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!
August 22, 2011 @ 2:29 am
For a while now, TMBTM has been creating alternate takes rather than fixes to movies we love. What he does is he creates an alternate watching experience rather than try to fix broken movies; a way for us to appreciate movies we already knew in an entirely different light.
With Underworld Temptation, TMBTM achieves this on two levels: first by rescoring the movie – what he had already attempted with his Conan: Manowar fanedit – and second by combining two movies: Underworld 1 and 3. And he does it with a master’s hand.
The first part of the fanedit is based on Underworld 3 and the story of Lucien and Viktor, all newly scored with music from the band “Within Temptation”. Everything flowed beautifully and I was blown away more than once by how well the new score married what was seen on the screen, right down to the lyrics. It was almost as if that combination was meant to be and I couldn’t help but be moved by the romantiscism of it all, often forgetting that I was watching a fanedit.
The second part jumps to the modern age and is mostly based on the first Underworld movie which continues the tale begun in the first part but a couple of centuries later. Although done with skill, it didn’t work as well for me as it couldn’t match the romantiscism of the first part. I found the music didn’t go as well with the modern technology shown and perhaps, as well, the directing style which was much more in your face. I felt Within Temptation’s style clashed with the editing style as well (the original – not TMBTM’s) and didn’t provide as satisfying an experience as in the first part.
But overall this was a great movie experience. Of course some dialog is a little muffled by the music; some of the sound effects are sometimes a little low… This is all nitpicking as I don’t think it could possibly have been done better considering the source material. All in all, I was very entertained and that is the essence of why we watch movies.
I give this fanedit an 8/10.
Great job, TMBTM!
October 11, 2011 @ 7:50 pm
The Ugly West (\Harmonica\) and Jaws The Sharkploitation version are two of my favourite fanedits – period. So, whenever TMBTM announces his latest venture it goes without saying that I look forward to the day it sees release with the kind of excitement my 4 year old nephew exudes when he gets the latest Power Rangers figure (and there’s me thinking they stopped making Power Rangers years ago!).
Perhaps more than any of his previous edits, Underworld Temptation intrigued me the most. I had not seen his highly praised Conan Manowar edit, so I was a little in the dark as to just what to expect with Temptation. However, I did actually know the band Within Temptation, having purchased their impressive Silent Force album, so in terms of the style of music which would be overlaying all the werewolf/vampire action I more or less knew what to expect. The thing which would be most interesting however is just how well the music would link with the images on screen and most vitally, the story itself. Plus, I have always wanted to do a fanedit which uses rock music in this fashion (most probably using the Finnish band, Nightwish), so I couldn’t wait to see the result.
Combining the prequel Rise of The Lycans with the original Underworld movie actually makes perfect sense. Like many people point out, if you’ve seen the first Underworld then the prequel is very much an anti-climax, as like all prequels you more or less know exactly where they are heading. No such exception here, but by splicing the movies together to form Underworld Temptation, Rise of the Lycans in particular comes out very well indeed. Certainly it’s during this section of the edit where TMBTM is at his best. The use of songs by Within Temptation work far better than I could have dreamed possible, even if they do begin to blend into one another to the extent where anyone who isn’t a fan of the band would be forgiven for having trouble telling where one ends and the other begins.
It doesn’t quite work as well when we go forward in time and are introduced to Kate Beckinsale’s character, with the footage from Underworld seeming quite rushed and you can actually tell that there’s a substantial amount missing here, unlike in the first part of the edit where I was hard pressed to feel like anything was out of kilter. This comes to a head when Selene (Beckinsale) suddenly falls big time for Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman). Such is the amount of material cut from the film, that when we suddenly find out they are in love, it’s like…\ummm, o k a y…\ I can see what TMBTM was trying to do in keeping the running time down, but it’s a part of the edit which stuck out like a sore thumb for me.
On the audio editing front, apart from one drop-out I noticed, this is damn near perfect. For some, perhaps the music overpowers the dialogue in a few scenes, but I believe for an edit so heavily intended to be reliant on the music of a band like Within Temptation, it’s right for it be so prominent in the mix. I was also impressed by the scenes where the \original\ audio track from the film has been filtered so that the background music which was there is basically removed, but the dialogue remains – ok, you can tell the dialogue sounds a little bit different to normal, but it works very well. It’s a technique I so want to learn for future edits ;) Anyway, this gets a 9/10 for me.
Picture quality – again, more or less perfect. Both are dark movies, but scenes are all perfectly visible and blacks pretty solid. 9/10
Editing – overall very impressive, but there are a couple of moments which let this drop from the high standards TMBTM has set on previous edits. Most noticeably, the aforementioned cutting of scenes from the original Underworld film which render the Selene falls for Corvin scene as very unbelievable. Because of this, I would award a 8/10.
Overall then, whilst Underworld Temptation does not reach the giddy heights of Jaws or Harmonica for me, it nevertheless remains a fanedit of high quality and makes for a perfect Friday night movie. Put it this way. If there were such a a thing as a fanedit film festival, this would certainly have to be on the bill and would be a perfect way to kick start proceedings. Congratulations TMBTM. A very solid 8.5/10 for me.