“Underworld: Awakening”: The Live-Tweeted Review

01.20.12 6 years ago

By the time you read this, our stalwart film critic will have been sitting in the theater for an hour, watching “Underworld: Awakening”. Why? Because we pay him, that’s why! The mantle of Creative Director comes with responsibilities, sitting through dying awful film franchises chief among them.

So, to compensate for his lack of timely reviews, he will instead be live tweeting at his personal Twitter account, Theta1138, and responding to @ replies (don’t worry, he’ll be sitting in the back, wedged in the far corner, so his screen radiation doesn’t bother anyone). And then he’ll update this post with his emotional reaction to what will no doubt be one of the more profound achievements of cinema in the 21st century.

In other words, watch this space. And harass him on Twitter. Make him earn his gruel!

UPDATE: Now with actual review thoughts!

There are two kinds of movies: movies made because of a genuine love of the material, and extruded entertainment product that’s just as bland and cheaply packaged as the meat snacks and “froot juice” you see on convenience store shelves. One guess where “Underworld: Awakening” falls into.

It’s not that this movie is bad so much as it is flavorless. The entire movie is shot in tones of blue, grey, and black with uninspired lighting and set design. This movie is supposedly set twelve years in the future, but nobody drives a new car, or owns a smartphone, or even has a flat-screen monitor (one of many signs of this movie’s tiny budget; if this cost $30 million I’ll be shocked). Even the gore is rote and uncreative: this movie is just bloody enough to earn an R rating, but not bloody enough to come off as gleeful or enjoying itself.

It doesn’t even bother to establish why, precisely, humanity discovering werewolves and vampires and wiping them out is a bad thing. Supposedly this takes place in a dystopia, but there isn’t even a dropped hint that this is a bad world for anybody other than, well, predators who want to eat humans. One underwear model in this case says “We must rise up and fight the humans!”, and we’re expected to get behind this guy, when he’s advocating killing and eating us. Uh, what?

This franchise keeps turning out entries because Sony can spend between $20 and $30 million on the budget, reliably make back about three times that in ticket sales, and then these movies can be sold and repackaged constantly until the end of human existence. This is betrayed by the theater strategy: where I live, the major theaters don’t have this movie in cheaper 2D, only 3D and in the laughable concept of the “IMAX Experience”. In other words, they’re just as dead, soulless, and unappealing as the kinda wussy vampires in this movie.

Do yourself a favor and skip this one; as extruded entertainment product goes, there’s stuff that’s got better packaging.

image courtesy Sony Pictures

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