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"Ultraviolet" needs light (firefly & serenity & whedon mentions)

Theresa Smith

Friday 28 July 2006, by Webmaster

The trick to turning out a good sci-fi film is to present a reality just enough out of the ordinary to be intriguing, but still real enough for the viewer to identify with.

Some get it right but there are many more filmmakers who get it horribly wrong, as Kurt Wimmer does in this week’s sci-fi release Ultraviolet, starring Milla Jovovich.

Jovovich did "Saviour of the World" so much better in Fifth Element. Not only was she much more believable, but so was everyone else. The storyline was fairly simple but better direction, visual effects that supported instead of dictated and a cohesive style added to a film that is still, almost ten years later, not only watchable, but watchable again and again.

Of course, Leeloo (Jovovich’s character in Fifth Element), isn’t the only strong female lead in sci-fi films. You need look no further than Ripley to find some really good sci-fi performances.

Aliens is one of the few films which actually surpassed the original film, not only as a sequel but as a really good stand-alone film. Even if number four wasn’t that great - despite the help of screenwriter Jos Whedon, the three other films were good because they had strong storylines, which were supported by credible acting and convincing special effects.

Whedon had much better success with last year’s Serenity, the film which followed on the aborted television series Firefly.

When Firefly was canned mid-series, it was a good index of audience power; the fans lobbied the distribution company and made such a nuisance of themselves that the powers-that-be had no choice but to throw plenty of money at Whedon to make him go away (and make Serenity, which is funny, smart and visually appealing).

Strangely, the South African distributor decided to release Serenity straight to DVD (despite it knocking Pride and Prejudice off the top of the UK box office), yet they released Ultraviolet on the main circuit, so there’s probably not a sci-fi fan on their decision-making panel.

While it is extremely unfair to compare Ultraviolet to such a classic as, say, Blade Runner, in comparison to a recent turkey such as "The Curse of the Best Actress Oscar" aka AEon Flux, it still comes off second best.

It even looks poor when compared to the other Jovovich sci-fi hiccup, Resident Evil.

Vampire nuts might be intrigued by the fact that Ultraviolet is also about a human bloodsucker. But again, there are plenty of vamp films out there which are more interesting to watch.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is way ahead in the better movie stakes (pun intended) and anything starring Bela Lugosi is great, but if you want something more contemporary then get From Dusk till Dawn.

Netrumour has it that Quentin Tarantino specifically wrote himself into the role just so he could drink beer off Salma Hayek’s body. Considering the foot fetish he denies (ja right, tell that to Uma Thurman) it wouldn’t be surprising if that was true.

Kate Beckinsale has refused to make an Underworld III (thank heavens!) but the first two have way more style, and substance, than Ultraviolet.

Though a bit shy on the logic (for instance, where do the werewolves gain the bulk when they transform?) they are still imminently more watchable as far as sci-fi/vampire fun is concerned.