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Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil), Cameron Bright (X-Men 3), Nick Chinlund (The Legend of Zorro) and William Fichtner (The Longest Yard) star in this story of a woman caught in a futuristic civil war between the government and a subculture of disease modified humans in whom speed, strength and intelligence are magnified. In the film, she must fend off the human government to protect a young boy who has been marked for death.
For more about Ultraviolet and the Ultraviolet Blu-ray release, see Ultraviolet Blu-ray Review published by Sir Terrence on January 4, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Cameron Bright, Nick Chinlund, Sebastien Andrieu, William Fichtner, Ida Martin
Director: Kurt Wimmer
» See full cast & crew
Ultraviolet Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Sir Terrence, January 4, 2009
Ultraviolet is the poorest made movie based on the video game craze that has swept Hollywood this past decade. If it isn't the worst, it sure wanted the award bad. It took me two views to figure out what the director was trying to accomplish through this film, but I just do not think he was successful at getting a quality (or comprehensible) product on the screen. The concept seems pretty clear, but the implementation of that concept is quite poor. Stuck with a lame story, flat characters, lame dialog, poorly staged action sequences, and an overall look that leaves characters looking plastic and emotionally uninvolving dolls. Looking at the ingredients in this soup, we have "The Matrix", "Blade", and "Resident Evil" all put into the pot, which is then ruined by seasoning that actually detracts from the taste instead of jelling it together in a way that is palatable. Out of all of the movies that have been based on video games, or have a woman in a kick ass leading role; Aeon Flux, Tomb Raider, Charlie's Angels, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, this one sits firmly at the bottom of that list. And while Aeon Flux is not that much better, it has some enjoyable elements that Ultraviolet just doesn't have.
So what was Director Kurt Wimmer trying to create? To these eyes he was looking to create a kick ass, sci fi videogame based flick, but he has one problem. He could have done better using an all animation cast much like "Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within" because in the end, that is look he gave this film. I could easily have said "Wow, these animation characters look so real", rather than "Wow, these live characters look so animation like", which is exactly what I thought while viewing this film. The use of minimal and quite frankly lame dialog didn't help much either. What is worse is this film has the emotional depth of a teaspoon of water, going from angry to more angry, from violent, to more violent. The times that we are supposed to feel sadness for the condition the characters end up in, I found myself just staring blankly at the screen trying to connect, but just could not. In the end I didn't care about Violet, Six, or anyone else in this flick. I knew I was looking at live human beings, but they didn't look like one, didn't move like one, and as a matter of fact, nothing moved like anything I see in real life. There was simply no attempt to create a product that look organic, or like anything I could emotionally attach myself to. It stretched my suspension of belief to the point like with a rubber band; it just popped back in my face. Then you have lame dialog like "You got hemo blood on me….it is on!" which evokes a total eye roll moment. For all of its high tech polish and bombast, what it could have used was moments of humor, or perhaps just humanity.
Ultraviolet takes place in the year 2076 following a global pandemic of a blood borne, infectious disease known as hemoglophagia. Those who have the disease have super human characteristic similar to those of vampires. Violet Song jat Shariff (Milla Jovovich) is a young woman infected with the disease, and has lost both her husband and her unborn child. Angry at government known as the Arch-Ministry, and its leader Vice Cardinal Ferdinand Daxus (Nick Chinlund) for what was done, she is transformed into a non emotional killing machine, and a member of a resistant movement of hemophages waging a war against government control. She infiltrates a government lab, and steals a weapon designed to exterminate all hemophages on the planet. Instead she discovers this "weapon" is a boy named Six (Cameron Bright), a clone of Daxus, and the sixth of eight made. At first she thinks of him as a lab product with no communication skills, emotion, or any other human characteristic. But as he begins to display his humanity, Violet begins to show maternal instincts toward him, and wants to protect him from both Daxus, and the hemophages that want him killed. As the world hurtles towards civil war between the hemophages and uninfected humans, Violet goes on a killing spree to protect Six, herself, and innocent hemophages which are the target of the Arch-Ministry. The question in the end is who does the Arch-Ministry really want to destroy, the hemophages, or humanity itself?
Ultraviolet Blu-ray, Video Quality
Ultraviolet shoots its way onto the Bluray format in a 1080p/MPEG-2 encode, framed at a 1:85:1 aspect ratio. This film looks about as good as a computer generated creation is going to look. Shot entirely using Sony's HDW-F900 digital cameras, the film has an extremely digital look via significant post production processing which gives the film a quite "cartoonish" look overall. It started off with a very colorful beginning, which had me thinking this was going to be an awesome movie to look at. Then I got to the feature, and to my surprise I found this movie to be quite ugly to look at. Let's start with the good side of the picture quality (and yes there is one). The source is pristine and free from any film based anomalies, such as dirt, pops and film based blemishes. Colors are ultra vivid, with profound use of the primary and secondary colors but lacks any hues. The colors pop and are so pumped up; images can look a little gaudy and garish. There was absolutely no attempt to create wide, natural color palette for this film. There is no grain, so one can assume there was no film elements used to encode this flick, as it looks like it is from a direct digital transfer. There is no sign of DNR or edge enhancement which is surprising for such digitally manipulated images. Now to the bad, and there is plenty of that. First, all of the texture and detail has been dialed out of the faces of all of the characters, giving them an animation look much like you see in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. I was blown away with the look of that movie as its was animation was made to look photo realistic, and it was successful at doing it. This film goes the other direction, making live characters look like animated characters, which is not natural to the eyes, or the brain. While the detail was dialed out of face, there is plenty of detail in everything else which makes the overall picture quality a little weird and inconsistent. The contrast is blown out at the top and bottom of its range, which is not a problem in and of itself, but combine that with edginess around highly contrasted objects, and you get an artificial quality that looks just ugly. Blacks were very deep and inky, so much so it killed shadow detail in some scenes. I also noticed some pixilation and color banding in some shots as well. Another thing I saw over and over is some aliasing or shimmering happening in the detail of Violets hair. I am torn on whether to just ding the hell out of the picture quality, or judge it solely on the effect I think the director was trying to put on the screen. Since the director approved this transfer, and the studio released it the way it is, I am leaning towards the latter rather than the former.
Ultraviolet Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Sony gives Ultraviolet an excellent English uncompressed 5.1 PCM track that is aggressive as hell to say the least. It has excellent dynamic range and an ultra wide frequency response as well. Bass and deep bass is especially pronounced, with deep bass found not only in the main front channels and LFE down to 25hz (lower in the LFE in some instances) at high levels, and down to 50hz in the surrounds at extremely high levels as well. It is balanced in a way that allows you to turn up the volume without introducing nasty shrillness at high levels. Directional pans are smooth, tight and highly effective, and we are always awash in scene to scene ambience via the surround channels. Overall, the soundfield is nicely layered, and extends all the way to my front wall depth wise. If your speakers are of very high resolution, you can hear the different elements of the mix (Dialog, music and sound effects) change positioning within that layer based on the priority the re-recording mixer wants to sonically emphasize in relationship to the visuals. Klaus Badelt film score is very well recorded and has a smooth and extended high end, smooth and uncolored midrange, and presents a good workout to your sub via a chest pounding techno drums which message the skin, and occasional makes you feel like you are getting kicked in the abdomen with its power. This soundtrack is never anything less than over the top, but boy what a sonic ride it gives you. A word of warning; this soundtrack can be system threatening at very high levels in some scenes, so you do have to watch your volume levels if your sub is not up to the challenge.
Ultraviolet Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
As a result of using uncompressed PCM audio, and MPEG-2 encoding on a BD-25 disc, extras are quite thin for this release. All extras with the exception of a few trailers are ported over from the DVD release.
Commentary with Milla Jovovich is pretty entertaining, but only occupies about 16 minutes overall throughout the entire film. There is about 70-75 minutes of silence, and I almost forgot I was listening to a commentary there was so much silence.
UV Protection: The Making of Ultraviolet (30 minutes) is presented in standard definition video, and is broken down into four parts. The interviews are corny, and there are way too many video clips, but some great behind the scenes footage.
Ultraviolet Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I read that both Wimmer and Jovovich were locked out of the editing room by studio executives, and had no input on the editing of this film. If I were Wimmer, I would have demanded that my name be removed from this production toot sweet! If I was Jovovich I would not have done one press event to push the movie, because what the studio put out is just a substandard product, and I would not have wanted to lend my name to this production. Ultraviolet joins a growing list of films that are technically astounding, but artistically bankrupt. I cannot recommend a buy for this film, as it is incomprehensible on so many levels, it is not funny. However if you want a disc that aptly shows off your sound system, this is the one of the films to get. Picture quality wise, this movie is so highly stylized, it is difficult to judge. So let's add this up. You have an overall terrible movie, with highly stylized images that are very clean overall, but garish as a result of pumped up color palette. You have sound that is first rate, and very little in the way of extra content. If this movie was priced at anywhere near what other Bluray's are priced, it would be a poor value indeed. However it can be found on Amazon for $17.99, which may make it somewhat a better value if you like this kind of movie. As bad as this movie is, I have seen it four times (I loved the sound!), so this is my bad version of a guilty pleasure. I could have done worse, but not much I can assure you.
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