Underworld: Awakening 3D

Can the return of Kate Beckinsale and some 3D magic save this ailing franchise?

Presumably due to some sense of loyalty to the Underworld franchise (and series creator/husband Len Wiseman), Kate Beckinsale has been persuaded to get her leather catsuit out of mothballs and return to the role of gun-totting vampire vixen Selene. But, in all honesty, she needn’t have bothered.

This is very much business as usual. There’s action and violence a-plenty, but it all still looks like something out of a videogame and carries about the same dramatic weight. And don’t even get me started on the CG abomination at the heart of this outing. One for die-hard fans only.

Picture: This single-disc release offers up both 2D and 3D 1080p presentations of the movie, depending on the capabilities of your system.

The AVC 2.40:1 ‘flat’ version is pretty awesome. Blacks are suitably macabre and solid, detailing is immaculate and I can’t spot any technical deficiencies with the encode itself. Okay, so the colour palette is essentially limited to various shades of blue, but that is an intentional aesthetic choice that’s been true of every film in the series.

If the stereoscopic MVC 2.40:1 imagery isn’t quite as impressive, that’s due to the source material rather than the encode. There are plenty of impressive 3D sequences, such as the establishing shot of Selene in the freezer unit in Chapter 2 or when she vaults over a car in Chapter 11, that have a palpable sense of depth. And there are also a handful of fun pop-out moments.

However, the film’s overwhelming darkness makes many scenes look flat and hampers detail, robbing the image of spatial depth in these instances. It’s far from a disaster, but definitely lacks consistency.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: The DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack is the best thing about this platter. From the opening shot, the full speaker array is employed constantly in extremely dynamic fashion. And while there’s plenty of weight and raw power to the audio (such as the thundering bass that accompanies the Uber-wolf’s footsteps in Chapters 7 and 11), there’s also a sense of control and precision that elevates the mix to another level.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: EiV’s disc packs a reasonable batch of bonus features to sink your fangs into. Alongside a surprisingly interesting commentary from the directors and producers, it also offers up six behind-the-scenes featurettes, six previz videos (three in both 2D and 3D), a blooper reel and a music video.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: More of the same from this disappointing franchise – but the disc itself is excellent

Entertainment in Video, Region B BD, £25 Approx, On sale now