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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
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THE WOLVERINE (2013) Unleashed Extended Edition

Blu-ray review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS:  126 minutes (theatrical)/ 138 minutes (extended), 3D version (theatrical), DVD, alternate ending, making-of documentary, featurette, audio commentary, second screen app, digital copy

VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition

AUDIO (Blu-ray/ Blu-ray 3D):  English 7.1 DTS-HD Master audio, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, English 5.1 Descript Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

AUDIO (DVD): English 5.1 DD, English 2.0 DD

Subtitles (Blu-ray):  English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, English commentary subtitles, English text

Subtitles (DVD), English text, English SDH, French, Spanish

 

STUDIO: 20th Century Fox/ Marvel Entertainment/ The Donners Company/ Seed Productions/ Hutch Parker Entertainment

Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 7-26-2013

Blu-ray/ DVD RELEASE DTAE:  12-3-2013

 

STARRING  Hugh Jackman (Logan), Tao Okamoto (Mariko), Rila Fukushima (Yukio), Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova (Viper), and Famke Janssen (Jean Grey)

SCREENPLAY by Mark Bomback and Scott Frank

based on the WOLVERINE comic mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller

DIRECTED by James Mangold

Logan is isolating himself up in the Yukon as he is filled with regret of having to kill Jean Grey (in X-MEN: THE LAST STAND) and he is found by Yukio (Rilo Fukushima) with a request from a dying Japanese businessman that Logan saved in World War 2 Japan.  Logan reluctantly takes a trip to Japan with Yukio where he finds not everything is as it seems.  The dying businessman, Ichiro Yashida, says he can make Logan mortal and protect his granddaughter Mariko from his enemies that want her dead.  Soon Ichiro is dead and Logan is attending the man's funeral when the Yakuza try to kidnap Mariko.  Logan rescues her and she takes him to the place where it began for Logan and Ichiro.   Their relationship blossoms as Logan tries to figure why he isn't healing like normal.  Meanwhile, the Yakuza and others begin searching for Mariko and Logan as Yukio seeks to be with Logan as his bodyguard.

 

THE WOLVERINE is loosely based on the four issue comic book mini-series written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Frank Miller.  It is a vast improvement over X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.  It is a more introspective look at what makes Logan/ Wolverine tick.  There is some good character development for Logan as he tries to find a reason to go on as he is haunted by the ghost of Jean Grey in his dreams.   Mariko and Yukio are strong Japanese female characters without trying to make them the victims or anime them up.   The setting of Japan brings something different to the character of Wolverine (even though the movie is shot in Australia and Japan where previously attached Darren Aronofsky was going to shoot the movie more in Japan).  Hugh Jackman is excellent in this sequel to the weak Wolverine origin movie or a follow-up to X-MEN: THE LAST STAND.  The mostly Japanese cast is also wonderfully directed by James Mangold in addition to a good score by Marco Beltrami.

 

The only thing that doesn't quite work in THE WOLVERINE is the climatic fight and reveal of the Silver Samurai.  At least, it isn't as bad as the fight between Logan and Nu-Deadpool in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.  I love the chemistry between Famke and Hugh in the dream sequences and Logan's hallucinations of Jean.  You also have to stay for the teaser scene for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST during the end credits.  I enjoyed this movie and I feel THE WOLVERINE is the type of movie on the character of Logan/ Wolverine the first movie failed to be and should have been.   It is definitely a movie to rewatch in theaters and see on Blu-ray over and over.

 

EXTENDED CUT review:

The 12 extra minutes does make a difference as the extended cut is a better movie than the theatrical version.  Director James Mangold planned out extra material for an R version for Blu-ray.  You see some extra character scenes and extended action sequences which are more brutal (including ninjas getting diced up by a snow blower).  If you are going to watch THE WOLVERINE, the extended cut is the best way to go.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Disc 2 extras-

Alternate ending which I think should have stayed in since it is a nice nod to the classic yellow and black Wolverine costume in the comic books

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST SET TOUR by director Bryan Singer as he takes viewers around the various sets and talks about the movie (and sets) in an all too brief three minute featurette

Theatrical trailer is also included which spoils the entire plot of the movie- so watch it after you view the movie (extended cut is the better version).

 

THE PATH OF A RONIN (53:44)- a five part making-of documentary:

INSPIRATION: A RONIN’S JOURNEY (11:26)-  cast, crew, and writer Chris Claremont (whose Wolverine mini-series the movie is partially based on) talk about how the comic book and the various movies (OUTLAW JOSE WALES, THE BLOOD THRONE) which inspired the storytelling in THE WOLVERINE (comic and film)

DESIGN: MASTERING THE ARC (15:42)- how they used Japan in the production and costume design to develop the arc of Logan’s story for THE WOLVERINE

EXECUTION: A KILLER TEAM (19:04)- cast and crew talk about the film from how Mangold knows what he wants (appreciation of the director), the action sequences (making sure to infuse Japanese martial arts into it), and the weapons (the various types of swords, the guns, and Wolverine’s various claws)

HUGH JACKMAN: THE MAN BEHIND THE MUTANT (6:19)- Hugh Jackman, James Mangold, Laura Donner, and other members of the cast and crew talk about how Hugh brings humanity and depth to the role of Wolverine in addition to showing some behind-the-scenes footage of Hugh training for the role (and how the training helped Hugh play Logan/ Wolverine)

REFLECTIONS: THE EVOLUTION OF WOLVERINE (1:56)- cast and crew reflect on how the film explores who Wolverine is and how this helps develop the character

 

Second Screen App

 

Disc 3 extras:

Audio commentary by Director James Mangold for the extended cut which is a really good commentary as Mangold points out the extra pieces and the challenge of cutting some stuff for the theatrical version and how much violence they could show for a PG-13 rating (much of it came down to the penetration of Wolverine’s claws and the amount of blood).   Mangold also talks about Japanese culture during the course of the track.

 

Second Screen App

 

Disc 4-

DVD of movie in standard definition

Digital copy in standard definition and HD versions for TV, computer, tablet, and smartphone

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  I wish the four disc set of THE WOLVERINE had more extras since I don’t know how they justify having this be a four disc set due to an hour of extras on disc 2 and an audio commentary for the extended cut on disc 3.   The Second Screen App has access to additional extras not included on the set like pre-viz animatics and more.  I wish they had a featurette on the version of THE WOLVERINE that Darren Aronofsky almost made.  The extended cut is the best way to watch THE WOLVERINE which is a much improved Wolverine movie which falters somewhat in the last twenty minutes.

 

This blu-ray review is 12-6-2013 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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