Underworld: Superbit DVD Review
PictureGorgeous. Both Kate Beckinsale in skin-tight leather and the quality of this superbit print. Columbia are starting to hit their stride with the superbit formula and the recent batch of releases have proved that the extra bit rate certainly does make a difference, at least in terms of picture quality.
What we have here is a sublime print that has been heavily toned for artistic reasons towards the blue/grey end of the colour palette. Even the colour of blood has a blue hue giving it a rich purple tone. Print detail is stunning with the tiniest skin flaws apparent. Every hair in every follicle of the casually unshaven lycanthropes is defined by the detail on offer. Black levels are well balanced and avoid overpowering the print and crushing the contrast range. There is not a hint of either analogue or digital damage introduced into this beautiful, dark and moody print.
SoundThose of you familiar with the superbit format will know that extras are eschewed in order to cram as much detail as possible into the print and sound quality. It is a little annoying therefore that the DTS track on offer is not at full bitrate but instead at 768kbps. I can hear the cries of horror go up when I suggest that more bits means better sound, and I know this is a simplistic view, but if your selling it as the best quality on offer use the full extent of the technology, is my point. Still the Dolby track, also in 5.1, is only 448kbps with a +4dB push to the dialogue channel and in this instance just shaves the DTS track for overall strength, clarity and balance. Both tracks offer huge amounts of stomach churning bass with an absolutely massive front soundstage although slightly less impressive surrounds. Where the Dolby track shaves it though is in its overall balance. In comparison the DTS track has bass that just sounds LOUD rather than controlled, and on one occasion the dialogue channel suddenly becomes distant and then echoey, as though someone pressed the wrong button while encoding it. It only last a few minutes but is quite noticeable. The volume on the DTS track also occasionally swamps the dialogue but that extra 4dB in the DD track prevents this from happening, and hence ensures a better balance. Still both will please.
ExtrasStandard superbit has no extras. Preferring to use the disc storage for quality rather than quantity.
VerdictThe disc is a short lived feast that looks great on the table but after eating leaves you hungry for more. A silly popcorn movie that is instantly forgettable, but if you want to impress you friends with your system I suggest you have at least one superbit in your collection and Underworld is a fine example of the genre.
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