Ultraviolet (film)

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Ultraviolet
Ultraviolet poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kurt Wimmer
Produced by John Baldecchi
Lucas Foster
Tony Mark
Pauline Chan
Written by Kurt Wimmer
Starring Milla Jovovich
Cameron Bright
Nick Chinlund
William Fichtner
Music by Klaus Badelt
Cinematography Arthur Wong
Jimmy Wong
Editing by William Yeh
Distributed by Screen Gems
Release dates
  • March 3, 2006 (2006-03-03)
Country China
United States
Language English
Budget $30 million[1]
Box office $31,070,211 [1]
$35.1 million (DVD and Blu-ray sales)

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

The film follows Violet Song Jat Shariff (Jovovich), a woman infected with Hemoglophagia, a vampire-like disease, in a future dystopia where anyone infected with the contagious disease is immediately sentenced to death. With her advanced martial arts, a group of rebel hemophages, and a boy named Six (Bright), who's blood may contain a cure for the disease, Violet goes on a mission to overthrow the futuristic government and defeat Ferdinand Daxus (Chinlund).

A novelization of the film was written by Yvonne Navarro, with more back-story and character development. The book 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 series titled Ultraviolet: Code 044 was released by the Japanese anime satellite television network Animax, and created by Madhouse.[2] Because of its many similarities with Equilibrium and because they share the same director, the film is often considered to be Equilibrium's spiritual successor.

The film was panned by film critics and was a box office disappointment with the film doing better in DVD sales.

Plot[edit]

Ultraviolet takes place in 2078, in the years following a global epidemic that causes vampire-like symptoms, including super-human strength and elongated canines. The infected "hemophages" die within twelve years after being infected. The "Archministry", a militant medical group headed by Vice-Cardinal Ferdinand Daxus (Nick Chinlund), has taken control of the government and begun rounding up infected citizens and exterminating them in order to contain the virus.

Having been infected a decade earlier, Violet Song Jat Shariff (Milla Jovovich) has become a member of an underground resistance movement fighting to protect the hemophages from the government. Working with the resistance, Violet steals a weapon that was apparently created to exterminate all hemophages, only to discover that it is a young boy named "Six" (Cameron Bright). Rather than kill the child, Violet flees with the boy, believing that a cure for the disease can be reverse-engineered from the antigens before he dies from them.

She eventually converses with Daxus, who tells her that the boy is his son, but she does not believe him. Instead she takes him to her friend Garth (William Fichtner), who tells her the boy has no antigens and he has no value to anyone. He also tells her that the boy has a tracking device embedded in him ("so hot he's nearly radioactive"), that they can track him easily and he has only 8 hours to live. In the meantime, Nerva (Sebastien Andrieu) reveals to Violet that the antigens in Six's blood are actually deadly to humans. Furthermore, Daxus clarifies that the boy is his clone, his previous claim to her being a ruse to earn her sympathy. Since the hemophages are nearly exterminated, the Archministry intends to engineer a new plague to maintain its power. When he refuses to give her the cure, Violet escapes with Six and lets him spend his last moments at a playground. Daxus arrives and take Six's body for dissection.

Later, however, Violet realizes that Six may not actually be dead. She storms the Archministry and reaches a lab just as Daxus is about to begin the dissection. In the ensuing fight, Daxus reveals that he uses enhancements he gained from an accidental exposure to the hemophage virus to aid in his rise to power. Violet kills Daxus and leaves with Six's body. Six later wakes up, having been immunized by the hemophage virus in Violet's tears. It is theorized that Six's knowledge may be able to create a cure for her and the hemophages.

Cast[edit]

  • Milla Jovovich as Violet Song Jat Shariff
    • Ida Martin as Young Violet Song Jat Sharriff
  • Cameron Bright as Six
  • Nick Chinlund as Vice-Cardinal Ferdinand Daxus
    • Steven Calcote as Young Daxus
  • William Fichtner as Garth
  • Scott Piper as Garth's Assistant
  • Sebastien Andrieu as Nerva
  • Christopher Garner as Luthor
  • Ricardo Mamood-Vega as Song Jat Shariff
  • Jennifer Caputo as Elizabeth P. Watkins
  • Duc Luu as Kar Waia
  • Kieran O'Rorke as Detective Cross
  • Ryan Martin as Detective Breeder
  • Digger Mesch as Detective Endera
  • Kurt Wimmer as Hemophage

Common elements with Equilibrium[edit]

Ultraviolet gave writer / director Kurt Wimmer the opportunity to revisit some ideas he had explored in his 2002 film Equilibrium which starred Christian Bale. Common ideas include:

  • A single hero fights against a dystopian, totalitarian government in the near future.
  • Huge numbers of soldiers wear motorcycle helmets or gas masks which make them appear faceless.
  • The hero takes down an entire state through violence, working in conjunction with a marginalized group of rebels.
  • The villain's architecture is often in the form of, or suggestive of, a cross.
  • The hero was separated from their spouse.
  • The hero often leaves enemy bodies arranged in aesthetically pleasing geometric shapes.
  • The hero uses Gun Kata, a fictional martial art style developed by Wimmer.
  • The hero must bluff their way through an extremely elaborate testing process in an all-white room.
  • Primary villain attempts to talk the hero out of killing him by claiming to be unarmed; hero decides to kill them anyway.
  • The hero's primary opponent is a patriarchal dictator who is ultimately revealed to be doing the very thing he seeks to outlaw.
  • The thing the villain seeks to outlaw is derived from a basic part of human nature (emotions in Equilibrium and a disease in UltraViolet)
  • The hero is such a deadly combatant that they dispatch most of their opponents almost instantly. The only character able to put up a fight against the hero lasting more than a couple seconds is the main villain, which is somewhat unexpected because the main villain is presented as a bureaucratic administrator rather than a soldier.
  • The muzzle flash on Violet's guns resemble a Biohazard logo. In Equilibrium, Preston's guns emit the cleric's logo.
  • The hero wears a completely white outfit during the climax of the film (though Violet's white outfit later becomes red after her hands are cut and bleeding).

Fictional technologies and concepts[edit]

Hemoglophagia[edit]

Hemoglophagia, otherwise known as the Hemoglophagic Virus or HGV, is a blood disease (possibly comes from the Greek word "αιμοφαγία", meaning blood eating). This was once a rare pathogen allegedly responsible for historical accounts of vampires, but was then modified through genetic engineering by the U.S government as part of a project to create superhuman soldiers. These modifications also made the disease far more contagious, and it soon escaped into the general populace, where the media labeled its carriers "vampires" to increase ratings. This whipped the tragedy into a constant atmosphere of superstition and fear. To help suppress the fact that the quarantine procedures are actually a witch-hunt, the authorities have discouraged the use of the term vampire in favor of labeling carriers of the disease Hemophages. However, there can be no doubt that the authorities are engaged in a witch hunt; in the opening scene a detective cuts his finger on a Hemophage fang and is immediately executed by his partner. Hemophages are biochemically affected by the disease in different ways and to different degrees, resulting in a remarkably wide range of abilities. All hemophages display enhanced strength, reflexes, and healing ability. Their bodies produce more calcium, extending their canine teeth into tell-tale fangs. Enhanced senses are also common, but vary in degree and often make them hypersensitive to light, contributing to the "vampire" label. Garth, and perhaps Daxus, gained enhanced intelligence. All these abilities come at the cost of an accelerated metabolism, which kills them within twelve years of infection.

Dimensional compression[edit]

Sometimes referred to as Flat-Space technology, dimensional compression is used to store objects in a pocket dimension. Simple objects are stored/retrieved and more complex ones systematically deconstructed/reconstructed in a flow of sparkling lights. A significant number of items can be stored for easy retrieval without burdening the user with either weight or size. The technology mainly takes the form of easily overlooked wristbands, although one-inch scabbards holding 42-inch swords are also seen. Handguns (some with 18-inch bayonets stored in their six-inch grips), and ammunition are also hidden in this manner (the bullets flying from the wristbands into the magazines on command). The technology is also used to create habitable pocket dimensions, such as the briefcase/backpack used to transport the ten year old Six and the semi trailer with the internal dimensions of a warehouse (containing Garth's research lab and armory). Dimensional compression is the basis of one of the light hearted scenes in the movie. A security scanner checks Violet, saying "Number of weapons found:", pauses shortly as Violet's weapons are displayed, and says "many", in an astonished voice, as it is unable to calculate the exact number. During the final battle, Daxus pulls out a sword from nowhere. This might be a result of editing, but judging by the size of Violet's pocket dimensional wristbands, Daxus's ring might have been a dimension container.

Gravity leveler[edit]

Gravity levelers are devices about the size of combination locks that redirect (rather than nullify or reduce) gravity, enabling a person to stand and maneuver on walls, or even ceilings. Violet uses her personal gravity leveler to ambush a squad of guards, firing on them from within a ceiling air vent. Her motorcycle is also equipped with one of these devices, enabling her to engage in a firefight with a helicopter gunship by driving up the side of a high-rise building. Precisely how this technology functions is unknown. However, visual CGI scenes from the film seem to indicate that the internal systems of the device produce an extremely high density material that produces its own gravitational pull greater than that of Earth, thus redirecting the effective 'down' direction for the object it is installed in. How this device works without severely unbalancing Earth's orbit is unknown.

Printed phone[edit]

In the film Violet buys a printed phone. The paper device has the ability to produce holographic images when attached to an extra peripheral. When combined with the extra peripheral, the printed phone is also able to trace the connection of the person on the other end. It is inconclusive, however, if this ability is of the printed phone itself or from the peripheral. Another ability from this technology is that when it is connected to the wheel of a car, it also has the ability to autopilot the car to a predestined location. This technology has a basis in reality. In the early 21st century inkjet printer companies such as Epson demonstrated their ability to create functional circuit boards using printer technology.[3]

Colour-changing materials[edit]

In early scenes, Violet changes her hair colour from blue to black to purple and back to black. Also, Violet frequently wears clothes which she appears to be able to alter the colour of at will and the colors change according to her mood. When Violet is getting tested for Hemoglophagia the vest she wears constantly changes colors from green, to purple, to yellow, and to red. In the fight at the Arch-Ministry's headquarters, Violet changes her suit colour from white to red by the addition of blood on the palms of her gloves (which spreads over her suit). It is unknown if it is the abilities of the clothes themselves or if Violet is manipulating the clothing to switch colors.

General technology level[edit]

There is some confusion as to how widespread these technologies are within Violet's world. The introductory comic on the official website refers to both Dimensional Compression and Gravity Leveling as Garth's personal inventions. However, investigators in the opening scene of the movie are surprised to find flat-space technology in the enemy's possession, and Six is transported in his own personal flat-space zone. Later, police forces are equally surprised by Violet's possession of a gravity leveler. Perhaps the best compromise between these two sources of information is that Hemophage scientists belonging to the resistance developed these technologies with the help of their enhanced abilities, which were then confiscated during raids. However, the government had difficulty reverse-engineering the technology. Now that the extermination programme is nearly complete, most of these scientists are dead, therefore all of these technologies are extremely rare. This is stated explicitly in a conversation between security personnel at the lab where Violet acquires Six.

Violet somersaults onto the ceiling and shoots a group of guards from above

"How did she do that?!"
"She must have some kind of gravity leveler!"

"Well, whatever it is, it's ours now! She's not going to make it out of this complex alive!"

An alternate possibility is that while the scientific basis for such devices has been established, practical devices that work outside a laboratory are still extremely rare, with Garth's devices being among the first practical examples.

Thaihindi[edit]

A fictional Asian race in the film speak a language invented for the film called Thaihindi and Violet is fluent in the language and thus is able to communicate with them. The language is based off the actual Thai language. Coincidentally Milla Jovovich also had to learn a fictional language in another science fiction film called The Fifth Element.

Self-Heating products[edit]

In an early scene, Daxus is seen breaking a seal on, and then drinking, a hot coffee from a self-heating mug. Self-heating products, both foods and drinks, have been available in the real world for some years now, most of them using an exothermic chemical reaction to heat their contents.

Production[edit]

Scene featuring Six (Cameron Bright) underneath the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, China.

Production for the film began in early February 2004 and was shot in various cities across China, most notably Hong Kong 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 on the internet. Director 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[4] as well as "24" by Jem.

Reception[edit]

Critical Reception[edit]

Ultraviolet was released in North America on March 3, 2006, with Screen Gems deciding not to screen the film for critics, the film was shipped to theaters under the title Female Warrior. Response to the film was generally negative, with a freshness of only 9% (7 out of 76 critics gave the film a positive review) on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.[5] The site's critical consensus states the following: "An incomprehensible and forgettable sci-fi thriller, Ultraviolet is inept in every regard." [6]

Criticism was levelled at Screen Gems, who apparently 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).[citation needed] Comparisons between a rough cut version from the spring of 2005 and the theatrical cut proved there were missing scenes. The original edit was more focused on Violet's desire for a family and suggested that she was swept up in the resistance rather than the cold operative she appears in the theatrical release, which focused on her imminent death.[7] The unrated DVD restored approximately 6 minutes worth of footage from Wimmer's cut, clocking in at 94 minutes, versus the theatrical release's 88 minutes.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, Milla Jovovich was not pleased with the PG-13 rated release print. Jovovich said that she 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.[8]

Box office performance[edit]

The film grossed US$ 9,064,880 in its opening weekend. Ultraviolet grossed 18,535,812 domestically and 12,534,399 everywhere else making a total worldwide gross of 31,070,211 in box office terms. The budget for Ultraviolet was estimated at $30 million and barely managed to recoup it's budget with a 1 million dollar profit.[9]

Home Media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 27, 2006 in North America.[10] 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.[11] The film performed quite well in the DVD market, grossing over $35.1 million in rental sales. In the end the film turned in a healthy profit of over $36 million.[12]

The DVD includes:

  • 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 elongates canines, improves strength, speed, vision, hearing, bone strength and regenerative abilities, but reduces lifespan to approximately 12 years.
  • A flashback that gives more background information about Violet and depicts all the hardships she went through because of all the hemoglophagia testing and how it resulted in the miscarriage of her unborn child.
  • 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.
  • A scene which depicts a conversation between Violet and Six which develops their characters.
  • The chase scene between Violet and the soldiers of Daxus is lengthened.
  • The level of blood and gore is also increased by a small amount.
  • The amount of action is also increased by a small amount.

Some critics[who?] pointed out that in the 88 minute cut, it seems (according to the flashback) that Violet's husband was killed in the raid where she was infected with the virus. This may have been the result of bad editing; the studio may have also intended the change since they released their edited version. This directly contradicts the scene from the unrated DVD in which Violet discovers that her husband has remarried, believing her to be dead.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ultraviolet". 
  2. ^ "Ultraviolet Anime Announced". Animekon. Retrieved 2008-03-18. [dead link]
  3. ^ The concept is discussed at length in the non-fiction book Fab by Neil Gershenfeld.
  4. ^ Which also features on The Matrix soundtrack (though not in the trailer)
  5. ^ "Ultraviolet (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 14, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Ultraviolet". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  7. ^ Unofficial Equlilibrium Fan Site Article detailing the differences between the rough cut and the final cinema version
  8. ^ ROTTEN TOMATOES: Milla Jovovich On Resident Evil And Her Ultraviolet Beef
  9. ^ Figures from the film summary (which includes box office totals, gross etc.) on boxofficemojo.com
  10. ^ Movies.go.com profile page detailing North American release date
  11. ^ "Amazon.co.jp: ウルトラヴァイオレット [Blu-ray]: ミラ・ジョヴォヴィッチ, キャメロン・ブライト, ウィリアム・フィクトナー, ニック・チンランド, カート・ウィマー: DVD". Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  12. ^ Rotten Tomatoes list of top grossing DVD rentals where Ultraviolet is featured at 37 as of September 17, 2006 (grossing $35.1 million)

External links[edit]