effectively as the sound of mayhem during some of the big battle sequences. Voice quality is equally crisp and well-mixed.

French and Spanish 2.0 surround tracks are also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
9 Other Trailer(s) featuring Ice Age: The Meltdown, Behind Enemy Lines 2, Thank You For Smoking, Night At The Museum, The Simpsons Movie, 24: Season 5, Daredevil, Elektra, The Fantastic Four
10 Deleted Scenes
3 Alternate Endings
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by Brent Ratner, Zak Penn, Simon Kinberg, Avi Arad, Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Wi
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: After a trio of forced trailers, viewers are given a choice between two separate menu paths: Join The Brotherhood (bad guys) or Take A Stand (good guys). Unfortunately, aside from slightly different animation, the choices under both headings are exactly the same. There's the World Of Marvel section, which is simply trailers for other Marvel features, as well as a preview for Ben Stiller's Night At The Museum and a very funny animatic/trailer for The Simpsons Movie ("Rest! Rest!").

There are two commentary tracks, the first featuring director Brent Ratner, teamed up with writers Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg. The tone is rather laid back, with Ratner claiming every scene has a "comic book reference" (The Beast hanging upside down, for example), as Penn and Kinberg explain derivations of key moments and dialogue, and who wrote what line and why. There are appropriate nods to the sound and music elements from all three. Hardly a fascinating track, but fans of the comic might appreciate hearing of why elements of the original work were tweaked for the screen. The second track is producer-centric, with Avi Arad, Lauren Shuler Donner, and Ralph Winter explaining things like Storm's new hairstyle, but shying away from anything particularly deep. They delve casually into the background on some of the effects sequences, and offer up kudos to typical components, such as the cinematography and locations.

There are a set of thirteen Deleted Scenes (09m:46s), three of which are alternate endings of sorts, and a few of which are actually extended versions of final footage. All scenes are available with optional commentary from Ratner, Penn, and Kinberg, and considering the individual scenes aren't all that long, there really isn't that much for them to say. The alternate endings give a somewhat different direction for The Beast, Rogue, and Wolverine, and might merit a peek for X-Men geeks.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

This one sure looks good, and shows great early promise, but things sort of peter out on the plot side near the end. No complaint on the sound, visual effects, or the general "comic book-ishness" of the whole affair, but this seems more about impressive set pieces than a cohesive story.


Back to top

Microsoft Store

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store