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DVD Reviews

HTF DVD Review: X-Men: Volume 1



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#1 of 17 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted April 23 2009 - 09:01 AM

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X-Men: Volume 1
Marvel DVD Comic Book Collection


 

US Release Date: April 28, 2009
Review Date: April 23, 2009


The Show - htf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gif out of htf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gif<font face="Arial[/img]
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"No one knows who will be a mutant at birth. We discover our extraordinary powers at about your age. Professor Xavier is our leader and he has named us the X-men"

The Show
Widely regarded as one of the very best television animated efforts (IGN this year ranked it as the “13th greatest animated show of all time” out of their list of 100 ), Marvel’s X-Men is classic comic-book hero fodder. It premiered on FOX Kids, Fox’s Saturday morning cartoon line-up, back when FOX television itself was still quite a fledgling entity. It was a ratings success and was welcome by long-time fans of the comic book by remaining relatively faithful to the characters and storylines appearing in the library of ‘X-Men’ comics.

The X-Men world has exploded, building exponentially on the success experienced with the comic book and this animated series. In many ways, The X-Men film opened the gates for the waves of comic-book/Superhero films that have enjoyed a serious resurgence this decade. The films played around with the look of the key characters and borrowed some themes that you will find in these 16 episodes (and of course, from the original comic books), but managed to remain faithful to the core of the X-Men universe (though some would argue that part III failed in that endeavor). But the world of mutants, where characters hold unique ‘abilities’ such as the ability to quickly heal, to control the weather, to read minds, to ‘borrow’ abilities and more, seems to hold a fascination with audiences beyond the core comic-book and superhero fan base.

The series, which ran from 1992-1997, opens with the ‘Night Of The Sentinals’ two-parter, which was originally shown as a ‘not quite complete’ ‘sneak peak’ when production issues delayed the actual series premiere (animation errors were corrected for later broadcasts). The show then continues with what amounts to a high quality, uniformly solid set of episodes set across two discs. The surprising strength of the show comes from the more serious tone that threads through the episodes, even as the more easily enjoyed, simpler fun of pure carnage frequently plays out. Serious minded themes of prejudice, civil liberties and others can be found in this show and treated with some good writing (for a Saturday morning cartoon) and with a dedication to the source material which elevates this series beyond the typical.

The regular characters, under the watchful and mindful guidance of Professor Xavier, that populate this series are Wolverine, Cyclops, Jubilee, Storm, Rogue, Beast, Gambit and Jean Grey, in addition to a swarm of other characters that pop-up throughout the series. The animation is representative of early 1990’s quality (not that great), though the styling and often inventiveness employed helps set it apart from the throng of animated shows that have come since. Newer fans may initially be concerned at the lack of slick, clean and bright animation, but sticking around for a full episode will alleviate that concern and help them realize that the story is what is most important. Fans of the show, those who caught it when it first aired or who enjoyed the reruns (on UPN, ABC Family etc) will rejoice at this release (and its partner release, Volume 2).

This collection includes all the episodes from season one and three episodes from the start of season two.




The Episodes

Disc One
1.Night of the Sentinels (Part 1)
2.Night of the Sentinels (Part 2)
3.Enter Magneto
4.Deadly Reunions
5.Captive Hearts
6.Cold Vengeance
7.Slave Island
8.The Unstoppable Juggernaut


Disc Two
9.The Cure
10.Come The Apocalypse
11.Days Of Future Past (Part 1)
12.Days Of Future Past (Part 2)
13.The Final Decision
14.Till Death Do Us Part (Part 1)
15.Till Death Do Us Part (Part 2)
16.Whatever It Takes







The Video - htf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_half.gif out of htf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gif

The X-Men Marvel DVD Comic Book Collection comes correctly framed in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. This isn’t the best this show could look; there is some dirt and debris noticeable and there is a pale feel to the colors that seems to pervade the episodes. The image is also soft and could have really popped with some time spent cleaning it up. The animation style isn’t slick either. Some have commented that it’s down right ugly, though I won’t go that far. Issues aside, the quality of these episodes on the DVD remind me of how other cartoons from the late 80’s and first half of the 1990’s looked when I watched them on broadcast television and doesn’t detract from the good stories being told.




The Sound - htf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gif out of htf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gif

The 16 episodes spread over two discs come with an English Dolby Digital Surround Sound in addition to both French and Spanish language tracks. The surrounds don’t get much action at all as it is primarily front focused. The sound isn’t crisp, isn’t always clear but does ok for the experience. Again, a remastering would have made this show really come alive, but the audio is faithful to the original experience.

 

The Extra’s - No Stars out of htf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gif

No Extras, No Stars




Final Thoughts

The X-Men show is really good stuff. Fans of the show will love having these episodes to keep and enjoy. Those introduced to the world of these mutants through the movies will struggle initially with the difference in the characters’ form from the films (Wolverines wardrobe and Cyclops’ height for starters) but that should dissipate quickly and fans of the X-Men universe will identify with the good stories and recognize the essence of these characters quickly. While these new DVD releases from Disney are not clean season sets, they are a real step up from the ‘best of’ style releases that have come before which plucked episodes out of broadcast order. Having no extras is a shame but overall, a good job!


 

Overall Score - htf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gif out of htf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gifhtf_images_smilies_star.gif

Neil Middlemiss
Kernersville, NC


"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
My DVD Collection

#2 of 17 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted April 23 2009 - 10:29 AM

Enter by 11:59pm on 4/28 to win a copy of this DVD (and Volume 2) by visiting this thread:

Win a Copy of X-Men Volumes 1 & 2
"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
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#3 of 17 OFFLINE   Jason_V

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Posted April 23 2009 - 02:06 PM

Thanks Neil. I've waited so long for this release I don't care what it looks/sounds like. Give it to me in a paper bag in the back alley for all I care. Finally...X-Men.

#4 of 17 OFFLINE   Jon F.

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Posted April 24 2009 - 03:05 AM

Good review, Neil. I was leaning toward saying "excellent" when you mentioned the 'not quite complete sneak peek'...but then there was no mention of whether the episodes are edited or not. When getting shows on DVD the fans ALWAYS want to know the answer to that question.

#5 of 17 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted April 24 2009 - 06:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon F.
Good review, Neil. I was leaning toward saying "excellent" when you mentioned the 'not quite complete sneak peek'...but then there was no mention of whether the episodes are edited or not. When getting shows on DVD the fans ALWAYS want to know the answer to that question.

Jon - The 'incomplete' versions haven't been seen since the original airdate back in 92 - so this version is indeed the 'complete' version that has been seen in reruns etc.

The episode running times reflect that of the original broadcast as well, so as far as I can tell, these are the versions that will avoid fan backlash.

Do I get a rating of 'excellent' now? Posted Image
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#6 of 17 OFFLINE   Jim Harvey

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Posted April 24 2009 - 07:20 AM

For those interested, there are menu screen here:
Marvel Animation Age

And running time and package shots here:
Marvel Animation Age

As Neil said, these are pretty good volume releases! Worth picking up!

#7 of 17 OFFLINE   james o

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Posted April 28 2009 - 08:28 AM

yes i would like this dvd set , friends of mine call me the beast ,my favorite character seriosly though i have hair over every inch of my beutiful body i cant even go to the beach , but i also like iceman

#8 of 17 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted May 04 2009 - 02:21 AM

Are these, for all intents and purposes, season sets?

#9 of 17 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted May 04 2009 - 03:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Favate
Are these, for all intents and purposes, season sets?

I suppose - though I am not sure what determined how these episodes would be divvied up. Volume 2 contains all but the three season 2 episodes (which are included in Volume 1) and then several from season three.
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#10 of 17 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted May 04 2009 - 04:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Middlemiss
I suppose - though I am not sure what determined how these episodes would be divvied up. Volume 2 contains all but the three season 2 episodes (which are included in Volume 1) and then several from season three.

Sounds like they're issuing five seasons in four volumes, not unlike what Futurama did. Thanks for the input.

#11 of 17 OFFLINE   Chip_HT

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Posted May 06 2009 - 05:29 PM

Not a bad idea, actually, since it gets the Phoenix Saga out in the first batch.

My only question is if the season 5 episode dealing with Jean's death that was supposed to be a season 3 episode will be put in its proper chronological order.

#12 of 17 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted May 07 2009 - 01:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip_HT
Not a bad idea, actually, since it gets the Phoenix Saga out in the first batch.

My only question is if the season 5 episode dealing with Jean's death that was supposed to be a season 3 episode will be put in its proper chronological order.

I need to recheck - but I believe it is...
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#13 of 17 OFFLINE   WhitneyG

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Posted May 07 2009 - 03:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Middlemiss
I need to recheck - but I believe it is...
Unless you have a source at Disney who knows details about volume 3, there's no way to know yet. The episode airing order didn't get screwed up until after the episodes that were included on these first two releases. We'll find out which episode order they are using only after we get an episode list for volume 3.

#14 of 17 OFFLINE   Jeff Jacobson

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Posted May 13 2009 - 05:11 PM

Quote:
Sounds like they're issuing five seasons in four volumes, not unlike what Futurama did. Thanks for the input.

Futurama only really had four seasons produced. (The FOX network split them up into five seasons, though.)

#15 of 17 OFFLINE   Dan Keliikoa

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Posted May 14 2009 - 06:54 AM

Thank you, Neil! Great job! I ordered up Vol's I and II a little while ago :^) Great to see Wolverine being Wolverine again (as in, abrasive with pretty much everybody except Jubilee and Jean LOL).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason_V
Thanks Neil. I've waited so long for this release I don't care what it looks/sounds like. Give it to me in a paper bag in the back alley for all I care. Finally...X-Men.

LOL, thanks, that paper bag thing made me laugh at my desk!
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#16 of 17 OFFLINE   juda

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Posted June 05 2009 - 07:39 AM

Lol awesome post OP, interesting review

#17 of 17 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted June 05 2009 - 09:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhitneyG
Unless you have a source at Disney who knows details about volume 3, there's no way to know yet. The episode airing order didn't get screwed up until after the episodes that were included on these first two releases. We'll find out which episode order they are using only after we get an episode list for volume 3.

My uncle's sisters, nephew's cousins older brother's girlfriends half-brother's mother-in-law's best friends son knows a girl, who knows a guy who drives a cab in the area of Disney Headquarters and takes alot of execs to the airport - I was gonna ask him...

Posted Image
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