southtownstar
SPARKLE 
Weather Updates

‘Underworld: Awakening’ languishes a bit

‘UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING’

Director: Mans Marlind, Bjorn Stein

Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy and India Eisley

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Horror

Rated: R for strong violence and gore, and for some language

Running time: 1 hour and 28 minutes

Updated: March 4, 2012 8:07AM



I’m such a fan of the “Underworld” film franchise and vampires in general that I made it a point to go to the midnight screening of “Underworld: Awakening.”

I must admit that I was surprised to not see more people at AMC Loews Crestwood 18 in the wee hours.

Then again, the boyfriend and I opted for the digital version rather than the 3-D screening, so maybe more people chose that one.

When I mentioned to the boyfriend that I was going to share my take on the fourth installment in this vampire film franchise, he said I better make sure to tell people to skip this one and just go see the next flick, if there is one.

Now that’s his take on “Underworld: Awakening,” but I don’t think I would go that far.

I will admit that the latest film seemed more like it was setting up a bigger story for a fifth movie.

I also found myself groaning at several parts that either were too cheesy or too filled with computer-generated imagery.

Yes, the realm of “Underworld” is rooted in fantasy, but I don’t remember previous installments looking so CGI.

The other thing that got on my nerves was how Eve’s (India Eisley) character seemed straight out of those found-footage horror films like “Paranomal Activity 3” and “The Devil Inside.”

(I say “seemed” since I’m basing my statement on previews for those flicks, which I haven’t seen.)

When I walked out of the theater after the 88-minute “Underworld: Awakening,” I wanted to rewatch “Underworld,” “Underworld: Evolution” and “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.”

This desire stemmed from wanting to see if some of the things we learned in “Underworld: Awakening” lined up with previous canon and also from wanting to dive into the action that was in the first three flicks.

Even though I’m a huge fan of the franchise, I found the latest movie to be slow-going and lacking the full power of what Selene (Kate Beckinsale) can do.

But I know I’ll watch a fifth “Underworld” movie if it’s made. How about you?

As of press time, RottenTomatoes.com’s Tomatometer of critics is at 31 percent and the movie has an 82 percent “liked it” ranking from the audience so maybe I’m being too harsh.

I often skew more to the audience ranking than the critics’ one.

Longtime vampire love

After the prequel that was “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans,” I was glad Beckinsale was back in the lead role.

But I wish there were more familiar faces and that “Underworld: Awakening” had introduced us to some characters worth following into future films.

As I mentioned, the latest flick has me waxing nostalgic so I’d love to hear from longtime “Underworld” fans including those of you who picked up “Underworld Trilogy: The Essential Collection.”

That collection includes “Underworld,” “Underworld: Evolution” and “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” (which I recently picked up as a single DVD since I had the first two DVDs already).

I’ve always dug the look of the films and also the toughness of Selene as well as the romance between Selene and Michael (Scott Speedman).

For a while, it seemed as if vampires might have been too overexposed, but I’m still sticking with TV shows like the CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” and HBO’s “True Blood.”

And, of course, the unfortunately short-lived TV series “Kindred: The Embraced” and the always-fun-to-watch “Forever Knight” remain on my list of all-time favorites.

I also finally picked up the TV series “Moonlight” on DVD and am looking forward to rewatching that again after marathoning reruns of the one-season show after recording a CW marathon of the Alex O’Loughlin-led program.

Once a vamp fan, always a vamp fan.

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?

Submit your take on this flick on the Elaborating on Entertainment topic titled “Movies: Share your ‘Underworld: Awakening’ review.”



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.