July 07, 2012
August 21, 2011 @ 6:23 pm
a review of
WARNING: This review may contain spoilers!
I always find myself looking forward to a TMBTM edit. I find his approach to Fan Editing to be very fresh and entertaining. Most of his edits are never really about trying to “fix” a movie or trying to create a new “definite version”, they are more about taking something we all know really well and giving it a new alternate original fun spin. His edits of Jaws, Star Wars, Conan and Once Upon a Time in the West, are all wonderful examples of this, and his latest edit, UNDERWORLD TEMPTATION, wonderfully continues this tradition.
Using the prequel UNDERWORLD 3 as the core driving storyline, combining it with the original UNDERWORLD, and augmenting the entire movie with a new symphonic metal/rock score by the Dutch band WITHIN TEMPTATION, TMBTM tells the story of Lucien and Viktor as though it were an epic rock opera. It is a bold and exciting idea for an fan edit!
And for me, for the most part, it works very well. Actually, some parts are absolutey stunning and brilliant, equal to or surpassing any professional production! While there are a few parts that feel somewhat disjointed or overly editted. And that is the issue I kept finding myself facing when trying to decide how to write this review, how the Parts of the edit affect the movie as a Whole.
Let’s start some of the simple, easy and obvious stuff. The dvd design is truly beautiful. I loved it. The music choice is perfect, the graphics are a delight, and layout is simple and effective, with some nice bonus features. The techinical editting is exceptional. The picture quality is gorgeous. The audio is tricky, in some sequences I think the new soundtrack should have been dialed down a bit more. In the scenes where there is dialogue, there were a several occassion where I had trouble discerning what the characters were saying and I had to rewind as the Within Temptation score was too loud and distracting.
In specific regards to the new WITHIN TEMPTATION soundtrack….. all I can say is WOW! I had never heard of this band before and had no idea what to expect. I was utterly stunned. It is Epic, Emotional and Engaging. It’s qualities perfectly lend itself to the Underworld Universe. In fact, many of the selected songs are so pefectly edited into the movie, that if I had not known before hand, I would have assumed they were composed as part of the original movie. High praise indeed! In fact, TMBTM’s talented editting skills truly shine through on this edit, even more so than his previous Conan Man ‘o War edit. He has crafted some utterly beautiful and jaw dropping moments in this edit, giving many scenes a new and more powerful emotional resonance through his slick editting and new soundtrack. In this respect, I can not sing his praises loud enough. BRAVO TMBTM!
On the flipside regarding the new soundtrack, it is VERY EPIC, EMOTIONAL, AND LOUD!!! And while it does elevate the material to new heights, it is also EXHAUSTING! This movie is pretty much one continuous Within Temptation soundtrack, with maybe only 3 or 4 minutes at most between the ending of one very loud epic over the top song and the start of another. I found this challenging at times to watch, and to be honest, had to pause the movie several times just to take a quiet breather break before continuing onward. Don’t get me wrong, as I said new music works wonderfully, but I think I LESS might be MORE in this instance. Many times I felt the music overwhelmed the plot. I never felt this way during TMBTM’s Conan edit, but the reason for that is the Conan movie is very simplistic and straightforward. You don’t need alot of dialogue or explaination of things. But the Underworld movies are much more complex and character driven. I think I would have liked a few more quieter moments (or perhaps quieter/softer songs? ) to allow the storyline and characters to flow/breathe a bit more naturally and not begin to feel like I am watching a Within Temptation Music Video Mararthon.
As for the newly crafted narration, it works surprisingly well for the most part when one considers you are combining two movies set in two different time periods told from the point of view of two different narrators. TMBMT smartly opens the Underworld 3 portion with Selene’s opening Voice Over from the original Underworld and then uses the remaining portion of the same monologue for the bridging scene from U3 to U1, thus creating the illusion the entire movie is a tale of Lucien being told by Selene. This is a very clever idea. And again, for the most part I think it works. TMBTM has cut both movies down to their absolute core, chopping each down to about 45-50 minutes. I think the first half works slightly better than the second. As in the second half, TMBTM has the considerable challenge of keeping the movie focused on Lucien and Viktor, and not let it become derailed by Selene and Michael’s story. Thus, TMBTM has cut alot out in order keep Lucien a prominant and driving character, and there were many times I found myself wondering would someone who has never seen an Underworld movie before be able to easily follow the second of half of this edit? I think the big stuff is all there and clear, but many of the facsinating subtle intricacies Vampire/Lycan history and relationships is lost or is muddled. But that is the price one must pay for this type of fan edit.
My biggest nitpick (and also my greatest compliment) is the Lucien/Sonja romance which is suppose to be the foundation and unifying element of this edit. Beware, there will be a big Spoiler it this segment!!!! TMBTM cut the Big Reveal/Love Scene from U3 portion of the movie, and instead inserted it as a partial flashback in the second half of the movie. By doing this, I had great difficulty buying into Lucien and Sonja’s epic love for each other. On the other hand, by intercutting this love scene with Selene and Michael’s kiss to the music “Say My Name”, is wonderfully beautiful, heart wrenching and may be my favorite scene in the entire edit. It is my opinion though, TMBTM should have kept the Lucien/Sonja love scene in its entirety in the first half of the movie, making their romance more real for the audience. IMO it would have made the later flashback scene even more powerful and tragic, and add greater weight to Lucien’s final redemption.
In the end, I really enjoyed this edit. As I said, it is comprised of many brilliant and spellbinding Parts. I think it should be definitely watched by all fan editors. As a Whole, the narration of the second half of the movie becomes a bit disjointed, and there are moments it feels a bit too much like a Music Video rather than Narrative Movie, but I still found myself engaged, if not somewhat exhausted…LOL!
Another great fan edit by TMBTM!