Release Date(s)2013 (December 3, 2013)
Studio(s)20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: A+
- Audio Grade: A+
- Extras Grade: B
I’m not going to tread new ground here – our very own Tim Salmons has reviewed the “standard edition” of this film here. Everything in that set is in this one, essentially as a bonus disc. You get your standard theatrical cut, DVD and UV copy. What makes this edition so special, in addition to the 3D disc, is that it contains director James Mangold’s extended cut, which adds a lot of flavor lost in the theatrical version and makes for a better Wolverine film. I kinda call bullshit on Fox for this turn, but it’s expected these days. The good news, I guess, is that when you upgrade your TV someday, 3D will most likely be a standard feature, so you’ll be able to watch that without having to upgrade again.
The specific slightly spoilerific differences you’ll see in the extended cut, as opposed to the theatrical, are as follows: Wolverine actually swears, dropping a good amount of f-bombs. There are a lot more instances of Wolvie’s claws making contact with flew and imbedding themselves. Plus, CG blood galore. There’s an action sequence, at the Japanese Love Hotel, which gives some reason to think of Mariko as a badass when she comes in to save the day. The epic battle with the ninjas on the road to Mariko is much more epic, with all sorts of blood, explosions and dramatic weight (making this sequence alone worth the viewing) and a bit added into the finale battle with Silver Samurai. The added flavor does make for a better viewing experience and ticks up the film grade a bit.
Both the 3D cut and the extended version are presented a 1080p/MVC MPEG-4 encode at a 2.40:1 aspect ratio – and both look phenomenal. The 3D version of the film has a really nice View-Master-esque layering that actually serves the film presentation and never feels “in your face.” Debris and arrows seemingly pop through the screen and you really want to get out of the way. There’s also a few moments that give a nice feeling of vertigo, when characters run, jump and fall, to make it a worthwhile experience. Both versions are clean and clear with all the right color representations and solid handling of blacks and shadows. Detail is just right and skin tones and particularly well rendered. I have no negatives to any of the versions of the film on this set. All three versions of the film feature 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, which is quite active and very immersive. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this disc used as a demo disc at your local home theater retailer.
On the extras side, everything that Tim notes in the standard edition is here (the five-part making of titled The Path of a Ronin, the alternate ending, the X-Men: Days of Future Past Set Tour, a theatrical trailer (that Tim didn’t mention) and the Second Screen app. There are no extras on the 3D version, but the extended cut features a commentary track by Mangold. Mangold always seemed an odd choice for director of a comic book movie, but this track shows that he was the right one. Equally versed on the comic book history of Wolverine and the stories that inspired this film, as well as just plain old film history, Mangold is easy to listen to and sucks you right in with his storytelling, on-set anecdotes and spot-on reasons for things being cut out of the theatrical cut. He’s always quick to point out even the slightest of differences.
The Wolverine is hardly the greatest superhero film, nor is it even the greatest X-Man flick, but it is a pretty good action film and this extended edition is the way to watch it. Too bad you have to plunk down almost double cost, and get a 3D disc many of you will hardly ever use though, to see it.
- Todd Doogan