Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The problem with the Underworld movies -- besides their campy humorlessness -- is that no one seems to have directed them. They've got screenplays, casts and a lot of production design, but no direction. And for all their arty detail, they kind of look like crap: not a single shot seems to have been framed, just lit and focused; the movies don't seem put together, just edited. No big surprise, then, that Len Wiseman did props for Roland Emmerich (duh) before he got into directing, or that Patrick Tatopoulos is one of the most successful monster designers in the special effects business.
So why complain about a bunch of movies that only aspire to look as cool as Diablo II cutscenes, or about some directors who only wanna be as good as Stephen Norrington? Because though they've got a lot of problems, these Underworld movies have their pleasures, too, like actor / screenwriter Kevin Grevioux (his bullfrog basso profundo sounds dubbed-in even when he's giving interviews) and the fanboy seriousness of their backstories, which overtake the films to the point where they become all exposition (these movies consist almost entirely of the characters discovering and explaining the plot). If only they'd get Neil Marshall -- or at least Michael J. Bassett -- to direct.