6 May 2009 | Chip_douglas
A look back at previous X-documentaries
This X-tra special documentary only available on Region 2 DVD's is really nothing more than a lot of footage from various featurettes produced for all three X-men movies spliced together. One notable omission are the interviews with Bryan Singer, director of the first two installments, though he is seen on set (sitting in a spare Prof X wheelchair next to Pat Stewart) and people talk about him very fondly. In fact, replacement director Brett Ratner seems to be so in awe of Singer's work that he does rather a poor job of selling himself. Not only does he praise his predecessor and say he wouldn't have been able to do as good a job had he done the first two parts, he also belittles himself by telling how the actors 'helped' him (read: corrected him) because they knew more about the characters they were playing than he did.
So, the first 11 minutes are all about movie no 1: X-men (2000). Notice that everybody looks a teeny bit younger and there is a much greater emphasis on Patrick Stewart as Professor X than there is on newcomer Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. The next 15 minutes focus on X2: X-men United (2002). Everybody looks basically the same only with different clothes. By this time, Hughie is obviously the star of the show. Producer Tom DeSanto mentions that the opening action sequence in the oval office will probably go down as one of the greatest openers in movie history. But it probably was a bit too much of a Matrix homage to do that. As the second movie goes more into Wolverine's past, Producer Ralph Winter mentions he would like to explore the beginnings of a lot of different mutant characters in the future. So it seems he was planning a series of 'Origin' prequels during the making of X2 already.
The rest of the documentary, all 17 minutes of it, cover X3: the Last Stand. Of course there is a bit of overlap with the other documentary (The Excitement Continues) made at the same time, but the editors still managed to come up with different snippets to show in both documentaries. Once more the new characters are introduced, including Kelsey Grammar as Beast. According to Brett, Kelsey embodies the character better than anybody he has ever seen in his life. This makes one wonder how many blue Beasts Ratner has worked with in the past. Actually, Grammar does look a bit like Disney's Beast, only bluer.
Halle Berry explains how happy she is to finally have a bigger part, lead the team and to do some flying action on wires. She claims that she hasn't done any flying in the first two films, but seems to have forgotten her elevator trick in part one. Its funny how the behind the scenes clips make it clear that she trips a lot and does her her party trick a lot: the jump in the air heel click. Famke Janssen says it was extremely challenging to play both Jean Grey and Phoenix but really, we all know the reason she was cast in the first place was because of her bitchy bitch look. Patrick Stewart then almost spoils the movie (for those few who watch the DVD documentaries first) but catches himself just in time to say 'people die in this picture' instead of being more specific.
No doubt these pictures will be re-released with updated special features many times in the years to come. It will be interesting to see the same people reminisce in 20 years or so. Maybe their insights will be less gushing and more revealing about the behind the scenes going when they are no longer contractually obliged to sell their latest project? Or is this reviewer being too sarcastic now?
8 out of 10