X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Blu-ray)
Maybe I'm outgrowing the summer-blockbuster demographic, but the major tent-pole movies impress me less and less every year. Wolverine has its moments, but ultimately, it's quite a letdown. The opening montage is fascinating as we begin to understand his troubled past, but within 15 minutes, all character development is thrown out the window in lieu of poorly executed CGI and a plethora of explosions and fights. Don't get me wrong, I like these things as much as the next guy, but give me some substance along with the style.
The AVC encode is a solid effort, but it doesn't quite rank up there with the best-looking Blu-rays. The shots of the Canadian Rockies are magnificent, but the CGI-heavy scenes stick out like a sore thumb by comparison because they lack the depth and detail of the live-action shots. The color palette is bold with luscious greens, and skin tones feature excellent detail and accurate shading. Black levels are inky and deep, although the resolution falters on long and medium shots and isn't as sharp as top-tier titles.
My biggest complaint with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack concerns the dialogmuch like the plot, it takes a backseat to the action and is sometimes unintelligible. Bass reaches into the infrasonic, rattling the windows and shaking the foundation. The sound design is top-notch and envelopes the room with plenty of well-placed discrete effects.
The two-disc set comes loaded with supplements, including a commentary by director Gavin Hood and producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, a conversation with Wolverine creators Stan Lee and Len Wein, deleted and alternate scenes, and behind-the-scenes featurettes. Additionally, there are three separate PIP options and one trivia track as well as "Live Lookup," a new feature that connects Profile 2.0 players with IMDb (Internet Movie Database), which lets users access up-to-date actor filmographies and information related to X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The second disc contains the digital copy for portable devices.
In the scope of the X-Men movie franchise, Wolverine ranks as the third best, edging out the disappointing X-Men 3. It starts with a lot of promise, but then degrades to the typical summertime blockbuster that looks good and sounds even better on Blu-ray, but ultimately is a disappointment. Regardless, fans of the franchise will be satisfied with the experience.
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 power amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector
Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics