Underworld R3 DTS Review

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Harminder, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. Harminder

    Harminder Second Unit

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    Movie Review
    When I initially sat down to watch Underworld, I thought it was going to be a "Blade" vs. Werewolves type of movie with lots of action and a dumbed down story. Well, one of my thoughts was true and that was the lots of action thought. I was thoroughly surprised by this movie in terms of action, story and special effects. The action is controlled and intense, the story is very well written and presented, and the special effects are impressive for a movie made under a $23 million budget. There were only a few times where the special effects were unconvincing and seemed polished, but it will not deter from the enjoyment of the movie. All round, the cast did a wonderful job on their acting, but there was one person who seemed to do a poor job. This was Kraven, played by Shane Brolly. He did a terrible job in convincing me of his role. As though he was taking pure direction and was not adding anything special to his character. A straight by the book actor, nothing special. Bravo to first time director and writer Len Wisemen, who did a terrific job in creating the world of the vampires and Lycans.

    Rating: 4/5

    Video
    The Region 3 release of Underworld is presented in an anamorphic widescreen tranfer with an aspect ratio of 2:35. With a movie so dark, black levels were very important. Thankfully, black levels were very well maintained and detailed and do not overpower other colors on screen. Colors are intentionally toned down to keep with the atmosphere and style of the movie. This is an overall clean transfer with no blemishes, spots or marks. However, the fundamental flaw is the considerable amount of visible grain on the picture. Not so bad that it's a big distraction, but it's there. Overall, a very good video transfer.

    Rating: 4/5

    Sound - Dolby Stereo - Dolby Digital 5.1 - DTS 5.1
    The big reason to pick up the Region 3 version of Underworld is for the DTS sound and let me tell you, it's one highly aggressive beast. The DTS is one of the most highly aggressive soundtracks that I have ever heard, to the point that I had to turn down the volume on my home theatre from my normal listen level. The score is dynamic to this movie and is presented flawlessly. Sound effects are very directional as well as the score which was a surprise and definitely put a smile on my face. Dialogue is very clear even when the soundtrack is in full force. The surrounds are extremely active in Underworld, from the use of score, to create the atmosphere and sound effects. Especially during gun battles, dream sequences and Lycan's storming about. They were also used for more subtle areas of the movie as well, such as rain drops and thunder. It definitely gave the surround speakers a workout they'd never received before! The DTS track is definitely reference material.

    On a direct comparison of the Dolby Digital 5.1 track to the DTS track, I found that the DTS track had a much wider and free soundscape then the Dolby track. The DTS was louder by quite a bit. Surround use was much higher by the DTS track. Lots of ambient sounds. The Dolby track overall seemed more tighter and constrained then the DTS track. LFE use and sound for both tracks was about the same which was surprising since DTS usually has a more aggressive use of LFE.

    Rating: 5/5

    Extras:
    Subtitles: Chinese.
    Yup, that's the only extra on this DVD, if you can call it that. Not even a trailer! What a let down.

    Rating: 0.5/5

    Final Thoughts
    The main reason to buy the R3 DVD of Underworld is for the DTS track. The lack of extras that are on the R1 release was definitely a disappointment. Alot of featurettes and commentaries are missed from the R3. Since this was a Columbia/Tri-Star release, why not just release Underworld in Superbit for R3 since there are no extras? I expected there to be a flawless video transfer with no grain whatsoever with all that was cut out from the DVD. Nonetheless, the DTS track was so highly impressive, that I do not regret purchasing it.

    Overall Rating: 3.5/5
     
  2. JamesY

    JamesY Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for your review. I in fact have this disc, and I have to agree that the soundtrack is very aggressive. The DTS was better, but there still seems to be a lack of fidelity in ALL of the soundtracks (perhaps the budget had something to do with it?). I have read similar comments about R1, but have yet to be able to do a direct comparison to the US R1 disc.

    However, I just wanted to note that this R3 version is the Hong Kong R3. If anyone is interested, a Korean R3 version is set to arrive on 2/19/04, and it's a true S.E. - it not only has a DTS track, but also plenty of extras (I believe the same ones if not more than R1 - didn't compare all the specs.). More expensive (HK version
     
  3. Harminder

    Harminder Second Unit

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    awwwwwww crap!

    Now I gotta go buy that version. LOL
     
  4. Tan Ng

    Tan Ng Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow! This DTS DVD sounds much better than the R1 version. I first bought the R1 version then just have JVB modified my Sony DVP-9000 ES to play all regions and let me tell you, JVB service is fast and excellent. Get back to the DVD, DTS track sounds more open and detailed. The Dolby track of region 1 was so loud and it gave me a headache. I think Columbia Tristar boosted the level up. I am so happy that I have my player modified to play all regions
     

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