The Iron Mask

Vampire Owl: I know a man who was wearing the Iron Mask.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that these people are not talking about that creature Doctor Frankenstein brought to life.

Vampire Owl: No, I am talking about the mask in the Great Vampire Museum.

Vampire Bat: Okay, you are talking about the ceremonial mask of the vampire elders.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is something like that, I believe.

Vampire Bat: Do you know that you can forget the mask because the original title of the flick is Viy 2: Journey to China?

Vampire Owl: I guess that has both Russia and China then.

Vampire Bat: It is loosely based on the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol’s horror novella Viy, and is a sequel to the movie which is released a long time ago.

Vampire Owl: But I see no horror around here, only fantasy adventure.

Vampire Bat: Yes, as mentioned earlier, it seems to be loosely based.

[Gets a strawberry cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with the talk about a great dragon which lived in the far south of the heavenly empire. His eyelashes which went down deep into the ground came back on the surface as beautiful plants – they healed thsoe people on Earth who were suffering. The leaves of this plant was known as tea, and the special powers of the drink made from these leaves spread far and wide. To take care of his eyelashes and preserve the greatness and healing properties of tea, a group known as white wizards were given the power, along with a magical seal. People from all over the world wanted this new drink known as tea, and they gave away great riches, including gold, silver and those which they considered precious in a personal manner. Some of these white wizards were too greedy, and with the help of a two-faced witch, they took over the cave of the dragon. The white wizards lost the battle to free the dragon, and all was lost.

So, what happens with the events here? :: English traveller Jonathan Green (Jason Flemyng) had an order from Peter the Great (Yuri Kolokolnikov) to map the Russian Far East, as nobody knew how huge the Russian Empire was, at that time. He already had a scientific voyage from England to the East earlier, passing through Transylvania and crossing the Carpathian Mountains. This new journey though, was supposed to be awarded, but he ends up finding himself in the prison, as the emperor he knew is not the one on the throne, and has come with some strange reforms too. He finally manages to get out of there with the help of Lord Dudley (Charles Dance) and is accompanied by a boy named Cheng Lan (Helen Yao) on his journey, who is actually the princess, the daughter of the master of white wizards. They embark on a journey to China on a carriage, and they battle random people, as Cheng shows great martial arts skills in defeating them, but chooses to stay at the top of the carriage so that Jonathan won’t know that she is a girl.

And what else is to follow in a world of magic, both good and evil? :: Meanwhile, Jonathan’s lover Miss Dudley (Anna Churina) goes to the prison, and leads to the events directing to the escape of Peter after some period of continuous fighting. But the great Master (Jackie Chan) can’t escape from James Hook (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who handles the prison tower, and gets him back into his cell, this time in solitary confinement. Peter does manage to get into a Russian ship leaving for China, as he pretends to be one of the workers in the port, and hides himself. Miss Dudley also manages to sneak in by hiding the fact that she is a lady, but when the sailors find out the truth, they corner her, and is almost molested, but Peter saves the ship from a storm, and they makes him the new captain, saving Dudley herself. As the two groups travel to China, one by land and the other on water, can these people save the enslaved people of their lands and free the dragon responsible for the creation of tea, along with making Russia better?

The defence of The Iron Mask :: This is one beautiful movie as far as the visuals are concerned. As a Russian and Chinese co-production, this was supposed to have beautiful visuals of both nations from the time period when they are based, and we are not disappointed with the same – the special effects add really well here too. We see the wide difference at both places, like we see in an Age of Empires game, for two civilizations’ variety in buildings and more are also seen, especially with so many nice shots from above. The action sequences are brilliantly done. The final fighting sequences are stylish, and visually stunning, with a dragon, people with special powers, and martial arts. The CGI is very well used for the same. It is the kind of fantasy that reminds one of movies like The Hobbit, and at times makes sure that you don’t miss Avengers anymore, as heroism with magic and superpowers never gets too far away. The story about tea is a lovely addition and so is the humour around here.

The claws of flaw :: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan, even though do make us feel better with this movie with their presence, gets into the action only the beginning stages. They could have been given more to do, considering the fact that they are the two people in this movie whom everyone knows, and a good reason why everyone will watch this one without hesitation – they were even in many posters, but Helen Yao is a good actress, and leads the path well in comparison to the others. There is also a certain level of predictability related to this movie, and the English dubbing doesn’t seem to be that good either – it does work better than Abigail, another Russian movie which released in the same year. One does feel that the previous movie and the book might score better in writing, because this one seems to focus on the visuals a lot more than everything else, with the exception of the action sequences which were always supposed to be there.

How it finishes :: The previous movie Viy a.k.a. Forbidden Empire was not that popular in this part of the world, and this is the first time I have known about its existence, even though I was writing many fantasy movie reviews during that time. But I understand that it did make an impact then. Viy 2: Journey to China also known as The Iron Mask is not written as a dark fantasy like the previous movie, but in the form of fantasy adventure, not really going dark as expected. This one seems to be well suited for all kinds of audience, and it is a journey of adventure in a colourful world, that one can remember for a long time for what they have witnessed on the screen. It might remember you of other fantasy adventure movies, but this one does have a special place due to its combination of so many things to create that extravaganza which is there to stay.

Release date: 21st September 2019
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Oleg Stepchenko
Starring: Jason Flemyng, Charles Dance, Rutger Hauer, Jackie Chan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Helen Yao, Martin Klebba, Christopher Fairbank, Igor Jijikine, Anna Churina, Yuri Kolokolnikov

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Godzilla II

What is the movie about? :: Five years have passed after the incidents of the 2014 movie. Godzilla had defeated the creatures mentioned as MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism), saving Earth’s cities and making its way back to the ocean – the questions about a monster saving the city were going to be there as always, and still there is no clear indication of a future co-existence in peace between the two species. Meanwhile at present, Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) works for an organization called Monarch which is tracking, studying and trying to understand Titans, the almost immortal giant monsters which had dominated Earth millions of years ago. Along with her daughter Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown),she is kidnapped by Colonel Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) while witnessing the birth of a giant larva which is to become a Titan later, named Mothra.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and other from Monarch approach Dr Mark Russel (Kyle Chandler), Emma’s ex-husband so that they can find her and find a device, the ORCA developed by her, which is capable of talking through frequencies that only Titans can hear. It is revealed that Emma and Jonah intend to free a Titan locked in ice codenamed Monster Zero. Monarch, despite chasing them all the way to an outpost in Antartica, is unable to defeat Jonah, while Emma frees and awakens Monster Zero, a three headed monster with wings and running electrical currents through its body. Releasing lightning from its body and traveling inside hurricane created by itself, the monster goes on to try and become the apex predator, while Godzilla feels the effect of a bio-chemical weapon, going into hibernation only to awaken many years later.

And what more is to happen? :: But now the situation demands the presence of Godzilla. Monster Zero is revealed to be Ghidorah, an ancient alien known to have fallen from the stars, one who has been Godzilla’s primary rival for the position of apex predator. As a creature out of this world, the weapons seems ineffective against it, while the monsters destroy different cities in different parts of the world, controlled by their new king. Godzilla needs all the radioactivity to rise from its chamber located past different wormholes under the ocean, and it is up to humans to take it there and awaken the monster before Ghidorah lays waste to the whole world with his newly found minion creatures. Now the question remains if they can do it in time, and if Godzilla can reclaim its position as the king of the monsters against this alien monster which keeps on evolving.

The defence of Godzilla: King of the Monsters :: There are some nicely made action sequences in the movie, with the giant monsters fighting each other. They fill the screen, and we see those moments of glorious action that takes place. Each monster would seem to have something special that keeps them apart. The same brings us destruction like never before, as we notice that not much of the world is left – the visuals of the world are nice to watch, and the creatures are also nicely created. The myth is nicely created with the monsters being the real owners of this world, and humans just living in here because they are allowed to do so – the creatures becomes nature’s natural defence system against the pollution that is present. Godzilla is referred to as one among the first gods worshiped by humans, and it goes deep like Prometheus and Alien: Covenant did when it talks about the distant past history, for some time. We see this mythology seemingly up for even more.

The claws of flaw :: A lot of repetition from the first movie can be seen here too. Once again, there is the need for Godzilla to save the world, and the early doubts continue to be there until the humans once again decide that it has to be left to the monster except for a little help from mankind. The pattern repeats without remorse, even with more creatures being added to the scene – Godzilla always makes a comeback, and it is up to him to make sure that the balance is maintained. The characters are not that developed, and we don’t really feel anything for them – they never seem to be important, and the need for focusing on them is never felt; Pacific Rim was closer to the humans despite being a monster movie. Some part in the beginning could have also been shortened to make the movie stop at two hours; if humans can’t be interesting, what we can do is to cut a few of them and their moments.

The performers of the soul :: The performances here are dependent on the CGI monsters rather than humans who are restricted, with not much of interesting stories, and with less to do. The way in which the monsters are designed and are depicted in action will always have the best of applause. Among the humans, it is Ken Watanabe who steals the show, as he brings the words of wisdom regarding having faith in Godzilla. Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga are caught in a forgettable, predictable story of another family in trouble as if we have not had enough of such tales told in an uninteresting manner. Millie Bobby Brown does have her moments to keep her as someone to look out for the future though. Charles Dance as Alan Jonah makes a strong villain, but we never really get the focus on him, with all these monsters around – as the three-headed dragon-like monster becomes the primary antagonist, he is not there to be seen much, but we expect more from him in any of the upcoming sequels.

How it finishes :: As the holidays come to an end for schools and colleges in this part of the world, and with the final weekend before classes begin, children and youth would love to watch this grand monster effect on the big screen. This can serve as the last moments of escapism before that reality of studies is brought to them – Pacific Rim would agree. Godzilla is all set to go to that place which you saw in Kong: Skull Island and battle King Kong in the next movie, and before that you will feel the need to watch that movie with the giant ape as well as the two Godzilla movies. With the destruction of environment, there seems to be a hidden message about how nature comes up with its own defence system – the three-headed dragon-like monster becoming part of a hurricane only powers it, as does Godzilla being revived by nuclear weapons. The same as a fine addition to a high action monster movie.

Release date: 31st May 2019
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, Zhang Ziyi

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Underworld: Blood Wars

Vampire Owl: This movie has been going on and on, and we, the vampires have spent so much money or trying to attain copies of the same.

Vampire Bat: I have heard that even Werewolf Anger has a copy of the first three movies of the franchise.

Vampire Owl: Why would he have those copies? He is angry at all movies.

Vampire Bat: He is angry at everything, and so this anger is actually a reflection of his less angry side.

Vampire Owl: But it is still Werewolf Anger, the angriest werewolf of all-time.

Vampire Bat: There is some competition regarding the same, from Werewolf Hunger.

Vampire Owl: Well, hunger is a strong emotion, and he is named after that; so I would expect some tough competition.

Vampire Bat: I hope that watching Blood Wars won’t make them more interested in wars.

Vampire Owl: Watching Underworld: Awakening awakened nobody though.

Vampire Bat: Well, all the movies in this franchise will be better tales than Twilight for sure.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Little Hearts biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: The war between the two species goes on, and vampires are in trouble with the advanced werewolves, the stronger and the sharper versions of Lycans going through them, with only two strongholds left for the formerly high class species of undead, the Eastern Coven and the Nordic Coven. Semira (Lara Pulver), a beautiful and ambitious council member of the vampires, sees Selene (Kate Beckinsale) as the only hope for saving their coven as well as preserving their world as it has been for many years. With Lycans only getting stronger under their ruthless and fearsome leader Marius (Tobias Menzies), Semira gets the support of Thomas (Charles Dance), a Vampire Elder who is the father of David (Theo James), whose life was saved by Selene herself. They are successful in getting the support of the council which declares Semira fully responsible for whatever actions Selene comes up with when inside the coven.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The vampires have been searching for Selene already, seeking justice for the deaths of Viktor (Bill Nighy) and Marcus (Tony Curran), and this becomes her opportunity to return to the coven, forgiven, even though not forgotten as a murderer of her own kind. David pleads her to return to the coven, as she could join her kind and defend everyone against Marius who also wishes to capture Selene for information about her daughter Eve (India Eisley) whose blood could prove vital to the werewolves in attaining ultimate supremacy over vampires. Alexia (Daisy Head) arrives with her team and the order from the coven and takes Selene home just in time before the Lycans arrive at the scene. There they are given a warm welcome, but Varga (Bradley James), the leading Death Dealer of the coven isn’t happy that Selene has returned to train his team of Death Dealers, and with his intimate relationship with Semira, a twist seems to be coming up.

The defence of Underworld: Blood Wars :: There is the usual style of the Underworld franchise that we see here, and it is reflected not just on the visuals and the action sequences, but also in the overall dark mood. Vampires facing werewolves is the kind of idea that never gets old, and will remain interesting as long as you don’t put too much drama in there by the way of Twilight an its evil twin sisters. The tale continues with all those elements that are to satisfy the fans of the franchise. The movie also finishes off smartly, with having an option to end the tale there, as well as to continue it – the scope for a new dawn in this movie will be an entirely different one too. Still, whatever they do it will be eternally impossible to have the pre-determined critics to rate a movie like this any higher; if this was a Bollywood movie with a heavy dose of nonsense, maybe the reviewers here would have rated it a lot high; add a big superstar to it, and you know what happened with dumb movies like Krrish and its sequels.

Claws of flaw :: People are certain to think that there is too less added to this movie as another significant movie in the franchise – for there was the scope for deviation while retaining the basic elements, which is not taken. The journey here is just the easy way, with no special ingredient. I would also consider to be the second least interesting movie of the franchise following the one movie that was the prequel without Kate Beckinsale in it. Even though the critical opinions are without doubt biased and prejudiced as it was with almost every Underworld movie, this is surely a step down from the previous movie, Underworld: Awakening. Without a proper understanding of the background used in this movie, the weaklings will also find it difficult to go through this movie, and some reviewers need to be shown all movies of this franchise, without which they seem to struggle to find out which movie is this particular flick which they watched.

Performers of the soul :: Kate Beckinsale is also at her best as usual, and she becomes Selene and shines through this movie too – she looks almost the same as when the first movie released fourteen years ago, something that the Resident Evil series and Milla Jovovich will have in common. There is not much that separates her, all the action, and the style of this movie. We had also seen the same in the remake of Total Recall as well as Van Helsing. Selene is a character whom we have identified as one of the most recognizable vampires in live-action movies, and with her being played by the same person, and having the same looks throughout the franchise has helped the cause further. Giving her company as the other gorgeous vampire is Lara Pulver, whom we will all remember as the special Irene Adler from the Sherlock television series, with that introduction scene and what followed from A Scandal in Belgravia. Clementine Nicholson is another actress who will be a big asset to the franchise without doubt. We are also glad to see the Divergent franchise‘s own Theo James here again.

How it finishes :: Anna Foerster’s first movie has the fans of the franchise interested for sure, with the vampire-werewolf tale never running out of opportunities make more and more movies. This is also one of those movies which release first in India and then in the United States – something which happens at a few occasions mostly with those superhero movies and not with anything that has a vampire or a werewolf. This tale can surely bring more sequels, prequels and even spin-offs, and with some divine intervention, maybe there will be a movie which will be loved by the critics – but the chance of the same is very little. But it is up-to us to enjoy movies like these, instead of overrating those local superhero movies which has nothing inside them other than some so called superstars who come down to such a terrible level to act in such nonsense – we will have anyone without intellectual poverty will have trouble watching such flicks, but both the common viewers and the reviewers will claim that the movies are of epic level.

Release date: 6th January 2017 (USA); 2nd December 2016 (India)
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Anna Foerster
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Lara Pulver, Theo James, James Faulkner, Daisy Head, Clementine Nicholson, Tobias Menzies, Charles Dance, Oliver Stark, Peter Andersson, Bradley James

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Victor Frankenstein

victorfrankenstein (2)

Vampire Owl :: None of our undead doctors have approved of this movie.

Vampire Bat :: That will not be a problem at all, because neither have the critics.

Vampire Owl :: So, we should still watch this one?

Vampire Bat :: As long as there is no ban, we can surely do that.

Vampire Owl :: Thankfully, we are not from a realm where there are bans on certain types of food, cinema and clothing.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, unlike these humans who are elected for no reason, Uncle Dracula is a lenient and intelligent ruler. Even the brain-dead Lich Queen knows better.

Vampire Owl :: We should let the clever film makers from the human side to work on their movies here.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, that will also be a big bonus for tourism; all is well as long as they keep their hatred, vanity, greed and envy outside our realms.

Vampire Owl :: And to avoid any temptation for the vampires, they should lock their necks, especially those veins…

Vampire Bat :: Stop! I am going to pretend that I never really heard that!

[Gets three cups of tea with tapioca chips].

What is it about? :: The tale begins and goes through the perspective of a nameless hunchback (Daniel Radcliffe) who works as the clown in a circus. He has been part of the circus for so long, and is more of a property of the circus, treated badly by most of the people there. But he secretly reads books that are stolen, mostly related to science, particularly human anatomy. He has feelings for an aerialist, Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay) who is injured during one of the shows. With no hope for her survival after falling from a good height, the hunchback tries his best to do anything, and at that exact moment, is aided by a stranger known by the name Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) who was attending the circus performance. Both succeeds in saving the girl who is taken to a hospital. This becomes the turning point in the life of the hunchback.

So what happens next? :: Victor Frankenstein has been a very ambitious medical student who has been working on something special. His aim has always been to make a discovery that would change the future. He has been scarred by his earlier experiences and wishes to make amends with his father (Charles Dance) who thinks that he is good for nothing and will never be anywhere close to his brother. He wanted to create life, and fascinated by a simple, uneducated hunchback’s knowledge in human anatomy, decides to recruit him for the cause as his assistant, and make things better and easier. So, he plans and manages a grand escape for the hunchback whom he names Igor, after his former room-mate. He drains the new assistant’s hump with his expertise and successfully hides him as the room-mate that he once had.

How does the journey go? :: The newly named Igor instantly impresses Victor, and they realize that they can go a long way forward. The police inspector Roderick Turpin (Andrew Scott) who investigates the disappearance of the hunchback realizes that something strange is going on, and it is against God. Considering Victor’s experiments as sins and his creations as unholy, he decides to stop him, whatever it might cost. They also come up against Lorelei once again, but this time as a different person. She also asks them to rethink about going against the natural order of things. But Victor and Igor are so close to their first case of success, but will that bring them glory or terror? What role will Lorelei play in this dangerous attempt at glory? Is it really an act against God, and what danger can this new creation from the grave bring?

The defence of Victor Frankenstein :: The visuals are really good with this one; there is a lot of style associated with the movie, and the cast also saves the day. Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy are good, especially the former who seems to have more control over his character. Jessica Brown Findlay also brings some charm while Andrew Scott is a fine opponent to the protagonists. The differences when compared to the original story has been nicely created. The messages are well placed, and they are mostly against vanity and the false ambition which stay strong within the main protagonist – he is so close to becoming Doctor Faustus, not just Doctor Frankenstein. It also asserts that there are things that cannot be changed and we have to accept them. There are some nice dialogues which keep making the point too. It has its own dose of entertainment too, and that matters.

The claws of flaw :: Victor Frankenstein needed a better flow in its story. It surely begins nicely, but gets lost at times. It is quite strange that the movie doesn’t try that hard to deviate from its source material from which it hasn’t really followed – there seems to be an attempt to return but at the same time staying different. The movie needed to be more certain with its story, and also could have dealt with its main characters differently – even though the main actors handle the whole thing well, better characterization and a much better background would have done them all, some more good. More horrors and thrilling moments could have been added to make its central idea about life and death more appealing; for now, they have done well to do that with the dialogues – maybe they could have done so without speaking that much about the same.

How it finishes :: Victor Frankenstein is another interesting movie based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 Gothic horror novel. The different versions of the same story or newly written extensions always bring something that can catch our attention, just like I, Frankenstein which extended the tale very nicely. In another case, there was Dracula Untold which brought another angle to the popular 1897 Gothic horror novel by Bram Stoker. If you are going to judge this one based on the many years old story, this is not the movie for you; but if you are ready to think from another angle, and understand the imagination behind making such a different attempt, you can surely go for this one, as despite not being that big Frankenstein movie, this is a fun movie which also leaves the viewers with some interesting messages to take home.

Release date: 27th November 2015 (India); 25th November 2015 (USA)
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Paul McGuigan
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, Charles Dance, Freddie Fox, Mark Gatiss, Callum Turner, Daniel Mays, Spencer Wilding

victorfrankenstein

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dracula Untold

draculauntold (3)

Vampire Owl :: Do we need extra horror after Annabelle?

Vampire Bat :: No, its Dracula special. We made a promise to Uncle Dracula. Remember?

Vampire Owl :: But we will end up with an overdose of horror here.

Vampire Bat :: There is nothing like an overdose of horror. It is part of our daily lives. And this one won’t scare us at all, as the genre is different.

Vampire Owl :: I hope we can recommend this to Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Bat :: We have to watch it whatever happens. It is the only English movie in the local theatres now.

Vampire Owl :: I wish they had released these movies on different dates. This is more of a collision which will damage both these movies.

Vampire Bat :: Only if there was no stupid Bang Bang! last weekend. Annabelle might have come earlier.

Vampire Owl :: See, this Bollywood is the source of all evil.

Vampire Bat :: I have known it since Dhoom 2 and Besharam made me certain about it with enough support from Dhoom 3 and Krrish 3.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The tale of the vampire begins with the man, a prince of Transylvania who is ruling his world in peace as a kingdom giving tribute to the Ottoman Empire. But things change as the Sultan asks for thousand boys from his kingdom as a tribute to be part of their slave army so as to conquer the whole of Europe. Vlad the Impaler (Luke Evans) cannot agree to his demand, and as requested by his wife Mirena (Sarah Gadon), decides to save the boys from doom as he takes up arms against the huge Turkish army. As he understands the stupidity behind his own decision, climbs a mountain which is supposed to have ancient evil within it, and asks the creature inside the cave which had killed a number of Turkish scouts for help. The creature is actually one of the most evil emperors of all time turned vampire, Caligula (Charles Dance), grants him vampirism for three days during which he will have the vampiric abilities and certain weaknesses, but have to control his thirst for blood; in failing to do so will turn him into a vampire forever.

Positives and Negatives :: Dracula is our favourite vampire, at least for most of us, and here we have an origin tale rather than the usual bloodsucker story. Unlike what some people were expecting, Dracula Untold is not packed with horror – one has to wonder why were people so sure about the same? Even the director himself had said that this was more of a drama with elements of action and adventure. The last battle is a little overdone with vampirism, but other than that, the special effects are amazing, especially the effects of bats, dark clouds, impalings, transformations and the Gothic atmosphere that has been successfully created. May be they could have added more innovation and removed the predictability factor, as we know what would happen to the prince already. There have been many types of vampires and Dracula, and there is Luke Evans. It is he who controls this movie with a brilliant performance. Sarah Gadon is also stunningly good in her character of faith and hope, while Dominic Cooper makes a nice villain.

Soul exploration I :: Dracula, the hero against the empire :: The age of empires does sound awesome as a computer game, but otherwise, it is a bloody case of cruelty and brutal subjugation, which doesn’t end in just a conquest. The case of one country extending its domain over another through war is nothing less than a permanent ill-treatment of a future generation, as what the Ottoman Empire does in this movie is nothing different, and there is no empire on Earth which is not built on the blood of the innocent. Here, Dracula is a man of the people, and even as a prince of his small kingdom, he has known the life of someone worse than a common man, as he was taken by the Turks at his early age to be part of the Janissary – an elite infantry unit made of slaves recruited by the Sultan from the Other. He stands up against the ill-treatment of his people in a desire for equal value of human life. He automatically becomes the symbol against imperialism and brutal power.

Soul exploration II :: Dracula, the superhero of the grey side :: Going back to the origins, our villain is still the hero, who has made one fatal decision which would make him a tragic hero, as he ponders over that question which have haunted Hamlet for such a long time, to be or not be (or to drink or not to drink) as he is caught in those stages of transformation into a vampire where he could be immortal in one of the two ways possible. He is neither good or evil there, and in that situation of the grey, he stumbles upon that incident which would turn him into dark grey. He is a man caught in a world of good and evil, where the grey has no position, or has to forcibly embrace the black, or the evil. Dracula is a man of our age, and we know that he could have survived better if lived a long time after his time of existence, and he was not the hero whom his world deserved. History rarely keeps grey characters as it praises only the victors, but we know that there would have been an abundance of them.

Soul exploration III :: Dracula, the villain of the night and darkness :: Dracula’s situation and his descend in forced upon him, but his voluntary decision to choose what he thought was necessary evil against pure evil would become the ultimate evil in more than one way. He becomes a lot like Faustus by selling his soul to the devil, and another Faustian tragic hero has his roots. But with the scope left for a sequel, and those words “let the games begin” reveal to us that we haven’t seen the final shade of this man to which Luke Evans has given another life. Even in his worst situation, Dracula is just dark grey, and his further passing down to the darkness hasn’t occured, which should not be interesting for a lot of people, but my request for such people would be to wait. Dracula is immortal, and this is just the beginning – you have a lot to look out for, and the ending does seems to connect with the style of the 1992 movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Yes, this is a good re-telling, and not another copy of whatever you see everywhere these days.

How it finishes :: Dracula Untold is not your typical vampire story, and neither is it something that will give you scares every night. Those who wish to see the fangs of terror riding high, as well as those who were hoping for the eternal Twilight style fake love story are going to be disappointed. This was never a horror movie in its core, and this origin story of the greatest vampire of all time, is rather what you can call Dracula Begins, and will work just like Batman Begins as a beginning and a pillar to bring on something like The Dark Knight. This is not a vampire attack tale either, but a preface to the vampire world to which we are to enter. So, if you needed a lot of blood sucking and marks on lots of necks, you would need to check one of those earlier movies which are closer to the Bram Stoker work, rather than going for this. It should be why the word “untold” is added to the title, not to look for those usual bloodsucker tales here. This is highly recommended for the fans of vampire mythology, and I doubt about its effect on normal people; work your intellect and think differently, may be this can work better.

Release date: 10th October 2014
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Gary Shore
Starring: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Samantha Barks, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, Charles Dance, Charlie Cox, William Houston, Ferdinand Kingsley, Noah Huntley, Dilan Gwyn, Zach McGowan, Ronan Vibert, Diarmaid Murtagh, Thor Kristjansson, Joseph Long, Damien Kivlehan

draculauntold

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Underworld: Awakening

underworld (6)

The first impression all those mindless critic-believers would have about this movie is nothing more than a bulk of disbelief inspired by the support of the people who are paid to write, something which has plagued the movie world as a hellish hound spreading pseudo-love for movies as a plague which has exterminated most of the better movies which was released in the last few years, and supported senselessness. Sometimes, one would wonder if they need Tarantino’s name in the director’s column and only then can they give a good review; so goes the cynics, the masters of annihilation of the better ones. Unfortunately, this one is not even directed by Len Wiseman, the director of Underworld: Evolution, the previous movie which had Kate Beckinsale playing the same character. But that hasn’t affected this vampire-werewolf world too much. The same director and the same actress had the movie Total Recall working for them in the same year, and just like Mila Jovovich and her husband in the Resident Evil series along with The Three Musketeers, all of these movies having one thing in common – a gorgeous, stong and agile female protagonist who moves around kicking and punching the opponents, along with dodging bullets and arrows spinning around them as if she was a spinning delivery by Shane Warne of Muttiah Muralitharan.

This fourth installment in the Underworld series, and the major protagonist, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is captured and imprisoned by the humans, and most of the vampire population has been exterminated with the few remaining blood-suckers living underground as survivors and rebels. The lycans are supposed to have been extinct for years, or so the world is forced to believe. Selene escapes from the medical facility where she was cryogenically preserved as a female vampire specimen. She finds out about Eve (India Eisley) a vampire-werewolf hybrid and the daughter of Selene and Michael. The vampire mother and daughter is escorted by David (Theo James) to his vampire coven where his father Thomas (Charles Dance), an elder vampire is sceptical about the whole thing. But the problem remains that the lycans had never been extinct and they are looking to develop a drug which could make lycans immune to the deadly effects of silver on them and also to enhance their physical abilities, for which they need to capture Eve and take her apart. Dr. Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea) and his son Quint Lane (Kris Holden-Ried) look forward to capturing the young girl and using her genetic code to achieve near invincibility for the lycan race.

So Kate Beckinsale’s Selene has returned to once again with that the skintight latex outfit, a costume which defines the movie outside its mythology, and it is one situation comparable only with Milla Jovovich’s Alice in Resident Evil: Retribution and also Sienna Guillory’s Jill Valentine in the same movie. Alice and Selene has so many things in common though, as both of them gets the infected other, the species who are leading her own to extinction, in black skintight costumes and displaying all the athleticism – the two leading actress portraying them married to the same director who directed their most popular movie series, and the three characters, Alice, Jill and Selene are portrayed by the actresses whose age difference in one as of this exact moment. Kate Beckinsale wins the battle of whom being the better destroyer for sure, which is why Underworld series survive. Just like Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, this movie revolves around her, and she is the undisputed sun of this solar system, even as there is a hint that another sun is to rise in the form of Eve, and this would be a system of not one, but two stars providing the resources for survival. The possibility of a Jill-Alice, Claire-Alice or Ada-Alice world or the combination of all is the next possible thing though, and this sharing of Underworld is rather distant.

Kate Beckinsale once again proves that she is the one suited for this role as Selene, one of the most attractive, gun wielding “good” vampires the movie world might ever bring to the human eyes. Lori, the undercover agent and the fake wife of Total Recall proves the same later, and what Anna Valerious proved in Van Helsing lives on with this version of the vampire named after the Greek moon goddess. Here, the superhuman powers make her close enough to a demi-god, even as the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia wouldn’t dare to agree. There is no brother for this Selene in the form of the sun-god Helios, and there is no sister in the form of the goddess of the dawn, Eos. She is still that nocturnal creature, despite of her ability to move around in sunlight. She is also the hunter, Artemis and also almost Aphrodite in beauty. As we consider the fact that she was a cryogenically frozen female vampire specimen until waking up, there is the multiple assertion of her continuity from where she stopped, as she has not changed a bit from her earlier appearance which was six years earlier through Underworld: Evolution. She didn’t seem to have a aged a bit, and there is absolutely no loss of touch with the character which has been the most popular lady vampire for quite a long time, and Isabella Swan’s transformation into a pale creature won’t change a thing.

Selene’s atheleticism and vampiric nature is perfectly portrayed by Kate Beckinsale as defends the hybrid daughter and her own kind against the lycans and humans with such fury and aggression which can make even Count Dracula passive. Along with the blue eyes, that face and all the expressions in the movie points to that one mythical creature only, the vampire, or as John William Polidori would say – The Vampyre. Forget Vacancy and Click, as this is the movie which she would be identified with, and that blue-eyed face and the short black hair falling on the face at regular intervals; that is the image which comes to the mind with the name Kate Beckinsale, and it is that impact that Selene has created from this wonderful actress, and that beautiful awesomeness of a gorgeous vampire lady is her gift to Selene in return. That wouldn’t make her any less attractive not as Selene, but the vampire lady is the one archetype which would stay there for a very long time. It has to be something all the lunar goddesses of history have to approve. None of those action movies Underworld, Van Helsing, Underworld: Evolution, Total Recall and Underworld: Awakening has recieved a Rotten Tomatoes rating above 40 percent, which is a sign of not the weakness of these movies, but the lack of strength in the critics to take them to the soul.

The action sequences and the 3D support Kate Beckinsale in her quest to get Selene to new heights, and they are of incredible power with that dark background. There is the excellent usage of the visual imagery and the special effects, and it had to get the maximum out of the fight sequences which it does. One can still complain about the story being ordinary and the movie being too short, but those have helped in making this one more interesting for those who haven’t seen the earlier movies of the series. There is no special talks about the motivatios and inspirations of the two species, and there are no long dialogues about the origins and history. It might have gone unnoticed, but India Eisley also scores within the limits of her character, as Eve has only begun. We haven’t seen enough of that one vampire hybrid for sure. Michael Ealy and Theo James plays the role of the allies of Selene, with the expected results. Stephen Rea has that powerful existence on the other side of the realm, unlike his vampiric presence in Interview with the Vampire, then to become a European vampire who becomes an enemy of the main vampire character, Louis de Pointe du Lac, and here to become the rival of the beautiful vampire protagonist, Selene. Kris Holden-Ried makes another powerful villain who makes one feel that he is never without lycan effect at any moment. Charles Dance scores with his presence as the Vampire Elder alone.

When Underworld: Evolution and Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance had the same rating with critics, and The Lone Ranger managed a better rating, there was always something wrong, and the former was a pure eye-opening moment for this Vampire Bat looking for the “movies of the soul”. Even Snow White and the Huntsman had a rating near fifty percent which created that realization that all these paid reviews are just for a specific group of people, and there is a bigger division of people who are misguided with the same, thinking that these are for them. This higher rating for the movie will make for the lies which have haunted this movie and the whole series as a whole. If the critics rating is seventeen percent and I give it a ninety two percent, that should make the situation a healthy ninety nine, with that remaining one percent donated to charity. It is the duty of the Vampire Bat, and his honour as part of the “movies of the soul” to immortalize Selene, and that vampire world which righteously fights the lycans long before Twilight came up with such an idea which would pervert the vampire world and destroy the image of all vampires before the humans. It is on this realization that this review has originated, and with that idea, it shall wind up. There will be a fifth movie in the series, and the Vampire Bat shall eagerly wait for it – there is nothing of humanity and there exists no critical force that can end his craving.

Release date: 20th January 2012
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, India Eisley, Sandrine Holt, Theo James, Michael Ealy, Stephen Rea, Charles Dance

underworldawakening copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.