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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Horror > Thriller > Monster > Supernatual > Campire > Werewolf > Underworld (2003/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

Underworld (2003/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)



Picture: A-/B+ Sound: A-/B+ Extras: B Film: B



In the wake of the fifth installment of the series (Underworld: Blood Wars) being released into cinemas for January 2017, the first Underworld film (2003) finds its way onto 4K high definition for the first time. While a success in the box office, I feel that a lot of horror cinema-goers scoff at the series and don't give it the love that it deserves. While not exactly strong or groundbreaking in terms of plot, there is a lot to like about the Underworld series including its gorgeous cinematography, high-end special effects, and undeniable gore that soak the frame of each installment in the series. The first film, starring the jaw droopingly gorgeous Kate Beckinsale, proves in this release that time has been kind to it and that its a film that's definitely worth revisiting.


In the dark alternate reality known as 'The Underworld' - the Vampires and Lycans (Werewolves) have been at each other's throats for centuries. While thought to have been defeated, the Lycans rear their ugly heads again - this time targeting a mysterious young man (Scott Speedman) - who carries the blood of both species. Interested in protecting him and finding out more about his unique mutation, the hardened vampire warrior Selene (Beckinsale) ends up doing all in her power to protect him - only to ultimately fall in love with him and cause more problems against the dueling society of monsters.


The film has a strong cast including Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly, and Bill Nighy with direction by Len Wiseman (whose career has been hit and miss with the 2012 Total Recall remake, the underrated 2009 thriller Whiteout, and the 2007 popcorn-munching disaster Live Free or Die Hard on his resume). We've reviewed this film several times over the years, but this is easily the version to own.


This edition of Underworld features the R-rated version of the film on 4K Ultra HD disc and the unrated version of the film on Blu-ray. The 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on the 4K version of the film is a sight to behold, with impeccable detail in the blue and black world of the film that compliments the color mix nicely. This was shot in the Super 35mm format, which for a scope film, is not as rich, strong, detailed or as excellent as using actually squeeze lenses, so it is not as good as 35mm film can look. However, it helps the film hold up better versus how bad most digital from the time was, with CGI effects used here and there. This was mastered in 2K at the time, but this might be a new 4K master or a lucky upscaling.


The widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 actually looks great in both formats, with the 1080p high definition Blu-ray transfer not as impressive, but not terrible either being so good looking from years ago early on in the introduction of the format by Sony. The sound mix is top of the line as well with the 12-track Dolby Atmos that is flawless (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24 bit) core) track that finally goes back to the Sony Dynamic Digital Sound 8-track soundmaster and expands it. The older Blu-ray had a lossless PCM 5.1 mix that didn't sound half bad either, but the Atmos is the better version finally bringing out all the punch and detail of the SDDS master. A Digital UV Copy of the film is also included.



Special Features include...


Audio commentary with director Len Wiseman, Kate Beckinsale, and Scott Speedman


Outtakes


Fang vs. Fiction


Storyboard Comparison


Music Video


and Seven featurettes on the making of the film.



All in all, I am a fan of the Underworld franchise and am happy to now own the first film in the highest quality possible. This is one of the more impressive 4K titles I have seen, as I am simply a huge fan of the look of the film.



- James Lockhart

https://www.facebook.com/jamesharlandlockhartv/


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