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Better than what was released in the cinema
on 14 July 2015
Yes, this is even better than what we saw in the cinema. The theatrical version was very good, though we already knew that Rogue had been cut completely from the movie to make a more streamlined narrative (and possibly to meet studio demands over running time).
Now the missing 17 minutes have been reinstated. We get a longer section in the future before the time travel takes place, a mission to rescue Rogue so she can take over from an injured and flagging Kitty, and a new section with Mystique visiting the mansion.
The extended future section gives additional dialogue to Bishop and also Storm - many viewers wanted more from the dystopian future and this goes a good way to satisfying that. And although Anna Paquin's Rogue is reduced once again to a damsel in distress, the rescue mission is good and Paquin has a strong presence that's very promising if we ever get to see any more of her version of Rogue. It also indicates that, like Magneto, her powers did return after she elected to be cured in X-Men: The Last Stand. The scene with Mystique at the mansion doesn't feel so compelling, though it does continue the discussion with Beast over embracing one's true self.
Both versions of the film are very good, but for me the Rogue Cut feels a little more rounded. The mission to rescue Rogue fits in fine amid the film's last act when everything becomes desperate and tense and the action really steps up, with parallels between past and future.
This is a two disc set and it does also contain the original cinema version of the film. Disc 1 also contains a commentary by director Bryan Singer and writer/producer Simon Kinberg for the original cinema version, and a commentary by Bryan Singer and composer/editor John Ottman on the Rogue Cut. Disc 2 has special features including Mutant vs Machine (a 9-part making of documentary), X-Men Unguarded (informal conversations with the cast, it takes them a while to relax and get going but it's quite nice to watch and hear what they think), a sneak peak of the new Fantastic Four and some image galleries.
As for this being double dipping or a 'shameless cash-in', no one is forcing anyone to buy this - and I wish we'd get more of these special editions of our favourite films. Quite often studios demand movies are shortened so there can be more screenings (= more ticket sales) in a day and this at least shows what the creative team had initially intended, without bearing that commercial aspect in mind. The studio went to considerable expense to complete special effects on the material that had initially been cut out and to give something back to Rogue fans who were disappointed she had been removed entirely from the theatrically-released edition. So I'm glad we get the chance to see this. If you're happy with the original Blu-ray/DVD release, then that's great. No one is forcing you to double dip, but this is here for those who want to take that opportunity.