Underworld: Rise of the Lycans appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a good but not great presentation.
For the most part, sharpness seemed satisfying. However, occasional instances of mild softness arose, and those created small distractions at times.
Neither moiré effects nor jagged edges cropped up here, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws remained absent.
Just like the first two movies, Rise went with a heavily blue palette. Within those constraints, the hues seemed well-reproduced.
Blacks were pretty deep and dense, while shadows appeared mostly smooth. This turned into a pleasing image, even if it didn’t dazzle.
Expect sonic material in the same vein as the first two movies via Rise’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. That became a positive, as this film continued the trend of engaging audio.
With plenty of action on display, all the channels received a good workout. Music demonstrated appealing presence, while effects manifested from logical spots and blended together nicely as well.
Audio quality satisfied, with speech that appeared concise and natural. Music seemed full and lush as well.
Effects boasted solid clarity and accuracy, with fine low-end along the way. This turned into a more than satisfactory soundtrack.
As we head to extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Patrick Tatopoulos, series creator Len Wiseman, executive producer James McQuaide and producers Richard Wright and Gary Lucchesi. All five sit together for this running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, photography, stunts, music and audio, various effects, cast and performances.
This becomes a decent but unexceptional track. While we get a reasonable overview of the production, the commentary feels a little flat and never quite kicks into gear. Still, it offers enough data to merit a listen from fans.
Behind the Castle Walls provides a picture-in-picture feature. It mixes shots from the set, production art and interview moments from Tatopoulos, Wiseman, Lucchesei, Wright, producer Tom Rosenberg, cinematography Ross Emery, co-producer/actor Kevin Grevioux, and actors Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, Rhona Mitra and Steven Mackintosh.
“Walls” covers prequel issues as well as story/characters, cast and performances, photography, sets, effects, and costumes.
“Walls” gives us a decent complement to the commentary, though like that track, it never seems particularly engaging. It brings some good perspectives but lacks much to make it especially engrossing.
With Lycanthropes Around the World, we find an interactive map. It allows us to select various spots in North America, Europe and Asia to learn about werewolf lore in those different domains. The text notes offer decent information.
Three featurettes follow, and From Script to Screen runs nine minutes, 18 seconds. It offers notes from Wright, Tatopoulos, Wiseman, Lucchesi and Rosenberg.
As expected, “Screen” looks at story/characters and screenwriting challenges related to a strike as well as Tatopoulos’s take on the material, locations, costumes and effects. Much of this repeats from the commentary and picture-in-picture so don’t expect much fresh information.
The Origin of the Feud goes for 19 minutes, 58 seconds and includes comments from Wright, Tatopoulos, Rosenberg, Lucchesi, Wiseman, Sheen, Mitra, Grevioux, Mackintosh and Nighy.
“Feud” examines story elements connected to the series’ mythology. Again, this becomes semi-redundant due to the other programs, so we don’t get many new insights. Indeed, some of the footage literally repeats from the picture-in-picture.
Finally, Recreating the Dark Ages lasts 13 minutes, one second and offers info from Tatopoulos and production designer Dan Hennah. They cover set/production/creature design in this informative little show.
A music video for “Deathclub” by William Control Featuring Matt Skiba offers a traditional – and forgettable – mix of movie clips and lip-synch footage. The song fizzles as well.
The disc opens with ads for The International, The Skycrawlers, and The Da Vinci Code. Previews adds promos for , Resident Evil: Degeneration, Fired Up!, Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, Resident Evil: Extinction, Passengers (2008) and Quarantine. No trailer for Rise appears here.
For the franchise’s third movie, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans offers a prequel. While not an especially good film, it seems more coherent and story-based than its predecessors, so it becomes moderately more satisfying. The Blu-ray boasts good picture, strong audio and a nice mix of bonus materials. Though it never excels, Rise at least betters the first two Underworld movies.