Plot: What’s it about?
As a former fan of comic books (I’m still a fan, actually though I don’t read them any more) there were a few series that I read on a regular basis. I never really got into the Hulk and I dabbled in Spider-Man, Fantastic Four never really did it for me nor did Thor. Ok, so what I did I read? I guess you could say that I was a fan of the mutants and the X-Men in particular. The X-Men are known more for the films these days than the comic books that inspired them but back in the 90’s, there was an animated series that focused on our merry band of mutants. Now the cast of this show was a bit scattered, involving members of the team that included Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Jubilee, Wolverine and Gambit just to name a few. The original (as in the group that started the series back in the 60’s) consisted of just five heroes plus their mentor, Professior Xavier. Admittedly I was a bit too old in the 90’s to watch these shows but when the chance came around to review these DVD’s, I figured I’d give it a shot.
Watching “Marvel’s X-Men Volumes I and II” was like taking an animated walk down memory lane. The DVD’s have 16 episodes on them and focus on the adventures that are literally taken from the comic books. Granted, not all the adventures are documented as there’s some thirty years worth of material there but some of the big storylines are all shown and it was interesting to see how they were presented. For me, the “Days of Future Past” two part episode was my favorite. This focuses on an alternate future in which the X-Men were hunted and killed by the sentinels. It’s good stuff and they can only present so much in a two hour movie (not to mention the three year wait in between them). Fans of X-Men will want to check these initial volumes out and there are still a few seasons left before the entire collection is out. Here’s a rundown of the episodes on these two volumes:
Night of the Sentinels (Part 1)
Night of the Sentinels (Part 2)
The Unstoppable Juggernaut
Come The Apocalypse
Days Of Future Past (Part 1)
Days Of Future Past (Part 2)
The Final Decision
Till Death Do Us Part (Part 1)
Till Death Do Us Part (Part 2)
Whatever It Takes
Time Fugitives (Part 1)
Time Fugitives (Part 2)
A Rogue’s Tale
Beauty & The Beast
Reunion (Part 1)
Reunion (Part 2)
Out of the Past (Part 1)
Out of the Past (Part 2)
The Phoenix Saga (Part 1): Sacrifice
The Phoenix Saga (Part 2): The Dark Shroud
The Phoenix Saga (Part 3): Cry of the Banshee
The Phoenix Saga (Part 4): The Starjammers
The Phoenix Saga (Part 5): Child of Light
Video: How does it look?
All of the episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio and having never seen the episodes before, they looked a bit better than average. Perhaps it’s because I’m spoiled by HDTV, but what really got me was that there were several inconsistencies in the way these were presented. Some of the episodes were crystal clear and some had some very noticeable grain. Colors were very strong and gave a “pop”, though after watching a recent Pixar movie on Blu-ray, these pale in comparison. I suppose fans won’t mind all that much, but I was expecting a bit better from these sets.
Audio: How does it sound?
Let’s face it, a cartoon from the 90’s probably won’t be something to show your system off with. These Dolby Surround tracks serve their purpose and nothing more. Dialogue sounds good and there are a few matrixed surround effects but by and large it’s a stereo mix with the majority of the action in the front three channels. Nothing too good here but nothing too bad, either.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Despite the disclaimer about the commentaries not being the opinion of any Buena Vista employees, the discs are featureless.