Tag Archives: Michael Sheen

Underworld: Awakening

Where’s Michael? Where is Michael Corvin?

You may be wondering that yourself after you see Underworld: Awakening in theaters (if it still is…) The second I saw this movie was in development WITH KATE BECKINSALE, I got really excited. This beautiful English goddess needs no introduction. The face and star of the Underworld series ( I won’t include Rise of the Lycans) comes back with a more violent and sexy force in this movie. And, at 39 years of age, Beckinsale is looking wonderfully sexy and vibrant, despite the whole vampire/death dealer thing.

I would say this tagline of this movie is “Where’s Michael?” because it is the most classic line from the trailer. Yelling in the face of some unfortunate human, Selene just wants to know where her lover is. Is that too much to ask?

Where is Michael?

Apparently it was too much to ask to get Scott Speedman to return in this film. From the first moment you see him, you know something’s up. He seems CGI, and, in fact he is. Shown for an entire 30 seconds of screen time, Michael goes from badass hybrid to invisible hider. The original purpose of the film is to find him, but it becomes complicated.

This scene was sexy.

Here’s some context. The war raging on for centuries between the Vampires and Lycans has a new contender. The humans have entered the battle and have learned the weaknesses to decimate both sides. In a terrible twist of fate, Selene and Michael are captured and are being held in a laboratory under cryogenic (?) freezing for over 10 years. (Was it 10? The number was a bit fuzzy…) Upon being released by some unknown third party, Selene awakens to a world she is unfamiliar with. All that remains with her is her ability to kill, and kill well.

After some romp stomp destroying of some lab guards, Selene begins to get her wits about her. Realizing she is not in a position of advantage, she begins her quest in finding Michael. This is complicated by what she perceives to be visions from Michael’s own eyes being projected to her. She follows them and what she finds is a young girl. A hybrid young girl. With things thrown out of whack and nothing as it appears, Selene and the last of the vampires must fight in a world where there enemy is no longer the Lycans, but what would appear to be a lesser subspecies. Us.

Time to lace up.

I gotta hand it to the creators of Underworld. You take a 6 year break from Evolution with Kate and come back just as hard as the original 9 years before this one? You have to know some die hard fans are gonna watch it regardless. Me being one of those die hard fans of Beckinsale and everything Underworld really helped out. The first one becoming a cult classic solidifies any future work on Underworld and makes it all the more interesting when, yes, they suggest a 5th one. Bring it on.

There's some violence for ya.

I really gotta say though, this one hit hard with the violence. There’s really not a big break between action scenes, but some of the action scenes really drive the plot in an unusual way that I haven’t seen in many action movies. Removing the fight scenes from the plot is a way to entertain without bogging down the stylized violence, but this movie said, “Eh, why can’t we have both?” And I agree. There are plenty of successful action movies out there that can balance what the genre promises with a bit of good storyline. And the Underworld series is one of those.

But yes, there are throat slashing scenes, lots of bullet holes through Lycan carcasses, and, really, not a lot of sympathy for the Lycans in general. In a

The last hopes for the Vampires.

series that kind of set up this idea between supernatural being unity, Lycans vs Vampires probably won’t die anytime soon. With hybrids and the humans as the common enemy, I expected some teamwork, but this movie takes it in a direction that makes sense as well without the Vamycans combine. Although, as anyone knows who has seen this series, humans shouldn’t be a threat to these races, but it happens. I guess if Van Helsing can do it… Others can.

I love that suit. And those guns. Everything.

The acting in this movie was fine, but not the main focus/intent of the creators. Kate Beckinsale, instant loveable classic. At her age, looking that good, the mist rolling over her naked body. Chills. Stephen Rea kind of came out of left field for me. One of the most experienced actors in the movie, his villainous nature came as strange. One, because he’s one of those self-absorbed, nerdy villains without the ridiculously gothic quality of say Bill Nighy or Michael Sheen. Two, his son Quint (Kris Holden-Ried) had an English accent in this movie and Stephen Rea as his father, Dr. Jacob Lane, didn’t. Those little nuances can bother a person.

I mean, at some points in the film, there were accents when there didn’t have to be, and others were there should have been (I guess). Beckinsale sounds wonderfully elegant as Selene with her British accent, but with Eve (India Eisley) it came off as awkward. An 18 year old girl portraying a 12 year old girl (it was close) with an English accent, in a city that I feel was in America,

I just have to include this shot. Chills.

seemed out of place. But the girl did her job, despite some of her only experience coming from The Secret Life of the American Teenager (utterly horrid).

That was also something that struck me as odd with Theo James in this film. As with some other British newcomers to the silver screen, David (Theo James) showed a slight potential as a relatively important character in this film. Bringing back the classic whips from the last scene in the original Underworld, he delivered his lines with a British accent, in an altogether unconvincing way. Charles Dance as his father, Thomas, one of the last remaining bastions of the Vampire dynasty, did a fair job, but he wasn’t a Bill Nighy type of character. He made his mark though.

You did okay, Theo.

Before I wrap this up, just wanted to throw a little shout out Wes Bentley’s way. This guys was a simple character who released Selene from her cryogenic sleep and got none of the credit. I’ve admired Wes Bentley ever since American Beauty (…and Ghost Rider) and I feel he is an underrated actor. So I would like to give him a nod in this uncredited role in Underworld, even though he was dropped out a window.

It's about to get heavy.

So, all-in-all, Underworld: Awakening did justice to the Underworld series. There was a great deal of action, although no Michael, and a plot that satisfyingly gave a chance for an Underworld 5. A fabulous twist that I didn’t see coming progressed the overall plot and left me falling in love with Selene all over again. I would agree with IMDB’s rating of this movie of a 7 out of 10, but, as a huge fan, I’d bump it up to a 7.7 out of 10. Nice job.

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Tron: Legacy

So, as it was described to me, Tron: Legacy is “an orgasm of light and sound”. I’d tend to agree. Knowing next to nothing about Tron other than what I know from Kingdom Hearts II (Kingdom Hearts fans know what I’m talking about), I don’t know how thorough I will be in credibly reviewing this movie. But I’d love to throw in my two cents here.

So from what I got through a first watch of this movie: Sam Flynn is the son of Kevin Flynn, the guy who created this digital world back in the 1980’s.His goal was to create a sort of free space for programs and such to grow in a free grid. (What I kind of thought of it as was like the Internet. Free and you can get¬†anything off of it.) But one day, when Sam was a young’in, Kevin Flynn promised him another game of Tron or something or other, and never came back. 20 years later or so, Sam is on a mission to make his father’s company free from greedy businessmen, and what he stumbles upon is the world his father created. But things are a bit different.

Upon entering the grid, Sam is entered into the games, and these games kill you. It’s not like how steroids kill you, it’s more like how Murderball could kill a

Sam Flynn. He has a Bugatti.

person not in a wheelchair. By playing these games, Sam discovers Clu, the alternate grid-ego that his father created to help him create the cyber world he’s in now. And he’s gone completely evil. (Also, he’s completely digitally animated. Think Beowulf, the newest version.) And unfortunately, so has Tron. And these two have taken over the cybernetic world and have destroyed the one thing that came about from Kevin’s creation. *Secret* Don’t wanna spoil it.

So yeah, as some critics might say, it was a bit flimsy on the plot. I say, what do you expect from a PG Disney movie. No, it’s not necessarily geared towards children. But older children can appreciate this movie, knowing nothing about the movie that came out 20 years before they were born. You have to look at the demographic and the time it was created in. (I don’t feel like critics ever take that into account. Just harshly compare it to the classics.) At face value, I’d take this film to be quite visually pleasing. The lights and visual effects that went into this movie give it a very sleek and appealing look. And to accompany this? Daft Punk. These guys were great in the creation of this soundtrack, and coincidentally make a cameo appearance as the two masked DJs in the in Zeus’s club.

Acting wise? Some big acting chops are brought to the table in this film. Of course we have Jeff

Well that's certainly a change...

Bridges as Kevin Flynn/Clu, reclaiming his original role in the Tron film. There’s also Garrett Hedlund who plays Sam Flynn, the bad boy hacker and heir to his father’s company. I’ve seen Garrett Hedlund in other movies (Troy, Four Brothers, Eragon) and now I realize he’s an actor who is typecast in certain roles. Either the bad boy or a minor character, I feel as if he might/might not break out of these roles. (I haven’t/won’t see Country Strong, but that’s a change of pace, right?) Olivia Wilde plays Quorra, nothing special there (not a big fan).

And then there are the special appearances. Bruce Boxleitner plays Tron, one of the biggest badasses that makes me want to see the original. Michael Sheen makes an amazing appearance as the slightly flamboyant and hilarious Zeus, the club host with the most. I love how much work Michael Sheen gets ever since he was in Underworld, and I think it’s really great how much range he has. Oh, and really, don’t forget Cillian Murphy, the badass Scarecrow back to strike again as always, performing amazing role after amazing role. I love his work and, even in the smallest part, I feel he never lets me down.

Michael Sheen. Master.

So I’d have to say that first time director Joseph Kosinski did quite a nice job on touching up and updating the Tron movie that so many came to love in the 1980’s. The lights, the sound, the actors all came together for one nice 2 hour thrill ride that was quite entertaining to watch. And if it was nothing more than entertainment, not a tribute to the Tron “legacy” at all, then I apologize to all you diehard Tron fans out there. Sorry to disappoint. But I wasn’t disappointed. 7.3 out of 10.