Thursday, October 21, 2004

Underworld [film]

First, I went into this film with a LOT of apprehension.
1) Sony got their asses sued by White Wolf who created the "Werewolf: the Apocalypse" and "Vampire: the Masquerade" World of Darkness, a world that was HEAVILY stolen from in the making of this film. I'm not sure what the outcome of the lawsuit was, but there were 40 some instances of legal infringement on the films part. I, being a fan of the "Werewolf..." collectable card game (CCG) "Rage", was thus wary of the film and its treatment of the subject of the vampires and werewolves.

2) I have always been a werewolf fan and have always really disliked vampires. Don't know why, it's been like that since I was a kid. It didnt' help that when I became a fan of the Werewolves from White Wolf's World of Darkness that it turns out the werewolves and vampires hate eachother. I don't know the vampire's reasons for hating werewolves, but I know the werewolves' reasons and totally agree. ;P

There ARE differences, however. In the film...
...The reason the werewolves and vampires don't get along is different.
...The historical relationship between the two is different.
...Werewolves are called "lichens" instead of "garou".
...There appear to be no active female werewolves can become a werewolf simply by being bitten by one (don't know about the vampires)
...werewolves are compelled to change during a full moon
...both werewolves and vampires are such due to complex viruses.

In the World of Darkness...
...there are TONS of active female werewolves are born a werewolf and cannot make a human into one
...werewolves can easily change forms at will
... memories are not transferred in a bite

Things that are the same:
• werewolves are allergic to silver
• both species regenerate
• vampires don't deal well with light
• the two species hate eachother and often war
• a werewolf doesn't know she's a werewolf until her first change, which is often painful and uncontrolled
• werewolves often won't use as much technology but do, and often are seen as brutal and primitive, something some strive to change and some revel in.

As this relates to the film
There were enough differences to delinneate the two worlds in my mind, though I cringed at a few things. These things didnt' affect the overal strength or weakness of the film, though.

I liked the world of the film. The mood was perfect - the decadence of the vampires and the slums of the werewolves. The night time of it all. The mood was consistant and believeable -- the way that the gothic punk world of "the Matrix" worked and the way the gothic world of "Van Helsing" didn't work. ;) And it wasn't a rehash of this world, either. The shots were creative and composed well. Visually, it was a treat to look at and very real.

Effects wize, the werewolves could of been better. They weren't very graceful and moved in a hulky way. There's no way they ever could of been the equals to vampires or survived this long with this many all out confrontations if they were seriously that physically impaired. Of course, I may be drawing too much from the World of Darkness on this one, where many werewolves ARE these berzerkers, but many more are graceful hunters and martial artists. *shrugs* They weren't THAT bad - the part that bothered me most about them was when they were running on the walls. If you really concentrated on them, it looked really WRONG. Even if you'd used the same animation for them on the floor it would of looked WRONG.

Characters and plot. Compared to Van Helsing, I actually CARED about the characters. I cared what happened with Michael and Selene [sp?]. I even cared about what went on with Viktor, between he and Selene. The plot was a bit TOO confusing in the beginning. Personally, I'm pretty tenacious when it comes to sticking it out to see what happens, even if I'm not sure it's going to come together well in the end in a coherent plot. So on one hand, it made a mess of the beginning and I had no clue what they were talking about, but on the other, it made it a bit more realistic in that the viewers are just thrown into the middle of this thing that's been going on forever.

Compare that to some of the other films that have been out lately - like Van Helsing or DareDevil - where there is a history to the characters. In Van Helsing makes it out to be mysterious but that we'll find out more. And we never do, and by the time we find out that we will never know, we really don't care. With DareDevil, we care, and it's very humanistic, but it's packaged *so* nicely and neatly, almost like they're brainwashing us to like this character, in a way. ;) Though, in DareDevil it works because it's a movie of a comic book and is supposed to FEEL like a comic book and suceedes well at this.

So I liked that this is a slice of a much larger story and I like that we may be in for a sequel. Or not. It would work fine the way it is, leaving us to imagine what happens, since the beginning was so open, the ending can be that way, too. We just happened to observe that two hours of their lives or whatever.

I've lost my train of thought. Anyhow. I was pleasantly suprised by this film. I went into it thinking I'd get angry at a negative portrayal of werewolves. I went in expecting to have no compassion for any of the vampire characters. But it was a good story with interesting characters and I actually want to know what happens with them in their lives.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Van Helsing

Van Helsing could of been a really great story but the plot was kind of loose. There was nothing really driving us to care about the characters, especially the main character. I almost didn't care that they had to kill Dracula, either. Some things were too obvious, and other things were too obscure and it didn't really lead you along very well, so I felt like I was just drifting through the film in a very unattatched way. The effects were very cool for the most part - I especially enjoyed the werewolves (I'm a werewolf fan and picky and thought they did a neat job). The acting was okay - some people needed to choose an accent and KEEP it. And those female vampire sidekicks were just weird. They reminded me of the Furies from Xena or something - their clawed hands and movements were the same for every emotion.

All in all I totally didn't care about the film and having watched it, leaves me with nothing. *shrugs* I've definetly seen more entertaining films.