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Doomsday (theatrical release) - Review
11-05-2008, 10:39 PM
Post: #1
Doomsday (theatrical release) - Review

Abandon all hope all ye who enter the cinema

For those of you who have read a few of my reviews, this is actually a bit of a first for The Curmudgeon; this is the first time I've actually reviewed a movie while its still in the cinema. Which would be fine, except it means I wasted my money going to see this. Ho hum.

Anyway, here's the plot for "Doomsday" before we get started; a virus breaks out on er, well, April 03 2008 (should that be "has broken out"?) in Glasgow, killing pretty much everyone. So a giant wall is built around Scotland separating them from the rest of healthy Britain, leaving the Scots to perish. All is well until, 30 years later, London starts to show signs of the virus, and so they have to send someone (Rhona Mitra, sporting a fake eye that lets her see round corners.. yeah, I know) to try and find a cure from the newly discovered survivors in Scotland.

With me so far? Well, it's hard to know where to start with this one. I mean, as this is my first ever theatrical review, I don't want to give away too much of the plot for those who haven't yet seen it, and so I can't really say too much or give away just how deeply, brain-smashingly stupid it all gets.

It's a real shame it has to be this way, Doomsday coming from writer/director Neil Marshall, the same guy who brought us the ultra ace "Dogs Soldiers" and the slightly inferior but still ace "Descent" has obviously sat and watched a load of awesome 80s movies and thought, "hey.. I can do that."

Hey Neil - no you can't.

Here's a small hint for Neil; if you're going to steal little bits from, say, "Aliens" (the big tank things in Doomsday even have the same "door opening" sound effect as the big tank things in that super sequel), fairly large bits like, say, the barbaric neo-punks from "Mad Max" or big bits like, say, most of the plot of "Escape From New York", (complete with a brooding 80s synth score) then its best not to have the audience wish they were watching those movies instead of this bewildering mess.

What's annoying is that, for the first forty minutes or so, its a fairly convincing, (dare I say the word "gritty"?) portrayal of a country gripped by a disease it can't cure. Its a sombre watch, all death, decay and violence, backed up by suitably restrained performances from the likes of Bob Hoskins.

Remember that word, "restrained", because its the last time you'll see it here.

So far, so good then. In fact, the first time the group of soldiers are attacked by the savage survivors is a taught, frightening nerve-jangler. And.. then.. just like that, it absolutely, positively NOSE-DIVES.

Honestly, its like two different movies have been strung together. If you're going to show a realistic depiction of a dying country, its hard to stomach surreal scenes of the barbaric hordes, complete with MICROPHONES and stadium sound, performing dance routines for each other. Never mind the fact that three quarters of the cast at this point have seemingly forgotten how to act, the film has quickly lost its realism and scare-factor - in fact, its all a little embarrassing.

Sadly, it only gets worse from there. When they meet the next band of survivors its like they've stumbled back in time, with every single person dressed like extras from the first Blackadder movie, complete with KNIGHTS on horses, peasants wrapped in shawls and other versions of perfect period costume. When it comes to the most ridiculous car chase scene in history (with our heroine driving a mint condition Bentley that is seemingly made from the same indestructible material K.I.T.T was built with) you'll either be laughing in the aisles, queuing up to get your money back or facing the most "HUH?" ending ever. Its at this point that logic has been completely removed from Doomsday, and there are several crater size plot holes I won't mention here, and let you find out for yourself.

With Rhona Mitra's character Eden, it's clear Marshall was aiming for a super cool, Snake Plissken character. She fails. She's not believable or even that likable, and the various no-mark fodder that she tags along with are barely worth the screen time. The main cannibal, Sol, is too over the top and too badly acted to be any kind of menacing screen presence, and Malcolm McDowell actually looks embarrassed to be there. Who can blame him?

Basically, there are about 100 films that deserve your attention this year, and while it would be nice to cast a vote for the "little" film that could, this one most certainly couldn't.

Don't waste your time.

Original review found at
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