Oh I knew what I was doing when I went to see this movie. Yes it's received some horrendous reviews and the trailers and clips haven't been making it look that good, but when a film is that bad you have a morbid fascination, much like that of watching a car crash.
So off I went, and to be quite honest secretly I wanted it to be good. Kurt Wimmer's style and ideas of gun kana is an interesting one, and it is the natural progression for those who master the weapons of their time. I kind of like that idea and sometimes it's been well portrayed on screen. You see for all its flaws, I enjoyed Equilibrium both visually and for the story it really tried to give us.
So I was hoping for more of the same, and perhaps even better, but what I saw was pretty much a nightmare.
That said, I'll still thank Edinburgh Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema for helping me with the review. You have to take the good with the bad, and the hotdogs make it good when it's bad!
Let's get this over with very quickly. Ultraviolet looks a mess on screen, with the knowledge that we now have that both Kurt Wimmer and Milla Jovovich were held out of the editing room for this film means that my first impression of the film being poorly written, directed and edited may not quite be true. It could be true to say that the film was well written and directed, but that whoever took over the editing really hacked it to death. For that issue to be cleared up we will have to wait until the DVD release and hope that on that occasion Wimmer will be allowed into the editing room.
There are some key moments, particularly noticeable at the beginning of the film, where the story is over explained in as short as time as possible. As soon as the film begins we have a voiceover rammed down our throats explaining the entire back story, a back story that we could have found for ourselves during the opening sequence. In fact the opening is harmed because of this, we already know Jovovich is the lead, and to explain what her role is before we even see her means that the surprise that she is an imposter is already broken.
This over explanation runs throughout the film, as the set piece action scenes take over from developing the story and characters we find that the filmmakers need for these speedy over explanations grows.
The strange thing is that there's no consistency, because if this is happening you would expect the entire film to over explain everything, and yet it doesn't. At key moments there will be a severe lack of explanation, and even then no real way of understanding what is happening. Strangely, with the beginning so over explained and fed to us, we see the ending a perfect example of no explanations at all, and next to nothing for the audience to cling on to and try and find their own understanding.
The ending is perhaps the biggest problem with this movie. Like a videogame, after meeting the final boss and disposing of them, we see a hasty swerve back to the plot and a rapid attempt to tie it all up in some way. What we find is that it comes totally out of nowhere with a complete matter of fact attitude - "that's what's happened, and that's that." It leaves you confused and the story just shut down in your face.
There are some nice ideas and concepts in the film, but with the completely mishandled ending the whole plot and overall concept is ruined. After that ending the story doesn't make sense or hold together.
The character progression is terrible. For the characters and the story it amounts to an overly spelled out beginning and a factual, underexplored ending
Some of the acting is poor as well, with some over acting and seriously over delivered lines. Let those moments fall by the wayside and the rest of the performances are okay, and unsurprisingly the best performance comes from William Fichtner, although it really is quite close with Jovovich as when she can she does a good job as the action heroine again. A role she is actually very good at.
The action sequences are where the money is at in this film, they are very well choreographed and imagined. Except yet again the consistency fails, as some are shot too close and cut too harshly to allow you to follow the action clearly. The final fight is perhaps where things are let down the most, it's filmed in complete darkness with flaming swords...well that leaves us with nothing but confusion.
There is something very cool about this film though, and it's not just the Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow post production effects. The opening title sequence. It comprises of a series of comic book covers with the Ultraviolet character on the front in mid action, each cover is drawn in a different style by a different artist. It's very cleverly done and looks very nice. Shame it ends there.
A comment was left on a previous post about this film about how it's so bad it's good. That the "B" movie element makes it an enjoyable film, and if you were to go in expecting a "B" movie then you'll enjoy it a lot more. Well I guess it's true to a degree, you will not be shocked at how poor it is, yet there is something fundamentally different between a "B" movie and a badly edited and\or directed movie. This is just a bad movie, calling it a "B" movie is not going to help it, merely excuse the mistakes.
However, despite how bad it all was I'm really keen to see what happens with a DVD Director's Cut. It's got to be better than this surely.
If you want some mindless action sequences that don't seem connected, then you could waste some money and time on this.
Snakes on a plane
This was shown on the movie I watched a few hours before, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (review), and so it's all pretty much been said. The trailer is cool and works well, but the film itself I'm starting to get concerned about, not that I was expecting much anyway.
Well this came out of nowhere for me. I'd heard about this being shown at some festival and raised my interest, but not enough to go hunting. The trailer looks well put together, and the reality shots look. The mix of real life and gaming could really fall fowl of being too twee, or conforming to Hollywood ideas of what computer games are, however in the trailer it doesn't look like they've done this and it seems strong. Still it's your typical teens caught in horror situation film.
This made me think Training Day all over again, and in all the right ways. Christian Bale looks like a complete psychotic. Fantastic. The trailer builds this feeling until at the end you're wondering how far he's going to go. It looks as though we're in for another intense performance from Bale.
"From the guys who brought you white chicks" - Surely that's all you need to know. The voiceover tells us this early on and you shudder that anyone really believed that was a good thing to say on the trailer. Quite frankly this just looks offensive, dull and filled with stock humour playing on a one scene joke.
...again. We've all seen this trailer again and again. It still looks exciting and the music stirring, but the more I see of it I start to think that the CGI looks like it's covered with a lovely sheen, it almost looks too well created, and it has a kind of plastic look to it. Perhaps it's time to stop watching and wait for the movie.