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“Underworld: Awakening” for Dummies

January 25, 2012

Bruce: Forget all those Oscar nominees—the No. 1 movie at the box office is Underworld: Awakening, the fourth in the horror series. Ironically, I found it hard to stay awake during Awakening. That may be beacuse I hadn’t seen the previous Underworld films, so I’ve recruited aficionado Nancy Bilyeau to explain it all for me. Nancy’s new thriller, The Crown, is No. 3 on Amazon’s list of bestselling historical thrillers. Plus, I hear it has a touch of the supernatural—so she’s qualified to help me sink my teeth into this movie. So, Nancy, here’s what I got: It’s vampires vs. werewolves, and we’re rooting for the bloodsuckers. What I didn’t get was: Why?

Nancy: Because the vamps have superior fashion. You didn’t get the memo you go to these movies for the leather?

Bruce: Well, that’s true. Kate Beckinsale looks great in black leather. But she wasn’t in the last Underworld movie, right?

Nancy: No, she was in the first two movies, Underworld in 2003 and Underworld: Evolution in 2006. The third one was an “origins” story in the Middle Ages starring Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy, but it was not as much fun as that sentence would imply. Turns out we need the leather pantsuit badly.

Bruce: It seems like this series is for British actors who couldn’t get cast in the Harry Potter franchise. I spied poor Steven Rea and  Julian Sands this time. Or was it Charles Dance, not Sands?

Nancy: It was Dance, doing a similar thing to his Game of Thrones role. He stands very tall, then tilts his neck and yells. Sands was in The Girl with Dragon Tattoo.

Bruce: I always confuse those two. They’re both lanky, regal Brits, and neither one has aged particularly well.

Nancy: You ask why we root for the vampires. Have you not seen True Blood or any of the Twilight installments? Hello? That is what our culture does now. We root for the vampires. Except for Blade, I guess.

Bruce: I saw the last Twilight—it was the movie that convinced my former blog-mate Bret Watson to quit Two Cranky Guys. And my girlfriend has gotten me into True Blood. But what’t the appeal of vampires? Do women want men to bite their necks?

Nancy: Of course they do. I could drone on and on about the underlying themes of mortality and sexual identity. Is that what you want—really?

Bruce: Now that you mention it, nah. From what I gathered in this movie, vampires and werewolves have mated and created a hybrid—played by Scott Speedman from Felicity. Seriously?

Nancy: That is no lie. He is the man of Kate Beckinsdale’s dreams in the first one. He starts out as a muddled student. Then he turns into half-vampire and half-werewolf, but his makeup is very Blue Hulk. He gets mad in underground grottos. It’s sort of funny seeing Kate Beckinsdale saying she is heartbroken because she’s lost Scott Speedman.

Bruce: So Speedman and Beckinsale mated and created the little hybrid girl whom everyone’s chasing in this movie? Is she going to take over the franchise now that Beckinsale’s getting a bit long in the tooth (pun intended)?

Nancy: She can still wear the leather, Bruce. And you know it is her husband, Len Wiseman, who directed the first two. Now he doesn’t direct them. Which is weird. What else does he have to do that is more important that direct his movie-star wife?

Bruce: I can’t figure out Beckinsale. She seemed to have so much promise as an actress back in the the Last Days of Disco days. Now she just makes crap like this and Contraband. She’s a Beckin-sellout.

Nancy: What about her Jane Austen performances? She is really good in period films. But she seems to want to be a hot monster until it’s not possible and then shift back to period movies and do Judi Dench and Helen Mirren roles.

Bruce: That is no way to become a Dame. So how does Awakening compare to the other Underworld movies? Because it seemed like a hellishly incoherent mess to me.

Nancy: It is better than the last two but not as good as the first one. I saw it for the simple reason that I’ve got all the convoluted bloodline plot lines down. Now I need to use those brain cells, don’t I?

Bruce: Honestly, until I saw the trailer for the next Resident Evil movie before Awakening, I’m not sure I realized they were separate series. They both feature Euro-brunettes in black leather killing monsters. Are you an RE fan too?

Nancy: Nope. I stay in my comfort zone, and that is vampires and werewolves. Though the trailer of the new Nicolas Cage Ghost Rider film looks fun!

Bruce: If by fun, you mean awful.

Nancy: Yes.

Nancy: But I have a thing for Nic Cage. I may have to double up my therapy appointments to understand the Nicolas Cage problem. Remember, I paid money in a theatre to see Season of the Witch.

Bruce: As did I. We’re both gluttons for cinematic punishment. So I haven’t gottten to read The Crown yet—I’m still debating whether to buy a hard copy or download it for my new Kindle Fire. But then how would you autograph it? Tell me, does it have any vampires or werewolves in it?

Nancy: No vampires or werewolves. Isn’t Henry VIII scary enough?

Bruce: Sold! (Clicks “add to cart”)

Nancy: Yay! Now I will go check my Amazon ranking. I haven’t done it since I started talking to you and I’m starting to twitch with the DTs.

Bruce: And I must go Google myself. And no, that’s not a euphemism.

Are you an Underworld fan? If so, why?

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