25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: ARTHUR CHRISTMAS

CAST

James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class)
Hugh Laurie (Tomorrowland)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Jim Broadbent (Cloud Atlas)
Imelda Staunton (Maleficent)
Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty)
Marc Wootton (Nativity)
Laura Linney (The Truman Show)
Eva Longoria (Over Her Dead Body)
Ramona Marquez (Outnumbered)
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter)
Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
Jane Horrocks (Little Voice)
Sanjeev Bhaskar (Notting Hill)
Iain McKee (The Parole Officer)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Dominic West (The Affair)

On Christmas Eve, hundreds of Christmas elves helm the command centre of Santa Claus’ mile-wide, ultra-high-tech sleigh-esque craft, the S-1. The current Santa (Malcolm) and the Christmas elves deliver presents to every child in the world using advanced equipment and military precision. These complex operations are micromanaged by thousands more elves, under the command of Malcolm’s militaristic eldest son Steve and his obsequious elfin assistant Peter at mission control underneath the North Pole. Meanwhile, his younger son – the clumsy, fearful yet enthusiastic Arthur – devotedly answers the letters to Santa. During one of the delivery operations in Germany a child wakes up and almost sees Malcolm; in the tense escape operation, a Christmas elf aboard the S-1 inadvertently leans on a button, causing a present to fall from the supply line and go unnoticed.Having completed his 70th mission, Malcolm is portrayed as far past his prime and whose role in field operations now is largely symbolic. Nonetheless, he is held in high esteem, and delivers a congratulatory speech to the enraptured elves. Malcolm announces he looks forward to his 71st, much to the frustration of heir-apparent Steve, who had prepared to succeed his father as Santa at the conclusion of this mission. During their family Christmas dinner, Arthur’s suggestion for the family to play a board game degenerates into a tense quarrel between Malcolm and Steve, while Malcolm’s father and predecessor Grandsanta, bored by retirement, resentfully criticises their over-modernization. After Grandsanta knocks the board off the table, Steve’s PDA (a high tech device named a ‘HOHO’) flashes and he leaves the table in a hurry. Later, their father shares with his wife Margaret his grave doubts about his self-identity should he retire.Arthur follows Steve, and the two learn that a Christmas elf named Bryony found the missed present – a wrapped bicycle for a little girl in England called Gwen, to whose letter Arthur had personally responded. Arthur alerts his father, who is at a loss as to how to handle the situation; Steve argues that one missed present out of billions is an acceptable error whose correction can wait a few days, citing this year’s Christmas as the most successful in history. Grandsanta on the other hand, on learning of the dire situation, proposes delivering the gift using Eve, his old wooden sleigh, and the great-great-grandchildren of the original eight reindeer, forcefully whisking away a reluctant Arthur and a stowaway Bryony. In the process the three get lost in three different continents, lose several of their reindeer, and land in danger several times, ultimately being mistaken for aliens and causing an international military incident. Through all this, Arthur eventually learns, to his compounding disappointment, that Grandsanta’s true motive is to fulfill his ego, Steve refuses to help them out of petty resentment and possibility of his brother being made hero overshadowing his work, and that his own father has gone to bed, apparently content even though a present was not delivered.Finally, stranded in Cuba after losing the sleigh and the remaining reindeer, Arthur renews his sense of purpose: that it all comes down to having presents delivered, regardless of how it is done and who did it. With Grandsanta’s and Bryony’s help, he manages to recover the sleigh. Meanwhile, the elves grow increasingly alarmed at rumours of the neglected delivery and the Clauses’ unthinkable indifference, sending them into a panic. In response, Malcolm, Margaret, and Steve take the high-tech sleigh-craft to deliver a superior present… albeit to the wrong child.Arthur and his party manage to reach England, but lose the remaining reindeer; furthermore a US Predator drone scrambled by Chief De Silva of UNFITA intercepts and opens fire on the sleigh believing them to be aliens. Grandsanta sacrifices the sleigh, while Arthur and Bryony to parachute to the ground. Ultimately with Margaret and Bryony’s help, all the male Clauses arrive at Gwen’s house before she awakens, only to have all but Arthur quarrel about who gets to actually place the gift. Noticing that only Arthur truly cares about the girl’s feelings, the elder Clauses collectively realize that he is the sole worthy successor. As a result, Malcolm gives Arthur the honour and Steve, recognizing his own shortcomings, forfeits his supposed birthright and acknowledges his brother’s worthiness to take up the mantle. In a fitting conclusion, Gwen glimpses a snow-bearded Arthur in a wind-buffeted sweater just before he vanishes up into the S-1.With the crisis resolved, Malcolm goes into a happy retirement with Margaret; he also becomes Grandsanta’s much-desired new companion and plays Arthur’s board game with him for many happy hours. Meanwhile, Steve finds true contentment as the Chief Operating Officer of the North Pole, while Bryony is promoted to Vice-President of Packing, Pacific Division. In a nod to traditionalism once neglected, the high-tech S-1 is re-christened EVIE in honour of Grandsanta’s old sleigh and refitted to be pulled by a team of five thousand reindeer – led by the original eight, all of whom managed to return home safely via innate navigational abilities. Finally, Arthur happily guides the entire enterprise in the proper spirit as the new Santa.Everything you would wish from a Chistmassy film. Strong story and lovely ideas about Father Christmas and the challenge of delivering a present to every child. A great family movie.

 

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: SHAUN OF THE DEAD

Untitled
CAST
Simon Pegg (Star Trek)
Nick Frost (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Kate Ashfield (Spivs)
Lucy Davis (Ugly Betty)
Dylan Moran (Notting Hill)
Peter Serafinowicz (Spy)
Rafe Spall (Prometheus)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Martin Freeman (The Hobbit)
Matt Lucas (Alice In Wonderland)
Paul Kaye (Anna and The Apocalypse)
Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 29-year-old electronics shop salesman with no direction in life. His younger colleagues show him no respect, he has a strained relationship with his stepfather, Phillip (Bill Nighy), and a tense one with his housemate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz) because of Ed (Nick Frost), Shaun’s other housemate and vulgar, unemployed best friend. Furthermore, Shaun’s girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) dislikes their social life as they spend every date at the Winchester, Shaun and Ed’s favourite pub. Because Shaun always brings Ed, Liz is always forced to bring her flatmates, David (Dylan Moran) and Dianne (Lucy Davis). After a bad day at work, Shaun forgets to book a table at a nice restaurant, and after suggesting the Winchester again Liz breaks up with him. Shaun drowns his sorrows with Ed at the Winchester. While celebrating at home, an enraged Pete — suffering from a bite wound caused by “some crackheads” — confronts Shaun on his flaws, telling him to sort his life out.
The next morning, a zombie apocalypse has overwhelmed the city, but Shaun is too busy dealing with his hangover to notice. He and Ed discover a female zombie in their backyard, but assume she is just drunk until she survives being impaled on a pipe. Another zombie makes its way into the garden, and Shaun and Ed run back inside. They learn more about the outbreak by watching the news and kill the two zombies (and another zombie that slips in through the front door) with blows to the head. The two decide to rescue Shaun’s mother, Barbara (Penelope Wilton), and Liz so they can wait out the crisis in the Winchester.
Shaun and Ed escape in Pete’s car and pick up Barbara and Phillip — who has been bitten — and then switch vehicles after Ed deliberately crashes Pete’s car for Phillip’s Jaguar. They then head over to Liz, Dianne, and David’s flat and collect them. On their way to the Winchester, Phillip makes peace with Shaun, dies from his bites, and then reanimates — forcing them to abandon the vehicle and set off on foot. The streets surrounding the pub are overrun, so the group pretends to be zombies to sneak past them, but Shaun gets into an argument with Ed and breaks their cover. Shaun leads the horde away while the rest take refuge in the pub. Shaun rejoins them after losing the zombies.
shaun-of-the-dead
Several hours later, the zombies return; Shaun discovers the Winchester rifle above the bar is functional and the group uses it to defend themselves. Barbara reveals she was bitten along the way and dies, and a distraught Shaun is forced to shoot her after she reanimates. David is then pulled through a window and torn apart by the zombies, and Dianne frantically unbolts the front door to rescue him, disappearing into the advancing horde. Pete arrives as one of the zombies and bites Ed; Shaun kills Pete and sets fire to the bar, but also sets off the remaining rifle ammunition by accident. The survivors flee into the cellar and contemplate suicide, but discover a barrel hatch elevator that opens to the outside. Shaun and Liz escape on the elevator as Ed is left behind with the rifle. Back on the street, the British Army arrives and guns down the remaining zombies, rescuing the two. The couple approach the safety of the trucks, reconciled. Six months after the outbreak, civilization has returned to normal, but the living now use the zombies as cheap labour and entertainment. Liz has moved in with Shaun, and Shaun keeps Ed — now a zombie — tethered in the backyard shed so they can play video games together.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are both brilliant in this spoof of the zombie genre. If you are into zombie films, or comedy, then you will enjoy this film. It is a well made film that dosen’t fail to bring a smile to anybody who watches it.

REVIEW: POKÈMON: DETECTIVE PIKACHU

Starring

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Justice Smith (Paper Towns)
Kathryn Newton (The Society)
Suki Waterhouse (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)
Omar Chaparro (Overboard)
Chris Geere (After Earth)
Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Rita Ora (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Karan Soni (Deadpool)
Josette Simon (Wonder Woman)
Ryoma Takeuchi (Kamen Rider Drive)

Ryan Reynolds, Kathryn Newton, and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)In the Pokémon universe, Tim Goodman is a 21-year-old insurance appraiser who has given up Pokémon training due to the death of his mother and the absence of his father, Harry. He travels to Ryme City – a metropolis where humans and Pokémon live together as equals – to collect Harry’s assets following his apparent death in a car crash. In Harry’s apartments, Tim encounters a deerstalker-clad Pikachu that can speak and only he can somehow understand; the pair then escape from an attack by a throng of Aipom[c] under the influence of an “R”-labeled purple gas that Tim accidentally released upon inspection. Ryan Reynolds, Kathryn Newton, and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)They take shelter at a café where Pikachu reveals that he is an amnesiac detective who was Harry’s police partner, and that they were investigating a case together when Harry disappeared. They look for Lucy Stevens, a fluff columnist and aspiring reporter suspicious of Harry’s death, who Tim had previously encountered. She leads Pikachu and Tim to Ryme Wharf and, after interrogating a Mr. Mime there, are directed to an illegal Pokemon fighting arena owned by Sebastian. He demands a rematch with Pikachu, who previously defeated Sebastian’s Charizard. However, after Sebastian gives Charizard a dose of the R gas, Tim attempts to save Pikachu during the rematch after it becomes obvious that Pikachu cannot remember how to use his electric powers. Sebastian then mishandles the R gas and accidentally releases it into the stadium, causing havoc. Sebastian tells Tim that he got the R gas from “the doctor”.Ryan Reynolds in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)After confronting police lieutenant Hideo Yoshida about Harry’s apparent death and the possibility of his survival, Tim and Pikachu are brought before Ryme City’s benefactor Howard Clifford by his bodyguard Ms. Norman, who reveals to them that Harry indeed survived his car crash, which was caused by an attack from a recently escaped Mewtwo, which took him away and left Pikachu with amnesia. Howard warns them of his son, Roger, who he claims is in de facto control of his company and the city.Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)Pikachu and Tim recruit Lucy and her Psyduck on an expedition to the lab facility Harry was investigating, where they learn Sebastian’s “doctor”, Ann Laurent, was a researcher aided by Harry, who had been experimenting on Mewtwo, recaptured after escaping 20 years earlier. They are soon attacked by several Greninja who chase them out of the building, but are fended off by Psyduck. They then escape a field of colossal Torterra, but Pikachu is gravely injured. Tim manages to communicate with a Bulbasaur and takes Pikachu to a clearing in the forest where they are greeted by Mewtwo, who heals Pikachu and restores some of his memories, which show that he was the one who released Mewtwo from the lab. Mewtwo attempts to reveal its intent, but is captured by Roger. Thinking that he betrayed Harry to a vengeful Mewtwo, Pikachu leaves Tim while the others return to Ryme City to warn Howard. Pikachu comes across the area where Harry’s car crash occurred, and finds evidence that the Greninja attacked Harry, not Mewtwo.Ryan Reynolds in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)Tim reaches Howard, but learns too late that he intends to transfer his consciousnesses into Mewtwo and use its powers to fuse Pokémon with their owners, with the assistance of the R gas, believing that he will help both species to reach the next stage of their evolution. Howard also explains that he hired Harry to help capture and experiment on Mewtwo in order to perfect the mind transfer device under the guise of finding a cure for Howard’s deteriorating health, but Harry and Pikachu began to figure out what was really going on and helped Mewtwo escape, so Howard had him killed. Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)Tim also learns that “Roger” and Ms. Norman have both actually been the same shape-shifting Ditto, with the real Roger having been tied up, gagged, and hidden. As Howard in Mewtwo’s body starts fusing humans with Pokémon, Pikachu arrives and finally summons his electricity powers to battle Mewtwo, Tim defeat Ditto by spreading R gas cylinder to Ditto and fending off Mewtwo long enough for Tim to free Mewtwo from Howard’s control. Mewtwo restores everyone to normal while Howard is arrested by the police. Ryan Reynolds in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)After Lucy and Tim make plans to celebrate, it is revealed that Mewtwo had kept Harry’s body and fused his consciousnesses with Pikachu’s because he was injured from the crash after Pikachu begged Mewtwo to help him, losing both their own memories by result. Mewtwo states that while it still thinks humanity is evil, this ordeal has taught it that not all humans are bad. After Mewtwo unfuses and restores them and leaves, a fully revived Harry offers Tim the chance to return home, but Tim decides to stay in order to learn how to become a detective and spend time with him and Pikachu.Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)Detective Pikachu stays true to its source material, and it tells a heart-warming story, accompanied with great visuals and some great comedy. If something, this movie might have broken the bad quality videogame-based movies

REVIEW: JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

CAST

Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class)
Eleanor Tomlinson (The White Queen)
Stanley Tucci (The LVoely Bones)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Ewan McGregor (Big Fish)
Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes)
Ewen Bremner (Wonder Woman)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Ralph Brown (Alien 3)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)
Tandi Wright (Power Rangers SPD)

In the Kingdom of Cloister, Jack, a young farm boy, is fascinated by the legend of Erik, an ancient king who defeated an army of invading giants from a realm in the sky by controlling them with a magical crown. At the same time, Princess Isabelle becomes fascinated with the same legend.Ten years later, Jack goes into town to sell his horse to support his uncle’s farm. There, Jack spots Isabelle and becomes enamored with her after defending her honor from a group of hooligans. Meanwhile, Lord Roderick returns to his study, only to find that a monk has robbed him. The monk offers Jack some magic beans he stole from Roderick as collateral for Jack’s horse. Back at the castle, Isabelle quarrels with her father King Brahmwell as she wants to explore the kingdom, but he wants her to stay and marry Roderick. Likewise, Jack’s uncle scolds him for being foolish before throwing the beans on the floor and leaving the house.Determined to be free, Isabelle sneaks out of the castle and seeks shelter from the rain in Jack’s house. As it rains, one of the beans takes root and grows into a massive beanstalk that carries the house and Isabelle into the sky as Jack falls to the ground. Jack, Roderick, and Roderick’s attendant Wicke volunteer to join the king’s knights, led by Elmont and his second in-command, Crawe, and climb the beanstalk in search of Isabelle. As they climb, Roderick and Wicke cut the safety rope, intentionally killing some of the knights. At the top, they discover the giants’ realm and decide to split into two groups: one with Jack, Elmont, and Crawe, and the other including Roderick and Wicke, but not before Roderick forcibly takes the remaining beans from Jack (although Jack manages to save one for himself).Jack’s group is trapped by a giant, who takes everyone prisoner except Jack. Meanwhile, Roderick’s group encounters two other giants; one eats Wicke, but before the other can do the same to Roderick, Roderick dons the magic crown. Jack follows the giant to their stronghold, where the two-headed giant leader, Fallon, has killed Crawe. Jack finds Isabelle and Elmont imprisoned there. As the giants prepare to kill their remaining prisoners, Roderick walks in and enslaves the giants with the crown. He tells the giants they will attack Cloister at dawn and gives them permission to eat Isabelle and Elmont. Jack rescues Isabelle and Elmont as one of the giants prepares to cook Elmont as a pig-in-a-blanket. The trio makes for the beanstalk, where Jack causes the giant guarding the beanstalk to fall off the realm’s edge. Seeing the giant’s body, Brahmwell orders the beanstalk cut down to avoid an invasion by the giants.Jack and Isabelle head down the beanstalk, while Elmont stays to confront Roderick. Elmont kills Roderick, but Fallon takes the crown before Elmont can claim it, and Elmont is forced to escape down the beanstalk. Jack, Isabelle, and Elmont all survive the fall after the beanstalk is cut down. As everyone returns home, Jack warns that the giants are using Roderick’s beans to create beanstalks to descend down to Earth and attack Cloister. The giants chase Jack, Isabelle, and Brahmwell into the castle, where Elmont fills the moat with oil and sets it on fire. Fallon falls in the moat and breaks into the castle from below. As the siege continues, Fallon captures Jack and Isabelle, but Jack throws the final bean down Fallon’s throat, causing a beanstalk to rip apart his body. Jack takes the crown and sends the giants back to their realm. Jack and Isabelle marry and tell the story of the giants to their children. As time passes, the magic crown is crafted into St Edward’s Crown and is secured in the Tower of London.This was a lot better than I was expecting, so that was quite a pleasant surprise.  I was prepared to make an early exit from watching the retelling of another favourite fairy tale. But it was actually done very well, with a wonderfully impressive CGI beanstalk and superb giants. All in all, it was a very enjoyable film to watch.

 

REVIEW: ABOUT TIME

Starring

Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Rachel McAdams (Doctor Strange)
Bill Nighy (Dad’s Army)
Tom Hollander (Byzantium)
Lindsay Duncan (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Lydia Wilson (Never Let Me Go)
Richard Cordery (Les Miserables)
Joshua McGuire (Get Santa)
Tom Hughes (Victoria)
Vanessa Kirby (Kill Command)
Will Merrick (Skins)
Lisa Eichhorn (The Confessions)
Richard Griffiths (Hugo)
Richard E. Grant (Logan)

Rachel McAdams in About Time (2013)Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) is a young man from Cornwall. He grows up in a house by the sea with his father (Bill Nighy), his mother (Lindsay Duncan), his absent-minded maternal uncle (Richard Cordery), and his free-spirited sister, Katherine (Lydia Wilson), who is known to family and friends as Kit Kat. At the age of 21, Tim is told by his father that the men of his family have a special gift: the ability to travel in time. This supernatural ability is subject to one constraint: they can only travel to places and times they have been before. After his father discourages Tim from using his gift to acquire money or fame, he decides that he will use it to improve his love life.Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson in About Time (2013)The following summer, Kit Kat’s friend Charlotte (Margot Robbie) comes to the house in order to spend her holiday with Tim’s family. Tim is instantly attracted to her and at the end of her stay decides to tell her how he feels. She tells him that he should not have waited until the last day, that perhaps if he had told her earlier, something could have happened between them. Tim travels back in time and, the second time around, tells Charlotte in the middle of the holiday how he feels. In this instance, Charlotte uses the exact opposite excuse, saying that it would be better if they waited until the last day of the holiday, and then something could potentially happen between them. Heartbroken, Tim realizes that Charlotte is not interested in him and that time travel will not make it possible for him to change her mind.Rachel McAdams in About Time (2013)After the summer, Tim moves to London to pursue a career as a lawyer. He is put up by his father’s old acquaintance, Harry (Tom Hollander), a misanthropic playwright. After some months, Tim visits a Dans le Noir restaurant, where he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), a young American woman who works for a publishing house. The two flirt in the darkness of the restaurant, and afterward, Mary gives Tim her phone number. Tim returns home to find a distraught Harry. It turns out that the same night as he met Mary, the opening night of Harry’s new play had been ruined by one of the actors forgetting his lines at a crucial point. Tim goes back in time to put things right and the play is a triumph.Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson in About Time (2013)Having saved Harry’s opening night, Tim tries to call Mary, but discovers that her number is no longer in his mobile phone. By going back in time to help Harry, Tim chose a path in which the evening with Mary never happened. However, he recalls that Mary was obsessed with Kate Moss. By attending a Kate Moss exhibition in town, he is able to run into Mary again. He strikes up an acquaintance with her but discovers she now has a boyfriend. Tim finds out when and where they met, turns up early and persuades her to leave the party before she can meet her future boyfriend. Their relationship develops and Tim moves in with Mary. He encounters Charlotte again by accident, and this time she tells him that she would be interested in pursuing a romantic liaison with him. Tim turns her down, realising that he is truly in love with Mary. He proposes marriage; she accepts and is welcomed into his family. Their first child, Posy, is born. Kit Kat has not been so lucky and her unhappy relationship, failure to find a career, and drinking lead her to crash her car on the same day as Posy’s first birthday.ay_117640103Kit Kat is seriously hurt but begins to make a good recovery. Tim decides to intervene in her life and does so by preventing her from meeting her boyfriend, Jimmy (Tom Hughes). When he returns to the present, he finds Posy has never been born and that he has a son instead. His father explains that travelling back to change things before his children were born would mean those children would not be born. Thus, any events that occurred before Posy’s birth cannot be changed, and Tim must accept the consequences as a normal person would. Tim accepts he cannot change Kit Kat’s life by changing her past but he and Mary help her to change her life in the present. She settles down with an old friend of Tim’s and has a child of her own. Tim and Mary have another child, a baby boy.Film_2013_AboutTime_MovieClip_05Tim learns that his father has terminal cancer and that time travel cannot change it. His father has known for quite some time, but kept travelling back in time to effectively extend his life and spend more time with his family. He tells Tim to live each day twice in order to be truly happy: the first time, live it as normal, and the second time, live every day again almost exactly the same. The first time with all the tensions and worries that keep us from noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing. Tim follows this advice and also travels back into the past to visit his father whenever he misses him.About-Time-2013-Movie-WallpapersMary tells Tim she wants a third child. He is reluctant at first because he will not be able to visit his father after the baby is born but agrees. After visiting his father for the following nine months, Tim tells his father that he cannot visit any more. They travel back to when Tim was a small boy, reliving a fond memory of them playing on the beach, and afterwards have a heartfelt, tearful goodbye. Mary gives birth to another baby girl, and Tim knows he can never see his father again. After reliving each day, Tim comes to realise that it is better to live each day once, and appreciate everything as if he is living it for the second time. The film ends with Tim leaving Mary in bed and getting his three children ready for school.2211575The acting is solid, and Rachel McAdams is lovely and inspiring. The rest of the actors are amazing as well, and you want to believe that it is all real. But the story itself can be so unbelievable. Just go with it.  I enjoyed About Time immensely, and I could watch it again

REVIEW: UNDERWORLD 3: RISE OF THE LYCANS

underworld 3

CAST

Rhona Mitra (Shooter)
Michael Sheen (Kingdom of Heaven)
Bill Nighy (Wrath of The Titans)
Steven Mackintosh (Kick-Ass 2)
Kevin Grevioux (I, Frankenstein)
Elizabeth Hawthrone (Cleopatra 2525)
Mark Mitchinson (Power Rangers Dino Supercharge)
Tania Nolan (Step Dave)
Craig Parker (Reign)
Jared Turner (30 Days of Night)
Kate Beckinsale (Total Recall)
Shane Brolly (Spread)
Jason Hood (Spartacus: Gods of The Arena)
Mark Mitchinson (Filthy Rich NZ)

The film tells the story of Lucian, the first werewolf born capable of taking human form and the first to be called a Lycan. Viktor, a vampire elder, raises the child, and envisions a race of Lycan slaves that could guard the coven’s fortress during the day and be used as laborers by the vampires at night. The forests and the countryside are indeed filled with savage werewolves born from William’s rampage, and human nobles have taken to asking Viktor for protection against the beasts, protection Viktor grants in exchange for a tribute of silver, with which to keep his slaves under control. As Lucian grows up, he and Viktor’s daughter Sonja (Rhona Mitra) fall in love and begin a secretive intimate relationship in their adult years. Sonja is reckless and insubordinate, and one night Lucian escapes and rescues Sonja from his werewolf brethren. Viktor, despite acknowledging that Lucian saved his daughter, cannot forgive the escape and locks Lucian away.eacd25dc-2102-4b51-bca1-ad171b740118With the help of Andreas Tanis, Sonja orchestrates Lucian’s release in exchange for her seat on the vampire council. Lucian, unable to flee alone, decides to escape after liberating all of the other Lycans. Sonja remains behind but will meet Lucian in three days. While preparing to leave she is visited by her father. Viktor asks if she assisted in Lucian’s escape, and although she denies it, he discovers the real truth after biting her neck and reading her memories through her blood. Discovering her relationship with Lucian, he then imprisons her. Meanwhile, in the forest, Lucian recruits both human slaves and werewolves to form a force against the vampires. In the fortress, the vampire council and nobles demand that Viktor recapture Lucian, as his Lycans have been attacking human estates and freeing their slaves and offering them immortality as Lycans themselves. Viktor replies that he is confident Lucian will return as he has something Lucian wants, Sonja.MV5BM2Y1MTNjODYtZGNkNi00NzhjLTliNTAtYmViOGRiNWM1NmJhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjUyNDk2ODc@._V1_Lucian learns about Sonja’s imprisonment and eventually rescues her from her room but they are stopped from escaping by Viktor. Sonja, hoping to spare Lucian’s life, reveals to Viktor that she is pregnant with Lucian’s child. Disgusted, Viktor overpowers her and imprisons both her and Lucian. Sonja is unanimously sentenced to death by the council at a trial presided over by her father, and is executed by exposure to sunlight in Lucian’s presence. Viktor later visits her body and retrieves her pendant.

Lucian tries to escape the fortress but his attempt is thwarted by the Death Dealers; Lucian, now able to communicate with and control the wild werewolves, summons them to storm the fortress. In the melee, the Vampire Council members are killed along with their aides and lesser vampire nobles. When realizing that Viktor intends to flee, Lucian pursues him, and they fight. Lucian manages to trap Viktor by exposing him to shafts of sunlight and then stabs Viktor through the mouth with a sword and pushes his body down into a nearby body of water. With the battle over, Lucian’s deputy Raze declares that “it is finished”, but Lucian realizes this victory is only the beginning of what will become a war between the races.

The film’s coda reveals that Viktor has survived his wound, has made it onto a vampire ship fleeing the fortress, and is sealed into an elder hibernation chamber by Tanis. Also, the opening scene of the first Underworld film is shown, with the voice of vampire Kraven (Shane Brolly) revealing to Selene (Kate Beckinsale) that Viktor had killed her family, not the Lycans, but had spared her life because she reminded him of his executed daughter Sonja; Selene, unaware of the truth, dismisses Kraven’s statement as “lies”.This film fills in some gaps, most of which we didn’t know existed until this film. This stands alone as a pretty good film,. When you view this as part of the trilogy it considerably increases the viewer experience. Sheen and Nighy impress, Sheen is a hero without being too heroic, and Nighy is superbly creepy. The blood spurting action is there, but there’s a meaningful story too.

REVIEW: UNDERWORLD 2: EVOLUTION

CAST

Kate Beckinsale (Total Recall)
Scott Speedman (The Vow)
Bill Nighy (Wrath of The Titans)
Tony Curran (Gladiator)
Derek Jacobi (The King’s Speech)
Sophia Myles (Transformers 4)
Steven Mackintosh (Kick-Ass 2)
Shane Brolly (Spread)
Briane Steele (Hellboy)
Zita Gorog (8mm 2)
Michael Sheen (Kingdom of Heaven)
John Mann (Dark Angel)
Sean Rogerson (Grave Encounters)
Adrian Hough (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Andrew Kavadas (Ninja Turtles@ The Next Mutation)
Michasha Armstrong (Chaos)

In 1202, an army led by the three vampire elders (Markus, Viktor, and Amelia) arrives at a Lycan-ravaged village. Viktor and Amelia capture their target, Markus’ brother, William Corvinus, the first and most powerful werewolf. Despite Markus’ defiance, Viktor orders that William be imprisoned in a secret location forever.

In the present day, vampire Selene takes Michael to a safe house so that she can confront the vampire regent Kraven; she knows that Kraven intends to kill Markus and plans to stop him. However, Markus has awakened before Kraven arrives. Markus kills Kraven and his men. Lorenz Macaro, an elderly man, sends in a team of “cleaners” to investigate the aftermath from the battle in the Lycans’ lair. When Lorenz Macaro examines Viktor’s corpse he finds a metal disc inside it which is the match to a pendant originally worn by Sonja. The other half of the pendant is now possessed by Selene and Michael after the deaths of Viktor and Lucian.

Markus tracks Selene and Michael down and attacks them, but they evade him and hide in a warehouse. There, Selene and Michael share their feelings and have passionate sex together. Now knowing that the pendant is important to Markus, Michael and Selene set out to discover why Markus wants it. Selene recalls that she saw it as a child, but does not know its significance. They travel to the hideout of the exiled vampire historian Andreas Tanis who reveals that Markus was the first vampire; one of the three sons of Alexander Corvinus, the first immortal. Markus was bitten by a bat and became a vampire, while his twin brother William was bitten by a wolf and became a werewolf. The third son remained human and gave rise to a line of mortal descendants including Michael who became the first Lycan–Vampire hybrid. The first werewolves created by William were entirely animal and unable to assume human form. Due to William’s destructiveness, Markus approached Viktor, who was a dying mortal warlord at the time, and offered to turn him and his army into immortal vampires in exchange for tracking down and stopping William, and in destroying those he had infected.

Viktor did not kill the brothers because he was deceived by Markus into believing that doing so would result in the immediate extinction of all other vampires and his Lycan slaves. Tanis reveals that Selene’s father was the architect who built William’s prison and that the pendant is the key. Viktor killed Selene’s family as they knew the prison’s location, but turned Selene into a vampire so the memory of the prison’s location would be kept in her blood. Tanis then refers Selene and Michael to Macaro for help. After Selene and Michael leave Tanis’ residence, Markus arrives and drinks Tanis’ blood to learn Selene and Michael’s location, killing Tanis.

Selene and Michael visit Macaro and discover that he actually is Alexander Corvinus. Alexander reveals that he has devoted his entire immortal life to keeping the Vampire-Lycan war a secret. However, he refuses to assist Selene in killing his sons. Then Markus arrives, impaling Michael and learns the location of William’s prison by drinking Selene’s blood. He mortally wounds his father and obtains the other half of the pendant, after deriding his father’s refusal to help William and revealing that he intends with William to rule the world as the god-like master of a race of vampire-Lycan hybrids. On Alexander’s bidding, Selene drinks his blood, enhancing her physical strength and healing abilities to a level equivalent to that of a hybrid. Afterwards, Alexander blows up his ship, killing himself.

Selene, aboard Corvinus’ helicopter, leads his cleaners to the prison to confront and destroy Markus, but he has already freed William. A battle ensues in which William bites the cleaners who, as a result, are turned into werewolves. Michael, who is presumed to be dead and is carried aboard the helicopter, regenerates and joins the fight in his hybrid form, killing William by ripping his head off. Selene engages Markus in hand-to-hand combat, killing him by kicking him into the rotor blades of the cleaners’ crashed helicopter. After the battle, Selene realizes that Alexander’s blood has made her immune to the lethal effects of sunlight on vampires.

Like the first film in the series, Evolution is a dark, Gothic film with elaborate sets, props, and costuming. The acting (one again) is top notch and the script highly intriguing! The story/plot of Evolution is just a wonderful as the first film in the series. So much action to watch, a superb story and fine performances by all.