Underworld: Awakening sees the return of the vampire warrioress, Selene, in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both the vampire and the lycan race and have set out to destroy them both. Selene is captured by the humans and frozen in ice whilst the humans conduct tests on her, but when she is mysteriously freed from the ice, she realises that 12 years have passed and she has a daughter, Eve, a hybrid. Clearly Eve is the daughter of Selene and Michael, but Selene has no idea where Michael is or if he’s even alive. There is something strange at work and things aren’t all they seem – the lycan/vampire war continues.
What I immediately liked about Underworld: Awakening was that it brought the Underworld series to the modern era and it is set in 21st century reality. At first I thought that this meant that this film would be different and unique to the others; however, its not long before you realise that in fact, its the same old story.
I had read many, many bad reviews of Underworld: Awakening prior to watching it but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway since I quite enjoyed its predecessors. The thing that let this film down the most was the plot. For the most part of the movie, I was wondering why on earth it had received such bad reviews. I mean, it wasn’t brilliant, but it wasn’t that bad either. It wasn’t until I reached the end of the film when I realised that there had basically been no plot. I did not understand the purpose of the film of what any of the character motives were and by the end of the film you don’t really feel like you’ve actually gone anywhere.
Vampire, Selene, discovers that she’s a mother but never seems to display any true maternal feelings. There is little character building and the relationship with Selene and her daughter is never developed. There are some old characters as well as new characters, but it is never really clear what their purposes are. There is a cliffhanger at the end of the movie, but instead of filling you with a sense of anticipation and longing to find out what happens next, you just feel annoyed that the film has been cut short.
Apart from the occasional bone crunching, I really didn’t find Underworld: Awakening particularly disturbing – at least, not disturbing enough for this to qualify as a ‘horror’ film. I was quite surprised to find that this was rated as an ’18’, because I also didn’t feel like there were many scenes that would have been particularly disturbing to those under eighteen, perhaps ’15’ would have been a better age certificate. There are some fairly gory scenes, but there aren’t enough of these, and they aren’t gory enough, for this to be deemed ‘scary’. Not to mention the fact that some of the CGI effects are terrible, but if you’re the sort of person who finds the sight of spurting ketchup disturbing, then sure, call this a horror film. On the other hand, this film is also defined as an ‘action’ film, and this is a much better description because there is quite a lot of meaningless fighting but cool stunts and action sequences.
I don’t think that the acting is particularly bad in Underworld: Awakening, though it is really difficult to say give that the rest of the set up was so bad. Kate Beckinsale performs just as she did in the previous films, though, I have to say, she is definitely does not play a motherly character well. I don’t know if this is Selene or Kate Beckinsale’s fault but none of the emotions she displayed towards her daughter seemed all that affectionate or caring. India Eisley, who plays Eve, Selene’s daughter, does quite a good job of acting the confused and abandoned child; however, again, it is difficult to appreciate this given the random things Eve does and she comes across as a foolish child fawning for a mother’s attention.
Underworld: Awakening isn’t all that bad; however, the lack of development of the plot/characters makes it hard to praise it. I would recommend this to fans of the Underworld series, given that the other films received similarly bad reviews, though people still seemed to enjoy them. If you’re new to the Underworld series, then I wouldn’t recommend starting with this film as it doesn’t really capture the essence of what the series is really about. Unless if you just want to see Kate Beckinsale in tight lycra for one and half hours, I’d give this one a miss.