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3.38- UNDERWORLD Extended Cut DVD

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DVD Review: UNDERWORLD Extended Cut

by David Blackwell

UNDERWORLD impresses me no matter how many times I see it. The unrated extended cut flows as good or better than the theater cut. The extended cut adds additional depth to the movie and the characters. UNDERWORLD is a movie that you will love or you will hate.

UNDERWORLD takes place in a world where Vampires are at war with Lycans (werewolves). Selene is a Death Dealer, a vampire whose job is to kill the Lycans. She gets wrapped up in the mystery of why the Lycans were after a human named Michael Corvin. Kraven, the head of the local Vampire clan, has lied about the death of the Lycan leader, Lucien. Lucien is alive. Things start to unravel as the movie races towards the end.

The script for the sequel is being worked on. The theater cut and the extended cut makes me want the sequel more. Director Len Wiseman has an eye for what he wants from a movie. UNDERWORLD is a visual masterpiece.

This 134 minutes cut is an interesting alternative.  For those who want to be spoiled about the new scenes,  I have included a list of some of the new scenes at the bottom of the page after the review.

VIDEO/AUDIO: The 2.35:1 anamorphic video is stunning as usual with a little grain showing. The colors fits what the director was trying to accomplish. The blacks are nice and dark.

The 5.1 English Dolby Digital is very dynamic and loud. The music and sound effects really boom. There is also an option to hear the movie in French 5.1 Dolby Digital. There are also English and French subtitles available.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Special Features Specs:

Disc one- Director and Cast Commentary (NEW), OUTTAKES (NEW), FANGS VS. FICTION (NEW), TV SPOTS, Previews

Disc two- Visual Effects of UNDERWORLD (NEW),Designing UNDERWORLD (NEW), Look of UNDERWORLD (NEW), Making of UNDERWORLD, Creature Effects Featurette, Stunts Featurette, Sights + Sounds Featurette, Storyboard Comparison, Music Video: Finch- "Worms of the Earth"

For the purposes of this review, I will only review the new features added to this edition. There are no subtitles or extra language tracks for the special features. You can click on this link below for the review of special features that were also included on the theater cut disc:

http://enterline2.tripod.com/enterline/id112.html

DISC ONE-

COMMENTARY: The commentary track by director Len Wiseman, Kate Beckinsale, and Scott Speedman isn't that bad, but I love the commentary tracks on the first DVD release. They all laugh and make fun of each other through the track (Scott leaves after 73 minutes where Kate and Len go on to joke that Scott is auditioning for an Olsen Twins movie). There are some insights about the production like they wanted Bowie for one scene (but time constraints prevented them from contacting Bowie) and what scenes are new, what scenes are extended scenes, and new shots recut back into the movie. Len even makes mention of outtakes he couldn't find to include in the Outtakes reel for this release.

OUTTAKES: There are some line flubs, scene screw-ups, a dancing werewolf, and Kate mentioning she forgot to put her vampire teeth in. There are some timecoded outtakes mixed in with non-anamorphic widescreen outtake footage.

FANGS VS. FICTION: This is a 47 minute full frame DOCUMENTARY that aired on AMC last year. There are five chapter stops (no close captioning, no subtitles, and it is only heard in English). There are some interesting info about the history and mythos of vampires and werewolves mixed in with info about the movie UNDERWORLD (with 1.78:1 widescreen clips from the movie).

DISC TWO-

VISUAL EFFECTS OF UNDERWORLD: James McQuaide (VFX Supervisor), Payam Shohadi (VFX Supervisor, Owner- Luma Pictures), and Martin Hunt (Film Editor) are interviewed. We learn 400 VFX shots were done for the movie. There are CG enhancements like backgrounds being added whenever anyone is driving in a car and a cracking CG windshield added to another scene.

DESIGNING UNDERWORLD: Bruton Jones (Production Designer) and Len Wiseman discuss how they designed the movie and how Len found Budapest to be the perfect place to set the movie. You do see production sketches and designs by Len and Bruton (many featured designs are also in the "The Drawings of Underworld" included in this 2-disc set).

LOOKS OF UNDERWORLD: This 19 minute featurette covers how they achieved the look of Underworld. The whole film went through Digital Intermediate (aka digital color correction) to achieve the under-saturated look that almost seems monochromatic. You see comparisons between the raw footage and the final footage. Also the featurette tells the story of how Tony Pierce-Roberts came onboard the movie as the cinematographer. There are interviews with Len Wiseman, Tony Pierce Roberts, and James McQuaide.

MENUS: The menus have some nice artwork, but the menu navigation and music is the same as the theater cut DVD. Not the best menu design, but it will do for now.

 

CASE DESIGN/ OTHER EXTRAS: Most of the artwork and DVD description is on a clear plastic sleeve that you slip off to reveal that only the artwork of that city and the moon (on front and back cover) is on the main DVD sleeve.

The 48 page comic book is a mini-reprint of the Underworld comic book adaptation from IDW Publishing. "The Drawings of Underworld: Sketch To Scene Comparison" is a 16 page mini-booklet showing the production art compared to stills from the movie.

FINAL VERDICT- This 2-disc edition doesn't include the full teaser trailer for UNDERWORLD (only the shortened teaser TV spot just like on the theater cut DVD). Also it makes me wonder if more extras could have been included for this addition like more outtakes for example if this unrated extended cut wasn't released so soon after the theater cut DVD.

This is far from a definitive special edition of the movie. However the extended cut shows a fascinating alternate cut of the movie. This DVD is only for UNDERWORLD diehards (who are interested in the extended cut and the additional special features) and UNDERWORLD fans who don't own the first theater cut on DVD.

 

NEW SCENES- Included below is a list of some of the new scenes in the extended cut. There are more scenes with Erika and Kraven as their characters are fleshed out more. There are about 11-12 minutes of new scenes out of 23 minutes that was recut back into the movie.

Michael looks in on the woman who was shot in the subway.

There is a scene of Michael telling his backstory to Selene.

Lycans watching the vampire mansion and seeing Selen leave (and they proceed to follow her car).

Kraven and Erika make love.

Kraven quits sucking blood from Erika when he gets a phone call that Selene has returned.

Viktor takes out tubes.

Kraven asks a favor of Erika.

Erika gives Kraven a gun.

There are a bunch additional shots of going down stairs and stuff included in the final battle.

The vampire history tome sequence is extended.

The explanation by the Lycan scientist as he explains everything to Selene and Viktor is extended.

 

Additional UNDERWORLD reviews-

Movie Review: http://enterline2.tripod.com/enterline/id93.html

Theater Cut DVD review:

http://enterline2.tripod.com/enterline/id112.html

UPDATE (12-15-2004):  UNDERWORLD 2 will be filming in British Columbia for a December 2005 release in theaters.

this review is (c)5-18-2004 David Blackwell and can't be reprinted without prior permission. No humans, vampires, or lycans (or Kate Beckinsale) were harmed in the writing of this review.

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