X-Men: The Last Stand appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Across the board, the DVD offered a strong transfer.
Sharpness was excellent. If any softness crept into the presentation, I didn’t notice it. The film was consistently crisp and well-defined. I detected some light jaggies and shimmering on occasion, but those were rare, and no edge enhancement appeared to mar the flick. Source flaws also remained absent.
Stand stayed with a subdued palette. Bright colors rarely cropped up, as it preferred a low-key setting. Within those parameters, the tones seemed accurate and well-delineated. Blacks were deep and firm, and low-light shots came across as clear and easy to discern. Only the modest jags and moiré effects caused me to lower my grade at all, as the movie always looked great.
I felt even more impressed by the excellent audio of X-Men: The Last Stand. The DVD featured both Dolby Digital EX 5.1 and DTS ES 6.1 soundtracks. The pair appeared very similar. I thought the DTS mix offered slightly tighter bass, but the variations weren’t substantial enough to produce different grades for the two tracks. Overall, they were much more alike than dissimilar.
The soundfield was consistently terrific. As expected, the movie’s many action scenes created the greatest impact. From flying objects to Storm’s weather manipulations to explosions and blasts, the soundfield used all five channels to excellent effect. The elements swarmed all around us and firmly placed us in the action.
Quieter scenes also worked well. These formed a nice sense of atmosphere, though they also produced some involving effects. For example, telepathic elements cropped up from all around the room. At all times, the mix used the different speakers to their full advantage.
Never did the quality of the audio disappoint. Effects remained concise and robust. They presented great dynamics and lacked any distortion or other problems. The score occasionally threatened to get buried under the onslaught of action effects, but the music managed to stay lively and bright nonetheless. Speech was crisp and distinctive. Bass response seemed terrific, especially in the slightly superior DTS mode. Really, I found a lot to like and virtually nothing to criticize from these superb soundtracks.
A few extras round out Stand. We open with two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director Brett Ratner and writers Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They talk a lot about the characters and story issues. We hear about the integration of all the different mutants and related concerns along with other plot and script topics. In addition, we get some info about sets and locations, various effects and stunts, comic book allusions, and a few other production topics.
The three participants manage to make this a fairly entertaining track, if not one of the most informative discussions I’ve heard. A lot of joking occurs – probably too much, as it sometimes becomes tough to tell factual statements from comedic exaggerations. There’s also more praise than I’d like. Nonetheless, we get a decent amount of information in this genial and generally likable piece.
For the second commentary, we hear from producers Avi Arad, Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter. All three sit together for their own running, screen-specific chat. They discover production basics like sets and locations, effects and visual concerns, cast and characters, and a mix of technical issues. All of these act as a satisfactory look at the flick, but none of them stand out as particularly memorable. Inevitably, some information repeats from the first commentary. However, since that one focused more on the story and script, the amount of duplication never becomes extreme. Ultimately, the producer track is acceptable but without much spark.
13 Deleted/Alternate Scenes fill a total of nine minutes and 46 seconds. All of them come anamorphic 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. As you can guess, none of them last very long; the one-minute and 40-second “Extended Fight Sequence at Jean Grey’s House” is the lengthiest clip. It’s also arguably the most interesting, as it adds some fun battle elements.
Of the three alternate endings, one with Rogue offers the most provocative change. We also get a tease in which Wolverine returns to Canada; it looks like it existed to prod along another flick. Most of the other scenes offer very minor changes or extensions, so don’t expect much from them. Heck, two of them are the same sequence; they only differ in that Magneto sports a beard in one but is clean-shaven in the other.
We can watch these with or without commentary from Ratner, Penn and Kinberg. They give us basic notes about the scenes and usually let us know why they cut the sequences. The commentary fills out matters well.
Promotional elements comprise the rest of the DVD’s supplements. We get two Stand trailers as well as ads for 24 season 5, Night at the Museum and fellow Marvel properties Elektra, Daredevil and Fantastic Four. A First Glimpse of The Simpsons Movie lasts 63 seconds and gives us a short storyreel from that upcoming flick.
The DVD opens with a few Previews. We find ads for Ice Age 2: The Meltdown and Thank You For Smoking
I think X-Men: The Last Stand offers the weakest of the three films in the series, and it suffers from some unnecessary flaws. That said, it still packs enough of a comic book bunch to entertain. It’s not a great movie, but it keeps us interested despite its misfires. The DVD provides excellent picture and audio as well as some decent extras highlighted by a pair of reasonably useful audio commentaries. This is the worst of the three X-Men movies but it has enough going for it to warrant a recommendation for the fans.