I was bored last night and decided to finally watch a movie that I was kind of avoiding on purpose. It was not from fear of not liking the movie, as I am a huge fan of the entire movie franchise. Nope, I was avoiding it because I wanted to be in the right mindset to sink my teeth into the newest installment of the Underworld franchise (yeah I intended the pun) titled “Underworld – Awakening.”
Hopefully you all know the process of how I review movies by now, but if not I will gladly offer up the explanation one more time. I always write a brief synopsis of the movie to start, then break then break the actual review down into a series of “Pros” and “Cons” and will end it with my own personal overall thought to close out the review.
I have watched the first Underworld movie countless, and I mean countless, times and am a sucker for a viewing. The second film in the franchise “Underworld – Evolution” was a great follow up but I will admit I have not watched the third movie (a prequel to the first Underworld) titled “Underworld – Rise Of The Lycans.” I do not know if it is due to the fact that Kate Beckinsale’s character “Selene” was absent from this movie or not but at some point I need to watch it.
This movie is a true sequel to the first 2 “Underworld” movies and is set at 12 years in the future. It presents us with a world in which humans have purged the Vampire and Lycan menace from their world, or so they thought. Selene discovers this fact, that she has a 12 year old hybrid daughter and seeks to find Michael as the Lycans and Vampire war once again comes to the fore front.
Ready for the review? Let’s do this!!!!
– How great was it to see Selene back in action and how hot was she? Kate Beckinsale really does a great job with this character and I could never imagine anyone else playing the role. I immediately smiled wide when she was shown for the first time.
– I usually detest the idea of a child being brought into the mix in a sequel for a movie franchise but I actually enjoyed the character a lot and it allowed for some character development for Selene as well. “Eve” (even though her name is ever mentioned during the movie) presented a new emotional anchor for Selene that had her exploring new emotions and thoughts she never had before.
– On the topic of “Eve,” the design for her transformation was really freaky and really scary. The character slowly discovered what she was capable of and really brought it to the Lycans. I will admit that I was pumped to see her and her mother fighting side by side.
– Theo James was very good as the disenchanted vampire “David.” He co-filled the male lead role really well and had some great dialogue with his father about the current status of the vampire coven. There was a decent chemistry with Selene and David and the chemistry was not ruined by forcing anything that didn’t seem natural to develop between the two.
– The action and fight sequences were really well done. The fight scenes with Selene are truly the highlight out the films that she is in and the director had a great eye for some kick ass moments in which Selene laid the smackdown like only she can.
– The CGI was top notch and the look of the Lycans and “Super” Lycan was really organic, which is a good thing. There is always a chance that the CGI can detract from the movie and the mood that the director is wanting to establish, but it was really tight looking here.
– As soon as the “Super Lycan” showed up, I really felt that there was no way for Selene to beat him without the help of Eve and Michael. I was really surprised that neither of the hybrids leant a hand but what a way for Selene to win! First she led the Super Lycan into a small tunnel that forced him to change back into a man. Then the way that she used the healing factor as a weapon was ingenious! Ripping into his stomach and sliding in the grenade, which then had the wound heal the live grenade inside was great!
– I liked how they touched on each movie in the franchise previous to this one. The prequel movie really placed separation in the continuity. The brief glimpses of the other movies really really brought it all full circle and added to the movie in a very big way.
– I liked the idea that the Lycans were really presented as the lesser faction between Human, Vampire and Lycan groups but then were actually the strongest of the three. In all honesty, the Humans were pretty much forgotten once the Lycans were shown to not be as weak as everyone thought.
– I really, really disliked that Scott Speedman was not back as Michael for the movie. The character was present in the film but it was very brief and by use of archive footage, as well as a stand in that had Speedman’s likeness used to make him appear in the film. I really felt robbed of the chance to see Michael and Selene fight for the chance to save their daughter. Speedman has gone on the record and said that he will never be in another Underworld movie, even though the ending of the movie had Selene state that she would find him.
– The lead male role was split between 2 actors. The first was David who was listed under the “PROS” and the second male lead was Michael Ealy as “Detective Sebastian.” Sebastian was first portrayed as a hard nosed cop but we found out later that he was married to a vampire who committed suicide by allowing light to hit her during the purge of the vampires and lycans by the humans. The idea was interesting but the character just did not develop as much as I felt he needed to for that to have a serious emotional weight. It just really came off as an easy plot device.
– I really liked the idea of Eve being able to see through the eyes of Selene and Michael but it was noty really explained as to why it was possible. What was the special connection to them? Was it because she was a hybrid born? It really was a part of the story that I would have liked to have seen fleshed out more.
– The depth of the story seemed to suffer so that the action could take center stage in this movie. The absence of Michael as a character left a huge emotional hole that hindered how involved emotionally into the film. While the action was great, the lack of depth for the story was felt throughout the film.
Underworld Awakening was a decent effort and was a much needed boost to the Underworld franchise. Even though I felt the first movie and first sequel were better (remember I have not seen the third movie that was a prequel) I still enjoyed this movie. It was a welcomed addition to get us back into Selene’s world and really did bring back interest to the franchise.
The movie ended on a note that hints at another sequel but I am afraid that unless Michael is completely written out of the franchise, it will be another movie that will suffer from the loss of the character even though they tried to shoehorn him into this movie. He presents a unique relationship with Selene and would provide a chance to mentor Eve as he was the only other hybrid.
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