Copyright Screen Gems. 2006.
Years before the cinematic world witnessed the rivalry between vampires and werewolves in the Twilight series (2008-2012), a war was already ongoing in the world of Underworld (2003) and Underworld: Evolution, the latter of which was released ten years ago today.
In both films, the story follows the vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale) as she initially hunts down the Lycans (werewolves) that she believes killed her family. The truth however, is that it was a vampire named Viktor who actually killed her family AND turned her into a vampire, and discovering this truth forces Selene to go on the run. At the end of the first film, Selene is in the company of a man named Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman), a distant descendant of Alexander Corvinus (Derek Jacobi), the first immortal and the father of the progenitors of the vampire and lycan races.
It is revealed that Michael Corvin is actually a hybrid, both vampire AND lycan (because he was bitten by a lycan named Lucian and later by Selene), but he initially rejects this, until he discovers he can no longer eat human food and is almost captured (again).
Meanwhile, the vampire progenitor Markus (Tony Curran) has re-awoken and is hell bent on finding his brother William (Brian Steele) the first lycan, who has been locked away in a secret prison for over 800 years. It turns out that Selene possesses part of the key to opening William’s prison, as her human father built the place before being murdered by Viktor.
Markus and William reunited at last
Ultimately, Markus succeeds in obtaining the keys to his brother’s prison (killing his father in the process) and letting his brother loose. But before he dies, Alexander tells Selene to drink from his blood, giving her stronger healing abilities and making her much stronger than before. Michael is believed to be dead after Markus impaled him, but it turns out he was only regenerating and together Michael and Selene take on the two powerful brothers. After a vicious battle, both progenitors are killed and the world is saved. As the movie ends, Selene discovers that the sunlight no longer burns her skin (as it normally should for a vampire), raising the possibility of a whole new life she could spend together with Michael.
The score for this action-packed film was composed by Marco Beltrami (born 1966), a composer noted for his work in the horror genre (Mimic (1997), Resident Evil (2002), and The Woman in Black (2012)). Other notable scores include Blade II (2002), I, Robot (2004), World War Z (2013) and upcoming this year, the remake of Ben-Hur (2016).
Unfortunately, movies like Underworld: Evolution often get overlooked because some feel that an action movie can’t possess a score worth noticing. While this is sometimes true (i.e. the score of Van Helsing in 2004), Underworld: Evolution does have a few themes that are worthy of mention. My favorite would have to be the final cue, called “The Future.” This is the moment when Selene holds her hand out to the sunlight and realizes that it doesn’t burn anymore.
Another cue of note is “Patricide” when Markus kills his father Alexander.
If you haven’t seen the Underworld films before, I highly recommend the first two in the series (I admit I haven’t seen the one that came out in 2012). I hope you enjoyed this look at Underworld: Evolution!
For more “On this day” posts, see here