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PHOTOGRAPHY

UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 106 minutes/ audio commentary, six featurettes, music video, previews

STUDIO: SPHE/ Screen Gems/ Lakeshore Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: 6-6-2006

UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION is the rare sequel that expands on the first film. The action is more packed and we learn more about the world of vampires and werewolves. We learn about the origins while Selene (Kate Beckinsale) learns her true role in the scheme of things. Marcus, the first vampire, learns Selene knows the location of his brother's prison. His brother, William (Tony Curran), is the first werewolf. Marcus is now a hybrid like Selene's lover and only ally, Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman). In the middle of all of this is Alexander Cornvinus (Derek Jacobi), the father of Marcus and William and ancestor of Michael, who has been cleaning up the mess the vampires and werewolves have been leaving over the centuries. UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION is like a Shakespeare tragedy in some ways while providing history, drama, and action, and gore (the film barely skipped the dreaded NC-17 rating). I love UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION. It impressed me like the first film. Not many films do that when I go to the theaters and then view them on DVD months later. I hope director Len Wiseman (and husband of Kate Beckinsale) returns to the UNDERWORLD universe very soon. By the way, Kate Beckinsale is hot. Maybe some of the appeal to some fans of the UNDERWORLD films comes from Kate being a killer vampire in black leather.

Movie review:   https://enterline2.tripod.com/underworld_evolution.html

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen version), 1.33:1 (Full Frame)

Two versions of the movie were made available to disc. This reviewer unfortunately ended up with a Full Frame/ Pan and Scan DVD. The close ups look good, but the action looks too close. Why should you want to watch the 1.33:1 DVD anyway since the 2.35:1 version is the correct version and shows everything that I saw in the theaters? You shouldn't. You're missing out on what Len Wiseman intended.

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Surround, French 5.1 DS

Subtitles: English, French

Dialogue is clear. Audio is as good as anything on the previous UNDERWORLD DVDs.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The audio commentary (with director Len Wiseman, the second unit director, editor Nicolas De Toth, and Production Designer Patrick Tatopoulos) is an insightful and yet sometimes not too serious commentary on the production of the sequel. I really want to see an extended cut due to Len mentioning some back story he could put back in and the outtakes reel which isn't on this DVD.

Six featurettes (all except BLOODLINES are directed by Len Wiseman) are included on the making of UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION-

BLOODLINES: FROM SCRIPT TO SCREEN- talk about the story for the sequel, the casting, and the characters.

HYBRID THEORY- the variety of visual effects used for the film from CGI to miniatures to wire work and other tricks. They combined effects with practical elements. Also previs work is shown (it helped keep some effects scenes in the sequel that the studio wanted to cut).

MAKING MONSTERS ROAR- A behind-the-scenes look at the improvements in the costumes and prosthetics for the werewolves, and the prosthetic teeth.

THE WAR RAGES ON- A look at the wire work and fights in the sequel. Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman love doing wire work.

BUILDING A SAGA- production design featurette. Len says the sequel is a period piece with automatic weapons. Production sketches are shown. Many production challenges were faced.

MUSIC AND MAYHEM- sound design and score featurette.

Also included is an ear splitting heavy metal music video and previews for several SPHE releases including ULTRAVIOLET, UNDERWORLD, HOSTEL, LONDON, CLICK, SILENT HILL, MARIE ANTOINETTE, and others. Too bad they didn't include the theatrical trailer for UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION.

FINAL ANALYSIS: UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION is a solid DVD. I can't wait for the extended two disc version to get made and make it's entry to DVD.

Related DVD Reviews:

UNDERWORLD:  https://enterline2.tripod.com/underworld_dvd.html

UNDERWORLD Extended Cut:   https://enterline2.tripod.com/id25.html

UNDERWORLD Movie article/reviews:

https://enterline2.tripod.com/id75.html

https://enterline2.tripod.com/id93.html

this review is (c)6-4-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com