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In the midst of an age old war, female vampire Selene uncovers a Lycan plot that centres around a young human, Michael. Things get complicated when Michael is bitten by Lucian, leader of the Lycans, who was thought to be dead. Surrounded by secrets and betrayal, and finding herself falling for Michael, Selene must decide where her loyalties lie.
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After skimming through a few of the other reviews for Underworld on the Internet, it has come to my attention that this film needs some support. I couldnít find another reviewer who liked it. This surprised me, considering itís shown on TV an awful lot and has spawned a sequel and a prequel, with Underworld 4 announced recently.
I suspect it may be the sort of film that serious movie critics hate but the general public enjoys watching. Whenever I flick through the channels and find this film, even if itís already half-way through, I always find myself getting drawn in and wanting to watch it. It may be the genre (Iím a sci-fi/ fantasy fan and I like Vampire and Werewolf mythology) or it might have something to do with the cast, as Kate Beckinsale, Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy are three British actors I find immensely watchable and talented. I canít put my finger on it exactly (maybe itís a mixture of elements) but there is something about this film I find enthralling.
The story isnít brilliant but itís a good premise that has been carefully crafted, takes itself seriously and is hugely absorbing. They are quintessential Vampires, brought up-to-date with cell phones, computers and hi-tech silver filled bullets. They arenít original but I donít believe this is detrimental, I see it as a plus-point because you donít have to waste time learning new Ďrulesí. They have classic Vampire weaknesses that everybody knows about already.
One reviewer complained because the film was dark.
...Oh yes, theyíre going to shoot lots of daytime scenes with the sun shining and the... oh wait, no, that wonít work because all the Vampires will be burnt to a crisp! The action takes place at night, in the dark, because if it was shot in the daytime it would have to be scenes of the Vampires sleeping Ė along the lines of the utterly dull Big Brother TV series.
Underworld is Len Wisemanís feature film directorial debut. Prior to this, he was an assistant in the art department on a number of films including Roland Emmerichís Stargate, Independence Day and Godzilla.
Clearly influenced by films such as The Crow and The Matrix, Wiseman and his team create a film that looks great; a moody and stylish Gothic universe with a dark, rain-soaked atmosphere.
In Greek mythology, Selene was Goddess of the Moon, a beautiful woman with a pale face who represented evening and the night. Strutting around in leather, Kate Beckinsale is a striking figure with great presence. I much prefer her in a tough action heroine role, which she continued in Underworldís sequel and also Van Helsing, than in mediocre romantic comedies such as Serendipity and Click.
More than just a high concept (Vampires vs. Werewolves!) movie, Underworldís creators care enough to create an interesting story and an immersive world. Itís a Vampire film for the new century and its great escapism. Viewers seem to love it or hate it, so give it a try and find out which side youíre on.