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4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Underworld's 4K release impresses fans but questions Sony's selection criteria.

    Underworld 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • The 4K UHD of Underworld enhances detail and contrast, offering a richer visual palette while staying true to its gothic ambiance and stylistic cinematography, despite some grain and softness.

  • Audio
  • Underworld's 4K upgrade delivers exceptional sound and visual quality, with immersive audio that enhances every scene and a detailed, stylishly colored picture.

  • Extra
  • Sony's Underworld 4K UHD set features theatrical and extended cuts, lots of SD extras like featurettes and commentary, highlighting the film's production and mythical lore.

  • Movie
  • In 'Underworld,' Vampires and Lycans clash in a Gothic metropolis, wrapped in a tale of forbidden love and century-old feuds, now re-released in 4K.

    Video: 82

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Underworld" presents an ambitious leap from its 1080p predecessor, imbuing the gothic tale with a starkly enhanced visual fidelity that enriches the film's intricate blend of shadow and light. Shot on 35mm and orchestrated with a moody palette of cool blues and grays punctuated by bursts of vibrant red, this Ultra HD rendering honors the film's original cinematic texture while leveraging HDR technology to amplify contrast and detail. The HEVC / H.265 encoding ensures a slick presentation across its original 2.39:1 theatrical aspect ratio, displaying an appreciable improvement in resolution and clarity. Despite the inherent challenges posed by its 2K digital intermediate source and the stylistic choice of crushed blacks, this version achieves a remarkable balance, offering deep, inky shadows alongside bright, natural highlights without obscuring fine details.

    The meticulous attention to textural nuances is evident, as enhanced detailing reveals the subtlest intricacies in the vampire and lycan attire, architecture, and even the actor's skin pores with unprecedented clarity. The application of HDR10 not only intensifies the stark contrast between luminous whites and deep blacks but also enriches the color spectrum, making the reds more robust, blues more vivid, and adding a newfound luminosity to previously subdued hues. While the presentation navigates through occasional grainy patches and minor aliasing with grace, it consistently maintains a refined grain structure that pays homage to its filmic origin, fostering an authentic cinematic aura.

    Despite some limitations stemming from the heavily stylized photography and the film's dark aesthetic, Sony's Ultra HD release captivates with its detailed and atmospheric rendition of "Underworld's" murky universe. The added brightness levels and color gradation enhance the overall visual narrative without detracting from the film's intended tone, ensuring that fans and newcomers alike are treated to a visually immersive experience. The faithful preservation of fine details, from the gothic wardrobe’s every stitch to the intricate designs of urban decay, solidifies this 4K UHD Blu-ray as a significant upgrade over previous home video formats, breathing new life into this dark fantasy epic.

    Audio: 87

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray audio presentation of "Underworld" takes a significant leap forward with its Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) track, eclipsing the previously acclaimed LPCM 5.1 uncompressed soundtrack found on earlier releases. From the very beginning, it asserts an expansive soundscape that extends well beyond traditional bounds, engaging listeners with a blend of intense, precise, and well-balanced audio that transforms any room into the heart of the film's dark and atmospheric world. The track excels in delivering detailed sound, from the subtle environmental noises and dialogue to the dynamic action sequences, with gunfire, explosions, and musical scores benefiting from the depth and breadth of this immersive audio experience. Although some critiques point out a lack of punch in certain sequences and a brightness that occasionally verges on distortion, these are minor compared to the overall impressive quality.

    The addition of the Dolby Atmos layer introduces a noticeable improvement, offering a broader and more immersive soundstage that effectively utilizes the height channels to envelop the listener. Specific sound elements move with convincing directionality, creating a dome-like effect during intense battles and quieter moments alike. Surround use is lauded for its continuity and detail, crafting an engaging auditory environment that captures the film’s essence with clarity and precision. However, there’s an observation regarding a limited midrange that sometimes detracts from the experience, but this does not significantly diminish the track's impact.

    Dialogue remains clear and well-prioritized amidst the chaos, ensuring that every spoken word is intelligible. Low frequency effects are robust and impactful, providing a solid foundation for the action without overwhelming the mix. The track manages transitions between quiet ambiances and loud confrontations effortlessly, with background sounds and atmospheric elements being meticulously reproduced. While some may find aspects of the height channel underutilized or the midrange occasionally lacking, the overall consensus is that this audio presentation is a marked improvement over previous editions, offering an enveloping and detailed experience that enhances the viewing of "Underworld" on 4K UHD Blu-ray.

    Extra: 79

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Underworld" furnishes an uncompromised home theater experience, enhanced not only by its superior audio-visual presentation but also through a plethora of extras. Despite the principal draw being the film's theatrical and extended cuts, the accompanying supplements enrich the viewing with a diverse range of content from insightful featurettes to amusing outtakes. Notably, the audio commentary offers a delightful blend of anecdotes, albeit lacking deep analytical insight. The featurettes delve into various aspects of production - from design to visual effects, providing an exhaustive behind-the-scenes look that is sure to captivate fans and cinephiles alike. Additionally, the inclusion of a digital HD copy ensures that enthusiasts can enjoy this gothic saga across multiple platforms. This package amalgamates standard and high-definition content, preserving the essence of previous releases while embracing new technology standards.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary: Interactive commentary with Director Len Wiseman, Kate Beckinsale, and Scott Speedman.
    • Fang vs. Fiction: A documentary exploring vampire and werewolf lore in popular culture.
    • Storyboard Comparison: A side-by-side comparison of select scenes with their storyboards.
    • Music Video: "Worms of the Earth" by Finch.
    • Outtakes: A compilation of flubbed lines and behind-the-scenes antics.
    • Featurettes:
      • The Making of 'Underworld': An overview of the film's creation.
      • The Visual Effects of 'Underworld': Insight into the CG and practical effects.
      • Creature Effects: A closer look at the werewolf and vampire designs.
      • Stunts: Discussion on choreography and fight sequences.
      • Designing 'Underworld': Exploring the film's gothic aesthetic.
      • The Look of 'Underworld': Focused on cinematography and visual style.
      • Sights and Sounds: Behind-the-scenes footage highlighting the production's camaraderie.
    • Digital HD Copy: A code for a digital copy of the film.

    Movie: 77

    Sony Pictures Home Entertainment catapulted the 2003 action-horror flick "Underworld" into the modern viewing arena with its 4K UHD Blu-ray release, presenting it in an eye-catching 2160p/HDR/Atmos visual and auditory experience. This release comes amid anticipation for the franchise's latest installment, enhancing the viewers' experience with a richer, deeper contrast that elevates the gothic ambiance of this timeless, bleak metropolis to new heights. However, it's notable that this particular package offers a shorter cut of the film, lasting 2 hours and 1 minute, against the extended version found on the original Blu-ray which runs an additional 12 minutes longer. While the special features mirror those found on the previous Blu-ray release, including a moments collage and cast and crew stills, the absence of any new material or enhancements to the existing content might leave some aficionados feeling underwhelmed.

    "Underworld" plunges its audience into a shadowy war of attrition between vampires and Lycans (werewolves), underscored by a forbidden romance that challenges longstanding prejudices and loyalties. The narrative weaves an intricate tapestry of deception, betrayal, and power struggles, with Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a vampire Death Dealer, finding herself entangled in a conspiracy that could destabilize the fragile equilibrium between these immortal clans. The film's atmospheric visuals are a feast for the eyes on 4K UHD, complementing its gothic motifs and the sleek, noir-esque aesthetic that director Len Wiseman and cinematographer Tony Pierce-Roberts so vividly bring to life. While the combat sequences brim with visceral intensity, leveraging modern technology and firepower in lieu of traditional vampire-werewolf confrontations, they arguably lean too heavily on gunplay, slightly diminishing the primal ferocity one might expect from such mythical adversaries.

    Critics and fans alike have been divided on "Underworld"'s merits since its debut. On one hand, its ambitious story and rich lore provide a solid groundwork for a franchise with nearly boundless potential; on the other, some see the film's execution as falling short of its promise, particularly criticizing its resolution of plotlines and character arcs as being too conveniently geared towards setting up sequels. Despite its shortcomings, "Underworld"'s foray into 4K UHD Blu-ray offers an opportunity to revisit the film's strengths - notably its visual style and Beckinsale's performance - in unparalleled clarity and depth. While it may not completely dispel the criticisms leveraged against it or its subsequent entries in the franchise, it undoubtedly reaffirms "Underworld" as a pivotal, albeit polarizing, chapter in modern action-horror cinema.

    Total: 80

    Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's release of "Underworld" on 4K UHD Blu-ray presents a noteworthy upgrade in visual and audio quality, aimed especially at enthusiasts of the series and ultra-high-definition adopters. The inclusion of a new Dolby TrueHD/Atmos mix elevates the home theater experience, offering a more immersive auditory sensation which, despite the film's source being a 2K digital intermediate, still marks a significant improvement over previous releases. It is no secret that Sony has been selective with its UHD releases, often choosing titles for 4K remastering that tie into newer or continuing series. "Underworld" falls into this category, benefiting from an upgrade perhaps more due to its place within an ongoing franchise rather than being a stand-alone masterpiece in Sony's catalogue.

    The visual presentation, while strong, does not exhibit a drastic leap from its Blu-ray counterpart, leaving some to question the necessity of this remaster. However, the transition to Dolby Atmos is acknowledged as a noticeable enhancement, providing a richer audio experience that complements the film's gothic, action-packed sequences. Despite these improvements, it is disappointing that the special features remain unchanged from previous releases and are only available in standard definition. This aspect, along with the visual enhancements that don't fully exploit the potential of 4K technology, suggests that this edition should appeal predominantly to die-hard fans or collectors.

    In conclusion, while "Underworld's" 4K UHD Blu-ray release represents a commendable effort by Sony to upgrade its visual and audio experience for home theater audiences, it falls short of being an essential purchase for the general audience. The improvements, notably in sound quality via Dolby Atmos, are appreciated but with limited enhancements to visuals and no new special features, this release is best recommended for enthusiasts of the series or those particularly invested in building a 4K library. For casual viewers or those content with previous versions, it may warrant a purchase only when the price is deemed appealing enough.