Daily Archives: September 18, 2003

A Review Of The Film Underworld, By Me

Out of the goodness of my heart I now provide you with a review of Underworld, the new Gothic action film about to open in theatres everywhere.

My take on it:

Some guys got together and said, “Hey, let’s make a vampire action movie!” And then, someone said, “Hey, let’s add werewolves!” Cool action scenes were carefully storyboarded, an art director was hired and reduced the team to gooey messes of tears and envy, a costumer clothed the characters in utter coolness.

Then they said, “Oh, yeah. We should probably have a story to link the action scenes together.”

So they dragged out the old patriarch-perpetuates-lie-to-maintain-control thing, plus the heroine-must-discover-truth-of-her-past trope, and even threw in the sons-plotting-against-the-father bit. Too bad none of the characters had chemistry, there was no true emotion found anywhere except in a flashback sequence, and the story didn’t show up until the last twenty minutes in an expository info-dump. (And no, I don’t mean the explanation of an aggregate of clues; I mean the entire story.)

In general, we agreed that the art direction was terrific, the effects were well-done, and that the music was great. As the credits rolled, t! was heard to ask plaintively (but very audibly), “Where were the vampires?” This is a gaping absence in the film. There are werewolves a-plenty, but their antagonists appear to be people in long coats with guns (and poor night vision, but that’s another issue entirely). If a vampire character was threatened, their first line of defence was to open their mouths and hiss for a long time. If I were the werewolf attacking, I’d just rip their throat out and terminate the posturing, end of encounter.

Actually, as an editor-type, those over-used long pauses pained me. I’d have cut most of the long lingering shots where nothing happened and no emotion was expressed, and used the time instead to focus on character development or establishment of plot in an interactive fashion. But that’s just me. Hollywood’s average offerings and I aren’t best buddies.

The upshot of it all? Do not under any circumstances pay full price. See it on a pass or on a cheap night, and only if you are completely obsessed with dystopic Gothic dark-and-pained situations. We got exactly what we expected: a B-movie with beaucoup de fromage, and cool clothes.

The best part of the night, however, was that my husband and I Went Out. We dressed up, had dinner, went to the theatre for the premiere, where friends and co-workers were happy to see us. It was good. When we returned home we did, however, have to watch an episode of Angel from the season two box set to take the dry taste of badly-portrayed vampires out of our mouths.