X-Men: Days of Future Past appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a satisfying image.
From start to finish, sharpness looked good. Only the slightest hint of softness affected wide shots, and those examples occurred too infrequently to cause problems. Instead, the film looked concise and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws.
In terms of colors, the movie featured a palette that favored yellow, teal and orange. None of these tones became overwhelming, so the elements don’t overwhelm like often becomes the case in modern movies. Across the board, the hues looked fine within their design parameters. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I thought the movie consistently looked positive.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack, it offered a dynamic superhero experience. With a variety of action and ambient elements, the audio brought the events to life in fine fashion.
Battle sequences added the greatest punch, and the pieces used all the speakers to great advantage. Quieter scenes contributed good breadth and smoothness as well. All of this meant the audio filled out the spectrum in a nice manner.
Sound quality satisfied. Speech was natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music demonstrated good range and clarity as well. Effects worked the best of the bunch, as they were consistently dynamic and vivid. All in all, this was an active and engaging soundtrack.
Disc One provides two versions of Past. We get both the Theatrical Cut (2:11:35) as well as a new Rogue Cut (2:28:45). While “The Rogue Cut” might just sound like a cute title, it’s actually a literal descriptor of what to expect. The Rogue character (Anna Paquin) had virtually no role in the theatrical Past, but in this extended version, she plays a moderately substantial part.
Most of the film’s first two-thirds remains essentially the same, though. The chapter menu helpfully indicates “Alternate Scenes” and “All-New Scenes”. The “Rogue Cut” doesn’t mention Rogue until chapter 28, and prior to that, it includes nine alternate scenes.
How much extra running time did those nine segments deliver? Three minutes, 18 seconds, so don’t expect a lot of variations for the initial two-thirds of the film.
Chapter 30 becomes the first “all-new scene”, and it’s from that point on that we get the majority of the unique footage in the “Rogue Cut”. Obviously, much of this connects to the Rogue character, but I won’t discuss details so I can avoid spoilers.
When I discuss alternate versions of films, I tend to focus on the big picture: does the “new” edition work better than the old one? In my opinion, no, the “Rogue Cut” doesn’t do much to improve the original.
Most of my problems with Past stem from its first two acts, which I think move too slowly. The film works fine in its third section, mainly because the action picks up as matters come to a head.
The “Rogue Cut” tinkers with the third act but neither improves nor harms it. Again, because most of this version’s added footage shows up in the portion of the film that already fared pretty well, it doesn’t create a more satisfying story. It’s interesting to see the changes but the “Rogue Cut” fails to create a more satisfying movie.
Note that in addition to the same post-credits tidbit also found on the Theatrical Cut, the Rogue Cut throws in a brief “mid-credit” shot.
Disc One also includes two audio commentaries. Alongside the Theatrical Cut, we hear from director Bryan Singer and writer Simon Kinberg. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific discussion ofs the project's development and how Singer came back to the franchise, story/character areas, editing and cut scenes, action, stunts and effects, cast and performances, music, sets and locations, shooting 3D and related topics.
Singer and Kinberg pair to offer a terrific commentary. They touch on a nice variety of subjects and do so in a way that seems both honest and entertaining. No slow spots occur during this involving, informative piece.
To accompany the Rogue Cut, we get a second commentary with Singer and editor/composer John Ottman. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific take. While they touch on other areas, three topics dominate the commentary: music, editing, and changes made for the "Rogue Cut".
After the pleasures of the Theatrical Cut's commentary, this one comes as a disappointment. Not that it flops, as it includes a reasonable amount of useful material, especially related to the alternate version. Still, the track sags more than I'd like and doesn't turn into a great chat.
On Disc Two, the main feature comes from Mutant Vs. Machine, a nine-part documentary. Taken as a whole, it fills a total of 52 minutes, 41 seconds with info from Singer, Kinberg, Ottman, producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Hutch Parker, comics writers Len Wein and Chris Claremont, costume designer Louise Mingenbach, production designer John Myhre, cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel, property master Simone Leclerc, SPFX supervisor Cameron Waldbauer, assistant supervising sound editor Skip Longfellow, supervising sound editor John A. Larson, sound designer Warren Hendriks, re-recording mixer DM Hemphill, visual effects supervisor Richard Stammers, additional visual effects supervisor Matt Sloan, and actors Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart, Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellen, Peter Dinklage, Jennifer Lawrence, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Daniel Cudmore, Booboo Stewart, Shawn Ashmore, Fan Bingbing, Nicholas Hoult, Halle Berry, Omar Sy and Evan Peters.
“Machine” looks at story/character areas and the original comics, what Singer brings to the film, cast and performances, costumes, sets and production design, photography and shooting 3D, music, editing, and sound design, various effects, aspects of the “Rogue Cut”, the film’s reception and what to expect from the next movie.
With almost an hour at its disposal, I hoped “Machine” would present a pretty deep look at the film’s creation. While it gives us a mix of good elements, it tends to focus too much on happy talk. We still learn a reasonable amount about Past, but it’s a lackluster product overall.
X-Men Unguarded runs 30 minutes, 11 seconds and offers a “roundtable” chat with Singer, McKellen, Fassbender, Stewart, Kinberg, McAvoy, Page, Dinklage, Berry, Sy, Peters, Jackman, Hoult, and Ashmore. We get reflections on the film series and specifics about Past, with an emphasis on cast and performances. A few minor insights emerge here and it’s fun to see the actors all together, but we don’t get a lot of substance from this piece.
In addition to a Sneak Peek for the 2015 Fantastic Four film, we get a gallery. It breaks into three areas: “Storyboards” (534 frames), “Costumes” (36) and “Concept Art” (389). These offer good images, but the interface can be a bit clunky, especially during “Concept Art”, as that breaks down into a bunch of subdomains.
In relation to the rest of the series, X-Men: Days of Future Past offers a middle of the pack experience. It keeps us moderately involved but it never turns into anything especially exciting, and this disc’s “Rogue Cut” fails to improve the original. The Blu-ray brings us solid picture and audio along with a pretty good roster of supplements. Maybe someday I’ll wholly embrace Past, but after three screenings, I remain only mildly invested in it.