Friday, 20 January 2012



Don't go. That's the short version. Stay home and do something else: anything else. Wash the cat or something. It's not that this latest Underworld movie is an abomination and a blight on cinema's good name - it's actually a tolerably silly piece of monster nonsense mainly notable for having Kate Beckinsale running around in skintight black shiny trousers yet again - but what knocks a star off the rating is the worthless 3D that frankly cements 3D's bad reputation. It doesn't work, it isn't necessary, and the loss of light through the polarising filters (which doesn't usually matter that much) is a serious problem in this case given that, like the other Underworld movies, much of it takes place in the dark and at night, lit entirely in steely grey-blue, and most of the cast wear black. And even the worthless 3D wouldn't matter too much if there was a 2D version released at the same time.

But the film is only being released in 3D: there doesn't appear to be a single cinema running the 2D version. Whether this was the decision of the cinema chains (it's a bumper week for new movies this week) or Entertainment Film Distributors (who submitted both versions to the censor), it's a bad deal for audiences who now have no choice but to stump up the extra cost on the ticket price for an effect that simply isn't worth it. The best advice is simply to not go. No matter how much you like vampires and werewolves and monsters and Kate Beckinsale leaping about the place in her shiny pants, wait for the BluRay which will come without this shameless ripoff of a 3D effect.

Underworld: Awakening kicks off with Selene (Beckinsale) and Michael (Scott Speedman, who isn't actually in this film except through footage from the first two films) captured by the mysterious Antigen Corporation, as the humans discover the existence of vampires and lycans and set about exterminating them. Yet both of them are placed in cryogenic capsules by mad werewolf scientist Stephen Rea for twelve years until she's released and discovers she has had a child (presumably genetically). The child is injured by a pursuing lycan and taken to a nearby secret vampire coven lorded over by Charles Dance. But the lycans are right behind them....

It's all resonably acceptable fangs and claws twaddle enlivened by enough blood and gore to garner the film an 18 certificate. And there are some nifty (albeit CGId up the wazoo) action sequences such as Selene's getaway van assailed by lycans in heavy traffic, although much of the one-on-one fighting seems merely to involve firing hundreds of bullets at each other from machine pistols that never need reloading (again, a long-standing Hollywood convention that's usually not a massive problem but it's curiously annoying here). If only they'd released a 2D print as well: there's not a single shot from start to finish that warrants an extra dimension.


It's here:

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