A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that teens might be clamoring to see Underworld: Rise of the Lycans after the success of Underworld and Underworld: Evolution -- not to mention the increased interest in all things vampire thanks to Twilight -- but this is no angsty teen love story. It's an all-out class war between vampires and werewolves, and it's loaded with extreme special-effects violence (from decapitations to being cut in half) and oceans of blood. There's also a sex scene in which little is left to the imagination, but it's more comical than explicit.
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What's the story?
Set long before the events in Underworld, UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS establishes the vampires vs. werewolves clash of the saga's plot. It depicts both the creation of the first intelligent werewolf, Lucian (Michael Sheen), born into bondage at the hands of the vampire ruler Viktor (Bill Nighy), and his secret passion for Viktor's daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra). When Viktor discovers their love, he's furious -- and, with the imprisoned Lucian leading a revolt of his fellow werewolf slaves, facing other problems as well. ...
Is it any good?
This "threequel" features much of the same campy blood-drinking, neck-biting Romeo-and-Juliet Gothic romanticism of the first two films. But it lacks the goofy pleasures of their monsters-in-our-modern-world setting. Sheen (who's far from the prestige of films like The Queen and Frost/Nixon here) makes for an adequate male lead -- haunted, heroic, hairy, and hunky -- while Mitra evokes some of the pouting hauteur that Kate Beckinsale brought to the earlier films. But Underworld: Rise of the Lycans never quite has the guts or glory to be much more than what it is: a bloody-but-bland cash-grab of a prequel made on the cheap in the name of a quick buck.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether on-screen violence is less problematic when it depicts supernatural beings fighting, rather than regular people, as is the case in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. What about when the supernatural beings look human? What's the impact of watching this kind of violence?
Families can also discuss the movie's slaves-versus-rulers plotline -- how does the film's central conflict parallel race differences?
Why do you think Hollywood likes making prequels and sequels to popular franchises? Is it just to make money?
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