I like vampires. Well, I like vampire movies, not vampires per se. Otherwise that would make me weird. Then again, I do love zombies, so that makes me weird enough. But I like a good vampire movie. And I love werewolf movies too. Just not as much as zombie movies. So when Underworld came out a few years ago, I showered, shaved, and ran to the theater hoping to catch it opening night. How can a fan of both vampires and werewolves miss this gem?
That’s when I saw her for the first time. She stood perched on a building ledge, high above the torrential downpour, analyzing the street below. Looking. Wanting. Waiting. She leapt. Gliding a hundred feet to the bottom, she landed to a bounce. She struts her way through the crowd, hunting.
Played by the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale, Selene’s mission is to destroy Lycans, a species of werewolf that, unlike ordinary werewolves, can control their transformation. Selene is a vampire and can endure daylight. Old school vampires like the ones in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, burn in the daylight. Other vampires, dare I say it—sparkle. Shivers. Selene doesn’t have to worry about spontaneously combusting, leaving behind nothing except a big pile of ash. She has immunity to UV light. She can blend in like one of us. However, I’m not sure just how much she can blend in with all that leather she wears and her attractive features. It would be like a lion blending in with a flock of lambs.
Selene is also proficient in all manner of weaponry and possesses other abilities such as speed, strength and endurance. In one instance, a group of police officers had her cornered in a hallway with no escape, wearing their full compliment of armor. No problem. Equipped with only a scalpel, she blasted past the officers spilling their blood and leaving their corpses to rot. In another instance, she plows her hand right through a Lycan as if it were some sort of fruit.
In all this, what makes Selene special, though, is her gentle side. It’s the side only Michael, a human, sees.
As terrifying and vicious as she can be, Selene’s love for Michael makes her vulnerable to getting hurt. She trusts him. She gives of herself fully to him in order to allow their love to grow.
It’s that beautiful, delicate balance between good and evil, light and darkness, love and hate that makes Selene addictive. She represents the unattainable, defending her species at all cost.
Have you seen Underworld? Did you like it? What did you find the most interesting aspect of the film?