‘Awakening’ delivers as urban film

February 10, 2012 Review Print Print
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Kicking off the year to a blazing good start, “Underworld: Awakening” continues the story of the vampiress Selene (Kate Beckinsale.)

Released January 20, the movie starts with the revelation of the vampire and lycan races to humans, and the subsequent war and attempted genocide.

Selene and her hybrid lover Michael (Scott Speedman) attempt escape, but the human authorities get the drop on them. Michael is apparently killed and Selene captured. Selene wakes up in a cold storage facility, where it seems she has been the subject of experimentation. She soon escapes, and goes on to prod buttock and wreak havoc on a world where lycans and vampires are endangered species.

Easily the equal of the other three Underworld movies, “Awakening” takes the storyline of the first two, which focused on the hybrid Michael, and the hybridized vampire elder Marcus, in a new direction with the introduction of Eve.

A fast-moving plot combines with stunning special effects to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

And the effects are pure eye candy. Whereas in the first three movies, much of the combat is between lycans and vampires and thus a relatively fair fight, “Awakening” allows Selene to open up on humans.

The difference is shocking, violent, and absolutely delicious. The blinding speed and incredible strength available to vampires is showcased and, for perhaps the first time, the audience sees Selene from a human perspective. It’s a jolting reminder that oh, yes, Selene is a really dangerous woman.

But the special effects, though spectacular, are almost pushed to the background by the skill of the cast. Everyone in the cast turns in a star performance, from Stephen Rea’s creepy, brooding Dr. Jacob Lane, to India Eisley’s simultaneously heart-warming and spooky Eve.

If there is one bad thing to say about this movie, it’s that Scott Speedman sat this one out. The Michael character is this author’s personal favorite of the series, and his absence from “Awakening” drew a sigh of disappointment.

But overall, a brilliant cast, stunning effects, and clean plot make “Awakening” one of the best urban fantasy films out today, and definitely worth a look.

Fair warning though: the vampires don’t sparkle, and the werewolves don’t whine. These are the monsters in the dark, and not for children.

Rating: A

—Jeremy Cloud

Editor

To contact Jeremy Cloud, email editor@occc.edu.

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