High-Def Digest's man in the field attends a special event and gets some new details on the upcoming release.by Michael S. Palmer
I just came back from the 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' Blu-ray release event on the Fox Studios Lot. On hand were passionate director Gavin Hood (Tsosti) and the charming producer, Lauren Shuler Donner. Donner has been living in the X-Men universe for over a decade, after one of her employees pitched the idea of an 'X-Men' movie and handed her a series of character bios. The first one she read? Logan a.k.a Wolverine.
Donner went on to tell the origin story of her origin movie. Around the time they were making 'X-2', she read Wolverine’s Japanese Samurai saga and approached Hugh Jackman about a spin off. He loved it, and the studio said they’d make it, but only after grounding the character for the audience in an origin story, which is precisely where we are now. As I’m sure most of you know, Christopher McQuarrie ('The Usual Suspects') is writing the currently untitled 'Wolverine 2' based on that saga. Hood was approached for this project after filming 'Rendition.' He was attracted to the material because of the complex lead character -- mutants, Hood remarked, mutate psychologically after a traumatic event, which causes them to then mutate physically. So what mutants can do is always steeped deeply within who they are.
As for this Blu-ray, in addition to Fox’s high standards of a widescreen presentation on a 50GB dual-layer disc authored with AVC (MPEG-4) compression and the spectacular 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio (English) soundtrack, we’ll find a few new nifty features:
-- Head out to Wal-Mart for the exclusive “triple-play” edition, which will feature a Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copy (all other Blu-rays come as the “Ultimate 2-Disc Edition” which will feature the Blu-ray and a digital copy). Apparently there are DVD-only editions of the movie too, but truthfully, why bother?
-- Fox is introducing a new feature with 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' called LIVE LOOKUP, allowing any Blu-ray player equipped with BD-Live and a working Internet connection to access IMDB.com filmography information about any of the actors on screen, or in the movie. No doubt hecklers will point out that anyone with a laptop or iPhone can do the same thing. And they're right. So this isn’t revolutionary, but as demonstrated, LIVE LOOKUP is seamless and easy to use for those less tech savvy (but still interested in learning what other movies they should rent to watch Hugh Jackman’s muscles), and much more visually pleasing than going to the stand-alone IMDB.com site. Plus, unlike early DVDs, where filmographies were stored directly on the disc, and therefore out-of-date quite quickly, LIVE LOOKUP will remain forever current. Fox Marketing hinted that this is just the surface of the live, interactive applications they’d like to explore, so we’ll see what’s next. In terms of other features on this release:
- Len Wien and Stan Lee are on hand to talk about the creation / roots of Wolverine.
There’s a 50+ minute feature about the Weapon X Mutants.
A breakdown of how they made the helicopter chase sequence.
A short feature about Hugh Jackman’s dedication and hard work, through diet and training, to bring out the animalistic nature of his character.
Four different information tracks that can display trivia and behind the scenes materials during playback.
And lastly, deleted scenes, which include a young Storm cameo, an alternate memory erase sequence, and an alternate Japan tag.