Monday, January 23, 2012
UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING (UNDERWORLD: NEW DAWN) (2012)
Directed by Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein
Kate Beckinsale - Selene
Stephen Rea - Dr. Jacob Lane
Theo James - David
When human forces discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans, a war to eradicate both species commences. The vampire Death Dealer Selene leads the battle against humankind.
How about this. It's the fourth week of 2012 and I'm just now reviewing a movie that actually came out this year instead of reviewing movies that were released last year or earlier. I ave to admit I have a soft spot for the first Underworld as it was a interesting take on the whole vampire and werewolf mythos and how the two are constantly at war. The second film, Evolutions, was fun yet seemed lacking as it felt rushed more than anything else. The third one, Rise Of The Lycans, I haven't seen all of so I can't really say my opinion of it. And that brings us to the fourth film in the series.
Kate Beckinsale, who returns as Selene, seems as if she slips easily and comfortably back into the main role as the lead in her return to the Underworld series. Beckinsale though doesn't really have to show much emotion in this one though except for in a couple of scenes, both dealing with her "family". For the character she's playing this work very well as she's supposed to be playing a assassin, even though this is a simple way to put her character, though it fits very well. The biggest disappointment in the whole movie to me would have to be Stephen Rea as Dr. Jacob Lane. Rea usually gives such powerful performances, even in roles he has small bits in that in this one he just kinda fades into the background. Even toward the end where his secret comes out and he has a chance to really let go character wise, Rea still stays like a person in a background, as if he doesn't really understand what he should do. The one great surprise acting wise was by Charles Dance as Thomas. Dance does what he does amazingly well and that's act. Though his role is small, Dance probably had the most challenging one as he portrays one of the last of the older vampires and trying to keep his clan all alive no matter the cost, and one that he pays for in the end.
Now as far as the story goes it had so much potential and still does. The reason why I put it the way I did is because the story starts through the use of TV news clips. This is why I said the story had so much potential. Len Wiseman and his writing could have focused on the purging the news mentions in the first five minutes of the movie and it would have actually filled in a whole movie with all that is mentioned. One that would have been more political based, yet at the same time more filled with cloak and dagger thrills as the Vampires and Lycans would have had to concentrate on being more stealthy and dangerous due to the world both were used to falling apart. That's not to say that Awakening's story isn't bad. In fact it throws a whole new twist into the series as the world is a lot more dangerous now for the Vampires as almost the all the Vampire clans have been wiped out. The main twist in the story was pretty much broadcasted in the trailers for the movie for those that paid attention. But, it also brings out a whole other side of Selene that she never thought she had. It as well adds a whole new dimension to her character.
The biggest flaw in the movie to was the overuse of CG. Even though the CG isn't as bad as some of the recently released movies, it still sticks out more than it should. Considering that the previous entries in the Underworld series had really great effects on the Lycans, specially the first Underworld movie, this seems like a slap in the face during parts. The one thing the series has always done well is the action. This one is no different as the action is part of the main draw for this movie. And yes it does get bloody, specially when the Lycans start showing in numbers. As I went I saw the 3D version of the movie I should mention that the movie was a lot of fun this way as the movie was shot in 3D, and not post conversion which makes things feel flat. Everything just pops in this movie thanks to it. From scenes that show wide open spaces, to the use of bombs that release silver dust that affects Lycans. The movie was fun if not a little bit empty story wise.This I think the writers did on purpose due to the studios wanting to continue the series farther and wanting a plausible way for another sequel. Other than my gripes Underworld: Awakening is a fast paced entry in the series that barely slows down to catch it's breath while adding another layer to the series that still has plenty to offer.
Even though it's not the bloodiest, it's after Selene first wakes back up and you realize that she still kicks ass by taking out five guards in less than 2 seconds and with style.
This is a new war. And it's only beginning.
Underworld: Awakening is one of the first films to be shot on the EPIC RED cameras in 3D.
Underworld: Awakening is released on the same day as Underworld: Evolutions was six years ago in 2006.
The director of Rare Exports, Jalmari Helander, was offered the the job of director.