Ultraviolet appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The film boasted an oddly indistinct visual presentation, but I found it tough to decide whether the problems came from the source or from the transfer.
All of the concerns related to sharpness. Sometimes the movie featured very good accuracy and definition, but many shots came across as moderately fuzzy and blurry. I did feel that some of this stemmed from filmmaking choices, but I’ll be damned if I could discern any logic behind these decisions. That left the softness as a distraction and one that harmed the movie.
At least we found no jagged edges or shimmering, and source flaws appeared absent. Ultraviolet went with a mix of hues. It often depicted its society as cold and sterile, but it also threw out bold splashes of color on occasion. Most of these looked pretty dynamic, though some colored lights tended to be thick and messy. Blacks were acceptably dense and dark, but shadows were also a bit too heavy. I found this to be an erratic transfer that varied from crystal clear to fuzzy in the blink of an eye.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Ultraviolet had its own problems. Though not to the same level as the visuals, the audio tended to be erratic. The concerns related to the impact of the sound. While most of the fight sequences boasted good punch, a few of them came across as oddly anemic. We’d get gunfights with no power to them. Again, the majority of the film showed nice range and dynamics, but I found a smattering of sequences that fell short of those goals.
This also sometimes affected the soundfield. Much of the flick offered a lively, involving setting, but some scenes felt more constricted. They focused too much on the front and didn’t expand in the expected manner. Not many of these occurred, though, as the majority of the movie showed good spread.
Except for those occasional limp segments, audio quality was solid. Speech seemed natural and crisp, while most effects sounded clear and concise. Bass response could be strong. Music showed nice range and delineation as well. This was too inconsistent a track to earn anything above a “B”.
Only a couple of extras flesh out the DVD. We get an audio commentary with actor Milla Jovovich. She provides a running, screen-specific discussion. And an intensely boring one at that, as 90 minutes of conversation yields absolutely nothing of value.
Most of the time Jovovich remains silent. Acres of dead air spread throughout the movie. When she does speak, she usually tells us how cool the elements are. She tosses out the occasional banal story or her impressions of shooting in China, but expect no insight. I learned nothing useful from this dull, dreadful commentary.
Next comes UV Protection: The Making of Ultraviolet. This 30-minute and 51-second program mixes movie shots, behind the scenes elements, and interviews. We get notes from Jovovich, executive producer Tony Mark, producer John Baldecchi, VFX supervisors Ken Jones and Victor Wong, costume designer Joseph A. Porro, cinematographer Arthur Wong, stunt coordinator Mike Smith, and actors Nick Chinlund and William Fichtner.
The program looks at the story and the director’s approach to it, cast and characters, and shooting in Shanghai. From there we learn about the creation of a big motorcycle sequence and some other visual effects elements, set and color design, costumes, and fight choreography.
Though superior to Jovovich’s commentary, the documentary still fails to prosper. The problem? Too much banal happy talk, too many film clips, and too little detail. We get dribs and drabs of material without great introspection. Much of the show devotes itself to the alleged genius of director Kurt Wimmer and how terrific everything about the film is. This means lots of fluff and not nearly enough information.
At the start of the disc, we get a collection of ads. These include clips for Mirrormask, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and Marilyn Hotckiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School. Those three also appear in the Previews domain along with promos for Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, The Benchwarmers, and the 2005 version of The Fog. The DVD fails to include the trailer for Stranger itself.
Cheesy sci-fi/action flicks are a dime a dozen, but I’ll not even throw 10 cents at Ultraviolet. The kind of flick we’ve already seen – and seen done better – this muddled movie never manages to become anything entertaining or exciting. The DVD presents erratic picture and audio along with a mediocre documentary and one of the worst audio commentaries I’ve ever heard. Only those who completely adore Ultraviolet - if any such folks exist – should bother with this flawed DVD of a bad movie.