Ultraviolet (2006) mini review

based on a comic book?

2006 has been a great year from comic-book-related films, but where does Ultraviolet fit? Still difficult to say, but it is one of the best almost-comic-book movies I’ve ever seen.

In Ultraviolet, There's a war between mankind and the race of vampires that it created. Man, who engineered the disease that created the vampires in the first place, has designed a weapon to eradicate them. Violet (Milla Jovovich) is going to prevent that from happening.

In Kurt Wimmer’s own words (he's the writer and director), the movie is "pure, pure comic book." Without a doubt. From the opening credits to the end credits and (almost) everything in between. Pure action. Pure science fiction. Pure comic book.

If you haven’t seen it, this is a ride in itself, so stop reading here if you want the full effect of the film when you see it for the first time. Suffice it to say that it’s worth watching if you’re an avid comic fan. Of course, the film requires the same amount of suspension of disbelief as you would give a comic book.

Was Ultraviolet based on a comic? If it's not, why does everybody think it is? All the pieces are finally falling into place. It’s like the part of the movie where the main character flashes back to all of the foreshadowing and understands how all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle come together to form a single picture.

  • Kurt Wimmer’s quote from 4 years ago on a message board (before the film even had it's current name):

    I have several scripts...a script called Valkyrie - a sci-fi vampire film. Kind of a female Blade only the hero is a complete vampire - pure, pure comic book.

  • The Film Jerk script review:

    Dialogue, characterization and the settings are all spotty, as it plays out as something more suited to the comic book or videogame form than a major motion picture.

  • The Ain't It Cool News reviewer stating:

    Personally, i've never read the comic (didn't even know it was based on one until the intro), so I can't tell you how true to it this film is.

  • Every Comic Book Film website referencing it:

    Comics2Film: based on an obscure European comic...
    Comic Book Movies: Milla Jovovich’s...upcoming comic book adaptation...
    Superheroes Lives: an actual picture of the comic cover (see right)

  • Mark Bristol's concept art:

I don't feel so bad now; even the writer of the novelization (Yvonne Navarro) couldn't even find the obscure British comic she thought the movie was based on.

I'm sure all of this wasn't intentional marketing on Sony's part, but it all fell together nicely. It looks like you'll be getting a comic book film, and in the end, that's what you get; Ultraviolet has the best comic book feel of any non-comic book movie that I've ever seen.

The film starts with the opening credits and a slew of Ultraviolet comic book covers - different styles, different artists; it ends with the end credits in a comic book font. In between, the movie watches like comic book - it's sometimes difficult to tell if it's live action or animation. The colors are vibrant, and sometimes even the actors have a painted look to them.

Ultraviolet was amazing to watch. The action sequences are poetic. They take some suspension of disbelief, but in the end, it’s worth it. The beginning of the film was intense and engrossing - I was completely hooked - this could be another Matrix. I remember thinking there's no way this movie could get bad.

I was wrong.

For the comic book feel, for the strong beginning and end, I'd be sorely tempted to give the movie a 9/10.

But then there's that part of the film when I should've gone out for popcorn - the middle part.

Unfortunately, Wimmer's strengths don't appear to lie with characterization and dialogue. The middle is rather weak, and easily drags the rest of the film down. Dialogue gets corny. The characters get overly sentimental, and not very believable. This is where the film fails. Fortunately, it picks back up and Wimmer redeems the movie with a climactic ending.

Was it bad writing? Bad directing? Bad acting? It's always hard to tell with these things. I guess it doesn't matter. The biggest disappointment is always with what could have been.

See it if you like comics. Not the indy, down-to-earth, real-life, grim and gritty kind of comics, but the over-the-top, superhero, non-stop-action kind of comics.

Don't see it if you can't handle the disappointment of what could have been a great film turned into a merely good film...


Bones said...

I wanted to love Ultraviolet, but ended up just liking it. In all fairness, the bar that Wimmer set for himself with Equilibrium will more than likely never be met/surpassed again.

Jim said...

My sentiments exactly, about Ultraviolet.

I enjoyed Equilibrium, but not as much as a lot of the fan base it has. While I was trying to research Ultraviolet, I came across a lot of fans who loved it. While I thought it was good, I also thought it was a bit anti-climactic.

Steve said...

I couldn't agree more with the comments so far.
I have the DVD (which I paid $6 for!) and I like watching the movie over again from time to time in appreciation for the stylization effects and rad beats for music.
Yes, it does fail in the middle part and I fast-forward through it each time, then crank up the base and watch sexy V kick ass.

Kobe said...

Ultraviolet was a wonderful movie, with great effects, interesting dialogues and a ideal sequence. Apart the actuation of Milla Jovovich was so excited, I had even use viagra online , because her personage left me hot.

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UNLeashed said...

Love the movie especially when I thought it was based on a real comic book like ghost in the shell. Milla Jovovich was excellent in her action skills. The dialogue was forgivable because of the action scenes. Six was annoyingly dumb and nerva was distracting with a ridiculous mouthful of teeth! Good syfy movie.