The Wolverine appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, this was an appealing transfer.
Sharpness always looked strong. No signs of softness marred the presentation, as it gave us a tight, well-defined image. Jagged edges and moiré effects remained absent, while edge haloes and digital noise reduction also failed to appear. Print flaws stayed absent as well.
Like most modern films of this sort, Equalizer went with teal and orange. These tones seemed predictable, but they worked fine within the movie’s design parameters and showed good delineation. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows usually showed nice clarity and smoothness. I felt this was a consistently strong image.
I also felt pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack. With a fair amount of action on display, the mix used the channels in an involving manner throughout the majority of the film.
This meant vehicles, gunfire and other mayhem all around the room, and the elements connected in a concise, smooth manner. Add to that music as a bold partner and the soundscape turned into an aggressive partner.
Audio quality always satisfied. Music was dynamic and full, and effects followed suit; those components came across as accurate and wel-developed. Speech seemed distinctive and crisp, without edginess or other issues. Everything impressed in this strong soundtrack.
This package includes both the theatrical film (2:06:08) and an unrated extended cut (2:18:05). I discussed the theatrical cut in the body of the film – how does the extended version differ?
For the most part, the extra material consists of small additions to existing scenes as well as more blood and profanity. A few more substantial moments came out, though, such as during the battle in the snow; that sequence now gives Yukio much greater prominence.
Other bits contribute exposition, particularly in terms of Yashida. We get another WWII flashback to Logan and Yashida, and other segments throw out more information about that character and those connected to him. I think the movie’s final half hour lacks new material.
While I don’t think any of this becomes revelatory, these scenes contribute impact to the extended cut. These take an already compelling movie and make it more meaningful and realistic – especially in terms of the violence/profanity. Of all the superheroes shoehorned into “PG-13” films, Wolverine fits the worst, so it’s good to see him free from those ratings constraints.
Alongside the extended cut, we find an audio commentary with director James Mangold. He gives us a running, screen-specific discussion of story/character areas and influences, cast and performances, sets, locations and shooting in Japan, various effects, stunts and action, editing and changes for the extended cut, music, and other topics.
Mangold makes this a solid commentary. He covers an appropriate array of subjects and relates them in a logical, direct manner. Mangold provides a useful chat that tells us a lot about the movie.
The set includes a 3D version of the theatrical cut. In terms of picture quality, it looked quite good. Sharpness remained strong, and both colors and blacks appeared solid.
Low-light shots also maintained a good sense of clarity. The 3D version didn’t look quite as positive as its 2D partner, but it was close.
As for the 3D imaging, I thought The Wolverine added a nice sense of depth that gave the movie a good feeling for the locations. Action scenes gained added kick as well and became more involving.
The fight on top of the bullet train became more of a show-stopped, and other battle used the 3D elements to place us in the warfare. I liked this upconversion quite a lot and felt it gave the movie breadth.
On the 2D theatrical disc, we get a documentary called The Path of a Ronin. In this 53-minute, 44-second piece, we hear from Mangold, producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Hutch Parker, co-writer Mark Bomback, comic book writer Chris Claremont, Wolverine creator Len Wein, director of photography Ross Emery, second unit director David M. Leitch, production designer Francois Audouy, supervising art director Ian Gracie, costume designer Isis Mussenden, stunt coordinators Alan Poppleton and Kyle Gardiner, armorer John Bowring, and actors Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Fanke Janssen, and Hiroyuki Sanada.
“Path” examines story/character areas and the tale’s origins, Mangold’s approach to the material and influences, sets, locations and visual design, action and stunts, props and effects, cast and performances, and related domains.
With “Path”, we get a nice overview of the production. The documentary touches on a good variety of topics and does so with pretty positive clarity. The piece moves well and becomes a useful take on the film.
An Alternate Ending runs one minute, 36 seconds. It shows a little bit that extends the theatrical cut’s finale. I like this little tease and think it should’ve made the cut.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find an X-Men: Days of Future Past Set Tour. It lasts two minutes, 47 seconds as Past director Bryan Singer takes us around the set. It’s essentially a teaser, but it’s fun.
A fourth disc offers a DVD copy of theatrical version of The Wolverine. It includes none of the Blu-ray’s extras.
After a lackluster solo debut in 2009, 2013’s The Wolverine gave the character the cinematic platform he deserved. Gritty, exciting and dramatic, the movie does well for itself. The Blu-ray brings us excellent picture and audio as well as a good array of supplements. The Wolverine becomes one of the better superhero efforts.