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Okay, so it's a motion comic. But hey, it's one of the best writers (Joss Whedon) and best artists (John Cassaday) on one of the best X-Men stories, so what more do you want? Well, yeah, an ACTUAL animated feature would have been nice, but you can't have everything. Panel for panel, word balloon for word ballon, this is a perfect (well, for a motion comic) adaptation of the first 6 issues of Whedon/Cassaday's run on Astonishing X-Men. The remaining 18 issues are covered in the follow-up discs.

So, if you alreay have the comics, why get this? Well, the voices are pretty decent. That's really all you get that you didn't already have. Cyclops is kind of boring (well, I guess he's supposed to be boring), and Emma Frost has no trace of a fake British accent (yet there's still the odd colloquialism), otherwise, it's reasonably well done. Oh, and there's this horrible jerky effect whenever they do a pan. So, starting with 5 stars, I take away one because I just can't give a motion comic 5 stars, take away another because of the jerky effect, then give them back a star because it's Whedon and Cassaday.

Or you could just buy the comic.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 16, 2010
First, the comic book gives you more, in case you haven't read it yet. But this motion comics adaptation ain't so shabby, either. Apologies to Grant Morrison and his quirk and others who did decent in their X-Men runs, but no one's done it better recently than Joss Whedon. So if a comic book company were to launch a new platform to showcase its comics, mining Whedon's brilliance seems a straight-up no-brainer. Artist John Cassaday helped, too. Of course, DC was the actual pioneer in this field, having come out with its rough WATCHMEN motion comics some years ago.

ASTONISHING X-MEN: GIFTED is Whedon's first X-Men arc and, reading it, you knew right away that you're in for some spectacular times. Whedon pulls out all the usual tools from his utility belt: the wit, the humor, the emotional gut checks, the pop culture plunge, the plot swerve. He makes you love the characters, even characters you didn't give an ef about going in (I'm looking at you, Cyclops). And, after you grow to care about them, he kills them off. I'm not saying that that happens here. But Whedon is a notorious serial killer.

Whedon gets a crack at writing Kitty Pryde, and if you don't fall in love with her, you are some sort of soulless. She returns to the X-Men proper here, and as a member of Xavier Institute's faculty, all grown up. In terms of character development, Kitty is the richest character. Love Kitty Pryde.

The central conflicts in the story: An alien mercenary called Ord from the Breakworld - the wonderfully snide Emma Frost refers to him as the "alien berk" - is running amok, taking hostages, testing the X-Men for whatever reason. Meanwhile, with the ever present anti-mutant hysteria as a backdrop, a brilliant geneticist publicly announces a cure for the mutant gene. Two separate plot threads but, as it turns out, it's all one single thread. As a bonus, Nick Fury shows up and S.W.O.R.D. is introduced. And just to demonstrate that Whedon doesn't only kill people off, an X-Man returns from the dead.

Don't get it twisted, what's featured here isn't full blown animation or a cartoon or what have you. Motion comics is a medium perched somewhere between the comic book and animation (text captions and word/thought balloons are excised in exchange for spoken dialogue). The movements aren't that fluid or continuous. Think of it as taking the original artwork from the comic book and tweaking it here and there just enough so that there are bits of movement. It's pretty minimal stuff, but in spite of the inherent stiffness and the limits to this new medium, the computer graphic artists do wonders. The neat thing to this concept is that there is absolute devotion to the source material, the comic book's original artwork is preserved, as well as the words. In ASTONISHING X-MEN: GIFTED the "animators" are all very keen to keep faith with John Cassaday. Thanks to them - and thanks to project overseer Neal Adams and Cassaday himself - this motion comics achieves a sort of dynamic flow. The voice actors - a bunch of unknowns - flesh out the characters and are pitch perfect for their roles. And we already know Joss Whedon's story itself has legs.

I'm still not sold on this motion comics thing. If Marvel, and whichever other comic book company, were to stick with its best products, then motion comics might make a go of it as a valid medium. I'd love to see John Byrne's 1980s run on FANTASTIC FOUR to get this treatment or Miller & Mazzucchelli's BATMAN: YEAR ONE. I like what I saw in GIFTED because Cassaday's art is stunning stuff, never mind that this new technology is still tottering on baby legs. Neal Adams has stated that he someday wants this medium to get a movie theater release, but that is some serious reaching at this early stage. Let's wait and see.

ASTONISHING X-MEN: GIFTED collects all six episodes, each running at around 12 to 14 minutes. The DVD's bonus material: Joe Quesada and Neal Adams talk about the genesis and development of Marvel's first motion comic book, with Quesada also going into the process of acquiring Joss Whedon as X-Men's then newest writer (00:17:10 minutes long); the pretty cool "Rise Up" music video; the ASTONISHING X-MEN: GIFTED trailer; a chronological history of the X-Men, narrated in text, except that if your television screen is small, then you may not be able to read the print; "Behind the Scenes with Marvel Knights Animation" delves even more technically into the motion comics process (00:05:12 minutes); an Artist's Gallery featuring John Cassaday's incredible stuff; "Marvel Super Heroes: What The--?!" presents Marvel characters auditioning for roles in ASTONISHING X-MEN: GIFTED: Episode #1 ("There's No Business Like Snow Business"), Episode #2 ("Red Carpet M.O.D.O.K."), and Episode #11 ("Deadpool FYC"); and trailers for other Marvel motion comics (SPIDER-WOMAN: AGENT OF S.W.O.R.D., the shaky looking BLACK PANTHER, and IRON MAN: EXTREMIS).
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on July 16, 2014
This DVD is part of an overall story arc. The complete series is, in order:

1. Astonishing X-Men: Gifted
2. Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous
3. Astonishing X-Men: Torn
4. Astonishing X-Men: Unstoppable

While you can watch the first (Gifted) by itself, as you get through the series, you will need to see the other stories to better understand the overall story.

My only complaint is that there are no subtitles on any of the discs. They would have been especially handy in the last chapter of Gifted where the background sound effects of the action scenes were so high in the mix that you could not make out what the characters were saying.

Also, F.Y.I. the only disc of the series with extra features is Gifted.
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on October 17, 2017
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on November 24, 2012
If you are a casual animated fan then this movie really isn't for you, if you are expecting a normal animated movie, again this is not for you. If you are looking for an X Men movie with more mature subject matter this is in your wheelhouse. The movie is done as a motion comic which views basically as a comic panel with the motion consisting of lips moving (like a dubbed movie) or some body parts moving but NOT full animation. I was hesitant at first but when you watch the movie after a while the story takes over and you forget about the motion. (In fact I bought the next 2 titles, Dangerous and Torn) The other complaint is that the movie is shown in episode style and the episodes are short, like under 15 minutes each, and they have a long credit sequence.
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I originally got these as downloads through the Playstation network. Gifted is divided into 6 episodes of about 15 minutes each. When I saw Amazon had the motion comic on DVD I had to purchase it.

What is a motion comic? Its a bit of a hybrid genre-- the video looks like someone was able to animate the spaces between the panels in a comic book. The conversation bubbles are replaced by voice actors. The voice acting is spot on. Emma Frost drips with her elite mannerism. Wolverine is gruff and quick-witted. The voice actors do a great job of dramatically portraying the x-men without going over the top into the field of campy or too corny: It is not a Saturday morning cartoon-- in some ways it much better.

I loved the 1990's x-men cartoon, but as I grew up so did the X-men. Astonishing X-men are still dealing with some of the issues of discrimination and intolerance that have been a hallmark of x-men series since the comic debuted in the 1960s but in a much more sophisticated manner. In these episodes a cure for mutants is discovered, and the x-men are torn between inner conflicts as well as inter-stellar conflicts.

I wont give anything away, but the acting and animation is paced so that the suspense never slackens. The only thing I don't like about this is that there are ONLY six episodes. I would gladly buy ever x-men issue as motion comic as well as a paper issue if they were as well made as these episodes.

If you grew up with the x-men, you'll appreciate Gifted for its many allusions to their 40 year comic history. If you're new to x-men, these episodes are almost as thrilling as the movies without being nearly as campy as the saturday morning cartoons.
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on June 3, 2013
I just got this Great DVD Today, and I just LOVE IT! I agree with The Lady that said, "This is what Us Comicbook Geeks see when We read Comics!" Hats off to John Cassaday and The Legendary Neal Adams for making this Dvd happen. 5 GOLD STARS!!!
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on March 24, 2014
I really enjoyed the story and the art animation was great. Definately worth the 6-7 dollars I paid, but I would not pay more than that price range.
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on December 6, 2013
i love the Xmen and this movie is wonderful with great effects.
the story leaves you astonished and you fear for their lives with these robots that fight them
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on November 26, 2010
If you like joss whedon and/or motion comics, you will love this. The only problem is that this motion comic only covers the first 6 issues of the comic and leaves you hanging wishing there were more.
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