DVD review: UNDERWORLD
by David Blackwell
Movie review: http://enterline2.tripod.com/enterline/id93.html
I love the UNDERWORLD DVD and I was excited to watch this DVD. The transfer of the movie is excellent
and UNDERWORLD has to be watched in 2.35:1 widescreen on DVD because director Len Wiseman uses the frame to the full
effect in many scenes in the movie. The sound on this DVD is great that it will surely make you feel like you're there
if you have surround sound 9and part of this has to be due to the excellent sound editing of the movie before it even made
it to DVD. The DVD was mastered in high definition like many Columbia Pictures/ Sony Pictures DVDs are.
The animated menu is cool and the way the menu transitiosn to other parts on the DVD when you select one of
the options on the menu (like playing the movie, going to scene selection, and to special features).
The DVD has some good extras. You get the theater trailer (but not the one that was featured on other Columbia
theater releases), two TV spots (one is a shortened version fo the theaterical trailer not included on this DVD as a seperate
extra), and some behind-the-scenes featurettes.
The Stunts featurette is one of the best extras on the DVD with plenty behind-the-scenes video of Kate Beckinsale
taring for the role of Selene as you see her do wire work rehearsals and fire the pistols. You also see Scott Speedman do
some wire work training and you see how some of the stunts are done including Selene's big jump from the top of a building
(which was done in two parts with a stunt double that looks like Kate Beckinsale). The Creature Effects featurette is
also interesting as you look to see how all the werewolves were done and how the skin for Viktor was done in various stages
of his skin getting to where he looked human. Sights and Sounds shows video of the production in between takes and how
much screwing off people did (having fun). Danny McBride directed all three of the above featurettes.
The Making of Underworld featurette is basically a promo piece for the movie that also includes most of the
other Underworld theater trailer which wasn't included as a seperate extra with the trailers. The only thing I
didn't like in the extras was the music video. It's a good video, but the song sucks (it's like listening to bad heavy metal).
The commentaries are fun to listen to. The director and writers commentary (Len Wiseman, Danny McBride, and
Kevin Grevioux) describes how the script came together and how many scenes had to be fought for (and some stuff was done in
one take). The technical commentary (Claude Letessier, James McQuaide, and another French sound design guy who says alot)
is an interesting conversation about the sound design, set design, stunts, and creature effects of UNDERWORLD. Claude even
demonstartes some sounds during the commentary. It is interesting to hear one of the sound designers speak with his French
accent because it adds interest in hearing him talk during the commentary. They even point out the worse sound effect in the
movie and joke about it. UNDERWORLD (the picture of) as pointed out in both commentaries has been digitally corrected and
it looks like it was intended to on the DVD (compared to what was seen in the theater).
UNDERWORLD is a film where everyone was involved with Danny McBride playing a death dealer in the movie and
shooting a lot of the second unit stuff. They experimented with the sound, and even matached the sound with the music track.
The commentaries are very insightful and full of information if you want to know what went into the making of the movie from
script to post-production (including how one corridor was used over and over again for different corridors in the movie).
It is amazing to see what type of movie they got with a $22-23 million budget, and filming it in Budapest,
Hungary helped to make UNDERWORLD for this cheap (and make it look like a $60 million picture). Now I wait for a future special
edition of the movie on DVD to include a director's cut, video of the screen tests, and all of the trailers because UNDERWORLD
is the type of movie that screams for a big special edition with tons of new extras.
For another action movie where women kick butt, watch SO CLOSE- http://enterline2.tripod.com/enterline/id108.html The women in SO CLOSE shot guns and fight with some excellent action scenes that will impress people
who loved the action scenes in UNDERWORLD.
this review is (c)1-5-2004 David Blackwell and this review can't be reprinted without the author's permission.
send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and look for site updates (and additional content) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia
DVD review: THE ORDER
I enjoyed THE ORDER. It tries to be original. The movie is known as THE SIN EATER overseas. Heath Ledger plays
Father Alex who investigates the death of the head of his order, and it leads him chasing a Sin Eater who can absorb people's
sins before they die against the backdrop of a myysterious Black Pope who wants to take back the land the church once had.
Along for the ride is Alex's friend, Father Thomas, and the girl he is attracted to, Mara. I like this movie that shows some
faults of the Roman Catholic Church and the conspiracy that is being fueled by many player including a Cardinal (Petter Weller).
Many people may not have liked this movie, but I enjoyed it.
The picture looks horrible on the DVD when there are too much black in the frame. The movie is presented in
a full frame and a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. The sound mix is good, but the picture could have been better.
The commentary track from director Brian Helgeland is very informative as he tells details about where this
and that scene were shot, that they had to build a St. Peters church set because the Pope wouldn't allow them to shot in the
real St. Peters, and giving info about the cast and crew in this movie including little insights about the other movies he
directed (PAYBACK and A KNIGHT'S TALE).
The only extras are 10 minutes of deleted scenes which are interesting (but you can see why most of them were
cut and the director wishes he left one of the scenes in as he makes comments on that scene), dalies of one scenes late into
the movie (which is fascinating to look at to see how much is shot from different angles to put one scene together, and a
theaterical trailer (which is oddly in full frame instead of widescreen).
20th Century FOX did a poor job with this DVD because they really need to do a special edition of THE ORDER
to correct flaws in the transfer and include more extras.
this review is (c)1-5-2004 David Blackwell. email all comments to email@example.com and look for site updates (and additional content) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia