April 2, 2009

Movie Review: Underworld; Underworld: Evolution; Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

PLOT: Vampires are in a war against lycans (werewolves). The story is told from the perspective of one of the vampires.
STARS: Kate Beckinsale, Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen, Scott Speedman
I had to see these movies because...Hello? They're about vampires. Plus, any movie that has a girl kicking serious butt gets a thumbs up in my book. Kate Beckinsale is great as a "death dealer" vamp--one that hunts down lycans. She doesn't look like the heroine of Pearl Harbor or Serendipity in this movie. There is a story line about her falling in love with a vamp/lycan hybrid but it doesn't really dominate the movie. There are definitely inconsistencies here. The lycans are portrayed as so fierce and vicious it's hard to believe they haven't wiped out all the vampires. And the third movie brings back a character named Sonia who was only quickly referred to in the first. But when they showed her in the first, she was blonde and then she was brunette in the third. I know it's a small thing but really, how hard is it to go back and look at the first DVD and see that you need to cast a blonde? I loved the whole history and backstory for these movies. People who you think are good, aren't. Those who seem evil may not be. But I have to say my favorite thing about this movie was discovering Bill Nighy. I've heard his name here and there but never really saw him in anything. Turns out I have and you probably have, too. He plays Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. You know, the guy with all the tentacles on his face? Yeah, that's the guy. Can't say his acting really caught my eye in those movies. But I feel like I stumbled upon a hidden gem in this movie. Whenever he was on the screen, I couldn't take my eyes off him. And not in the same way that I can't take my eyes off Colin Farrell or Russell Crowe. No, I just loved watching him act. He has an accent that seems to float between east coast upper class and pompous British. I'm currently looking through his movie archives to see what I can add to my playlist. But even without Bill Nighy, these are good movies. If you have any interest in vampires or that type of lore, I definitely recommend all three of these.
Underworld (*****)
Underworld: Evolution (****)
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (****)

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