Thursday, June 08, 2006

Stuck in a Movie You Can't Get Out Of

I will preface this post with an excerpt from Roger Ebert's review of North:
I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.
In a nutshell, this is my exact opinion of Underworld: Evolution. It is quite possibly the most tremendously awful movie I have ever seen in my life, even worse than Arlington Road, and that's taking into account the fact that Kate Beckinsdale spends the entire movie traipsing around in a tight black leather outfit. I sometimes see masterpieces of cinema and can't think afterwards of any way that the film could have been improved upon, and I felt much the same way with this one, short of perhaps throwing the script out and setting the production team out in the desert to be picked off by vultures.

One of the quotes I found on Rotten Tomatoes (the aggregated score for Underworld: Evolution being a whopping 15%) was from Paul Arendt of the BBC, who said, "So dedicated to its ludicrously convoluted plot that it takes half an hour to explain what the hell is going on." I watched this movie for an hour and forty minutes, and I still don't know what the fuck was going on. Maybe I forgot some huge details from the first movie, and I was tempted for a moment to watch it again, and then I realized that doing so would only cause my brain further injury, quite possibly leading me into my kitchen to find various cutting implements with which I could take my own life.

About an hour into the film, I made various observations, including, but not limited to:
  1. If not for the vapid fight sequences, this movie would be five minutes long by now.
  2. Derek Jacobi is in this movie. He's one of the great Shakespearean actors (as well as a Knight of the British Empire), and he's been reduced to this.
  3. This movie follows absolutely none of the usual rules of werewolves or vampires. More on that in a moment, though, as the tangent I'm about to go on is far more entertaining than this movie.
  4. The director really has a thing for cutting people's heads in half.
  5. What the hell is the monster from Jeepers Creepers doing in this movie?
  6. I wonder if it was in the script that Scott Speedman has to rip off his shirt before going into battle as his half-werewolf, half-vampire self. Like the Incredible Hulk, he does nothing about his pants, and they're still quite intact after the fight, but his shirt must be removed before he can begin fighting werewolves, vampires, or Creed fans who think he's Scott Stapp.
Getting back to point number three, it really annoys me when movies can't establish general rules for vampires and/or werewolves (or various other types of monsters) and then follow them. I mean, as much as I dislike Lost Boys, at least they set down the rules. Oh, sure, the Underworld movies have this thing for ultraviolet ammunition that's built to kill vampires (which means 'goodbye humanity' if they ever get their hands on good sunblock), and I'll admit that separating the head from the body is a generally accepted means of killing vampires, but I don't think dumping bullets into werewolves quite cuts it. Seriously, what ever happened to the basic tenet that you had to use silver for werewolves and wooden stakes for vampires?

This led to other questions about basic vampire vulnerabilities:
  1. Why do some vampire stories or movies do the whole "vampires hate garlic" thing? Why do they hate garlic? Is it the smell? Does this make Olive Garden a safe place to hang out when you're being pursued by the bloodthirsty undead?
  2. And then there's the matter of vampires who can't enter your home unless they're invited in. This was one of those Lost Boys things that didn't seem to go anywhere but Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This begs the question, what qualifies as a home? I can see how owning a house would keep the vampires out, but what if you've got a mortgage, making the house technically the bank's? How about if you're renting an apartment; does there have to be a lease, or can you just go month to month? Better yet, if you've checked into a hotel, can they just bust your door down? Do you have to stay in the room for a few days before you're (in vampire legalese) living there, or do you just have to unpack your bags? Can a vampire just hypmotize you and get you to take three steps out of the room? What about the hotel hallway; is that a general common area, or is the vampire unable to wander the halls unless he, too, has stopped by the front desk and gotten himself a room? Why do vampires always resort to trickery to get people out of their houses, when throwing a molotov cocktail or a tear-gas grenade through a window would do the same thing and probably in less time? No one has ever made any of this clear.
  3. If you play up the damnation angle, holy water against vampires makes perfectly good sense. At the same time, though, the only time this has ever been used effectively was when the master thespians Coreys Haim and Feldman loaded up Super-Soakers with the stuff.
  4. Is it innate vampiric nature that every vampire has to be a morose motherfucker? I mean, look at Interview with the Vampire: Sure, Lestat's having a pretty good time, but everyone else is like, "Oh, god, it sucks to be a vampire; cursed to walk the night, preying on humanity, blah, blah, blah..." Perhaps their great depression is caused by a lack of Vitamin D, which we all know is magically created by the human body through exposure to sunlight. At the same time, I'm sure vampires could probably take supplements for that.
  5. In the Underworld movies, the vampires often take the moral high-ground by not eating people who don't deserve it; rather, they enjoy a nice blood cocktail out of a transfusion bag, due to the fact that apparently vampires run blood banks all over the world. Anyway, they never suck the blood out of even recently-dead people, but there they go with their refrigerated blood-packs. Do the blood-packs have an expiration date? If the blood donor was a heavy drinker of Vitamin D milk, would that help make the vampire more chipper?
  6. Has there ever in recorded history (albeit fictitious) been an overweight vampire? Why is it that their hair is always so nicely moussed, even during mortal combat?
  7. Scott Speedman is half-vampire, half-werewolf, and at one point has sex with Kate Beckinsdale. Does the werewolf half of him like it doggy-style? ... Oh, you know you made that joke the last time you saw a werewolf movie, just just get down off of your pulpit.
Yes, I know I spelled 'hypmotize' incorrectly. This was for comedic effect. Your mileage may vary.

In short, Underworld: Evolution makes Cursed look like The Howling. It makes Tales from the Crypt: Bordello of Blood look like Near Dark. It makes movies like Tango & Cash look good. In the immortal words of Geena Davis, "Be afraid. Be very afraid."

At least there's good news, and it has nothing to do with saving money on car insurance: I bought The Complete U2 through iTunes for a whopping $150, but it's 446 songs, clocking in at over thirty-five hours, including albums, EP's, b-sides, rarities, unreleased stuff, and it's just phenomenal. No, you can't have a copy, because that would entail way more work than you're probably worth, and everyone's already asked, anyway.

AIM: therbmcc71

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