Friday, August 21, 2009

Rise of the Lycans

Yesterday evening my TV croaked - which meant I had to find some other sort of entertainment until tomorrow, when I’m going to buy a new one. Luckily I must have foreseen it, because I actually went to an electronic market during my lunch break yesterday and bought two movies. One of them the third part of “Underworld” - “Rise of the Lycans”.

Believe it or not, I actually had planned to see the movie when it came to theatres, but somehow I never got around to it. Then I thought “to hell with it, it’s the sequel of a sequel and won’t be any good” (although I actually liked “Underworld: Evolution”) and left it at that. But today, standing in front of the shelf and looking at the new movies out on DVD, I saw the cover and thought “okay, it’s probably worth it, in addition I could do with some ‘evil’ vampires instead of those twinkling ones.” So I bought “Rise of the Lycans” and “Watchmen” (will watch that one today).

As my TV decided to completely croak yesterday, I picked up the DVD, put in the DVD-drive of my computer and watched it.

Having seen “Underworld: Evolution,” I knew what was going to happen to the young lovers, of course, but the whole development of story was new to me - as to everyone else. We learn in the second movie Lucien was in love with a vampire - with Viktor’s daughter, no less. And we learn she was killed in front of his eyes, executed by sunlight. We see this scene in the second movie, in fact, as an explanation for Lucien’s hate of the vampires. Of course he would hate Viktor, hate the man who killed his true love.

The whole relationship between werewolves (the children of William, brother of the Elder Marcus and first werewolf around), Lycans and vampires is a difficult one. And with the third movie, we get an explanation for it. Werewolves are turned once and stay ‘animals’ until they die. Only in death they return to their human form. Lycans, on the other side, are something between werewolf and human. They can change at will - not necessarily at full moon, but certainly then as well. And all of them come, through the generations, by Lucien, by the first of all Lycans. This, basically brings him up to par with William (the first werewolf) and Marcus (the first vampire). At the same time, Lucien can control and command the werewolves as well. He does so in various scenes of the movie. This puts him in one line with William (who, theoretically, might have been his father … we never learn about who fathered Lucien - who was born a Lycan). And, in essence, we also see what the child of Sonya and Lucien would have been - in the second “Underworld” with one character being both Lycan and vampire. Viktor could - at the cost of his daughter’s life - postpone the moment both bloodlines come together again (as they sprang from the same bloodline, William and Marcus being brothers), he could not keep it from happening, ultimately.

But now to the most important thing: did I like it?

Yes, definitely. I loved the movie from the very first minute. The look was at the same time familiar (after two movies set in the same world, though a different time, you recognize the way the werewolves look, the way the vampires act and so on) and unfamiliar. It’s a much earlier period. Viktor is ruling, probably for the last time before he gets reawaken in the first movie.

What I liked most about the first two movies was the leading female character, Selena. A strong, dangerous woman, a vampire, but not a vamp. A soldier who believes wholeheartedly in her mission - until she learns about the betrayal.

Viktor is another character I liked - in a way - since the very beginning. He’s an easy guy to hate, in the movie, like so many characters played by Bill Nighy. But there’s also something behind him, some kind of reasoning for all his actions. It was nice to see it, in the third movie.

Lucien was yet another character I thought interesting from the very beginning. From the first movie, he showed clearly he didn’t see himself as an animal - and didn’t allow any other of his kind to act like one, if he could stop it. Seeing him turn from a slave into a leader of an army (of both werewolves and Lycans), made his character even more interesting. He gains his freedom, at least thinks he has killed his slaver (but Viktor survives, of course), but he loses his reason for fighting in the first place.

Which brings me to a fourth, a new character. Sonya, while being mentioned in the second movie, has never been seen alive before. We see her only in Lucien’s memory, at the moment of her death through the sunlight. Sonya does resemble Selena, in some ways. In looks - because that is the reason why Selena was turned instead of being killed - and in actions. But she’s a different woman. She acts differently in many ways, she fights differently (only logical, pistols were not around in the twelfth century) and she lives (in so far as a vampire lives) differently, too.

The enslavement of the Lycans, too, is an important point. They all, save for Lucien, came into being simply to serve the vampires, to be their protectors, their workers, their property. It was only logical they would, one day, turn against their tormentors. But for that, a powerful, strong and intelligent leader was necessary - Lucien. And for Lucien to become that leader, he had to have a reason - Sonya. The treatment of his ‘children’ he was forced to watch did do something to motivate him, too, but knowing he would never be with his true love without being free of the chains of slavery certainly was a major motif.

You might realize I really liked this movie, as this is the first post in a long time. I hope I might go back to blogging regularly now. I certainly will have more time for it during the next weeks, as my summer vacation of three weeks starts at the 31st.