Sony Screen Gem’s two-disc Underworld: Extended Edition DVD set his stores next Tuesday for a SRP of about $25.99- is it worth it? The answer is hell yes! Inside is my positive review for the DVD set that just added more to the ‘less-than’ perfect original release a few months ago.
Before I give my thoughts on Sony’s extended Underworld DVD that hit video shelves last week, I want to give my quick opinion of the film itself, since I do not totally agree with our reviewer Mike’s review, which can be read here.
Personally, I don’t see why everyone despises this movie with such a passion. Don’t get be wrong, it isn’t a superb film, but it is quite enjoyable, especially the extended edition, which spends more time building Scott Speedman’s (Michael Corvin) character; I’d give the extended movie a 3 1/5 out of 5 Skull rating. I thought the acting was very well done, the special effects where incredible, even the wirework looked really good with the Werewolves. I also thought the storyline was well written, and I loved how they set up a sequel, which from the looks of things will be 50X better.
Although I thought it was fun, there were some problems. First, all of the guns, second, only one Vampire bite, third, since when do Vampires have heartbeats, and finally, the original movie felt “flat,” like something was missing, only the extended editon fixed this problem. My two cents on the extended movie – this is a great buy especially if you have surround sound, read on to see why!
Below is basically the same DVD review for the original DVD, only the newly added portions are in bold for the extended DVD.
Usually the last thing anyone talks about when it comes to DVDs is the sound, since the extra features are usually the biggest bonus. Well, Ive never seen Underworld until I got the DVD, and the first thing I did was watch the flick. My first reaction was that the sound was spectacular and mixed phenomenally well, and the extended editon is no exception! I think great sound enhances the experience, and I havent heard such a great mix since Top Gun and the The Exorcist: The Version Never Seen. But besides the sound, the video was crisp, clear and looked great, it almost felt like I was in the theater.
Heading into the special features, I took some time to admire the comic book like interactive menus, which were extremely cool. The first features I checked out where on Disc #1. There are all new commentaries from director Len Wiseman and cast members Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman. In these commentraies, we get more indepth to the making of the film and get all sorts of inside stories from thr people involved.
Another thing added to the DVD, is an incredible 47 minute feature on Werewolves and Vampires- this appeared on AMC. This feature, entitled “Fang vs Fiction”, where we get some history on these creatures and meet real life creature! Is this for real? Check it out yourself!
Also added to the DVD were TV spots, trailers, and three minutes of outtakes. I loved the outtakes, even though it was only three minutes. There were dancing werewolves, and wolves afraid of getting into water- a must see if you get this DVD set.
Then I popped in disc #2- The first thing In did on disc #2 was watch the four “featurettes,” the first one was “The Making of Underworld.” It ran about 13 minutes long and looked like something you would have seen on HBO the week before release. It was pretty much a roundup of the cast and crew talking about their experiences on the set.
The feature that I really got into was the “Creature Effects,” which ran close to 12 minutes. It was awesome seeing how they put together the Werewolves. They built a robotic mask that goes over a humans head, and an entire body suit. The mask can make all sorts of movements from blinking to snarling; the lips even had movements of their own, it was unbelievable! They gave us a taste of the wirework and the production designs that they really could have spent more time on.
The “Stunts” featurette was also pretty neat, running in at about 11 minutes. They spent a lot of the time showing Kate Beckinsale prepping for battle and learning her stunts. They also showed her stunt double shooting the opening jump sequence, where she jumped over 100 feet!
The final featurette on the original DVD, “Sights and Sounds,” was really disappointing though, it was basically 8 minutes of footage from the set, without any talking or information.
Added to the extended edition DVD, were three more featurettes, which added to the total package of goodies. The first was “Designing ther Underworld”, which ran in only ten minutes. The second was called “Look of the Underworld”, which ran in at 18 minutes and the final featurette was called “Visual Effects”, which ran in at nine minutes. I only with the visual effects featurette was a little longer, no DVD ever spends enough time behind-the-scenes on the FX and I really wish they would.
After I watched the featurettes, I feasted my eyes upon the video by the band Finch, who by the way kicks major ass! It was definitely a nice addition to the DVD, its too bad there werent any other videos, because the soundtrack was loaded with amazing artists.
Another cool feature that could have been much better was the “Storyboard Comparisons.” They had five different segments that came in at only about a minute each, for a total of six minutes. With such cool stuff they could have supplied, I was very disappointed with the amount given. At least they loaded the DVD with TV Spots and trailer for Underworld and tons of other movies like Resident Evil: Apocalypse.
One last thing that is included in this DVD set is a 48-page mini-comic book. The comic, which was drawn by Nick Postic and Nick Marinkovich, is an adaptation that crosses the look of Jame O’barr’s Crow and Steve Niles 30 Days of Night. Any fan of the movie will get a kick out of this.
When it was all said and done I give the Extended DVD a 4 1/2 out of 5 skull rating. Sony put together some great stuff and made a great quality flick, and took the DVD up one notch to make it worth your $25. If you have the money, this would definitely be a nice addition to your horror collection- even if you were disappoined the first time, I think you’ll find something special in this flick on second viewing.