Saturday, January 21, 2012

Underworld Awakening

This year being the end of several calendars including the Mayan, we are all perhaps waiting for some catastrophic event or change. I sort of gauge this by checking the premier date for films I want to see and then checking them off that so far I have made it to............Last summer Thor and Green Lantern. And now I must add to my list "Underworld Awakening".

I must say I find these films starring Kate Beckinsale fun. And they explore mythic themes and even social ones that might not be apparent. But the main reason for going to see the film is to see Kate again as Selene. I do enjoy other films with her. And I find it interesting that Ralph Barbieri on KNBR has on more than one occasion referred to her as the most beautiful woman in the world. She is by far my favorite of the modern actresses. A sort of latter day Diana Rigg. It is interesting that they both have played characters in form fitting battle suits. But besides both being British they are both very outspoken and intelligent. Ms. Beckinsale studied both French and Russian Literature at Cambridge. I once read that she said these days the only place she gets to practice her Russian is at the hair dressers.

The first and second in the series are by far my favorites. The third, while dealing with the history of the Underworld mythology and exploring Lucian, who, outside of Selene, is the most interesting character, left out Kate. So while I saw it it was a great disappointment. And I was afraid the series would end there. But I got my wish and it has continued for at least another film. A fourth. And just as the character of Selene dominated the second, so does she in the fourth. I must admit I am more a Selene fan than an Underworld fan. Just as I was an Emma Peel fan more than an Avengers fan. So after an absence of 6 years here we go again.

The film auspiciously opened January 20th as did Underworld Evolution. And this is also the same date the Avengers returned to American tv for a second run in 1967. AS the first two films explored the connection between Selene and Michael, and therefore had a romantic/sexual sense to them, this one explores the connection between Selene and a young girl that explores the sense of Mother. But there is even more action in this one than in the first two. In fact I still haven't decided what this film is yet.

The main shift in this film is that humans have discovered the existence of the vampires and werewolves and have declared a martial law and state and have taken steps to exterminate both species. So not only is there tension between vampires and lycans, there is the added sense that humans are now also an enemy.

One of the things that gets overlooked in these films is that both species are enhanced with special abilities and are looked upon in the popular vernacular as monsters. And this is even heightened in this film. One might question whether the vampires and werewolves represent(symbolically) the next step in our evolution(transforming to a deeper and truer level) and how that level might present itself initially to us as a monster, something fearful and evil. And so to see the current film explore that was interesting. And to see the scenes of martial law and the extermination of the monsters was quite scary. It makes you question who are the real monsters. Foster Gamble's documentary Thrive puts out the possibility of martial law and that those in control have a plan to eliminate a sizeable portion of the human population. So some probably unintended parallels. And it is interesting that martial law is oftentimes put out there as for the good of all when it really serves the few.

I saw it in 3D and even though pricier I think it added to the experience. There is a lot of intense fantasy violence. Which if not your bag probably means the film is not your cup of tea. I tend to find films like this cleansing. Often in the Eastern sense there is the archetype of the destroyer. Creation cannot happen without must be accompanied by destruction. Selene's initial reason for being as a death dealer was the extermination of the lycan race. In this film this is channeled into the protection of the young girl with whom she has a mysterious connection. Even though the stunts are spectacular I love the films because they are not about a woman doing man-like things. Just as Diana Rigg did in her day they present an aspect of female power that is quite distinct from the male and yet equally potent. I think Ms Beckinsale embodies this well. She indicates quite a transformation for the first film. She had to learn to run on camera. To fight. To shoot. She even found that her hands(large enough to be as big as Ben Afleck's during the shooting of "Pearl Harbor")made it easier to handle the guns. So for this film everything is polished.

So both thumbs up. If you enjoy films like this you will enjoy this one. I even urge you to see it in the theater because I would like to in my own selfish way see still another.

Here is a bit of information virtually no one on the planet has: What is an unusual connection that both Kate Beckinsale and Morihei Ueshibe Osensei both share? Answer: They both have their moon in the sign of Gemini. And still even more little known: Both moons conjunct my sun in Gemini.

For tomorrow's NFC championship, go Niners! And here is still another video from the movie "Thrive":


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