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Not a New Movie, But a Favorite: Underworld, 2003 SPOILERS

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posted on Aug, 19 2004 @ 12:50 PM

I saw this movie in the theaters. We got there for the first showing, on opening day in our area. The theater in which this movie ran, had exactly seven people in it; including us. Not a good sign, but in all fairness, it was on a week day (Friday), and during school hours, so tonight may be a very different story. Since viewing the multiple trailers for this movie, we have looked forward to today with such a great and growing anticipation that I commented on the way there that there was NO WAY it was going to be good, because of the anticipation I had for it.

I was SO wrong.

This movie lived up to my every expectation, in every way. Let me start this review by saying that, while this work is NOT scary, it was not MEANT to be scary. This production was classed into the genre of "Horror," strictly due to the "monster" factor. There are "tense" moments, to be sure, but this is not a "boo!" kind of movie. There is; however, plenty of action, lots of well enacted drama and wonderful realistic effects. Now, I'm not some drugged up kid who has no idea about life.

I'm 30-something, married and committed to that marriage. Responsibility crept in at some point and that's usually when we begin to lose our imaginations. But I have not fallen victim to that disease as yet, as this movie really "lit my fire."

I was amazed at the complete and total lack of high-dollar effects, the almost Rice-ian Vampire clans lounging in the well designed lush and lavish "mansion," the gritty tension held throughout the movie, and the stunningly clever costume designs. But what held me mostly in thrall were the effects. The effects were so well done, they were believable.

They explain that the older Lycan can change at will, regardless of the moon's cycle ... with that in mind, the way the werewolves' mandible bones FORCED themselves out and into place was dead ON. Changing at will would BE like that, especially in times of anger or great stress.

Someone (possibly Wiseman?) had heard (and correctly believed) that "less is more," because the effects were done in such a way as to appear REAL and not...simply more Hollywood "Matrix" flash. These scenes were so well done; so well directed, filmed and portrayed that we could, even if for a short time, believe the things we were watching...were possible.

The wonderfully unique bullets used by both sides are absolutely brilliant. It reminded me if the horribly campy western/vampire movie made about 10 or 15 years ago entitled, "Sundown," where the vampire hunters used wooden bullets.

I am simply stunned to discover that this is Len Wiseman's first attempt in the field as Director. I eagerly look forward to more brilliance from this man. (He was also one of the writers of the original literary work.) If this is his first attempt, we may have just been introduced to the next Spielberg. Personally, I'm hoping he leans more towards being the next Hitchcock.

I would really love to see what he could do with Stephen King's and Peter Straub's "The Talisman." I'd hire him over Mick Garris, ANY day! The weaponry Selene (Kate Beckinsale) utilized was quite unique and completely interested the small audience in my hometown theater. When she drew her stars and threw them simultaneously at the Lycan; when the scene slowed to an almost stop just long enough to allow you to SEE the throwing stars as they CHANGED into much more deadly projectiles, was absolutely excellent. AND was also the ONLY scene in this entire movie which even remotely reminded me of "The Matrix." The other critics keep droning on and on with comparisons between these two movies, and frankly, I just don't see it. Also, "Blade" has been used as a source of comparison. The only similarities between "Blade" and "Underworld" are that Viktor, the oldest and strongest of the Vampiric race of "Pure Bloods," uses a sword. Oh, and there are Vampires. Those were the ONLY common points, as far as I could tell.

This is an original work; not a petty rip-off or a "jumble of other movies." This is a very creative and unique attempt; a successful one, if you ask me. While guns were used more than I would have liked, the additional weaponry chosen for this endeavor was not your standard action-flick fare. One of the vampire "Death Dealers" uses a pair of 10' whips quite well. And don't forget about the bullets I mentioned...what an extraordinary intellectual and creative power. (and NO! they're not wooden! *lol*)

The costumes were kept simple, yet served the purpose of helping to set the mood. Two words...understated elegance. Absolutely brilliant.

Some have said that the story line is hard to follow, or that there is no discernible plot. Let me be frank. This is not a movie for the squeamish, nor is it a movie for those who like to be able to do other things while watching a movie, and thereby NOT concentrate on the plot. Sure, there is enough visual eye candy to keep most anyone who is interested in the genre of "monster flix" happy, but there is also a very complicated and beautifully sinister plot and subplot going on beneath the flying bullets and shots of Kate Beckinsale's butt in latex and leather.

The Shakespearean relationship between Selene and Michael (Scott Speedman) is well written and pleasantly portrayed, in the midst of all that darkness and drama. A bit of candle-light to shine hope into the darkness of despair, as it were. The story is an upgraded spin on a timeless classic, with enough additional plot and sub-plot to keep even the most common movie-goer interested.

The war between the Vampires and the Lycan has raged for more than a thousand years. The Lycan, once the serving class to the Vampire, has risen against their masters and won their freedom. But was that the real story? Was their freedom truly the motivating force which stoked the fires of this war for this long?

In the center of this war are Selene (Vampire) and Michael (Lycan). Their love of one another is forbidden by the Vampire Covenant, but will that be enough to stop them from falling in love? As one of the chosen "Death Dealers," an organization within the Vampire Clans trained and equipped to hunt and kill Lycans, Selene is faced with a decision most dire: sell out and live? or be true to herself and die? Will her loyalty to her ancient maker keep her from making the right choice? And that is where the sub-plot kicks in and makes you sit back and say, "Oh wow! No sh*t?!" at the darkling twists in the plot.

I was thoroughly entertained by this work, and could not wait to add the Special Edition Director's Cut DVD to the Vampire section of my horror collection.

Superb acting; rich depth of character; talented, creative directing; and realistic effects put this movie at the top of all other Vampire movies, for me.

It earns an ambitious 9.2.

posted on Aug, 19 2004 @ 12:59 PM
I take it that you liked the movie? This might interest you even though there has been no news lately.

Underworld 2 Updated:

Thursday 26th February 2004: Underworld 2 Update:
Gareth has been in touch with the following quote from Kevin Grevioux about Underworld 2 "Nah. It's not starting in the fall. Just a rumor. Unless they're purposely keeping it from me! J Len is working on another project."

Wednesday 25th February 2004: Underworld 2 Update:
Screen Gems has announced that filming on Underworld 2 will start this Autumn. The sequel will be produced by Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment. Returning for the sequel are director Len Wiseman, star Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman. The script is currently being worked on by Danny McBride.

Monday 10th November 2003: Underworld 2 Update:
Moviehole talked to "Underworld" Director Len Wiseman to promote the film's Australian release in January.To further substantiate that Underworld is indeed his idea, writer Len Wiseman says the first is going to be one of three he'll write in a series. "I'm actually on the way to another writer's house right now to write the sequel." And what can expect this time around? "This time we can expect more history about the vampires and the werewolves, which we weren't able to do in the first one. There's going to be a bit of actual battle in the medieval times between the werewolves and vampires, with like army-clad vampires on horses, kinda like Braveheart. It'll play out a bit like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where the first ten to fifteen minutes of the film will be a prequel. We're going to really dive into the dark ages, and then centre some more on the modern day. We will have a lot of the same cast, but also new cast too. It's in early development, so of course we have no idea whom, but yeah, some new people will be involved Marcus of course will be in the sequel".

Thursday 2nd October 2003: Underworld 2 Update:
Writer Kevin Grevioux has talked about Underworld 2 in an interview that can be found here. Click Here

Monday 29th September 2003: Underworld 2 Update:
Len Wiseman has been talking about Underworld 2 "
"There's actually a sequel and a prequel that was mapped out when we sold this film. [Co-writer] Danny McBride and myself - there was so much that we wanted to tell in this story that it was getting a bit confusing for us to map out all the history and the wars. We said, 'You know what? Let's map out a long story that would maybe span out three films and let's then be able to tell our film in the middle.' But we had to kind of map out the whole thing to get to the point where we are now because it does have a lot of layers in it. But we do want to tell a lot of that back story and I'm obsessed with going back to the Dark Ages and showing the war when it was legions of werewolves fighting an army of vampires on horseback, invading their castle. I think that would be insane visuals! So that's a bit of what the sequel is. We are already in the deal for the sequel and the studio's incredibly excited about it. I think the 15 minutes [of the sequel] will be a prequel for the sequel, much like an 'Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade' type of situation. We all had a really good time, the actors and myself, that Kate and Scott are all for it."

Thursday 25th September 2003: Underworld 2 & 3 Update:
Underworld is set to become a trilogy. Screen Gems has made a deal for Danny
McBride and Len Wiseman to write a sequel to the vampire and werewolf
thriller, which Wiseman has said he would again direct. Screen Gems and
Lakeshore hope to put the second film into production as soon as possible. A
third film, a prequel, could follow. No deal is in place for star Kate
Beckinsale, although she has expressed an interest in reprising her role.

posted on Aug, 19 2004 @ 01:14 PM
This is what IMDb says about it.

I guess we'll just have to wait, to see.

posted on Aug, 21 2004 @ 05:19 PM
good film i liked it wa bad in places but just wait for the outher 2 films to be made

posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 10:49 AM

Date: August 31, 2004

Source: IESB.NET

Producer Tom Rosenberg gave us a status report on the sequel to Underworld, which goes into production soon and may have a different title. “We start in November,” Rosenberg said. “We may call it something else. We’ll probably call it something with Underworld 2 [but] it’s Underworld 2.”

With the recent director’s cut of Underworld expanding the film’s mythology, Rosenberg promises that those fans will get more out of the sequel, while casual fans will still be able to follow the story. “I think the real intense followers of the whole saga will really, really love the second one. It’s very intricate. It gives Selene’s history, Viktor’s history and then of course now Marcus is going to come out of the crypt. So it’s really cool. I’m excited about it.”

Of course, the action will have to evolve in the sequel. “It’s much bigger action but still, we have to keep the coolness of it and not let the action overwhelm it. I like the whole world that’s created and you have to stay within that world. I don’t want to jam mindless nonstop action at the audience and this is going to still be story driven. But we’re going to have cool sequences and some bigger action, but if you do that on a sequel, and that’s what often happens, what’s the point? This story is better. This story is more intricate and more interesting. That’s what I really like about it.”

Rosenberg also acknowledged that the success of the original allowed for one major difference on the sequel. “Well, it allowed all the actors to get paid more. Those are the chief beneficiaries of the success of it.”

posted on Dec, 9 2004 @ 11:53 AM
Filming began for Underworld 2 in Vancouver on 11/29/04. Here are the first set pictures.

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