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DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 104 minutes, two audio commentaries, deleted scenes and 3 alternate endings with optional commentary, theatrical trailers

STUDIO: 20th Century FOX/ MARVEL

RELEASE DATE: 10-3-2006

X-MEN 3 had a troubled pre-production history and the final result is less than great. The original director of X3, Bryan Singer, who was behind the excellent first two films moved on to do SUPERMAN RETURNS and 20th Century FOX was pushing to get the next sequel produced. In an odd turn of fate, one of the previous attached directors of the Superman movie ended up with the X3 directing duties. Brett Ratner does a great job with the first hour and yet the script just self-destructs in the last 40 minutes. If Fox wasn't so eager to get the third film into production, Bryan might have been able to do the third film and James Marsden wouldn't have been featured so little in X3 as Cyclops. I always imagined the Dark Phoenix storyline more than what it became in the film. X3 is more action centered leaving less room for character development.

X-MEN 3 deals with the resurrection of Jean Grey as the personality of Dark Phoenix and a mutant cure. Magneto wants to destroy to the cure and he will use Jean in his attempt to do so. The screenplay for the film is the result of two writers (Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn) who combined their two screenplays into one. With the input from Brett Ratner, the screenplay is an empty shell compared to the first two films. Too bad Marsden's availability was limited since he was shooting SUPERMAN RETURNS (for Singer), but X3 is a whole mine of missed chances and it deviates much more than the first two ever did from the mythology in the comic books. So if you're a fan of the comics, you will be up in arms with what they did (from killing off two characters and curing another). Famke Jansen should have been given more to do with Jean Grey in this film. All she does is stand around looking confused or look angry. Patrick Stewart (Professor Charles Xaiver), Ian McKellan (Magneto), and Hugh Jackman (Logan/ Wolverine) do the most with the material given them. Too bad they couldn't have the work of Bryan Singer again. If they ever do future X-MEN films, I hope they learn from the first two films and avoid the mistakes made in the third.

VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

I have always had problems playing these Special Screening discs FOX send out to review. I think I will stick with final product discs in the future even though I know FOX's intention is to stop piracy with these discs. So I will focus on the video and audio after I get the final product.

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Surround, English 6.1 DTS, French 2.0 DS, Spanish 2.0 DS

Subtitles: English, Spanish

SPECIAL FEATURES: I wish the 20th Century FOX Home Video marketing department would quit the double dipping (in North America) and release the two disc version at the same time as the 1 disc since the rest of the world gets the 2 disc release now. The one disc version released in North America includes two audio commentaries for the film, a few deleted scenes and 3 alternate endings (with optional commentary), the original theatrical trailers for X3, and trailers for other Marvel movies out from 20th Century FOX (DAREDEVIL, FANTASTIC FOUR, ELEKTRA). The deleted scenes don't amount to much, but the alternate endings are interesting and two of them make more sense than the ending used for the film (again the fault of director Brett Ratner). The audio commentaries (the first with director Ratner and the two screenwriters: Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn, the second with producers Avi Arad, lauren Shuler Donner, and Ralph Winter) are fun to listen to and provide plenty of info about the making of the film while not taking themselves too seriously. It is nice to see the theatrical trailers for the film included. I can't wait for the extra meat of behind-the-scenes stuff that will be on the two disc edition.

FINAL ANALYSIS: X-MEN 3 is just a good and yet empty sequel which is just a missed chance due to having the sequel being fast tracked without the genius behind the first two. If you just want the film, buy this DVD, if you want the extras that will be on the 2 disc, just rent it and buy the 2 disc when it is released.

this review is (c)9-29-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com  and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com