Friday, February 5, 2010

Technically, now it's Overworld

We have, in the past, compared the Underworld films to The Chronicles of Riddick; indeed, how could we not?  It takes a special kind of talent to miserably fail to produce a good film and still wind up with something transcendentally entertaining.  Though, for all Underworld's charm, it has never managed to reach the heights of Riddick.
Perhaps, the producers must have mused, it would help if the next installment took place in outer space.
We can only surmise this was the logic being employed in the planning of the fourth Underworld production.  If one could create CG werewolves and vampires, then place them in space, the movie - at least on paper - could conceivably compete with The Chronicles of Riddick.  After all, what are Necromongers but space vampires?  What is Riddick but the last space-werewolf?
There are problems with such parallels, of course, as the films are inspired by very different sources.  While Riddick was clearly an idea formed during a game of Dungeons & Dragons (Vin Diesel has more or less said as much), the ideas forming the backbone of Underworld have their nexus in Vampire: The Masquerade.  One is a tabletop game; the other works best as a LARP.  And, more to the point, the former represents a more traditional conception of the geek, while the latter incorporates a slightly more gothic aesthetic (though still fundamentally geeky in nature: we would not discuss it otherwise).
Even so, could an Underworld movie, set in space and rendered in three dimensions, actually supplant The Chronicles of Riddick as the archetype of brilliantly bad movies?  Transcribed to mathematics, the numerology seems to add up.  But there is more than science to such things: to truly build a movie of the quality we are describing, one would need to fail artistically, as well.  Even then, the movie would need to exceed our expectations.
Otherwise, the best they could hope for would be another Avatar.

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