Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (Blu-ray)

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Prequel really ties the story together

on 5/7/2012

If you've already watched the other Underworld movies, watching this one will make you want to go back and rewatch the other two. This is a touching history that brings heart into the others. Having the back story really helps tie everything together, and creates a fullness to the entire storyline. I felt like Rise of the Lycans is the one file that created my current enthusiams for the complete series.

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Product Overview

The prequel story traces the origins of the centuries-old blood feud between the aristocratic vampires known as Death Dealers and their onetime slaves, the Lycans. In the Dark Ages, a young Lycan named Lucian (Michael Sheen) emerges as a powerful leader who rallies the werewolves to rise up against Viktor (Bill Nighy), the cruel vampire king who has enslaved them. Lucian is joined by his secret lover, Sonja (Rhona Mitra), in his battle against the Death Dealer army and his struggle for Lycan freedom.

Specifications

Studio Sony
SKU 210877573
UPC 043396292109
UPC 14 00043396292109
Format Blu-Ray DVD
Release Date 9/6/2011
Rating Rating
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  2.40:1
Actors
Name Sheen,Michael
Link Search Link
Reviews
ReviewSource DVD Talk
Review The new "Underworld" installment is being touted as the prequel the die-hard fans were demanding. That's super-secret Hollywood code for, "Kate Beckinsale refused to appear no matter how much money was offered." After the abysmal "Underworld: Evolution" from 2006, the prospect of another go-around with werewolves and vampires wasn't welcome, though I have to hand it to the producers for having the sheer balls to replace Beckinsale with Bill Nighy and Michael Sheen, perhaps hoping acting expertise will pull this pointless prequel out of the gutter. The risk pays off for the rickety franchise, with "Rise of the Lycans" a swell, if profoundly trivial return to form for the creaky "Underworld" universe...While it's still the same old "Underworld" fantasy playground of gloomy cinematography and histrionic acting, much has changed behind the scenes for the latest installment. Gone is director Len Wiseman, who took wife Beckinsale with him, though the former receives a story credit while the latter makes a bizarre cameo constructed out of footage from the original feature film. Bumped up from creature duties to the director's chair is Patrick Tatopoulos, a man who knows a thing or two about the gruesome details of raging monsters. At its best, "Rise of the Lycans" is a convincing tango of hyper-edited violence, combining the concept's Shakespearean tremors with a modern cinematic quest for fantasy mayhem...Downplaying the murky Vampire/Lycan mythology that grew to suffocate the previous films, "Rise of the Lycans" is a 90-minute-long horror passion play that benefits from brevity. Left with only a small pocket of timeline to embroider, the prequel manages to develop a breezy, bloody, operatic experience. Even better, it wipes away the toxic awfulness of "Evolution." It's now safe to return to the "Underworld."
ReviewDate
ReviewPage
Reviewer Brian Orndorf
ReviewRating 7
ReviewSource A Nutshell Review
Review I guess the question on everyone's mind is, can Rhona Mitra step into the shoes of Kate Beckinsale? Yes and no actually. Rhona's got the looks that resemble Kate's, given the pasty white skin, the ocean blue eyes and the slightly protruding upper lip due to the vampire dentures. She too gets into forbidden love with a Lycan (Michael Sheen) that gets set to doom all those involved, with yet another Romeo and Juliet love story cruising at breakneck speed toward an inevitable finale. The first movie had mentioned Kate's Selene having some resemblance to the daughter of Viktor (Bill Nighy), so there's no escaping from the resemblance, which worked...But while Selene had two movies to show off her slick action moves, Rhona's Sonia actually pales in comparison, with lacklustre action sequences crafted for her character, mostly atop horses wielding a long sword. She doesn't have much chance to demonstrate her fighting prowess, and the all-night time scenes, coupled with frenetic too close a shot and dark blue, grey and black hues all set to frustrate more. Whatever happened to the good ol' action choreography that ensured everything's seen in good time?...Being an origin story going way back in time, we discover how the feud between Lycan and Vampires actually started, and to think that it's nothing more than slaves rebelling against their oppressive masters. There's nothing extraordinary about the plot here, about having a leader inspire his compatriots to the promised land, all this while suffering at the hands of pained love that translates to plenty of physical torture. You get to see a lot of gore here, which makes this installment more barbaric compared to the smooth elegance of the very first Underworld back in 2003...Rhona Mitra does an adequate job here, but still, I'd prefer Kate Beckinsale as lead vampire. Could we have her back, please?
ReviewDate
ReviewPage
Reviewer Stefan S.
ReviewRating 5
Features
Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 2.40:1, Dolby Digital (5.1), English, Subtitled, French, Spanish, Dubbed & Subtitled
Product Attributes
Video Format Blu-Ray
Quotes
Claudia Puig, USA Today The highlight of this fantasy/horror hybrid is watching [Nighy and Sheen] shed their thespian respectability and unleash their inner beasts.
Jeremy Wheeler, TV Guide ...tells its tale competently and without the derivative nature of its predecessors.
Joe Leydon, Variety ...a satisfyingly exciting monster rally that often plays like a period swashbuckler.
John Wirt, The Advocate ...convincingly transports viewers into its Medieval realm of vampires vs. werewolves.
Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter ...sturdy performances by holdovers Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy as well as tidy, unfussy direction by first-timer Patrick Tatopoulos...

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Prequel really ties the story together on May 07, 2012

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