Ultraviolet? No, Ultracrappy.

I’m typically not a hater, because there’s so much good stuff out there; I’d rather spend my time praising things I love. Also, film is subjective, and I don’t want to stop you from seeing something you might like. I am making an exception because a) Ebert didn’t review it (they probably didn’t let him screen it), and b) I am very confident you won’t like this film.
     Yes, I do see a lot of art, classic, and independent films, so you might discount my opinion based on that alone. But I have also seen both Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Ok, I didn’t really like those, either, but both are much better films than this. I’ll break it down for you, as spoiler free as possible. Again, when I say something is bad, I mean bad compared to Resident Evil, not Citizen Cane. Heck, not even The Fifth Element.

+ The plot is, “Milla mows down soldiers effortlessly.” That’s pretty much it. Ever play an arcade game with a cheat code that gives you infinite ammo, energy, and lives? It’s kinda like that, only instead of infinite lives, you only get one. So it makes you invincible! This is an action movie with no real conflict. Very shortly into the film, you realize Milla is never in any danger, ever, because she’s just that good. There are other plot points, but they are confusing and poorly explained.
+ The effects are mediocre, except the last sequence, which is really bad. This is probably because they spent all this money on some stupid blur effect on everyone’s face to make them look digitally airbrushed, all the time. I’m sorry, but have you seen Milla Jovovich? Because she’s really hot! She does not need any airbrushing!
+ It appears that camerawork and editing are used to hide lousy fight choreography. However, the movie is only PG-13, so that also may have contributed to the lousy fight choreography.
+ Action heroes spend so much time kicking ass, they don’t have much time to talk. Therefore, it’s crucial that their lines are clever and memorable. Milla gets lines that painfully state the obvious. It would have been better if most of her lines were dropped.
+ If you’re not turned off by now, the only thing that will possibly stop you from seeing this is a reminder that it’s PG-13. That’s right, when she “gets naked”, they make sure you can’t see a darn thing. It’s only there to frustrate you.

So what can you watch instead? Well it turns out the writer/director is not an idiot. He did another action movie set in a future dystopia called Equilibrium. It stars Christian Bale (with a good supporting cast) and it’s actually quite good! It’d probably make a good double feature with Batman Begins. If you were really after Milla, rent The Fifth Element. Yeah, it can be cheesy and over the top (it’s a Luc Besson film, what do you expect?), and Chris Tucker is pretty annoying in it. But it’s also pretty entertaining, and you get a gorgeous 22 year old Milla wearing nothing but a few strips of gauze expertly designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier. I give it 3 thumbs up.

6 thoughts on “Ultraviolet? No, Ultracrappy.”

  1. But, it is Mila!

    Ok, I took the afternoon off work to watch it, so I may have been a bit biased (everything is better when you are supposed to be working). Also, to give some additional perspective to you, I am the founder of the ?sitting on the shitter? school of film, the basic premise of which is based on the fact that a film that was simply Nicole Kidman sitting on the toilet for the entire movie, would still be more enjoyable to watch than much of the garbage produced by the brain-dead writers in Hollywood. Yes, I have a thing for exceedingly beautiful women, and no, I am not German or Japanese, so I don?t really want to view the fruits of her labors. The point of my premise though is that casting is often more important than cinematography or even dialog. MOST actors can?t actually ?act? in my opinion, they just look good on camera being themselves, so the key is to find the right person for each role, then work your magic around them.

    Yes, a good story, nice special effects, editing, and music also add to a good film, but with crappy casting, none of it matters. Sure, there are a few great talents out there that can take any boring story about something I couldn?t care less about and turn it into something I want to watch, but they are sadly in the minority (most recent example of this is ?Walk the Line?). Luckily, some people have ?it? and they can make a movie worthwhile simply by their presence. Hell, Nicole might even be a great actress for all I know, but I can?t pay enough attention to what she is doing or saying usually, as I am just stunned by her charisma.

    Which brings us back to UtraViolet. Yep, parts of that movie made me think ?wow, I could have done better than that?, and I don?t even have a video camera. I agree that blurring Mila is bad, and if I were president, it would be illegal. And you are very correct that the fights were a bit over the top. But it is MILA! She didn?t carry ?The Fifth Element? (every aspect of that movie was perfect in my opinion), but I felt she did carry this one. Not a big surprise considering that the movie was written for her. No, she didn?t make it ?realistic? or ?believable?, but I never heard anyone bitching about that Narnian talking lion or how in a movie about gay cowboys there was no pudding. UtraViolet wasn?t about realism, it was a comic book come to life. It was pure fantasy, which just happened to use genetically modified vampires instead of Harry Potter.

    The big question though is, would I recommend the movie to others. The answer sadly would be no, unless you are able to enjoy a purely fantasy movie with a stunningly beautiful lead. Technically, the movie was mediocre, but there were some original ideas and a new (to me) ?gunkata? style to make for a pleasant and enjoyable escape from reality. If you happen to get out of work to see it, so much the better. If like me, you think Mila?s casting as the ?perfect being? in The Fifth Element was genius, then yes, it is one to catch. So, even though I agree with much of your review, I think that there may be more to offer than you suggest, and for some of us, this was a very enjoyable movie. If you are still on the fence though, there is always Netflix!

  2. Yes, Milla is hot. I have many images of her on my hard drive to prove it. And I don’t have a problem with *her*, I have a problem with the movie. I guess technically, I have a problem with her recent movie choices, but she probably watched Equilibrium and The Recruit (which Wimmer wrote) and thought, “What could go wrong?” I can’t blame her for that.

    I will grant you the gravity thingy was interesting, and at least they explain why the heroine has infinite ammo and weapons, where many films just hope you aren’t paying attention or caring.

    I’m glad you brought up the comic book thing, because that also annoyed me. Ultraviolet is not based on a comic book, he just wants you to think it is. After the comic book cover opening credits, I checked very carefully for the required “Based on the comic book Ultraviolet by…” credit. It’s not there, because as you mentioned, the movie was written expressly for Milla.

    This is an important point because comic books have very rich universes of characters and events to draw from. Great comic book characters are shepherded by a team of talented writers and editors. I’m not saying you can’t screw them up (early Batman, anyone?). But I think if Wimmer adapted an existing comic book, he would have made a much better movie.

    I have a conspiracy theory on why the movie sucked so bad, one I think you can relate to. Kurt Wimmer is in love with Milla. He became obsessed with her, and realized she married a previous director (Luc Besson, who directed her in The Fifth Element, then married her and put her in Joan of Arc. Besson is also 16 years her senior). So he decided to make write a movie especially for her that he’d direct, then history would repeat itself and they’d hook up. But he was so distracted by her, constantly daydreaming about what life would be like together, that he turned out a shitty movie. Ok, I’ve got no evidence for any of that. But I still hold to it for one reason.

    It is EXACTLY WHAT I WOULD DO for Keira Knightly, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and several others, I’m sure.

    Sounds reasonable?

  3. As usual, you make some fabulous points. Only flaw in your theory though is, WHY THE HELL IS IT NOT RATED R!!!! I hope that your movies don’t make the same mistake. Don’t hold back on us hoping that your lead will be impressed by your refusal to work blue. The public deserves all those women expressing every aspect of their talent, and any director that purposefully limits their range for their own gain should be forced to make a buddy pick with Pauly Shore and Carrot Top.

  4. Just a quick follow up. I just finished watching Equilibrium, and it did have more plot (executed well by the “actors”), but the special effects were actually a tad worse, and the fighting was just not as fun to watch (go figure, no Mila). The gunkata concept was well developed and portrayed, assuming you have the ability to enjoy fantasy, which I luckily seem to. Overall, I would also suggest it, as there are some good scences and plot twists, and I do think this director will be someone to watch down the road. The lead is also guite good, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they picked him for Batman Begins based on this movie.

  5. Ultra violet apparently started as a British TV
    series, featuring a sub-culture of vampires. Was
    this related to the new movie?? I wonder. And I wonder if there was more subtext there, since TV cannot afford the expensive special effects. Let’s hope they never make a Dr. Who movie and ruin *that* special franchise.

  6. I checked out the Official home page of the miniseries you spoke of:


    It definitely appears to be different. In that series, the good guys (including Coupling’s Jack Davenport) are in an agency to stop the vampires, and use ultraviolet light against them. In Ultraviolet the movie, sunlight doesn’t hurt them, and the title simply comes from the heroine’s name – she’s “ultra” Violet. Also, she’s a hemophage, i.e. vampire. I could go on, but I think it’s clear that they are unrelated. Sharp eye for catching that, though, you’re the first person I’ve heard mention the miniseries. Word is that it might make it to the SciFi channel

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