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Underworld: Awakening 3D(2012)
The vampire warrioress Selene, escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species.
For more about Underworld: Awakening 3D and the Underworld: Awakening 3D Blu-ray release, see Underworld: Awakening 3D Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 24, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, India Eisley, Stephen Rea, Charles Dance, Kris Holden-Ried
Directors: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein
» See full cast & crew
Underworld: Awakening 3D Blu-ray Review
More vamps, more 'wolves, more guns, more blue, more dimensions.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 24, 2012
One, two, Selene's coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, these movies are coming quick. Seven, eight, she kills Lycans great. Nine, ten, here comes Underworld again. Ah, the joys of movie franchises: repetitive, unimaginative, and lucrative. They come rapidly and with no remorse, sometimes with no purpose and no reasonable expectations for anything other than more of the same. There might not be as many Underworld movies -- yet -- as there are flicks in a lot of other franchises, but the cold blue nightmare world of Vampires vs. Werewolves apparently has yet to grow old. The franchise now clocks in at four, count 'em four movies, all of them pretty much the same thing except for number three which traveled backwards in time for some fun away from fully automatic pistols and modern technology for a more brutal look at olden warfare with real deadly weapons. But with fangs and sharp teeth and an unquenchable thirst for blood and dismemberment, who needs any weapons? Filmmakers. And audiences. That's who. The original Underworld defined modern movie "cool," the film depicting modern warfare undead and inhuman style, with slick, pretty Vampires who could be straight out of Twilight doing battle with nasty werewolves who are as menacing and deadly as Jacob is pretty. That film was novel, told a good story, and delivered plenty of action. The problem is that Underworld: Awakening looks and sounds and feels the same. The story is different to be sure, but the rhythm, heart, and soul remains Underworld through and through. It's up to each audience to determine whether "more of the same" is worth the price of admission.
Vampires and Lycans have been at war for centuries, but they have fought a secret war, out of sight and certainly out of mind of Earth's dominant population: mankind. One vampire, Selene (Kate Beckinsale), is a "death dealer," a powerful vampire warrior capable of great feats, an expert slayer of werewolves whom both sides have come to fear. Now, the war between the Vampires and Lycans has spilled out onto the streets. Man has ceased his battle with one another and directed his collective muscle towards those that are absolutely unlike him. Humankind has taken the fight to both the vampires and werewolves, and it's striving to rid the world of both species, with focus on the vampire-lycan hybrid creatures, the first of its kind being Selene's former lover and one-time human being, Michael Corvin. Selene is used as bait to capture Michael. The operation is successful, and Selene is released from cryosleep from an entity she only knows as "Subject 2." She awakens into a world largely free of vampires and lycans. Mankind has all but succeeded in wiping out both species, but the death dealer finds herself caught in the middle of a newly-brewing war that could shape the course of history for generations to come.
Certainly, Underworld Awakening is pretty much just more of the same. As audiences have come to expect from these films, it's silky-smooth and plays with all of the big-budget modern Action movie spit and polish required to mask the thematic shortcomings. The law firm of Mårlind and Stein directs with an even hand, framing the action just so and providing that handsome flashy sheen that gets the adrenaline pumping even when the plot slows down to work through its handful of necessary character development and thematically dramatic moments in between bites and scratches and gunfire. Yet for as ice cool as these scenes look, for as moody as they may be, the plot comes up a little thin. The new characters are flat and forgettable; even the child prodigy just seems to be along for the ride and inserted really only for those two or three shots of her transformed self snarling at whatever it is she intends to fight with eyes blackened and fangs out and ready to bite. Awakening takes the series forward in a logical progression; the idea of bringing the fight to the surface adds much potential for heightened action, increased tension, and all sorts of new and innovative ways to cause Lycan-Vampire mayhem, but the film limits itself to a well-executed but fairly routine car chase on a busy city street and more of the typical behind-the-scenes chaos that was so prevalent in the other two modern-day Underworld films. Where's the massive battle in the middle of a crowded baseball stadium? How about the fight on a packed human subway car resulting in mass carnage? Get the people more involved! Underworld: Awakening never truly takes advantage of its dynamic, at least not to a satisfactory level.
But at least Underworld: Awakening is comfortable. Fans will find warmth in the cold blue steely façade that covers the movie. Their blood will pump with the familiar refrain that is Selena's dual full-auto pistols cranking out lead. The inhuman-on-inhuman action comes quickly and spills much blood. Gore is high, the round count is higher, and the action is put together so that it's fast and and fun but not so intense and crazy that viewers cannot keep up with who's fighting who or sort out the specifics of the battle. But for the perfected, well-rehearsed ballets that are the film's many dazzling action scenes, they're absolutely interchangeable with anything else the modern-day films in the series have had to offer. But that's as it should be: Underworld, for all it does and the stories it attempts to weave together, has always been about a good looking girl prancing around in a tight leather suit and twirling guns, blasting anything that looks remotely different than she. Selene is, and remains in this film, a cold-blooded expert killer who wastes her enemies in droves and does so with style. Indeed, it probably matters not whether this is Underworld, Aboveworld, Sidewaysworld, or CuteAndCuddlyPuppiesAndKittensworld; if it features Kate Beckinsale running around in skin-tight leather, well, it's gonna sell! It just so happens the filmmakers have hit the jackpot by combing said female with Vampires and Werewolves. The Underworld films are simply Resident Evil movies, just without zombies and with tighter clothes.
Underworld: Awakening 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Potential 3D viewers might rightly pause before plopping down the extra dough for Underworld: Awakening. After all, very dark films have a fairly poor track record on Blu-ray 3D, most simply going overwhelmingly dark to the point that the image becomes nearly unwatchable -- think Priest. Fortunately, that's not the case with this transfer. Sony's released one of the finest live action 3D titles to date with Underworld: Awakening, the image offering a consistent, high quality 3D image while remaining accurate to the goodness of the general transfer qualities which made the 2D-only release so wonderful. To the more general attributes first. As noted, this release maintains an excellent black level balance. Never does the image grow too dark, despite being very dark by its very nature. The image is very well defined and immensely clear, with the black and blue elements playing nicely together and with the same accuracy which appears on the 2D disc. In those few times the image offers something that's not black or gray, such colors appear accurate, like blood red and fireball orange. Fine detail remains excellent, too; clothing seams and lines, facial textures, and little inconsequential elements like the fine lines of damaged and shredded wooden planks all add up to a very high quality presentation. In short, the image lives up to its potential and doesn't succumb to typical 3D issues. The better news is that the 3D elements are first-rate, too.
Underworld: Awakening's 3D-specific attributes sparkle. The image enjoys a constant, even sense of general depth. Even casual dialogue scenes feature excellent spacing between characters and an evident distance whether measured in feet or yards, the space between two close characters, or the length of a room or corridor. The image proves very shapely from the studio logos forward. It makes fine use of layers, with even Selene's stasis chamber showing obvious spacing between its clear cover and her face inches below. When a character falls into water, blood and bubbles rise as the character sinks further away from the screen. Distance shots spread far back into the depths of the television set, giving a nearly perfect illusion of three dimensional space. The transfer also does well to extend elements beyond the limits of the screen. Selene uses throwing weapons early in the film which appear to fly out past the front of the screen. Gun barrels poke out, and explosions send debris flying into the viewing area. Some viewers may note extremely light crosstalk. This is a fabulous 3D image that makes use of all elements. Depth, extension beyond the screen, strong detailing, and great black balance all add up to one of the best 3D transfers currently on the marketplace.
Underworld: Awakening 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Underworld: Awakening sounds fantastic. Sony's DTS-HD MA 7.1 lossless soundtrack ranks amongst the very best the format has to offer. This one impresses from the opening seconds on through to the closing credits. This presentation defines the modern cinema audio experience. It's big, aggressive, potent, and exceptionally immersive. Though it's loud and deep, clarity remains perfect throughout. Surround use is constant, heavy, and involved. The audience feels as if a part of every scene, immersed into every environment, caught in the middle of every battle. The track provides a nonstop barrage of perfectly-balanced surround sound activity. Whether mood- and location-critical light ambience, the pressurized sensation of underwater sound effects, music playing harmoniously with the rear channels, or high-powered action, the track proves to be one of the most immersive around. And for all the activity it offers, never does the track play as anything but perfectly balanced and absolutely lifelike. Gunfire erupts from each and every corner of the listening area. It tears through the stage as bullets zip and casings clank off the floor. Metal and flesh impacts, likewise, may be heard everywhere, and listeners might be inclined to duck for cover. The track also defines its locations with precision. A seaside port features seagulls maneuvering about, the steady sound of gently rolling waters, and boat horns in the distance. Musical balance is faultless, and instrument clarity is unbeatable. Dialogue is consistently strong and focused, playing firmly up the middle and never once sounding the least bit shallow or lost under the heavy effects and music. This track makes fine use of all of its attributes; the added surround channels help to create one of the most seamless and exciting soundtracks to date. This disc is worth a purchase if only as a top-notch audio demonstration piece.
Underworld: Awakening 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Underworld: Awakening contains a commentary track, several featurettes, a blooper reel, and a music video. The previsualization sequences are exclusive to the Blu-ray 3D release.
Underworld: Awakening 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
More of the same though it may be, Underworld: Awakening is a pretty fun, slick, well-made little film. It's entertaining and quite watchable, an achievement for a fourth-in-the-series film, and that these things are still going strong in theaters and not being dumped directly to video is a testament to the dedication of the series' fan base, or at least to male hormones and testosterone. No matter what, Underworld will always sell if it's got Kate Beckinsale wrapped up in a tight-fitting leather suit and armed to the teeth with machine pistols. This film's plot naturally advances the series but doesn't really take advantage of the possibilities. Still, it's a fun and serviceable little time killer that should satisfy casual and diehard Underworld fans alike. Sony's Blu-ray 3D release of Underworld: Awakening features standout video, classic audio, and a nice collection of extras. Highly recommended.
Underworld: Awakening: Other Editions
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Underworld: Awakening 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Underworld: Awakening Blu-ray (Updated) - March 12, 2012
This May, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will bring Underworld: Awakening to Blu-ray. The fourth installment in the action-horror franchise stars Kate Beckinsale (Contraband) as Selene, a vampire negotiating her way through the brutal war between the Vampire ...
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