Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Aikido and the Underworld Movies

Aikido as a study of different energies certainly lends itself to viewing things through the lens of different archetypes. It is funny how in this current world how difficult it is to produce an action film based on a female lead. Films like "Elektra" and Halle Berry's "Catwoman", though well produced, were disappointments at the box office. The current "My SuperExgirlfriend" seems headed in the same direction. So what makes the movies "Underworld" and its sequel "Underworld Evolution" an exception?

First, archetypes are primal energies that are present in our collective unconscious and show themselves through our bodies through dreams and visions. Film and comic books are 2 media that allow for quite a variety of archetypes through the vehicle of super-heroes and super-heroines. Osensei stated that the kami(god or goddess energy) that inhabited the shrine that was his body was feminine, Izunome no mikoto, the Shinto angel of purification.

Selene, the heroine of the Underworld movies, is played incredibly well by Kate Beckinsale. About the only thing you would like to see more of is a sense of humor, although there are touches in the second film. Selene is almost a latter day Emma Peel(for me there is no higher praise), wearing similar combat gear. The story of the 2 films is largely her evolution from the archetype of the soldier in the first to the warrior archetype in the second. A warrior operates from knowledge and choice, whereas a soldier doesn't. The hand to hand combat eschews the cinema Hong Kong kicking format for an almost Aiki jitsu concept, where strikes become throws. It is very well done.

The symbology , especially in the second film, is impressive. Power, for it to be truly meaningful, must be passed on from the source. The key element in all evolution is transformation. Polar energies that mix can create and become stronger than either ancestor energy. And the scene on the bridge after the final battle definitely recalls the myth of Izanagi and Izanami on the Floating Bridge of Heaven...Hopefully I haven't given much away, so, if you haven't seen the films, run, don't walk to your video store... If you've seen them, you might want to check them out again.


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