Underworld: Awakening (2012) – ‘Cause vampires are soooo popular right now.
Mmm, a new year, new movies. Really movies should be a continuous output of varied quality, but we all know that’s not the case – losses in the 1st quarter and all that. This year’s opening stinker is a lame 4th installment in a series nobody was hoping would reemerge.
Underworld: Awakening moves the story forward about 6000 years from the last movie, and 20ish from the second. Got it? Okay. Selene (Kate Bekinsale) wakes up suddenly in a research facility years after… THE PURGE… which I can only assume was years of vomiting. She fights here way out in the most 3D way possible and chance meets another vampire who explains that although vampires are still alive, they’ve become a bunch of whimpering ninnies. Oh no, how will they continue murdering humans for their blood and defending themselves from the arbitrarily assigned evil Lycans? We also learn that Selene gave birth to a magic baby that now is an adult with whack powers. Hilarity/action ensues and the vampires will live to fight another day.
I… I’m shaking with hate, I hated this movie so much. There were six writers credited on the script which immediately screams OVER-PRODUCED. Based on how loosely the story tied in to previous films, I suspect that the original writing process went something like this: “Hey, vampires are cool, let’s make a movie! What if, like, an elevator was falling and someone shoots a hole through so they’re safe? Yeah! And what if we do it in 3D and have these cool like spinny-explosive things like they had in UltraViolet – but cooler! Oooo! And so what if there’s Werewolves, but one is HUUUUUUGE!! Yeah – write that crap up and let’s pitch it!” Then Len Wiseman sees it and and is all like “Hey, this sounds a lot like Underworld. I think people have forgotten about my hot wife, so I’ll just take this over, give myself 5 credits on it for shoehorning in some old characters who refused to sign on for another movie, and we’ll keep this ghost train rolling!”
Everything about the movie felt half-baked: CGI seemed incomplete and sci-fi channelish, color scaling was that typical lazy BLUE BLUE look, and the dialog felt like I was watching a community theater production of Underworld: The Musical (I just shivered a bit). I love mindlessly violent films, but everyone has limits. Mine was reached when characters would reveal a twist and all but mug the camera for their line. “You will be more powerful than anyone ….. MY SON!” (Note: basically the first time we’ve seen this character… HIS SON.) It also wasn’t mindless or violent enough. Limited locations and long scenes of tedious dialog weren’t interrupted enough with blood-spray.
I can honestly say there wasn’t a single enjoyable moment in the film. I unfortunately did not see Contraband, which I think would have at least had a passing grade, so the first movie of the year falls squarely in Failsville. That’s okay, I’m sure Man on a Ledge, This Means War, The Vow, The Lorax, The Rave, Wrath of the Titans, The Three Stooges, G.I. Joe 2, and Battleship will all be much better than Underworld 4.