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  • Full Frame
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • French: Dolby Digital Stereo
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    English, French, Spanish, Dutch
  • Audio commentary - Comments by writer, Chris Claremont
  • 2 Interviews - Chris Claremont, Stan Lee

X-Men: The Legend of Wolverine

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 76 mins . PG . PAL


It seems bizarre to think that the X-Men now need no introduction. After Brian Singer brought Marvel Comics?merry mutants to the big screen in 2000, the X-Men have gone from obscure, lesser-known comic heroes (despite being the best-selling amongst die hard comic fans) to one of the more exciting and interesting film franchises to appear in recent years.

For those still unaware of the concept, the X-Men are a group of heroes gifted with unique and powerful abilities courtesy of an evolutionary mutation. Led by the enigmatic and wheelchair-bound Charles Xavier, the X-Men are sworn to protect a world that fears and hates them from the darker forces that might threaten their coexistence. Aside from the obvious displays of might and power, the idea of the X-Men carries with it some stark undertones of racism and social inadequacy while still paying homage to the idea that we should always be cheering for the good guys.

The X-Men animated series was produced in the early to mid-?0s over a respectable six seasons. Though registering nary a blip on Australian scanners, the series became a hit with fans of the comic book (of which there are oh-so-many), many of whom clamoured to see their idols bought to life in any form whatsoever. Foremost on the geek fan-fave list is the borderline psychotic known as Wolverine so, on this disc, four episodes are taken from the complete series that best paint a portrait of everyone’s favourite clawed X-Man. Of course, now that a couple of films have not only been released under the franchise but have actually turned out to be pretty damn good, the animated series now comes across as a big old wedge of cheese. That’s not to say that they aren’t entertaining, just that the films offer a slicker, more accessible alternative.

What the animated series does offer, however, is at least a version of the characters that is truer to the original X-Universe. It also has the luxury of being able to tap into the seemingly endless supply of characters and plotlines that have evolved over nearly 40 years. As one might expect, the voice acting can be a bit on the over-dramatic side and the animation itself is probably technically inferior to some of the more polished super-hero outings such as Batman: The Animated Series or Justice League. Nevertheless, the stories themselves are actually pretty good and the third episode in particular (Nightcrawler) manages to capture the wonder and prejudice that has so long been a cornerstone of X-Men lore.

The story goes that Brian Singer, on receiving his assignment as director of the smash films and being unfamiliar with the X-Men, watched the entire run of this series in order to better acquaint himself with both characters and concept. Though watching the entire series run would definitely achieve that end, the very idea that someone could sit and watch 30-odd hours of the stuff seems even uncannier than the mutants in question. Rather, the four episodes featured on X-Men: The Legend of Wolverine focus on a handful of popular characters from the films while still offering a teasing glimpse of mutants still to come. As such, this disc should whet the appetite of film fans that can’t bear to wait until X-Men 3 hits the multiplex.

Featured Episodes:
Out of the Past, Part 1
Out of the Past, Part 2
The Lotus and the Steel


Sorry true believers, but the transfer on X-Men: Legend of Wolverine isn’t exactly cutting edge. Each of the episodes are presented in full frame and therefore are naturally not 16:9 enhanced (not that you should really be expecting any more than that anyway). One thing that must be said about this series is that it certainly is colourful. With all of the heroes and villains in lurid spandex and featuring all manner of lasers and power beams, the palette can be a bit stark and unfortunately, for something so vibrant, can become a little over-saturated. The bottom line is, though, I am a bit of an older bloke and, where the bright colours may appear a bit stark to me, it is those same bright colours that are really gonna float your kid’s boat so let’s not be too judgemental. The transfer is nothing fancy but, for what it is trying to achieve, succeeds anyway.


The soundtrack featured on X-Men: Legend of Wolverine is in Dolby Stereo and as such serves its purpose admirably. Keep in mind that these cartoons are pretty noisy anyway so, in some ways, a simple audio output can be a bit of a blessing at times. Dialogue synching in animation is never going to be spot on and this is no exception. One thing I am fairly confident of though is that any viewer over the age of 14 is probably going to find a lot of the dialogue a bit hard to cop, so an open mind is probably encouraged. Overall though, the sound quality is quite good in that everything is clear and there are no real clarity issues.


The extras, considering the disc content, are actually pretty good, but more of interest to the comics fan than anything.

Who is Chris Claremont? (15:06) ?Chris Claremont commenced writing duties on the X-Men in the early ?0s and not only still writes about them (in any of the numerous spin-off titles) but is also responsible for many of the storylines featured in the animated series. Presented here is edited interview footage where Chris Claremont discusses X-Men and Marvel history while also touching on his own motivations and influences.

The Power Behind the X ?Not quite an audio commentary, but rather a comments track to be played over each episode. Unfortunately these insights are few and far between and by the time they actually appear, are probably only of real interest to the die-hard fan anyway.

Stan Lee’s Soapbox (5:17) ?Marvel Comics king and X-Men creator, Stan ‘the Man?Lee talks about his favourite things ?himself and how he invented all of these great superheroes. Regardless, this guy is a bit of a remarkable one and his tales of early Marvel and his anecdotes on the invention of the X-Men makes for pretty interesting stuff.


The packaging of X-Men: The Legend of Wolverine features a number of characters that feature in both films and its blurb outlines the plot and theme of X2, despite the fact that the film’s plot actually bares no resemblance to what is actually contained on this disc. It all seems a bit like a clever and transparent ploy to shift units, don’t you think? Still, rather than get the claws out (heh heh), these episodes were only gathering dust anyway and at least this way they might find their way into the clutches of eager young fans so, in a sense, everybody wins. Despite developing heroes and dreams for four generations of kiddies (and adults that never grew out of it), Marvel Comics faced financial ruin barely a decade ago. These days, with half a dozen hit films under its belt (Blade, Spiderman, Daredevil,The Hulk, etc.), the iconic comic-book empire is finally having its day in the sun.

I think Perry Farrell said it best: ‘Cash in now, honey?

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      And I quote...
    "Four more tales of mutant mayhem starring the little angry one with the claws..."
    - Peter O'Connor
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          Accusound ASC160
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          Accusound ASC160
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