At the movies: Vampires, Werewolves

Vampires used to be suave intellectuals of the night, but nowadays they just seem to be senseless materialists who sit around and dress in Italian fashion.

“Underworld” re-imagines a world where vampires and lycans (werewolves) roam the earth in a constant blood feud that has lasted well over a millennium. Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is the “warrior” vamp whose job it is to help eradicate all lycans on earth. Likewise, the lycans have a similar plan in mind for the vampires. So when Selene falls for a lycan named Michael (Scott Speedman), all hell breaks loose. This film is the tale of that hell.

To be honest, this film has no need for vampires at all. Not once is an attempt made to brush upon the deep character traits a vampire can procure when given a thing called personality. What “Underworld” does is reduce the vampire myth to monotonously poor gunplay, materialism and shallow mindsets.

After all the overplayed gunfire and special effects, all that’s left is the empty shell of a thing with fangs – which, by the way, they don’t even use. These vampires drink synthetic blood.

As a result, it’s hard to feel a thing when watching this film, thanks to the two dimensional personas that plague every frame of it. With more than a thousand years of existence behind them, you’d think vampires would have something else on their minds other than wanting to kill werewolves. Let’s put it this way – if I were a part of this vampire coven I’d look for something wooden and kill myself just to escape the boredom.

Now if it isn’t apparent enough just from watching the previews, “Underworld” is a technological child of “The Matrix” in all aspects from the cinematography to the set designs to the ridiculous Gucci clothes all of them wear. These vamps don’t look sophisticated or elegant; they look like Euro-trash.

And yes, it’s true. Kate Beckinsale is gorgeous and I’m sure others will find Scott Speedman to be quite tasty as well. That put aside, while viewing the movie two things became apparent to me. One, Kate Beckinsale is indeed beautiful. Two, other than Kate Beckinsale, why am I still here?

Keep this in mind, however: while Beckinsale may be a beauty, she’s no warrior. I don’t care how many slow motion action sequences you put her in or how high you’re able to launch her into the air via invisible wire. It still looks fake.

With the artless onslaught of special effects, the classic intellectual vampire is dead, washed away in superficiality. The thing that frightens me is that people may actually think “Underworld” is good, and for no other reason than the naive misconception that excessive gunplay and special effects equal a dazzling movie. The one thing “Underworld” does well is cheapen, reduce and mock one of the best fictional character types ever written.

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