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Ultraviolet is a 2006 science fiction/action film. The film was written and directed by Kurt Wimmer and produced by Screen Gems. It stars Milla Jovovich as Violet Song jat Shariff and Cameron Bright as Six. It was released in North America on March 3, 2006. The film was released onto DVD and Blu-ray Disc on June 27, 2006.

The film uses the basic premise of John Cassavetes's 1980 cult classic Gloria, about a woman and a young boy on the run from the mafia, and transposes the story to a dystopian futuristic setting where genetically enhanced mutants are fighting a guerrilla war against a totalitarian government dictatorship. Many comparisons have been made between Ultraviolet and Equilibrium, Wimmer's previous film.

A novelization of the film was written by Yvonne Navarro, with more back-story and character development. The novelization also differs from the film in a number of ways, including a more ambiguous ending and the removal of some of the more improbable plot twists. An anime derivation entitled Ultraviolet: Code 044 was released by the Japanese anime satellite television network Animax, and animated by Madhouse. Like the film, the show was badly received and in the end was cancelled.

Plot

Ultraviolet takes place in the year 2078, in the years following a global pandemic of a blood-borne, highly infectious disease known as hemoglophagia. Those afflicted with the disease are referred to as "hemophages". The disease kills the infected within twelve years, but also gives them super-human abilities as well as fangs, leading the media to call them vampires. Fear overwhelmed the population and led to the rise of the Arch-Ministry, a militant medical establishment which took control of the government and began rounding up and exterminating all infected citizens to contain the virus.

Violet Song jat Shariff (Milla Jovovich), was infected with hemoglophagia over a decade ago and after being detained and studied, she loses her husband and her unborn child. She is now an emotionally dead killing machine with only hours left to live due to her terminal-stage hemoglophagia. She is hired by an underground resistance movement of hemophages waging a guerrilla war against the Arch-Ministry and its megalomaniacal, mysophobic leader, Vice-Cardinal Ferdinand Daxus (Nick Chinlund). Infiltrating a government laboratory, Violet steals a weapon developed by the Arch-Ministry to exterminate all hemophages on the planet, only to discover the "weapon" is a child named "Six" (Cameron Bright), a young clone of Daxus (sixth out of a series of eight). Six is believed to be a carrier for cultured antigens developed to target hemophages, which Violet's employers want destroyed. Violet breaks ranks with the hemophages and flees with the boy, believing that a cure for the disease can be reverse-engineered from the antigens. On the run from both the government and the hemophages, Violet's only ally is Garth (William Fichtner), a hemophage scientist who is secretly in love with her. Garth, upon analyzing a sample of Six's blood, tells Violet that the child has not been infected with anything that can kill or cure hemophages. He also informs her that whatever Six has been infected with, it will kill him in a few hours.

Daxus recruits the other hemophages to retrieve the boy, revealing to them and Violet that the antigens in his blood are actually deadly to humans. With the hemophages nearly exterminated, the Arch-Ministry intends to engineer a new plague, to which they possess the only cure. This is being done to maintain their power, supposedly to prevent society from collapsing into anarchy if the Arch-Ministry becomes obsolete. Violet easily kills the hemophages, then demands the cure from Daxus. He refuses, instead offering to make her a duplicate of Six if she will give him the original. Violet declines his offer and escapes with Six.

Both Violet and Six are dying from their respective ailments, so rather than fight a futile battle against Daxus, Violet takes Six to a playground where the two spend the last few moments of Six's life in an idyllic setting. Daxus and his men arrive just as Six dies. Daxus shoots Violet and orders Six be taken to the Arch-Ministry's headquarters, where he will be dissected. Garth recovers Violet and manages to revive her. Grief-stricken over Six's death and with no desire to go on, she leaves. Later, Garth contacts her about a newscast showing the day's events. When Violet sees the news footage of herself weeping over Six's body, she recalls a tear dropping onto Six's skin. Realizing that he may not be truly dead after all, she mounts an assault against the Arch-Ministry's headquarters to retrieve Six's body. After loading her suit with enough weapons to wage a small war, Violet enters the Archministry and forces her way deep in the building, just as Daxus and his men are about to dissect Six. In the lab where Six is kept, Violet has a final showdown with Daxus. Daxus explains that he was one of the original lab technicians researching the hemophage virus, and after an accidental exposure, used the enhancements he gained from the disease to aid in his rise to power. She finally emerges victorious and leaves with Six's body.

Six is brought back to life by the hemophage virus, thanks to Violet's tears, which immunizes him from Daxus' anti-human virus. Six reveals that he knows the cure for hemoglophagia, which can save Violet's life. The two of them drive off into the sunset as the Arch-Ministry's headquarters burn. Violet states that she is uncertain if she will die from her wounds or her hemoglophagia, but that evil-doers had better beware if she does not.

Cast



Production

Production for the film began in early February 2004 and was shot in various cities across Chinamarker, most notably Hong Kongmarker and Shanghai. Production was finished in late June 2004. The film was shot digitally on high-definition video using a Sony HDW-F900.

In 2005, the film's trailer was leaked over the Internet. Kurt Wimmer then visited several message boards and demanded all clips be removed in order to keep the film's plot a secret. The online fan community responded well to this, and all the clips were removed from distribution until the theatrical trailer was publicly released in January 2006. It uses "Clubbed To Death (Kurayamino Edition)" by Rob Dougan as the soundtrack as well as "24" by Jem.

Reception

Ultraviolet was released in North America on March 3, 2006, with Screen Gems deciding not to screen the film for critic. The film was universally panned by critics, with a freshness of only 8% (6 out of 71 critics gave the film a positive review) on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.

Critics have taken issue with some of the film's fight scenes, claiming them to be unrealistic and confusing. Specifically they mention the much-anticipated "Gun Kata 2.0" scene, which expands on the Gun Kata ideas created in Equilibrium. Although the scene is true to the original style, excessive use of CGI and shaky camera movement cause some to find the sequence hard to follow. Others, however, have said that the scene is realistic to the world portrayed in the film.

One flaw that may have been responsible for Ultraviolet's poor reception by film critics is its plot. Ultraviolet had doubtlessly inherited many core plot elements from films like Resident Evil (which Wimmer is said to have watched immediately before writing the film, and which also stars Milla Jovovich) and Doom, in which a secret lab discovers a way to genetically manipulate human beings. These plotlines have already been developed extensively, and thus Ultraviolet was mocked as being exceedingly unoriginal. Other resemblances were noted between Ultraviolet and ├ćon Flux.

Criticism has also been aimed directly at Screen Gems, who are said to have edited the fight scenes for content and eliminated some of the plotline by cutting more than half an hour from the film (which was later restored in the novelization). Comparisons made of a rough cut version screened in the spring of 2005 and theatrical cut of the film show that segments had been cut. The original edit was more focused on Violet's desire for a family and suggested that she was merely swept up in the plot rather than the pro-active operative she appears in the theatrical release, which focused on her illness and imminent death. The unrated DVD restored approximately 7 minutes worth of footage from Wimmer's cut, clocking in at 94 minutes, versus the theatrical release's 87 minutes.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, Milla Jovovich and Kurt Wimmer were not pleased with the PG-rated release print, Jovovich said that she and Wimmer had been locked out of discussions of the film in the editing stages, and had not been allowed to see her own performance, which she felt, might have been improved if she had had some input.

Box office performance

As of August 2, 2006, the film has grossed US$31,070,211 in worldwide box office totals. The budget for Ultraviolet was estimated at $30,000,000. Although the film beat its budget, it wasn't successful in the North America market.

DVD

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on June 27, 2006 in North America. The film was not shown in cinemas in Australia due to poor box office response in North America, but instead went directly to DVD in August 2006. There are two versions of the film, an unrated version (94 minutes long) and a PG-13 version (88 minutes long). The North American, European, South American, Hong Kong, Korean Blu-ray is the PG-13 version of the film. However the Japanese Blu-ray contains the Unrated version of the film.[195546] The film performed quite well in the DVD market, grossing over $35.1 million in rental sales.

Special features

The DVD version includes two special features.
  • A four-part documentary: "UV Protection: The Making of Ultraviolet," with chapter stops.
  • Audio commentary with Milla Jovovich.
  • In some editions, there were some deleted scenes which were cut from the final release. But not all footage from the unrated extended edition was in the deleted scenes feature.


Extended version

The extended DVD version includes additional footage, increasing the running time and adding more to the storyline / plot. In this release there are additional scenes which include:
  • A scene giving more in depth information on hemophagia. Including how it improves strength, speed, vision, hearing, bone strength and healing, but reduces lifespan to approximately 12 years.
  • A scene (near the opening of the film) which explains that Violet has reached the end of her lifespan, and has only 36 hours left to live. A later scene shows Violet's reaction to her estranged husband's creation of a new life.
  • The level of blood and gore is also increased by a small amount.


Some critics have pointed out that in the 88 minute cut, it seems (according to the flashback) as if Violet's husband had been shot and killed in the sequence which shows how she was infected with the hemophage virus. This may or may not have been the result of bad editing; it may also have the intention of the studio after they decided to release the film in an edited version. However, this would directly contradict the scene (included on the extended, unrated DVD) in which Violet discovers that her husband has remarried believing her to be dead.

The unrated version is not available on Blu-ray in the US, due to a stipulation by Sony that all Blu-ray licensees were forbidden from releasing unrated or NC-17 rated fare on the format. Although Sony has since reversed their position, it is highly unlikely that an unrated version will be released on the format due to its poor performance.

References

  1. See Ultraviolet at Rotten Tomatoes, where the synposis details the links of the film to the book
  2. Which also features on The Matrix soundtrack (though not in the trailer)
  3. http://www.avrev.com/blu-ray-movie-disc-reviews/sci-fi-fantasy/on-flux.html
  4. Unofficial Equlilibrium Fan Site Article detailing the differences between the rough cut and the final cinema version
  5. ROTTEN TOMATOES: Milla Jovovich On Resident Evil And Her Ultraviolet Beef
  6. Figures from the film summary (which includes box office totals, gross etc.) on boxofficemojo.com
  7. Movies.go.com profile page detailing North American release date
  8. Rotten Tomatoes list of top grossing DVD rentals where Ultraviolet is featured at 37 as of September 17, 2006 (grossing $35.1 million)


See also

  • Ultraviolet: Code 044 (animated series based on the film)
  • Ultraviolet (novellization of the film, using the full plot, instead of the film's cut down version)


External links




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