How to lose your credibility in 113 minutes
Today, after waiting what seemed like an age, my copy of the US Blu-ray release of Doomsday, Neil Marshall’s newest film, reached me.
Unfortunately, after a promising start, this film proceeds to completely ransack any sense of self-dignity. It’s essentially a string of pastiches of different genres, and as a result has no credibility or identity of its own, jumping from futuristic sci-fi to post-apocalyptic urban warfare to Lord of the Rings-esque medieval romp to Gladiator-inspired arena games to Mad Max-style car chase, all leading up to a confrontation between our heroine and the impossibly throaty-voiced David O’Hara wearing an outfit that left me fighting the urge to start singing “We are the Men in Black…”
I suppose it held my attention throughout, so at least I wasn’t bored, but I couldn’t take any of it seriously, and the impression I’m left with is that someone handed Neil Marshall a cheque for a rather large sum of money and told him to do whatever he wanted. Which is sort of admirable, I suppose, and I do to some extent admire his “fuck it” mentality, throwing in whatever he felt like. Ultimately, though, I couldn’t take it remotely seriously and was left with the impression that I was watching a movie written by a teenage boy with no concept of how to maintain a consistent tone or even string together a semi-coherent plot. By far the best thing about it was Rhona Mitra, who manages to retain a level of credibility even when everything around her is going to pot. Overall, though, Marshall really dropped the ball with this one, and is making the masterful The Descent look more and more like a fluke by the minute.
It also doesn’t help that, a few days earlier, I’d watched another “post-apocalyptic” Britain film, the infinitely superior 28 Weeks Later…
…actually, you know what? Read Lyris’ review. It’s much funnier than mine.
As if to rub it in, the transfer, one of Universal’s first Blu-ray releases, is a sterling effort, looking natural and generally flawless, with no visible compression artefacts or any signs of digital tampering. Oh yeah, and the building visible in the final shot is my place of work, which is sort of neat, I guess. Too bad it wasn’t in a better movie.
(Universal, USA, VC-1, 21.9 GB)