Category Archives: Underworld Awakening
Published February 7, 2012 on Vancouver is Awesome
The return of Kate Beckinsale and her cat suit powered supernatural thriller Underworld Awakening to a weekend North American box office win of $25 million+ for its late January opening but critics blasted the fourth installment of the franchise for its weak storyline. U4 box office halved for its second weekend and then halved again last weekend. I saw the film last week in 3D and enjoyed watching Beckinsale and her stunt double playing kickass-cool vampire Selene and Simon Fraser University as its unmistakable self playing nefarious bio-tech company Antigen.
Vengeance Returns is the Underworld Awakening tagline. Here is a plot synopsis with spoilers: Not long after the events of Underworld Evolution, vampire Selene and her hybrid vampire/Lycan lover Michael Corvin are captured during The Purge, a crusade by humans to rid the world of vampires and Lycans (evolved werewolfs who can shift between wolf and human form). Twelve years later, Selene is freed from cryogenic suspension in Antigen headquarters by her and Corvin’s vampire/Lycan hybrid daughter Eve — a daughter Selene never knew she had with a lover who appears to be dead. Antigen claims to be developing an antidote for the virus that creates vampires and Lycans, but is really run by Lycans who are injecting Eve’s hybrid blood into themselves to create a race of super Lycans, impervious to silver and with enhanced abilities and size.
Unfortunately Scott Speedman declined to return as Selene’s lover Michael Corvin in the fourth film so we only see him in flashbacks or as a blurred figure in Underworld Awakening. New to this Vancouver-shot movie franchise about vampires and werewolves that predates the Twilight craze is human Detective Sebastian played by Michael Ealy of The Good Wife (see photo below).
After a brief recap of the Underworld saga so far, the new film opens with scenes of a genocide of not one but two species — vampires and Lycans — that was filmed mainly downtown. For example, crew set up a security checkpoint with police/SWAT extras on Hamilton Street outside Pappas Furs for filming on May 1st last year.
Published July 21, 2011 on Vancouver is Awesome
How’s this for Comic-Con craziness? Twihards starting lining up outside the San Diego Convention Center three days early (on Monday) to be among the six thousand lucky enough to get into The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 1 panel in Hall H, which took place just before lunchtime today. Breaking Dawn 1 was the first panel in Hall H so that Twihards couldn’t ruin Comic-Con like they usually do. What’s even more crazy? That the vampires and werewolves of the mainly Vancouver-shot Breaking Dawn 1 aren’t the most popular panel of the hundreds at Comic-Con 2011. Not even close. That honour belongs to the zombies of AMC TV series The Walking Dead.
Breaking Dawn 1 isn’t even among the most popular of Vancouver-filmed movies and TV series at Comic-Con, which has become less about big movies and more about cult television series in recent years. Locally-shot TV series Pscyh cracked the Top 25 most popular panels and Fringe, Eureka, Supernatural and Alcatraz are all in the Top 50. Breaking Dawn 1 and Underworld Awakening (the fourth in the movie franchise but only the third to star Kate Beckinsale and her vampire cat suit) barely made the Top 50 cut.
Psych presented today to standing-room-only, people-turned-away capacity, with Psych-os either dressed as pineapples or carrying them. Apparently series star James Roday (seen above directing a vampire-themed episode) improvised with a pineapple in the show’s premiere and there’s been one hidden in every episode since. Nominally a detective series, Psych knows how to play to a Comic-Con crowd, with several episodes in its sixth season (now filming in Vancouver) crossing over into genre stuff like vampires, super heroes and Star Trek. In a real casting coup, the original Captain Kirk — William Shatner — plays the father of one of the main cast in an episode filmed
Published June 9, 2011 on Vancouver is Awesome
I first photographed the Underworld vampire/Lycan film franchise at Simon Fraser University in early March when crew transformed Convocation Mall (Convo Mall) into nefarious bio-tech company Antigen with a large grey corporate reception area on the dais and fake Antigen doors at the top of the stairs leading into the Academic Quadrangle. Underworld 4 returned there two months later in early May to rebuild the set and this time filmed franchise star Kate Beckinsale as vampire Selene in her signature black leather/latex skin-tight cat suit, not her stunt double.
While I didn’t get to see any action scenes I did spot Kate Beckinsale in a North Face jacket and her black catsuit on Convo Mall laughing with her grey-suited co-star Michael Ealy (The Good Wife). Ealy plays a police detective hunting Beckinsale’s vampire Selene, who later teams up with her to stop bio-tech company Antigen from “creating super Lycans that will kill them all”. The two leads took turns sitting for on-camera interviews on a south walkway above the mall and Ealy is said to have given the camera crew a set tour of Antigen headquarters later that Sunday afternoon. As @ParrotGirl put it on Twitter: ” SFU probably hasn’t been this popular since X-Files.”
The fourth film in the Underworld franchise wrapped last week in Vancouver after almost three months of shooting here. Swedish director duo Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein must like concrete slabs because locations ranged from the iconic concrete architecture of Simon Fraser University to scenes below the concrete Georgia Viaduct and many days of filming inside the Coal Harbour Community Centre’s concrete parking lot. So much so that when I heard Underworld 4 crew had been spotted
Published March 2011 on Vancouver is Awesome
I am happy to confirm the Kate Beckinsale catsuit is back and in 3D for the fourth film in the Underworld series. I didn’t get to see Kate Beckinsale in it but her Selene stunt double wore it when she jumped off the top floor of the Simon Fraser University Library last Friday night onto a moving truck — twice.
Underworld Awakening marks a return to the story of vampire Selene who, according to a leaked plot synopsis, finds out she has a teenage “vampire/Lycan hybrid daughter” and together they must stop bio-tech company Antigen from “creating super Lycans that will kill them all”. For those who missed the earlier Selene films and the gory Underworld: Return of the Lycans, a Lycan is an evolved werewolf who can shift between wolf and human form. In other words, Underworld is a movie franchise about vampires and werewolves that predates the Twilight craze and films partly in Vancouver.
Students at Simon Fraser University spotted WORLD production signs late last week. One fortunate enough to be enrolled in a librarian program there had a prime seat to watch an Underworld 4 stunt woman do some camera test jumps off the library’s top floor a week ago. Although the stunt crew had planned to do three jumps last Thursday, a roll of thunder claps delayed the third one, the stunt woman told me. Then a sudden snow squall on Burnaby Mountain forced the crew to pack up entirely to return the next day for the last camera test. At nightfall Friday, Underworld 4 lit up the east side of the grey concrete library with klieg lights and the blonde stuntwoman put on Selena’s black cat suit and a black wig to do two jumps for the camera, one after the other, to a burst of applause from the crew and a few bystanders.
Despite rumours, Kate Beckinsale herself did not appear at SFU. She had left Vancouver to celebrate her director husband Les Wiseman (who is producing but not directing the fourth film)’s birthday. That didn’t stop two male students from yelling “Kate”