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S.G. Cardin
Saturday, 24 January 2009
Thoughts on the Underworld Movie Series
Mood:  happy
Now Playing: Underworld 3
Topic: Movies
I love the Underworld series. Sadly, I didn’t discover the series until UW2: Evolution. (Thank God for DVDs!) I didn’t realize UW3 was coming out though until I saw the billboard ads driving into work a week ago and I was excited. That said, I thought I’d share a couple of thoughts about the series and the new movie. Back in 2005/2006, I was working on my own werewolf series, (The Sigmaringen Saga) when a good friend of mine, Starr, started gushing about UW2. She said Kate Beckinsale kicked ass (as usual) and there was a really hot love scene with Beckinsale and Speedman’s characters. She also suggested I watch for research purposes since she knew I was writing a werewolf novel. I’m game to any and all of Starr’s suggestions because I know her writing instincts are great, so I became open to seeing the movie. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see it in the theatres because it’s hell trying to find a babysitter. I had to wait until DVD.  In hindsight, I wish I’d found that babysitter. I really should have gone to see UW2 in the theatre – just for the awesome action/fight scenes. Seeing those scenes in a theater is infinitely more desirable then watching them on a DVD. The DVD looses a bit of the fight/action powerful “punches.”             When I finally saw the movie on DVD, I loved it. I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Beckinsale rocked as the confident, yet slightly vulnerable “Selene,” and “Marcus” made an excellent vampire elder. There was just the right balance of action and story. The love scene between “Selene” and “Michael” was one of the hottest I’ve seen in a movie and totally convincing. What I liked about UW2: Beckinsale. She owned the part. She gave depth and dimension to “Selene.” The casting! I loved how the director paid attention to the casting. Every actor made their role feel authentic and believable. Notable casting: “Marcus,” “Tannus,” and “Alexander.” For me, the end didn’t leave much room for a sequel, so I was surprised to see the billboards for UW3. Anyway, after watching UW2, I watched UW1 with Starr. Watching #1 was just as exciting as watching #2. Again, Beckinsale was fantastic as “Selene.” Bill Nighy rocked as “Viktor.” In fact, his “Viktor,” inspired my own character “Viktor Bacau,” in the Sigmaringen series. “Lucien” was an excellent Lycan and his story generated sympathy with me. I liked how the movie ended with blood dripping down into Marcus’s tomb. I loved how the Lycans were looking into science and genetics and not mysticism to explain their condition. What bothered me about the movie? “Kraven.” This character was pivotal to the story, but this was probably the one casting choice in the series I didn’t agree with. “Kraven” didn’t have the edge I thought he should have, and that’s given that he was supposed to be “soft,” to an extent. UW1 actually hints at the back story which is told in UW3. Knowing that UW3 was coming out, I asked my husband to watch the kids so I could go see it in the theatre. He agreed. At first, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought I saw “Selene,” and “Viktor” on the billboards and I knew “Viktor” had died in the first one. Was this about how “Viktor” made “Selene?” I was curious. After looking up movie times online, I did a little research on the movie. It was about “Viktor” and “Sonia’s” relationship (his daughter) and the start of the Lycan/Death Dealer war. Kate Beckinsale wasn’t going to be in this installment. Immediately, I was a little disappointed. After all, what was “Underworld” without “Selene?” Then I thought about it – the series itself is more than just Beckinsale’s “Selene.” There was a whole history about the elders (Viktor/Amelia/Marcus) and the back story was just as compelling as “Selene.” With most of my favorite actors back, I went to see UW3. I was delighted to see UW3 in the theatre – just for the action/fight scenes alone. They were totally mesmerizing. “Viktor” is ruling with “Marcus” and “Amelia” in hibernation. His daughter, “Sonia,” is an ass-kicking death dealer on the council and well respected. The setting is many centuries ago in medieval Europe. In flashbacks, I saw “Lucien” as a baby and “Sonia” as a little girl and I couldn’t help but wonder – how did these characters age into their mid-twenties and then stop? That was never explained to me. “Lucien,” the first of the Lycans to control their transformation is spared by “Viktor.” The movie starts with “Lucien” and “Sonia” carrying on a secret, yet pulse-pounding hot affair. The actress playing “Sonia” invokes Beckinsale’s “Selene,” and in that regard, the producers got the story plot effect they wanted since its “Viktor’s” killing of his daughter which influences his decision to turn “Selene.” Also, while the actress doesn’t annoy me as much as the “Kraven” casting, she did have trouble showing that vulnerability needed to convince me that her character was totally in love with “Lucien.” I was convinced of “Lucien’s” love for her. The actor playing him was very convincing.  As “Sonia” faces the sunlight, her penalty death for loving “Lucien,” “Lucien’s” newfound hate spurns forward a war that lasts for centuries between Lycans and Death Dealers. In all, it’s a rich prequel, however it did leave me with a second question. In UW2, “Lucien’s” necklace is revealed to be one half of the key to “William’s” (the first werewolf) eternal imprisonment. “Selene,” in flashbacks, held the key as a little girl, yet here in this movie, it is a gift “Viktor” has given to “Sonia.” When she dies, “Lucien,” claims it for his own, a keepsake of his love for “Sonia.” If this necklace is truly the key to “William’s” coffin, then “Viktor” must have already made “Selene,” and yet that isn’t possible because “Sonia” has to die first. I really wish this would have been explained better in the movie. This nagging plot point is a glaring inconsistency in a movie whose consistency I admired.  The movie ends with a voice over by “Kraven” taunting “Selene” as she prepares to jump off a modern day building – UW1’s opening shot. It brings the series full circle and it left me feeling good just seeing Beckinsale as “Selene” again. Did I enjoy the series? You bet! It challenged me as a viewer to think about what was going to happen next.  For me, it’s a series I’ll enjoy for a long time to come. I’d love to see an UW4 – but only if it “fits” and is not done in a gratuitous sequel fashion.

Posted by sgcardin at 2:17 PM
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