wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
Underworld - Rise of the Lycans: A dreary slugfest between Vampires and Werewolves, best avoided.Read more
Positioned as a prequel to the Underworld movies, Underworld – Rise of the Lycans is tedious viewing. This movie is about the origins of the conflict between the Vampires and Werewolves (Lycans) and has nothing new to offer in terms of visuals, storyline, and special effects. The first film Underworld appeared nearly five years ago, and it was all about watching Kate Beckinsale in smoking hot leather, beat the stuffing out of whomever. This film unfortunately holds no such attractions.
The actors are old faithfuls who have appeared in the previous two Underworld movies, and they continue to reprise their roles. Bill Nighy is the Vampire patriarch, all fancy brocaded jackets, blue irises, and a powdered pale face. He believes that his dialogues should be earth shaking (or was that the director’s instructions?), and so makes sure he spits his words out and for effect tries to vibrate his jowls simultaneously.
Rhona Mitra is comely enough as Sonja and Michael Sheen is sufficiently gaunt and expresses his tender emotions through his eyes (the viewer is alerted to this fact through another character, in case he or she missed it completely).
Kate Beckinsale appears for two seconds at the end of the film since this film is a prequel and the story does not have her in it yet. The rest of the cast have nothing much to do in the film: they look uninterested; in some shots of the prisons the extras (who play prisoners) look completely confused and befuddled.
(or was that just the touch of realism that this film demanded?)
The film has the age old themes of forbidden love, the fight of the underdog against injustice (literally in this case, since dogs are descended from wolves!), and the climactic big fight. The film is visually all grey and black and we have swordplay, acrobatic fights in the rain, lots of carnage with necks and limbs being sawed off with monotonous regularity, tomato juice blood, and hirsute werewolves aplenty. But it is all been done before a thousand times and one just wants the whole thing to get over fast. Unfortunately the screen play does not help; it makes sure that things are stretched till the limit of predictability until so called justice has been done to all the ingredients in the pot.
The film feels like the director has been given a job to do, a job which is as routine as pouring milk into a bowl of cereal and he has gone ahead and done it, without bothering to think too much about it.
The production values are decent, the castle, the towers, and the cliffs look real enough, but the special effects at times with respect to the creatures, look bedraggled. And that is ironic, considering that this prequel is directed by a gentleman who specializes in creature effects!
This is a vapid film; one of those standardized products that studios are so good at fabricating, for an audience consisting of die hard fans. The film is not able to beget a single lump in the throat, nor nary a tear in the eyes of the viewer. One just sinks deeper into the seat and wonders how one has landed up watching it.
Best avoided, unless one wants to pay up for a few yawns.
This review is by guest reviewer Anand S. Anand lives in Pune and is a Miscellaneous Culture Vulture. He is deeply interested in music, food, books, films, and intelligent women. He views himself as a Falstaffian figure, who does his best to indulge his appetites.
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Yay! Thumbs Up, by Alisha Andrew
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Werewolves and Vampires have been at war for centuries; this is the prequel that tells you how it all happened.
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