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Wayne A. Klein
anamorphic high definition transfer
cut rated R)
Tristar Home Video Home Video
Len Wiseman and cast members
||On stunts, "The Visual
Effects of Underworld", production design, "Sights and Sound",
"Creature Effects""Making of", "The Look of Underworld"
||Previews, trailers, TV
reintegrated into film
||"Worms of the Earth"
peformed by Finch
comparisons, Outtake reel, Collectible production sketch notebook,
Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly, Bill Nighy, Erwin
Leder, Sophia Myles, Kevin Grevioux
Ever notice how leftovers develop
an unsavory taste the third time you serve them? They may
still look good but you know something is definitely wrong.
"Underwhelmed", oops, "Underworld-The Unrated Extended Edition"
has been warmed up way too many times. Borrowing from other
films, literature, etc. is fine if these elements are somehow
forged into something unique. If "Underwear", oops, "Underworld"
had come out in 1995 the look borrowed from "Dark City", "Matrix",
"Blade", "The Crow" and every other science fiction/fantasy
film made in the last ten years might have been groundbreaking
but here it's like revisiting a film cemetery looking at the
tombstones of the past. ***
"Guido, we have to rub out the
Lycans family. They're hairy, have no taste and smelly. Past
the pasta". Like a reheated version of "The Godfather" crossed
with a monster movie, "Underworld-The Unrated Extended Cut"
introduces us to two warring families Seline (Kate Beckinsale)
hunts down Lycans (a fancy way of saying werewolves) as part
of an ongoing war between the two species. She's what's referred
to as a Death Dealer. Perhaps if she chooses to quit her night
job, she can find something in Vegas. She becomes involved
with a human who's being hunted by the werewolves. Unfortunately,
before Seline reaches him, he's already been bitten by a werewolf.
It's clear that the werewolves need him for a specific reason
-- that remains a mystery until the final scene in the film.
the low fat foods out there, "Underworld" looks great but is
less filling (and doesn't taste all that great either). The
sharp image quality adds to the powerful impression of the visuals
but some of the sequences exhibit a muddy look to them. There's
also a touch of edge enhancement (where the image is artificially
sharpened at the expense of detail) although it's hardly noticeable
in this nicely tailored high definition transfer. Overall, though,
this edition of "Underworld" looks better than the regular release.
In terms of the overall sound, there's not a huge difference.
The sound effects, action and music are well placed throughout
the 5.1 speaker range with lots of nice vivid details evident
in the mix. ---
Unlike the Lycans in the film, "Underworld-The
Unrated Extended Cut" doesn't transform into anything special
with the additional footage. It does restore a back story
to Scott Speedman's character and reintegrates a subplot involving
a vampire Erika played by Sophia Myles. The additional footage
adds more meat to an already slim high concept story. We also
get a new battle scene towards the end of the film which actually
improves the film. ***
The overheated 45 minute documentary
on vampires and werewolves provides almost as many entertaining
moments as the film itself. Originally broadcast on AMC, "Fang
vs. Fiction" provides an interesting overview of vampire lore
and wolf in human clothing. The 48 page mini-comic book will
probably attract the most attention as it will, no doubt,
become a collectible. If you want camp, you get even more
of it than before in this extended version. We also get the
extras found on the previous version as well. We also get
the outtakes, visual effects featurettes from the previous
edition including an examination on the transformation scene
from human to werewolf. ***
The "Making of" featurette provides
a thumbnail glimpse into the complexity of making a movie
like "Underworld". The design featurette provides the nuts
and bolts of everything from costume designing for the picture
all the way down to the production design for many of the
main sets. The storyboard comparisons will be of particular
interest to film geeks as it allows one to see the process
of imagination to creation. We also get a brief featurette
on the various creature effects in the movie including the
CGI and physical effects used to portray the werewolves. The
"Stunts" featurette allows us to look through the crack in
the door between reality and fiction. ---
||We also get
an extensive new commentary with director Len Wiseman and the
cast membes including stars Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman.
The commentary track provides lots of interesting tidbits particularly
Wiseman's comments about all the visual effects shots added
for the film including things as simple as the city streets
seen outside the car window to the more involved transformation
and physical effects sequences. ---
a turkey in wolf's clothing or a classic that will be admired
for decades to come? You'll have to decide for yourself. Certainly
the special features on this extended edition suggest that Columbia
Tristar believes the latter. Regardless, if you purchased "Underworld"
before and you have the extra cash, you'll be delighted by this
special edition (which should have been released like this in
the first place).