DVD REVIEW: X-Men: The Last Stand

20th Century Fox
Movie •••½ Picture/Sound ••• Extras •••
The third and final assault in the X-Men juggernaut has the mutants facing extinction from a government-sponsored "cure." The movie delivers the series' most convincing, sometimes jaw-dropping special effects and just the sort of nonstop, Marvelous action that fans crave.

Picture quality on this DVD, though, is a surprisingly mixed bag. Interior backgrounds often appear soft and grainy, with less detail than that of many other current titles. However, the transfer seems to snap to attention when the pace picks up and the effects roll in. Storm's violent weather and Wolverine's instant self-healing are more lifelike than ever, and the sudden increase in picture resolution heightens the tension of the fight scenes. No one would call the Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES sound mixes subtle or nuanced, but they'll certainly let your neighbors know you're home. The large-scale battle scenes, especially, push all the channels to overdrive and pull you right into the action.

Leading the extras is a pair of commentaries. In one, director Brett Ratner and writers Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg come off more like geeky, detail-obsessed fans than serious filmmakers - much to their credit. Predictably, the producers' commentary is drier and less fun, but it does deliver solid background on the making of the film. Ten minutes of mostly extended or alternate scenes don't vary enough from those in the film to generate any excitement. A Collector's Edition set, costing an extra $10, adds a 100-page commemorative book by X-Men co-creator Stan Lee. [PG-13] English, Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES; French and Spanish, Dolby Surround; letterboxed (2.35:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer.

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