Underworld: Awakening

Have you ever been to a sequel to a movie franchise you like and think; this was a good installment, I enjoyed it, but I want a little more? Well, that's kind of the way I feel right now. Don't get me wrong, I definitely liked this one, but as I'm trying to conjure up a stronger feeling to make writing this review easier, I find I can't really summon anything.

So what can I say about it?

(Mild spoilers ahead, but nothing beyond what can be found in the trailers.)

Well, for one, it didn't pull an Alien 3 and destroy everything that came before it. But they robbed the heroine of a lot of time, twelve years in fact. Time that could've been used to soften her, and mature her out of her angry adolescence. (Which is kind of funny considering she's supposed to be centuries old. I guess she has some long lasting rage issues.) In a lot of ways she's still dealing with the events that happened in the first movie, events of betrayal and violence. It also worked to give her a solid reason for her apparent coldness.

But I wonder if it isn't a bit of a cop out, especially with the new character that's introduced -- a hybrid child who is about twelve years old. I won't elaborate further, but the dynamic between Selene and this girl is one of the few character strengths in this film. Unfortunately, it is also one of the problems. The characters are all broad stroke archetypes with no real history or detailed motivations. Yet they do tell us enough that we understand them and connect with them on a basic level, for the most part. I just wish we'd gotten more of those quiet moments of exposition and character growth, instead of just a series of interconnected chase/fight sequences that I have a vague feeling I've seen before. I also wish they had fixed some of the iffy special effects that have plagued the series from the start.

But this was a good installment in what has been an unabashedly violent and fun vampire versus werewolf gorefest of a series. I liked the ending. I liked that they didn't destroy three movies worth of continuity. I liked that they stayed true to the look and atmosphere of the series. I liked that they continued the war started in the first film, but took it in a new direction. I liked that they brought back Kate Beckinsale, because she is really the reason the franchise exists. I missed some of the vampire politics, but given the nature of the story, that's understandable.

I recommend it to fans since it does push the continuing story forward. But if you haven't seen the rest, you might not get much out of it beyond the cool action scenes, and Kate Beckinsale looking awesome and killing people in a variety of gruesome ways.

I'd give this installment two and a half giant rampaging werewolves out of four.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.

1 comment:

Rahul said...

This is getting repeated. Action sequences here are not for promoting story but story is for promoting only action. Emotional bond is least, unable to generate any touching moment during the mother-daughter reunion. Munch popcorn during the show and enjoy the action if you must ....