A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... wait that is a different movie franchise. The year was 2003 and a new era in the war between vampires and werewolves was brewing. The fight started centuries before, making the werewolves out to be the "bad guys" but the truth is there are evil monsters on both sides of any altercation. Played out over five films, Underworld mainly focuses on one vampire and what could happen when her beliefs are shaken to the core.
Selene (Kate Beckinsale; Jolt) was turned into a vampire by one of the "elders" named Victor (Bill Nighy; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) because she reminded him of his daughter who died. Becoming a vampire and a member of the coven, Selene has known for as long as she can remember that the werewolves (called Lycans) have been hunting the Vampires. Now they have discovered a new weapon in the Lycan arsenal...Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman; xXx: State of the Union) whose blood allows him to become a werewolf/vampire hybrid. That is the premise behind the first film in the series Underworld.
From 2003 to 2016, five films were made to develop and explain the tenuous relationships between these warring groups, beginning with the present, moving forward, then back to the past, and finally culminating in an epic battle, leaving Selene and two other vampires as the new Elders of the Vampire Coven.
While all five films were profitable at the box office, the critics' ratings on Rotten Tomatoes range from a high of 31% to a low of 17%. With none of the movies earning critical acclaim, they still managed to be financially successful, cumulatively grossing $539 million based on a combined budget of $207 million.
This year, just in time for Holiday gift buying, Sony Picture has put all five films together in one, limited edition set and released them, some for the first time, in 4K (previously only the first and last films were in 4K). The five movies are Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Underworld: Awakening, and Underworld: Blood Wars. The set comes in a beautifully decorated outer case with the embossed seal of the franchise.
While each film has its issues visually, collectively the 4K upgrade is a stark contrast to the previously released Blu-rays. The 2160p video quality makes each of the films come across as sharper, cleaner, and more detailed. Interestingly, the first movie wasn't digitally remastered and then transferred to 4K but was made from the original 2K. The movies as a whole have a bluish tinge to them, and it is more noticeable in some movies than others (*cough* Rise of the Lycans *cough*).
Again, the upgrade of the audio to Dolby Atmos pays off in spades on these discs. From the first film's MA 5.1 audio to the MA 7.1 heard on the later Blu-ray releases, Atmos adds even more layers to the mix making the films more immersive than ever before.
Each movie comes with a 4K and a Blu-ray disc. The extras housed on the Blu-rays are previously released material while the 4Ks offer some new (but not always) extras. Overall, there are hours of footage to watch. Some good, some not so good, some you have seen before, others you have not. Let's face it though, you are not buying this set for the extras.
If you are a die-hard Underworld fan, then this set is for you. All five films are in one well-designed box that holds individual cases for each 4K/Blu-ray set of each movie, produced with the highest quality video and audio available. What more could you ask for?