Sep 7, 2011

New Spy DVDs Out This Week: X-Men: First Class and Hanna

New Spy DVDs Out This Week: X-Men: First Class and Hanna

It might seem like I'm a few days late with this post, which I usually try to get up on Tuesdays, but the biggest spy release of the week didn't come out on Tuesday. Weirdly, it comes out today, on Friday. As far as I'm concerned, X-Men: First Class is still the spy movie to beat so far this year. (Read my full review here.) Matthew Vaughn's Sixties-set superhero epic is a paen to the spy movies and TV shows of that era as much as it is a terrific origin story for the mutant film franchise. (Read about some of The Avengers' influence on Vaughn's film here.) This week, Fox Home Entertainment releases X-Men: First Class on DVD and Blu-ray, the latter with copious special features.

Special features on the X-Men: First Class Blu-ray include ten Marvel X-Men Digital Comics with exclusive X-Men: First Class backstory (which is particularly cool, since Marvel didn't release any direct comic book tie-ins when the movie was in theaters!), an eight-part behind-the-scenes featurette called "Children of the Atom" charting the film from pre-production through post-production (including visual effects techniques and cataloging X-Men transformations through prosthetic make up and costume design), extended and deleted scenes (including one of Michael Fassbender in drag... which is kind of weird), an interactive feature allowing viewers the opportunity to learn more about specific scenes with talent interviews and behind-the-scenes footage called "X Marks the Spot," an isolated score track(!) showcasing composer Henry Jackman's Sixties spy-saturated soundtrack, the theatrical trailer and some gimmicky interactive thing called the "Cerebro Mutant Tracker," billed as "the complete interactive Mutant Database with interactive videos giving fans the [interactive, surely?] ability to learn about their favorite mutants in the X-Men film franchise," plus a BD-Live Portal with additional Cerebro Mutant Tracker profiles. All that adds up to more than two hours of bonus material! You'll be able to choose between heroes and villains with two separate collectible O-rings in stores. (They're the same cover underneath.) Retail is $39.99 for the Blu-ray and $29.99 for the DVD, but both are currently substantially discounted on Amazon and other online retailers.

Making this a big week for major mainstream spy releases, on Tuesday Universal Studios Home Entertainment put out Joe Wright's hard-edged teen assassin movie Hanna on DVD and Blu-ray. Extras on both versions include an alternate ending (that I'm particularly keen to see; the ending was the only part I didn't really like about the movie), deleted scenes, "Anatomy of a Scene: The Escape From Camp G" (undoubtedly the coolest scene in the movie) and an audio commentary with director Wright. Further exclusive bonus features on the Blu-ray (don't you hate that?) include "Adapt or Die," a featurette on training, a making-of documentary cleverly titled "Central Intelligence Allegory," a featurette on the Chemical Brothers' awesome score called "Chemical Reaction" and "The Wide World of Hanna," a featurette about the film's impressive European locations. This La Femme Nikita-meets-Bourne with a teenage girl spy movie/fairy tale starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana is another one of my favorites so far this year, and I'm looking forward to adding the Blu-ray to my collection. And look! They even kept the cool poster art rather than slapping together a Photoshop montage for the DVD cover! Nicely done, Universal. Retail is $34.98 for the Blu-ray and $29.98 for the DVD, but both are available considerably cheaper on Amazon.

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