on 8 January 2006
I watched “Underworld” at the cinema quite a long time ago, despite the fact that the critics had dissed it. I think that critics have a tendency to believe that every movie should give food for thought, whereas I believe that some films that only offer good entertainment should be given a chance, too. At that time, and after some gruelling exams, I was in the mood for some uncomplicated fun, and “Underworld” gave me just that.
I hadn´t heard from the director, Len Wiseman, but I must say he did an excellent job with this dark action film that features vampires and werewolves (lycans) fighting a 1000 year war against each other and amid the humans. The story is entertaining and original, something that you will appreciate even more if you have the chance of watching this dvd with the extended cut.
One of the main characters in "Underworld" is Selene (Kate Beckindale), a vampire and a Deathdealer (that is, someone who hunts and kills lycans). Selene discovers some lycans hunting a mortal, Michael (Scott Speedman), and gets curious. Why are them after him? Of course, everything the lycans want, Selene will have, so she decides to find Michael. By choosing to do so, she will discover a vast conspiracy, the truth about her past, and a forbidden love.
If you are fond of unconventional action movies, and don´t think they need to be realistic, you are likely to love this movie. If that is the case, try to watch it soon, because the sequel will be released on January 20, and from what I could see in the trailer, “Underworld: evolution” will be great. So, don´t wait, GO and buy or rent it now :)
on 7 May 2006
The first thing I should say is this isn't an extended version of the film! It's a re-release of the film with more indepth extras. So if you don't already own it this is the version to buy!
The storyline if you don't already known follows the battle of vampires against the lycans (werewolves). The lycans are growing in number and the vampires become interested in why they would be searching for a human. Soon the battle commences again with the human at the centre of it.
Personally I think this is a great action film, definitely not a horror. It is up there along with he likes of The Matrix and Blade. All the films have a similar look and feel to them, partly as they all have comic book backgrounds? This is no bad thing as they are all very entertaining films. Full of action, great fight scenes, special effects, cool sound tracks, almost identical wardrobe dept (full length black leather jackets) and good storylines. This is the 1st in a trilogy that could better the other two, with Evolution on DVD soon. This does make it as a good film in it's own right, as well part of a trilogy. This is a well made film that has had a lot of thought, time and energy put in to making it. The idea of vampires having a war against werewolves is a great basis for a series of action films, I can't wait to see the last two!
The extras are all very indepth and cover all aspects of the film and are generally between 10-20 minutes each. Designing Underworld looks at the ideas for the locations, costumes, characters with some detailed concept art drawings. The vampires are very much the higher class, with the mansion, fancy cars and clothes. The Lycans are very much an underground movement with a rough, street feel. The look of Underworld covers the directors vision of how he wanted the film to look. The feel is very dark, with little colour, high contrast so the scenes are almost monochrome. Most of this is done post production digitally to get the right look. The making of Underworld covers finding the right location (Budapest), some of the stunt work, brief interviews with the main actors. There are TV spots, outtakes and a storyboard comparison for a few scenes.
The visual effects covers the make up, cgi scenes, models and weapons used in the film were done. Amazing to find out just how much is cgi you might have thought was real! The creature effects mainly covers the look of the vampires and how the werewolves look was designed and suits made. A lot of work goes in to making and moving one werewolf! The stunt feature shows Kate and the other actors training for their fight scenes, using weapons and wire work. There is also a sort of montage (sights and sounds), a music video. One of the most interesting features is a 5 part Fang Vs Fiction, which covers a lot about the history of vampires and werewolves. How the stories originated and evolved over time, a real bonus. Overall a great modern, cool action film with tons of extras!! 9/10
Considering myself a bit of a horror film fan - particularly vampire films, films lately had been a bit of a let down - the Blade films, Dracula 2001 etc. Too much special effects and no story. Underworld had been generally panned when it came out, so I only hired it on impulse one night and was very glad I did.
While it's true that there's not much new in terms of ideas in the film, there has been a real attempt to create something worthwhile, and thoughtful. A larger canvas, a bit akin to the Anne Rice novels. The characters are interesting and the story is generally carefully thought out, and tries to give you some depth, and there are one or two twists in the tail..
I'm not going to say there aren't the usual gun fights, silver bullets, camp baddies etc, but the makers have realised that story is more important than anything else. By borrowing styles and attitude from films like Batman Returns, the Matrix and the Crow it creates a sense of familair yet new. Top marks as well for the most understated but effective romance that I can ever remember in a horror film - just one small kiss - now that's a filmaker with restraint!
Looks great on DVD as well.
Roll on the inevitable sequel.
on 13 September 2005
Even though this film got panned at the box office by the critics, the public loved it and I feel it is one of the best Vampire movies around. I cannot wait for the sequel, Underworld: Evolution to come out in January (20th). The PSP allows you to watch the movie on the move and the picture quality is brilliant. The 8 mins of extra footage also adds a little bit more to the characters. The only problem is the volume, when listening to it through the headphones, but this is not down to the UMD but down to the PSP itself as the headphones have a restricted volume of 90db which does take away a little bit of the ambience of the movie. Over all though a great film on a great format for a brilliant console.
Directed by Len Wiseman, starring Kate Beckinsdale and Scott Speedman and largely filmed in Budapest, "Underworld" hit the big screen in 2003. It's a very stylish `monster' movie, though - a little unusually - humans are neither the heroes nor the victims. (The film doesn't stop for 'lunch').
Beckinsdale plays Selene, our 'heroine' and the 'good' vampire. She's a Death Dealer - a vampire soldier - in a war against werewolves that has lasted for around a thousand years. As time has passed, the weapons used by both races have been updated - there are no stakes or crossbows in sight, while the traditional silver bullet has been modified. The current battles are being waged with throwing stars, guns and grenades - all enhanced to target the specific weaknesses of the intended victim. However, tradition hasn't been entirely sacrificed - vampires are still stylish and pale, while the vampire clan still lives in an old-fashioned, classy mansion. (Like the weapons, however, it does incorporate some 'modern' aspects). Selene very much looks to Viktor for guidance - Viktor is one of the vampires' three elders and something of a father figure to Selene. However, as the film opens, he is in hibernation and the day-to-day running of the vampires' affairs are in Kraven's hands. Kraven, somewhat power-hungry, also has designs on Selene - however, she ins't even remotely interested - she regularly disobeys his instructions and doesn't believe a great deal of what he has to say.
Werewolves have officially been on the defensive for around 600 years, since Kraven killed their greatest leader, Lucien. However, they have never been fully defeated and, from early in the film, it seems the vampires have been lulled into a false sense of security. As well as the updated weapons, werewolves - or lycans, as they're known throughout the film - can now transform at will and no longer have to wait on the full moon. They appear to be in full control of their actions and can also heal more quickly while in wolf form. Where the vampires are pale and stylish, the werewolves are more animal-like and live underground. However, this hasn't stopped them performing 'medical research', with a particular interest in a family called Corvin. As the film opens, a couple of werewolves are stalking Speedman's character, a doctor called Michael Corvin. Selene, who's been on patrol and sees what's happening, is puzzled by this - it's clear the werewolves aren't just hunting for food. Her interest develops much further as the film progresses to the point of romance. This brings her a great deal of trouble when it becomes apparent the werewolves have 'turned' Michael. (It's also brought the comparisons with 'Romeo and Juliet' - a romance between two warring houses). As a result of the romance, she learns a great deal more about the origins of war and the night she was sired by Viktor.
This is a very enjoyable and stylish film, with some very impressive special effects. Although technically, I suppose, it's a 'supernatural' movie, there's a strong thriller element to it, with plenty of gunfights, political intruige, treachery, twists and turns...and if that's not enough, it's also got Kate Beckinsdale !! Absolutely recommended for those who love vampire movies. However, despite the comparisons with 'Romeo and Juliet', I can't really see it convincing your Shakespeare-loving aunt to start watching the Hammer films.
Underworld, as a film, really starts to come into its own once you have watched the full trilogy and go back and watch it a second time.
With all the different names thrown at you (about characters we don't even get to see in this first instalment) this wonderful Vampire saga can get a bit confusing first time around, but on a second viewing, after you know the whole story, things become clearer.
Kate Beckinsale is pretty much my ideal woman (in joint 1st place alongside Cheryl Cole) and she positively sizzles in her black PVC cat suit. The whole look of the film is very stylised, which I like and lit in a blue/grey manner which looks great and ads to the whole feel of the film, suiting it perfectly.
The film itself has strange mix of elements. Ancient, almost celtic or pagan designs mixed with ultra futuristic technology... it old vs new in this battle that has raged through the centuries. And that's the film's premise: Werewolf vs Vampire. Both, rather fittingly, at each other's throats.
The action comes thick and fast, looks great and is first class - but do not think this is all this film has to offer. The story, as I've already, said is epic and you'll have to pay attention to follow it fully, or you'll soon get left behind as the twists and turns unfold.
I thought the sound was excellent too and really added to the atmosphere of the film, with bullets, thunder and lightning really going bang! The deep bass rumbling my windows and sofa really added another dimension to proceedings and was used to great effect; more so than in many other films. It really made my surround sound system come alive.
Underworld, and the trilogy as a whole, is and are, a very worthwhile addition to any DVD or BluRay collection - as well as being a great addition to the genre of the Vampire movie. They have to be up there as some of the best as, a bit like Blade, they take the idea of Vampires and turn everything we think we know about them on its head.
Underworld brings the Vampire genre up to date in a very credible way, and starts of proceedings for an epic tale of politics and war between Vampire and Werewolf. Underworld is great stuff and even better than I remembered it to be! I'll use a werewolf pun here and say that, it's a blend of styles and stories that's a 'howling' success.
on 22 June 2004
This is one of the best films I've ever had the pleasure of watching. It combines a simple idea with a great cast, fantastic effects, amazing fight scenes and truly fascinating weapons. A perfect mix between a fantasy world and reality.
It has aspects similar to that of The Matrix but I prefer Underworld because it has more style, flair and horror. There's not much to write but simply: See it. You'll understand then.
True there is nothing original about Underworld - it starts like a Matrix copy (long black coats and slow motion gun fights), then throws in a bit of Blade, Buffy & Romeo and Juliet (no really), and some of the acting is a bit ropey (Shane Brolly step foward). After half an hour my finger was drifting towards the off button. However, I stuck with it and I'm glad I did.
The film looks great - all black and grey and gothic, and Kate Beckinsale looks even better in skin tight PVC! It rollocks along in a predictable fashion which stops you thinking too much about the detail (would vampyres and lycans really fight with guns?) and there is actually a half decent plot though it takes a while to become apparent.
All in all an enjoyable way to spend a Friday night.
on 28 February 2004
I can't believe how many people are criticising this movie, I thought it was excellent. Ignore reviewers getting upset that they are breaking the laws of vampires and werewolves, like vampires having reflections and the Lycans being able to run on walls. Hollywood made up most of those "laws" and they've been tweaked and changed in countless movies. Plus "ITS A MOVIE! ITS NOT REAL!"
The dark look of the movie is fantastic and not as blue as the theatre release, more The Crow darkness than Blade darkness. The action and special effects are highly entertaining and focus more on gun play rather than scratching and biting. No CG overload, the wolf suits and other make-up effects are very effective. Kate Beckinsale looks amazing, as sexy and pouting as you could ever want from a hero in film like this. The script isn't ramming the exposition down your throat like in a lot of movies, you can work out what's going on yourself or wait as the twists unfurl towards the end of the movie. Overall I really enjoyed the story element of this film; I was expecting it to be a bit more shallow.
So, if you like gunplay, gripping action, a good story, fangs, claws and cooly sexy ladies who pack heat, then watch this movie. Please make this a series!
on 10 June 2004
Underworld is a great movie for an nice, exciting and not-overly-intellectual evening: there're stunningly black-PVC-ed vampire ladies, palely chic vampire blokes, rugged werewolves and a nice soundtrack.
Since the vampires live off cloned blood in neat little picnic plas-sacks, there're rather less than normal kinky 'vampire on balcony' scenes with half-naked victims (sorry guys), but the werewolves make up for it, scattering blood and guts wholesale, and to replace the normal fangs and wings scenes, there are some nice pitched gun battles with bullet-proof opponents.
The actual storyline is a nice new twist on an old idea for horror fans: the werewolves and the vampires terminally don't get on, and for thousands of years, an undercover war has raged between the two species, with humans happily unaware of the entire thing. Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is a vampire warrior who hates werewolves, and the film kicks off with a gun battle on the Underground, when she and her partner run across a pair of werewolves.
The fact that the werewolves were following a non-descript medical student arouses Selene's curiosity, and she discovers a werewolf plot to end the war and forever change the game: the medical student is the keystone to the genetic alteration that will end the two species' differences.
There is a nice bit of romantic interest involving the doomed med. student, but over all the storyline isn't too challenging. In case anyone doesn't get it, they wake up one of the ancient vampires, who dissects the entire tangled web for you with his superior insight.
All in all, a lot of nice special effects, kinky costumes in the Goth/punk style, a good soundtrack, and a nice, easy plot to follow while you're admiring the fight scenes (or Kate Beckinsale's ass in black PVC). Definitely one to get for the pizza evenings.