This was originally published at The Edge SUSU on July 15th 2015.
Even in its theatrical version X-Men: Days of Future Past manages to squeeze a remarkable amount into its two hour run-time. Nonetheless a lot had to be jettisoned for the sake of pacing. The most notable casualty of this was Anna Paquin’s Rogue, who only showed up at the very end of the film for a single shot. Aware of the fans’ desire to see the removed footage, Bryan Singer et al have pieced together The Rogue Cut, which reinstates all of the expendable but engaging bits that were lost.
The team have to be commended on their job here. Rather than just lazily slotting the scenes in and leaving it at that, they have re-crafted the whole film accordingly. As a result, shots are added and lines of dialogue are moved around, changed or cut, all in the service of making a separate and cohesive film. The end product is in many ways a different narrative altogether. The general story beats remain the same, but the way the plot arrives at some of them changes significantly. At their best, these adjustments manage to tidy up some plot holes and expand upon character motivations. At their worst, they’re still fun and exciting. There’s the odd jokey bit here and there, and some nice little references to First Class, but the bigger additions come in the form of two particular plot strands.
Firstly there’s the obvious Rogue portion of the cut, which sees the future Xavier, Iceman and Magneto undergo a rescue mission to get Rogue back from the sentinels. This primarily adds to the screen time of Ian McKellen, but also gives us some more X-Jet action too. The second big change is a new thread which has Raven return to the Xavier mansion to meet up with Beast. Of all of the additions this makes the biggest impact, not only affecting why certain things happen in the film, but also deepening the emotional stakes of the final act.
As for Rogue herself, she’s mainly used as a plot device in these additional scenes. So anyone who inexplicably loves the character may be disappointed to find that she doesn’t have all that much to do. Even now she only has roughly four lines, but to be honest it doesn’t really feel like she needs more. The titling of this new cut may lead you to believe that she’s taking centre stage, but the truth is the film works well with it’s focus on Logan, Raven and Xavier, and changing that too much would risk detracting from the emotional core of the story. Oh and there’s also a new mid-credit bit too, so stick around for that.
Perhaps the biggest draw for fans though, should be the new special features. The standard Blu-ray release had a distinct lack of bonus material, all of which has obviously been saved for here. There’s a nicely in depth making of documentary entitled ‘Mutant vs Machine’, which delves into all aspects of production, dwelling on often overlooked areas like editing and the score and really dissecting the processes involved. There’s also a nice bit on the cut material, why it was removed and how they got around the issues caused by it’s absence. They even briefly touch upon the process of editing together a new version and getting studio support in that, all of which is refreshingly in-depth and interesting. Then there’s the more anecdotal ‘X-Men: Unguarded’, which reunites the cast for a chat about everything from the original films, to how Hugh Jackman got the role of Wolverine in the first place. It also contains McAvoy and Fassbender being their usual adorable selves, which is always a welcome addition.
RATING: 9/10- As if Days of Future Past wasn’t awesome enough! In terms of both additional material, and the new bonus features, this is a great package for fans.
X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut (2015), directed by Bryan Singer, is released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK by 20th Century Fox, Certificate 15.