**Disclaimer** This is my first review for the Shack, hope you find it helpful.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Marvel/20th Century Fox)
Director: Gavin Hood
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schrieber
This film covers the back story of the Wolverine character (Jackman), beginning with his child hood, and recounts the events from the first unsheathing of his claws, and traverses the years as he and his brother, Victor Creed (Schrieber) fight through numerous wars, and ultimately end up on a top secret all mutant special operations team. Schrieber does a great job with his character, and he really lets his animal side show, convincing the audience that Victor lives to kill stuff. Things then get too sick and bloody for our hero, and he eventually splits from the team as he grows tired of the killing.
A few years later, he's a lumberjack in Canada, when someone starts killing off the former members of the team. Then Victor shows up and kills Wolvie's girlfriend. After a battle, Wolverine goes back to the military to get the tools he needs (his adamantium) to beat Victor. When he discovers he's been betrayed both by victor and by the man who gave him his claws (Danny Huston as William Stryker), he sets out on a path of revenge.
The idea of this film, for X-Men fans, or Wolverine fans, was an appealing prospect. Unfortunately, the implementation was not quite up to par.
Though much of it may have been the script, Gavin Hood spends a seemingly inordinate amount of time highlighting the dozens of different mutants and their powers, giving each of the members of the Mutant Special Ops team a moment to shine. Then, sprinkled throughout the film are moments of reconnect with many of these characters before they die. Even worse is that most of these characters are campy to say the least (Zero, Blob.... really?!). Ryan Reynolds trys to play his tough guy (Wade Wilson) with his irresistible charm, before becoming the Mutant XI, Deadpool, who can thankfully no longer talk. Then there are all the moments with the mutant children who all happen to be saved at the end, and who almost all get to show off their powers too in some fashion. All of this seemed to distract from the story somewhat, like the unveiling of a young Scott Summers (Tim Pocock). Though let's face it, there's not much story here, he's out for revenge.
In reality, the 2.35:1 AVC video is very good, and though I'm giving it only four stars, this is not so much due to it's technical presentation. I have to deduct a star because of the relatively poor CGI in the film. Visually, this film is fairly dark overall, but when there are colors present, they look suitably punchy and lifelike. The darks are deep and enveloping. The sky in the outdoor scenes remains free from any distracting digital artifacting.
However, I have got to ding this film somewhere for the poor CGI. Though there are a number of scenes where the CGI is implemented well, there are many shots where the CGI, and the way it's implemented with physical effects is so glaringly poor (just watch the scene where he first really examines his shiny new claws from 47:11 - 47:58), it actually took me out of the movie experience. Other examples include the scene where he cuts the fire escape apart to get Gambit (Taylor Kitsch, doing a great job here with limited time by the way), or when he "uses his claws for traction in the dirt to help do a 180 degree turn on his motorcycle. For a movie of this size, and this budget, and in this day and age, for scenes like this, which can completely take a viewer out of the picture due to their poor ability to seamlessly blend effects into the film is unacceptable, and causes, at least some viewers, to end their suspension of disbelief that we all enjoy when watching a film. At least the filmmakers can blow stuff up and make it look good, if a bit over the top. Just watch when the farm blows up (think the end of Return of the Jedi size explosion).
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack does shine here. In the actions scenes, there is aggressive use of the surround channels. The score also fills the room from all sides. Dialogue is clear and centered for the most part. Terrific detail is present throughout the sound stage. Though this soundtrack is not particularly bass heavy, there are a couple of scenes that will give your subwoofer a workout.
Overall, this movie is fair. To be sure, some of the fight scenes were great, but I'd say this movie was disappointing overall for fans of Wolverine and the X-Men. After the enjoyable films of X-Men 1 and 2, I myself would ranks this one as either tied with or maybe slightly below X-Men 3. Reports are now saying that Bryan Singer is showing some interest in making X-Men 4. Maybe if he does, fans will have a reason to rejoice in the X-Men franchise once again.
Mitsubishi WD65835 65" DLP RPTV
Integra 9.8 DTC Pre-Processor
Emotiva EPA-5 Amplifier
Sony PS3 (blu ray player)
Dali Helicon C200 Center
Dali Ikon 6 Fronts
Dali Ikon OnWall Surrounds
Epic Conquest Sub with DSpeaker Anti-Mode 8033(b) room correction