Underworld UltraHD Blu-ray Review

Summary: 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.

UltraHD Specs
Studio: Sony
Title: Underworld UltraHD Blu-ray
Audio: Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 Core)
Negative Formats: Super 35
Digital Intermediate: 2K
Peak Brightness: 4000 nits
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 121 Minutes
Director: Len Wiseman
Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman
Review Date: December 28, 2016
Price: $22.59

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Movie Review: Underworld has now spawned four sequels but until now I had never seen a single one. While the plot and concept of Underworld are good, the execution is not. The plot is confusing and takes a while to really understand. The battles are decent but never quite as exciting as I’d expect them to be. For all that could be done with the lore of vampires and werewolves, Underworld only scratches the surface of that.

Technical Review: Underworld was shot on 35mm film but the transfer was only a 2K digital intermediate it seems, and it has good parts and bad parts. For the good, the black levels here are fantastic. Almost the entire movie takes place in the dark shadows, and those details here are great. The release mentions HDR but not WCG and there is use of HDR that I can see but not that much. What I do notice on the film transfer is that sometimes you see lots of film grain, and sometimes it looks as though they tried to wash away the grain and take some fine detail with it. There is also aliasing noticeable on fine textures like hair at certain points, likely from using a 2K DI and upscaling it.

The audio here has been updated to Atmos and while it isn’t used to the full effect, it sometimes does a great job. When a pack of werewolves are attacking in an apartment hallway, you can hear them running along the walls and on the ceiling. There are some more sound effects in the opening scene that take advantage of the Atmos channels, but many others that do not. Vocal clarity is fantastic, as during an early scene you can hear the recording of an actor move from where they’re trying to make him sound far away, but instead he sounds muffled, and as he moves closer he is perfectly clear. Regardless of how it could use Atmos better, this is likely the best this movie has ever sounded.

Special Features: Audio commentary, outtakes, Fang vs. Fiction, Storyboard comparison, music video, and 7 featurettes.

Review System: Vizio P65-C1 display, Oppo UDP-203 UltraHD Blu-ray Player, KEF Ci5160RL-THX Fronts, Ci3160RL-THX Center, 2x Ci200RR-THX Surrounds, 4x CI200RR-THX Atmos Speakers, Anthem MRX 1120 Receiver.

Review Summary
Title: Underworld UltraHD Blu-ray
Pros: Very good shadow details, some good use of Atmos, as good as this movie has ever looked at home
Cons: Doesn't use a 4K DI so there could be more detail lurking in the 35mm master
Summary: While I might not have been a huge fan of the film, plenty of people are given the number of sequels it has spawned. For those people this is the best the film has ever looked or sounded, with fantastic shadow details.
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 4.5/5
Movie: 3/5

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