Ultraviolet (2006)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 14-Aug-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentary-Milla Jovovich
Featurette-Making Of-UV Protection
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 83:54
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:09) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kurt Wimmer
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Milla Jovovich
Cameron Bright
Nick Chinlund
Sebastien Andrieu
Ida Martin
William Fichtner
David Collier
Kieran O'Rorke
Digger Mesch
Ryan Martin
Steven Calcote
Ricardo Mamood
Mike Smith
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Klaus Badelt


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Turkish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Audio Commentary
English for the Hearing Impaired
Greek
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Romanian
Serbian
Slovenian
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    In a distant future, a human-engineered virus has been leaked into the population that mutates humans into haemophages (a fancy word for vampires). After years of oppression and being rallied into camps for scientific testing (a little holocaust homage here), the vamps fight back. Alas it is a war they have all but lost as we enter the world of Ultraviolet, watching a failed haemophage strike on a blood facility. Meanwhile, our heroine Violet (Milla Jovovich) is leading another strike for the vamps.

    After some rather stylish martial arts-come-dance routines, Violet steals a case containing a top secret weapon. She soon finds out that this weapon is in fact a little boy named Six (Cameron Bright) who may hold the secret to curing the deadly haemophage virus and/or wiping any disease carriers out altogether. Rather than delivering the "weapon" to the other vamps, who want it destroyed, Violet wants to protect the boy and runs from both sides of the war as she tries to unlock the secret he contains.

    Haemophages are a little different to traditional vamps. Once a human becomes a haemophage they gain enhanced physical abilities, pointy teeth and in many cases an aversion to light. All by the book so far, but haemophaeges don't feed on blood or live forever. Instead they require a steady flow of blood transfusions and will only live about 12 years beyond infection. Not quite the thrill-ride found in most vamp movies!

    Ultraviolet is a visually spectacular, non-stop action ride. Unfortunately, I mean this all too literally. The story does not stop for a moment to explain itself or what is going on and subsequently does not make a lick of sense. The back story is crammed into a voice over in the opening couple of minutes and virtually nothing more is explained as the movie progresses. Alas, much of the plot is equally lacking in exposition. This is a genuine disappointment in such a high concept bit of sci-fi.

    The spectacular visuals go a reasonable way towards making up for the lack of story. The production design and fight choreography are excellent. The costumes and sets are truly a work of art. Bold colours and sharp, angled designs are used to evoke a comic book feel to the movie. The fight scenes also aim for a surreal, larger-than-life effect and border on dance rather than bone-crunching realism. There is also a distinct lack of blood in the fight scenes that again highlights the dance aspect of the fights. This aspect will undoubtedly not appeal to all viewers and really highlights the need for viewers to take in Ultraviolet without preconceptions.

    Director Kurt Wimmer apparently washed his hands of Ultraviolet after his original 120 minute cut was trimmed down to 88 mins (which is only 84 minutes after PAL speedup) by the studio. It is easy to see why. The resulting movie is worth checking out, but ultimately a frustrating experience. A marginally longer (94 minute) "unrated" release has been released in Region 1, but the only real difference to the theatrical version is a slightly longer voice over at the start and a handful of different cuts in the action scenes (though no more violent). The "unrated" release was prepared without the assistance of the director. Pretty much all the differences are available as deleted scenes in the Region 4 release. Though it is highly unlikely to ever emerge, here's looking forward to seeing the director's cut of Ultraviolet.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced. The IMDB lists the films' original aspect ratio to be 2.35:1, although I am unsure of its accuracy as the film does not appear cropped at any point.

    The film has an intentionally soft look to it, although this varies somewhat between scenes. Milla Jovovich is frequently in slightly too soft focus however, which is a little off putting. A degree of low level noise can occasionally be seen in dark backgrounds, but the film is virtually grain free (surprisingly so for a digitally-shot feature). There is a good amount of shadow detail visible.

    The use of colour in the film is stunning and the palette on the DVD does an excellent job of capturing it.

    A number of scenes display posterisation, thanks to the many steep gradients in colour throughout the film. This effect is quite noticeable when the disc is paused, but only particularly noticeable in dark scenes when it is playing (such as at 42:06). Mild background aliasing is also present, but not distracting. There is not a film artefact in sight.

    A wide variety of subtitles are available. The English subtitles (including plain English, English for the hearing impaired and commentary subtitles) are generally easy to read and reasonably well timed.

    This is a RSDL disc. The layer change occurs at 62:09 but was not noticeable on my equipment.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The film features English, Czech and Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kbps) audio tracks as well as Polish and Turkish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kbps) audio tracks.

    The dialogue is clear and at a good level in the mix throughout the film. The dialogue appears well synchronised with the video.

    The film features an appropriate, synth-heavy score. It is fairly generic for the type of film, but it is translated well into 5.1 and suits the film.

    The film makes very good use of the surround speakers throughout, particularly during the fast-paced action sequences. Though the sound design is not quite as bold as the visual style of the film, the soundtrack certainly holds up its end. The LFE track puts the subwoofer to good use during action sequences, but does little else.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The film is supplemented by a modest range of extras.

Main Menu Audio and Animation

    Fairly standard animated menus with a segment of the score playing.

Deleted Scenes (12:08)

    These scenes are a mixture of deleted scenes and alternate, extended scenes. The most notable (running for about 6 minutes) being an alternate version of the opening narration that expands the back-story of Violet and the haemophage virus.

Audio Commentary with Milla Jovovich

    I'd like to think there is more to Milla Jovovich than the hot body in every second video game movie, but this commentary does a good job of convincing me there isn't. Milla hasn't got much to say, and certainly not much to add to anything, but she is excited on the brief occasions she wakes up and speaks. "Wow!", "He's so cute!", you get the idea!

UV Protection(30:53)

    A behind-the-scenes making of featurette. Like many made-for-DVD featurettes, this one is equal parts self-congratulatory guff and actual making-of. I suspect it was made after the director, Kurt Wimmer, washed his hands of the production as there are a lot people talking about what "Kurt wanted" and what he did, but never Kurt himself (save for a handful of background footage). Ultimately, there is little to be gained from this featurette - certainly not nothing, but you could probably condense the genuinely interesting parts down to ten minutes.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 edition presents an extended cut of the film rather than the theatrical cut present on the Region 4 disc, although the differences between the two are presented as deleted scenes on the Region 4 disc.

    The Region 1 edition features a French language track and subtitles that are not on the Region 4 edition, but Region 4 features Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Turkish languages tracks and a Greek, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Slovene, Swedish, and Turkish subtitles that are not on the Region 1 edition.

    Personally, I think the extended cut is a moderate improvement over the theatrical cut and would opt for the Region 1 version as a result. However, if the language tracks of the Region 4 edition appeal to you the difference is readily forgettable.

Summary

    A visually spectacular, but rather hollow, high-concept action flick. A confusing, ill-explained plot spoils this feast of style.

    The video presentation is very good, but is not without minor flaws. The audio is very good.

    The modest selection of extras are worth a look, but not worthy of influencing your decision to buy this disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Monday, February 26, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Milla's commentary -