i slept to 10:30am, lounged around for a few hours before making an omelette for lunch. omelettes require a certain finesse that i'm lacking. it's not like i can practice all the time either. i'm not a morning person, i usually don't wake up early enough for omelettes. even if i did practice a lot, could you imagine what kind of cholesterol count i'd have, eating so many eggs? after my omelette, i drove alex's car to the fresh pond mall and went to see a movie, underworld, despite the seriously good weather which demanded more of an outdoorsy activity than indoors. i was in an empty theatre with 4 other guys, all by themselves like me, it was a real lovefest, let me assure you. when the movie was over, i came back home. i wished i wasn't driving a cage, i rather be riding a motorcycle, there are only so many nice days left for riding before it gets too cold. when dinnertime came along, my parents came over, bringing with them food. after we finished eating, they left.

the basic premise of underworld is there's a secret war between vampires and werewolves, who in the movie are called "lycans" (short of lycanthrope) for that touch of distinctiveness. vampires have been hunting down lycans to near extinction, and kate beckinsale plays selene, one of these "death dealers." while on a recent hunt, she comes across michael corvin (scott speedman), who for some unknown reason the lycans desperately want to get a hold of, possibly using his unique genetic code to engineer a super werewolf. selene ends up protecting michael from the lycans as well as her own vampires, who besides having ulterior motives for killing him, would just as easily dispatch him simply because he was bitten by another lycan and would soon transform into a werewolf himself. of course, like all movies when two good looking people of the opposite sex get together, they fall in love, sort of.

there are several undercurrent in the movie that i was able to pick up on. the most obvious is the romeo & juliet theme, two people from rival houses end up falling in love with one another. this might be a little farfetched, because even though selene and michael do kiss in one scene, she did it to distract him while she hand-cuffed him to the wall. the romance part of the story, if it truly exists, needs further development.

the other theme comes from the title of the movie itself, "underworld." vampires and lycans form a "criminal" underworld, with "death dealers" playing the role of mob hitmen. the notion of "family" is very prevalent, as well as a definite hierarchy and chain of command within each family, particularly in the vampires (the lycans seem less organized, although they do have a central leader in lucian (michael sheen)). i wish they could've developed the analogy some more, maybe show vampires and lycans engaging in some sort of business. in the movie, it doesn't seem like they have jobs when they're not out killing each other.

watching the movie with these points in mind made for a more interesting viewing, as the movie itself is advertised as an action fantasy, and there's plenty of shooting to go around, sometimes too much. the story's smart, you just have to work a little bit to grasp the deeper meanings.

some other comments:

  • kate beckinsale looks hot in her full body shiny vinyl catsuit, which will obviously draw comparison to another shiny vinyl catsuit cinema character, trinity from the matrix universe. i prefer kate's version, she doesn't hide behind sunglasses (probably because all her action happens at night anyway, since she is a vampire), so there's a coolness mixed with a humanness (trinity seems almost insect-like in her detached virtual reality confidence).
  • vampires have reflections in the movie! i wonder if there was a budgetary reason for this. it's never explained in the movie, there's no scene where michael is doing a question and answer session with selene about how vampires live, the movie assumes the audience already have a general knowledge of vampire and werewolf folklores.
  • the movie ends by setting up the stage for the sequel, which i read will be in the works depending on how well the movie does at the box office. there are some lose ends and some baddies get away.

i've seem my share of vampire/werewolf movies. i think the blade series are very well made and entertaining, although heavy in the action (good action though, some of the action sequences in underworld were kind of confusing with quick edits), with the hunger being the best thinking man's vampire movie. on the werewolf front, my own personal favorite is howling ii, a hammy horror film from the 80's starring sybil danning and christopher lee and occasionally plays on cable. how does underworld fare? it has a great story that's sometimes marred by the action sequences, which are adequate, but not compared to some of the new generation action flicks. i'd recommend this movie to anyone who likes vampire movies, and want to see another take on the myth. it's also a good movie if your cinematic diet is lacking in kate beckinsale strutting around in a vinyl catsuit. it lacks the polish of blade, but the story is interesting enough that some production faults can be overlooked.