UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING starts six months after the ending of UNDERWOLRD: EVOLUTION. Then
it jumps forward by 12 years as Selene awakens to find 12 years has passed and she has been frozen in a lab. She discovers she has a daughter named Eve that Antigen and the Lycans want. She breaks out of the lab and goes after the other subject who has escaped which
she thinks is Michael.
AWAKENING is a welcome start to revitalizing the UNDERWORLD franchise that leaves it open for another sequel (due to Scott
Speedman saying he won't return for this film and the story manages to get around that to use that to the story's advantage). Kate Beckinsale still kicks butt as the Death Dealer Selene who is thrust into the
aftermath of a world she knew might come one of these days- a world where Vampires and Lycans are hunted by humans. Dr. Lane and his company Antigen are supposedly developing a vaccine for vampirism
and lycanthropy, but their motives are far from pure as they allow Selene to escape with the purpose of leading Antigen back
AWAKENING is heavy on style and action. The plot elements are enough
to propel it forward between action scenes. Kate Beckinsale still
rocks as Selene and looks as good. The cast does a good job while
I am amazed Kate has an eight person entourage for this film (driver, two trainers, stunt double, costumer, make-up, hair
stylist, personal assistant). Kate shines above the rest of the
cast still. I wish they developed the Vampires and Lycans more. The
first three UNDERWORLD films gave more character development with every character compared to this new entry. I do love the direction from Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein (who directed the wonderful visually impressive
Swedish film STORM). Also keep an eye out for actor Kris Holden-Reid
(who will become best known for his part as Dyson on the TV series LOST GIRL (now airing on SyFy and filming is underway on
the third season) as the Uber-Lycan Quint.
film does appear a little too dark compared to the first three UNDERWORLD films, but the film does have some deep black values
like the other three movies. Part of this has to do with the movie being filmed
with the 3D Red Camera. I’m watching the film in 2D on the Blu-ray
and the 3D look in the theaters didn’t impress me in theaters (despite how many times the filmmakers say it looks great
on the audio commentary).
The audio commentary is with Directors Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein, and Producers Richard Wright and Gary Lucchesi,
and executive producer-slash-VFX-supervisor James McQuaide. They talk about
the usual behind-the-scenes production information, how awesome the Red Epic camera is and how the 3D looks great in the film,
and make fun of actor Theo James.
Five behind-the-scenes featurettes that
total over one hour on the disc (they can be played all at once or separately).
SELENE RISE- Kate Beckinsale returns to the role of her famous Death Dealer character and how it feels being able to
slip into the same type of skin tight catsuit costume 10 years later.
CASTING THE FUTURE OF UNDERWORLD- this
one focuses on the new characters of the film and the actors who play them.
RESUMING THE ACTION- a look at filming the action sequences and the new challenges 3D brought in filming those types of
BUILDING A BETTER LYCAN- this featurette takes a look at the Lycan costumes and the CGI Lycans in the film including the Uber-Lycan
(that Lens Wiseman wanted to do in the second film and couldn’t due to budgetary restrictions).
AWAKENING A FRANCHISE, BUILDING A BRUTAL
NEW WORLD- a look at the production design and props, and filming in 3D.
The blooper reel is hilarious while the
“Heavy Prey” music video by Lacey Strum is hit or miss. The previews
on the disc are for other Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases and the trailer for UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING isn’t
included (and neither are trailers for the other films).
CRACKING THE UNDERWORLD: PICTURE-IN-PICTURE
EXPERIENCE is basically a trivia track of sort with video clips from the series
Also included is a code for a digital
Ultraviolet Copy of the film you can stream online or download.
FINAL ANALYSIS: UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING sets the stage for a new trilogy. The
action is very impressive even though the script doesn’t impress me as much as the first three films. The behind-the-scenes
extras are hit and miss. Please check out the movie STORM and rewatch the first three UNDERWORLD films.
I wish the story was better (even considering Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski had a hand in writing the script).
This Blu-ray review is (c)5-12-2012
David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments