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In the Underworld, Vampires are a secret clan of modern aristocratic sophisticates whose mortal enemies are the Lycans (werewolves), a shrewd gang of street thugs who prowl the city's underbelly. No one knows the origin of their bitter blood feud, but the balance of power between them turns even bloodier when a beautiful young Vampire warrior and a newly-turned Lycan with a mysterious past fall in love. Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman star in this modern-day, action-packed tale of ruthless intrigue and forbidden passion all set against the dazzling backdrop of a timeless, Gothic metropolis.
For more about Underworld and the Underworld Blu-ray release, see Underworld Blu-ray Review published by Brandon A. DuHamel on September 20, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly, Bill Nighy, Sophia Myles
Director: Len Wiseman (I)
» See full cast & crew
Underworld Blu-ray Review
Forbidden Love Amongst the Immortals
Reviewed by Brandon A. DuHamel, September 20, 2007
A modern gothic tale of forbidden love and betrayal, told through the setting of a centuries-old war between Vampires and Lycans (werewolves), Underworld could in many ways be seen as an updating of Shakespeare's tragedies. It doesn't ever reach the level of high literature we have come to expect from the great bard himself, but it still succeeds on many levels.
Admittedly, when I first saw Underworld, I was quite skeptical that it would be much more than another blood and gore horror flick with the central protagonist - in this case Kate Beckinsale as "Selene", a "Death Dealer" – laying down some major whoop-ass. I was wrong, very wrong. Yes, it has the action, and the gore, and the Vampire/Werewolf lore, but at its heart, Underworld's themes of forbidden love, honor, betrayal, revenge, and social segregation are universal themes that anyone can understand, and help to take this film beyond your typical Hollywood horror flick.
Kate Beckinsale's incredible acting skills help sell Underworld as more than just a horror film. Her charisma and magnetism on screen cannot be denied. She's a much-welcomed departure from the very male dominated, prototypical, testosterone driven action heroes that we usually see on screen in these roles and she plays it to perfection.
I'm not afraid to say I have no doubt in my mind that Underworld will one day be considered a classic in the Vampire/Werewolf genre of films, if it isn't already.
Underworld Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in a 2.37:1 aspect ratio, Underworld Unrated Extended Cut is another in an increasingly huge list of superb AVC encodings from Sony.
Originally shot in Super-35 and then scanned at 2k to a digital intermediate where it was manipulated from then on entirely in the digital realm before going back out to print, the film is darkly lit and has an intentionally de-saturated color palette, which was then colored with a blue tint. This is captured accurately throughout. Blacks, blues, grays, and whites look superb. In the few scenes where some natural flesh tones can be seen - in the hospital where Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman) works - flesh tones were presented accurately.
Fine grain is captured in detail, giving the presentation an incredibly sharp, detailed, and film-like look throughout. From the smallest objects in the background to the closest shots, detail was accurate and nearly three-dimensional.
This AVC encoding from Sony obsoletes the previous DVD release in picture quality without question.
Underworld Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Sony continues to impress in the audio department on this release. If you thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on the 2-disc unrated extended cut release sounded really good, then prepare to be amazed. The English uncompressed PCM 5.1 soundtrack is nothing less than breathtaking.
The mix is perfect, and the mastering superb. Right from the beginning, the moody score sets the tone and never lets up, but character dialogue is never lost, and special effects sound smooth, natural, and realistic. There is a beautiful ambience to everything that adds to the drama, and EQ'ing is easy on the ears. This is an audiophile delight.
Everything sounds warm, full, round, and correct. Overall tonality blended perfectly with the look and feel of the film itself, aiding the moodiness and gloom. The mid-range sounded perfect, solid and well balanced. There was ample use of the surrounds, and the LFE channel was used to good effect, never becoming cumbersome. As I was listening, I thought, "this is the sound of blue" - awesome, in a word.
Also included on this Blu-ray release, are an Italian uncompressed PCM 5.1 soundtrack, and English, French, and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks, making use of the superior disc capacity and bandwidth available on the BD-50 disc.
Underworld Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
All of the extras included in the 2-disc unrated extended cut DVD release - minus the 48 page Underworld comic book, 16 page production sketchbook, and TV spots - are included in this Blu- ray disc edition. All extras are in standard definition, 4:3.
The highlights of the extras included are the Fang vs. Fiction documentary, which veers off more into the realm of Science Fiction, though claiming to be based on science, and the three Featurettes: Visual Effects of Underworld, Designing Underworld , and The Look of Underworld which offer a decent level of introspection and detail for anyone interested in the process of filmmaking.
English, English SDH, French, Italian
Audio commentary with director Len Wiseman, Kate Beckinsale, and Scott Speedman
Outtakes -The outtakes are really a gag reel, and not bonus scenes, as one might expect.
Fang vs. Fiction - A documentary exploring the mythology and lore of vampires and werewolves throughout history.
Storyboard Comparison – a side-by-side comparison of a few key scenes with their original storyboard sketches.
Music video: Finch: "Worms of the Earth"
Making of Underworld
Visual Effects of Underworld
Designing Underworld – explores the production design of the film.
The Look of Underworld – explores the cinematography of Underworld.
Sights & Sounds – another behind the scenes gag reel of sorts.
Underworld Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Universal themes that can be applied to the real world, and a stellar performance by Kate Beckinsale help move this film out of the realm of other Hollywood horror flicks while Sony's superb AVC video encoding and awesome uncompressed PCM 5.1 soundtrack make this a must buy Blu- ray disc release.
Blu-ray bundles with Underworld (6 bundles)
Underworld Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Underworld Trilogy: The Essential Collection Blu-ray (Updated) - October 17, 2011
Sony Home Entertainment will bring Underworld Trilogy: The Essential Collection to Blu-ray in December. This set bundles together the first three Underworld films - Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans - alongside a bonus disc ...
• Blu-ray Deal of the Week: Underworld Trilogy $26.99 - January 23, 2011
For its Blu-ray deal of the week, Amazon is offering Underworld Trilogy (including Underworld, Underworld: Evolution and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) for $26.99 (53% off MSRP, or $9 per movie). The price tracker shows that this three-movie BD set briefly hit ...
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