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A DVD fit for a blockbuster

Molly Griffin | Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Sometimes, watching a “summer” movie you enjoyed in theaters after it is released on DVD makes you wonder if you’d been out in the heat too long. Notorious for having little to no plot and more than enough special effects to make up for that vacuum in the story line, they frequently have the shelf life of a dairy product. Summer movies are a lot like Popsicles: they’re perfect in the summer, but come January their appeal is gone. X2: X-Men United, surprisingly breaks this trend. It had everything that makes a great summer flick, but it doesn’t lose its charm on subsequent viewings. It also breaks the mold of most sequels by being just as good, if not better, than the original. Returning from the first X-Men film are Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry), Rogue (Anna Paquin), Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and Cyclops (James Marsden), as well as their villainous mutant counterparts Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos). Joining the cast are Nightcrawler (Alan Cummings), a blue, German monk who can teleport, and Deathstryke (Kelly Hu), a sort of female Wolverine in serious need of a manicure. It can be a little hard at times to keep track of all of the mutants and their individual background stories, but fans will appreciate glimpses of characters like Colossus and Beast who played a large role in the comic and cartoon but not on the big screen.X2 picks up where the first movie left off, following the exploits of Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his school for gifted youngsters – a.k.a. mutants. The twist with X2 is that they bring back the same villains from the first film, but instead of fighting these same forces, the X-Men must unite with them to fight an even greater threat. Mutant registration acts are being pushed through congress, and General William Stryker (Brian Cox) is dedicated to hunting every mutant down. Stryker is a great villain, and the second movie proves to be highly entertaining, although a bit on the slow side at times.The two-disc DVD set of X2: X-Men United provides a ton of extras, and the additions prove to be a fitting addition to the film itself. The sound and picture on the discs are good, and the soundtrack, as with most big, action-driven films, is quite loud and bombastic. Extras include interviews and discussions with the director, producers, writers and cinematographers about various facets of the film, and there is an almost hour-long documentary about the production and the biographies of the individual characters, which includes cast and crew interviews. There are several special effects explanations, including many regarding Nightcrawler and one focusing on the Wolverine/Deathstryke fight, and there are pieces on the costumes, music and design for the film. Also included are trailers, webcast highlights from interviews for the film’s release and a photo gallery. All in all, this DVD is a fitting addition to a film with a fan base and a history that demands more than the average from a DVD.