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X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut

by Kilian Melloy
Sunday Jul 19, 2015
X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut

When director Bryan Singer went into production of "X-Men: Days of Future Past," it was with a script that featured a rescue mission teaming up future versions of Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen). Their goal: To rescue Rogue (Anna Paquin) from the clutches of evil robot mutant killers called Sentinels, designed in the 1970s by a mutant-phobe named Trask (Peter Dinklage)and evolved over the course of 50 years to the point of being unstoppable.

The rescue sequence, and certain subsequent actions undertaken by Paquin's character, were left out of the theatrical version of the film for reasons of pacing. But Singer felt so strongly that the unrealized version of the film would be worth seeing that he prevailed on Fox to underwrite the work needed to re-cut the movie, finish the unused special effects, and do some extra work to integrate those deleted elements. The result is a highly entertaining alternate version of the film, "X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut."

The story is the same: The X-Men find themselves on the verge of extinction thanks to hordes of Sentinels who have scoured the planet to eradicate their kind, including ordinary humans who might, one day, produce mutated offspring. To head off this eventuality, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) uses her powers to project the present-day consciousness of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) into his own younger body in 1973. That's the year all the trouble began: It was the assassination of Trask at the hands of shape-shifter Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) that convinced the U.S. Government to take Trask's warning, and his final solution for the mutant "problem" seriously, and embrace development of the Sentinels. If Wolverine can convince the 1973 versions of Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to help him stop Mystique, the anti-mutant genocide can be stopped before it even begins.

The new version features some fresh scenes and revisions to existing ones; it is, in many ways, a new approach to the film, and it's instructive to view both the theatrical version and this new cut. It's easy to do: They are both included on the same Blu-ray disc, along with separate commentary tracks for each version. The original theatrical edition has Singer chatting with screenwriter Simon Kinberg; the "Rogue Cut" version has Singer in conversation with editor/composer John Ottman.

A second disc contains a slew of extra features, including a multi-part behind-the-scenes featurette, "Mutant vs. Machine," which delves into the details behind the production of both versions, including production design, cinematography, editing and scoring, costuming, and more. Also on offer: "X-Men Unguarded," a round table discussion featuring cast and crew (it's a treat to see both casts, older and younger, in the same room); a Gallery; a "sneak peek," part trailer and part featurette, for the upcoming reboot of "Fantastic Four"; and access to a "Second Screen" app.

Singer is the definitive director for this franchise. Letting him take the wheel once again to usher this alternate edition of the film to home release was a clever move, and it's also a treat for the fans. The movie itself -- both versions -- is an intelligent mix of action, drama, visual effects, and character interplay; it's also great fun. "The Rogue Cut" is the edition to have.


"X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut"
Blu-ray
$29.99
http://www.foxconnect.com/x-men-days-of-future-past-the-rogue-cut-80012.html

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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