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Old 12-28-2011, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

89






Studio and Year: Screen Gems – 2003, 2006, 2009
MPAA Rating: UR
Feature running time: 133 minutes, 106 minutes, 92 minutes
Genre: Horror, Action, Fantasy
Disc Format: BD-50 (4 Disc Set)
Encoding: AVC, MPEG-2
Video Aspect: 2.35:1, 2.40:1, 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s):English PCM 5.1, English, French Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Shane Brolly, Bill Nighy, Rhona Mitra, Michael Sheen
Directed by: Len Wiseman, Patrick Tatopoulos
Music by: Paul Haslinger, Marco Beltrami, Paul Haslinger
Written by: Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman, Danny McBride, Dirk Blackman, Robert Orr
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 20, 2011







"When the battle begins, which side will you choose?"



Film Synopsis:

There's more to the Underworld universe than ever before! The Essential Collection includes all three films, and for the first time ever, exclusive original anime shorts.

Underworld
Selene, a beautiful vampire warrior, is entrenched in a war between the vampire and werewolf races. Although she is aligned with the vampires, she falls in love with Michael, a werewolf who longs for the war to end.

Underworld: Evolution
As the war between the vampires and the Lycans rages on, Selene, a former member of the Death Dealers (an elite vampire special forces unit that hunts werewolves), and Michael, the werewolf hybrid, work together in an effort to unlock the secrets of their respective bloodline.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
The prequel story traces the origins of the centuries-old blood feud between the aristocratic vampires known as Death Dealers and their onetime slaves, the Lycans. In the Dark Ages, a young Lycan named Lucian (Michael Sheen) emerges as a powerful leader who rallies the werewolves to rise up against Viktor (Bill Nighy), the cruel vampire king who has enslaved them. Lucian is joined by his secret lover, Sonja (Rhona Mitra), in his battle against the Death Dealer army and his struggle for Lycan freedom.

Underworld: Endless War
3 New Anime Shorts shorts spanning the Underworld timeline.



My Take:

I always had a hard time with the Underworld films, as it was really set in my head that I was going to be served up an insane Vampires Vs. Werewolf flick that horror fans would eat up. What I got was a bit different, as it created its own world, its own rules and its own lore. Re-visiting the series I found a much better appreciation for the complete mythology that was created here, and am glad it is more than just a bloodbath of monsters.

In 2003s Underworld and its sequel 2006s Evolution, we tail Selene a "death dealer" aka Vampire, played by the exquisite Kate Beckinsale (Pearl Harbor). She is the definition of a sad wanton soul. Her story arc reeks of literary cliché-- social outcast, forbidden love and revenge. These are the elements of Underworld that ground its world, connecting it to ours, making the experience much more whole. Yes there is plenty of gore and great effects, so it seems this series offers something for most viewers (if you can look past its horror roots). Selene and Michael (Scott Speedman, Felicity), who is a werewolf-hybrid, work together to end the Vampire/Lycan (werewolf) war and unlock the secrets of their respective bloodlines.

In 2009s "Rise of the Lycans" we travel back to the medieval dark ages to what I consider the best in the series. Its cast is superb, including Michael Sheen (The Queen) and Bill Nighy (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1). We learn of the bloodlines Selene and Micheal were looking to uncover, and how the war between Vampire and Lycan began. This film secured the mythology of the Underworld universe and made re-visiting the first two in the series that much better.

Here are my ratings on each film:



Film Rating: Underworld attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692


Film Rating: Underworld: Evolution attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692


Film Rating: Underworld:Rise of the Lycans attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692


Film Rating: Underworld:Endless War attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692


Parental Guide:

strong violence/gore and some language






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 90



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692



Video: 88


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Underworld comes to Blu-ray disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26.2 Mbps and lossless PCM 5.1 sound.

Underworld Evolution comes to Blu-ray disc from Sony featuring 1080p MPEG-2 encoded video and lossless PCM 5.1 sound.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.7 mbps.

Underworld Trilogy: The Essential Collection Blu-ray is a great looking set, and is teetering on reference quality. Thankfully the Black Levels and Shadow Details are superb, as the films are all quite dark. All three titles are fairly consistent in Audio and Video quality so I feel Ralph review of "Rise of Lycans'" A/V when it came out is perfect for this release.

"The lossless Dolby TrueHD surround mix is a good that has excellent dynamic energy and rich palpable bass that drive the film’s action based sequences. Detail and clarity are first rate as the sounds of crossing swords, growling beasts, and catapulted spears have enriching realism. The sound field is three dimensional as it fills the room with the spatial, multi-layered nuance and seamless directional pans that correlate with the events unfolding onscreen. Dynamic range runs the gamut as the battle intense moments engage the entire surround platform. This is evident during both the Lycan escape and later castle attack sequences. The thrusts and impact of the large steel spears as they are catapulted and hit their respective marks is impressive. Similar viscerally involving surround sound can be heard as the hoards of Lycans converge on the vampire castle in the final act. Bass is demonstrative and tactilely focused so that it can be felt deep within the room. The opening of the shifting roof in the death chamber scene delivered a few ultra low frequency transients that literally shook the room. Dialogue is crystal clear and tonally distinct. I did find that during certain scenes dialogue blended too much with other sounds within the front soundstage. This made some of the softer spoken words hard to discern. This is a mild complaint that didn’t taint an otherwise excellent and entertaining surround sound experience.

This film utilizes a stylized visual design that has a limited color scheme that works aesthetically well for the subject matter. The color range is limited to shades of dark blue, gray and black with splashes of crimson red and forest green hues. Warm golden accents are used throughout to break up the film’s monochromatic essence. This comes in the form of glowing candle light or alternating flesh tones that have lifelike complexional color as opposed to the ashen/blue that is predominant the majority of the time. What enhances the effect is its presence amidst the other dark blue/gray/black elements within the same shot. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. Resolution is excellent as images are crisp, delineated and dimensionally strong. The visual design isn’t such that it offers high gloss, razor sharp quality but that doesn’t keep this presentation from looking great."



Bonus Features:


  • Underworld:


  • Director and Cast Commentary

  • (HD) Outtakes

  • (HD) Fan vs. Fiction - Documentary

  • (HD) Storyboard Comparison

  • (HD) Music Video: Finch: "Worms of the Earth"

  • Featurettes:

    1. Making of Underworld
    2. Visual effects of Underworld
    3. Creature effects
    4. Stunts
    5. Designing Underworld
    6. The look of Underworld
    7. Sights + Sounds of Underworld

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy


  • Underworld: Evolution:


  • Director and Filmmakers' Commentary

  • Featurettes:

    1. The Hybrid Theory - Visual Effects
    2. The War Rages On - Stunts
    3. Bloodlines: From script to screen - Making Of
    4. Making Monsters Roar - Creatures
    5. Building A Saga - Production Design
    6. Music and Mayhem - Music and Sound Design

  • (HD) Music Video: Atreyu: "Her portrait in Black"

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy


  • Underworld: Rise of the Lycans:


  • Director and Filmmakers' Commentary

  • (HD) Featurettes:

    1. Rise of the Lycans: From Script to Screen
    2. The Origin of the Fued
    3. Re-Creating the Dark Ages - The Look of Rise of the Lycans

  • Music Video: William Control: "Deathcab"

  • Cinechat

  • (HD) Behind the Walls PIP

  • (HD) Lycanthropes Around The World - Interactive Map

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy


Bonus Disc:


  • (HD) Underworld: Endless War - 3 part Anime Short



Final Thoughts:

The Underworld Trilogy: The Essential Collection is not so essential to those who already own the three Underworld films. They are the same encodes as before and the only difference is the addition of Ultraviolet copies (aka movies in the cloud), and a fourth disc (that is thrown in a envelope, not a case) that has the new Anime short, Underworld: Endless War. These shorts were pretty boring with OK animation, and the depth and detail were lacking, both storyline and video-wise. As far as the three films, they seem to polarize with a slight identity crisis. Are they horror? Fantasy? These sure are not your typical Vampires and Werewolves, and the third film takes us back in time to the Medieval dark ages. The series is a bold attempt at creating a mythology, and in that regard it should be praised. Love it or hate it, Underworld does offer something lacking in most big budget mainstream flicks these days...originality. This is a good introduction or re-visit to prime for the release of the 4th film, Underworld: Awakening, coming out late January.









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Old 12-28-2011, 10:19 AM
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Say NO to double dipping and maybe even triple dipping.

As much as i like these movies there's no way i'm spending $50 bucks for the same ones i already own.
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamE55 View Post

Say NO to double dipping and maybe even triple dipping.

As much as i like these movies there's no way i'm spending $50 bucks for the same ones i already own.

Well I agree, but if you have yet to get into the series, this is a worth a look.
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:12 PM
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I have tried to enjoy these films, but I haven't connected with them at all. This is a genre I usually enjoy, and I love Kate Beckinsale, but for some reason I don't find the story to be engaging.
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:22 PM
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Isn't there a new Underworld movie coming out soon? I think I'll wait till that movie comes out and if that's the last movie then I'll wait for another collectors item to come out with all of the Underworld movies in one set
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Old 12-28-2011, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

I have tried to enjoy these films, but I haven't connected with them at all. This is a genre I usually enjoy, and I love Kate Beckinsale, but for some reason I don't find the story to be engaging.

I felt the same until seeing them for a 2nd viewing after see lycans.
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:42 PM
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I love this series and I don't own all three so I might pick this up. Thanks for the review Lee.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:15 PM
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I picked up the original box set last year on a Black Friday sale for $25.

I'm good without the animated stuff and ultraviolet digital copies!

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Old 12-28-2011, 11:52 PM
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If Evolution is AVC with DTS-MA then its a new encode as the original was MPEG 2 with PCM if I'm not mistaken.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkbryant View Post

If Evolution is AVC with DTS-MA then its a new encode as the original was MPEG 2 with PCM if I'm not mistaken.

These are the same old discs. Ralph's specs are incorrect. The first two movies have PCM tracks and Evolution is MPEG-2 while the first film is AVC.
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Old 12-29-2011, 05:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edtorious View Post

Isn't there a new Underworld movie coming out soon? I think I'll wait till that movie comes out and if that's the last movie then I'll wait for another collectors item to come out with all of the Underworld movies in one set

Yep, and Kate is back in it as well.

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Old 12-30-2011, 02:27 AM
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This series has been VERY hit and miss. Mostly miss. Points to Kate Beckinsale and her second skin though.

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Old 12-30-2011, 06:27 AM
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I'll probably get this, as I own the first two movies on DVD, and the second film's DVD (which is my favorite in the series thus far) is not working properly.

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Old 01-01-2012, 12:19 AM
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I assume these are not the Unrated versions.

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Old 01-02-2012, 01:30 PM
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The first movie of the trilogy seemed to contain a few more scenes than what I had remembered from the original DVD release that I had owned previously to purchasing the blu-ray. Point of interest. Can anybody confirm that for me? Or am I just remembering poorly?

Also, there were a few scenes that were particularly grainy (this was obviously not deliberate), so I would argue against this being a near reference quality release. Those bits aside, then yes. It's very sharp.

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Old 01-02-2012, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro20001 View Post

The first movie of the trilogy seemed to contain a few more scenes than what I had remembered from the original DVD release that I had owned previously to purchasing the blu-ray. Point of interest. Can anybody confirm that for me? Or am I just remembering poorly?

Also, there were a few scenes that were particularly grainy (this was obviously not deliberate), so I would argue against this being a near reference quality release. Those bits aside, then yes. It's very sharp.

Grainy or compression noise?
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Old 01-02-2012, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Weber View Post

Grainy or compression noise?

I'm not really sure how to tell the difference. If I was comparing it with photography with a fancy camera, it looked like someone was trying to take a picture with an extremely low light source using a very high ISO and a very low F-stop. How would you describe the difference?

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Old 01-07-2012, 10:45 AM
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A little bit of history, Underworld was released in HD-DVD in Germany with a German DTS-HD MA and a DTS-HD English audio track, the AVC encoding seems to be the same, I still have this HD-DVD!! Museum piece?
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