The Wolverine was a blockbuster success when it arrived in theaters this past summer. Now, 20th Century Fox has released it on DVD and Blu-Ray as a special The Wolverine Unleashed Extended Edition. Not only does it contain the director’s cut of the film, but a bounty of extras that should make not only any Wolverine fan thrilled, but X-Men aficionados as well.
As told to us in our James Mangold exclusive interview, the director is thrilled that audiences get to check out the additional scenes as well as extended scenes that were omitted from the tighter theatrical cut. Those new to us moments are stellar. Often is the case, additional material that was cut from the theatrical version of the film feel as if they should have stayed on the cutting room floor. Not the case with The Wolverine Unleashed Extended Edition.
The new scenes only add resonance and power to the overall arc of the story that had us excited the moment that first The Wolverine trailer landed almost a year ago.
Hugh Jackman has never been better as the reluctant hero, who would just assume live by himself in the woods than get drawn into some sort of right or wrong fight. But, trust us, when there is a wrong, he will right it. This time out, our story takes him to Japan to talk to a man he saved in a Japanese prison camp during World War II as the dying man’s final wish. Turns out everything is not what it seems and Wolverine/Logan gets drawn into a family fight that only has the future of that country’s most powerful and profitable corporation in the balance.
The extended and unrated cut features the first for an X-Men movie and fans will not be disappointed in what they get. The extra film footage isn’t simply window dressing as they provide new insight into the legend that is The Wolverine. And as it is the director’s cut of the film, this is how the film should be seen. There is also an alternative ending, which for appreciators of the X-Men universe… is the best Christmas gift one could get! It is also more violent, and seeing Jackman kick more butt is never a bad thing.
There’s a “Ronin” side to this story that is an impeccable fit to the Wolverine mythology. And in that vein The Path of the Ronin titled extras astound. The way it dives into a hero without a past provides clues for fans and newbies alike and we cannot think of a better feature in recent memory that achieves what this one does.
Inspiration: A Ronin’s Journey is a beautifully packaged documentary on how our hero got to where he is currently, and Execution: A Killer Team delves further into the world of The Wolverine, but also harks back to the comics that gave birth to the character in the first place.
As this character and franchise lives and dies with the casting of Jackman -- and he could not have been a better choice when he was first cast -- the bonus feature Hugh Jackman: The Man Behind the Mutant is pure bliss. The profile on Jackman not only explores his methods of finding deeper realms of his character, but even how he got in superhero shape. After all, the actor is human, the character is not.
As longtime Wolverine fans, we especially enjoyed Reflections: The Evolution of Wolverine. For a character that is so rich, there is no bottom of the well that can be deep enough to cover Wolverine and his alter ego Logan.
Then there is the commentary by director Mangold that is only available on the unleashed extended version. As this is truly his film from conception to closing credits, there can be no better authority to take viewers on the journey that spans the North American northwest to the land of the Rising Sun. This is a man who not only keenly knows how to tell a story, but also possesses the knowledge of the mythology of the character that the film is named after.
For those who have tablets or a secondary tech device, the second screen app is an even further means to get more out of this product. One can witness the movie without interruption and capture the magic of the moviemaking simultaneously. It is a glorious marriage of technology and story that previous DVD and Blu-Ray titles have flirted with, but few have achieved with the brilliance that is featured in The Wolverine Unleashed Extended Edition.
Finally, as Wolverine does exist in a world much larger than is portrayed in this film, the bonus feature that takes fans on a set tour of X-Men: Days of Future Past is an uncanny way to get a feel for the world that Bryan Singer is creating for his next chapter of the X-Men world. As those who have seen the film (check out our The Wolverine review for more), the after credits scene is a jaw-dropper and a terrific way for Mangold to hand the X-Men baton to Singer as his film readies for release in 2014.
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