Doomsday (2008) - Unrated

Genre(s): Action / Drama / Science Fiction / Thriller
Universal || Unrated - 113 minutes - $29.98 || July 29, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-08-03


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Neil Marshall
Writer(s): Neil Marshall (written by)
Cast: Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins, Adrian Lester, Alexander Siddig, Malcolm McDowell


Theatrical Release Date: March 14, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Anatomy of Catastrophe: Civilization on the Brink
  • The Visual Effects and Wizardry of Doomsday
  • Devices of Death: Guns, Gadgets and Vehicles of Destruction


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

The delectable Rhona Mitra, looking a lot like Kate Beckinsale (ironically since Mitra is starring in the Underworld prequel), stars in this post-apocalyptic tale that takes place in England. After a fatal virus (known as the Reaper Virus) breaks out in Britain, the government quarantines the city of Glasgow to contain the virus, but doing so also cuts ties to all those inside, leaving them to die. 30 years later, the Reaper Virus has once again broken out and the government immediately dispatches a group of elite soldiers to go back into the quarantined zone and retrieve a possible cure to the virus.

This force is led by Major Eden Sinclair (Mitra; Shooter) whose mother was one of those quarantined Ė early on we see Eden as a baby as her mother begs for the military to take her out. The head of this Special Forces unit is Bill Nelson (Hoskins; Hollywoodland), keeps tabs on whatís going on inside the British government headed by Prime Minister John Hatcher (Siddig; Syriana), alongside his right-hand man Michael Canaris (OíHara; The Departed). Hatcher and Canaris, however, have their motives for this operation...

Inside the quarantined zone, the force discovers that people did survive the virus and have set up their own no-rules society. Their leader, Sol (Conway; The Descent), is a demented soul who has absolute hatred for authority and when he gets his hands on Sinclair, things get nasty. Soon enough Sol and his followers, including his girl, Viper (Liebenberg) hunt down Sinclairís team.

The team also find their way to Dr. Marcus Kane (McDowell; Halloween í07), the man who is believed to have the cure. He too has his own society, but this set in a more 17th Century setting where horse-riding and sword-fighting is the norm and Kane acts as their king.

Doomsday, for a story that has been told in part many times like in 28 Days Later and Mad Max, is actually a fun little ride. There arenít many memorable moments, but Rhona Mitra makes for a fine heroine and an alternative for Beckinsale. I think it couldíve been a whole lot better; the action scenes are excellent and even though it follows the formula of a horror movie (include plenty of paper-thin characters primed for a killing), I still think itís worth the nearly 2-hour running time.

The film was written and directed by Neil Marshall, who also helmed and wrote the underrated and surprisingly excellent Descent, shows some skill with the material. As I said, it isnít entirely original but all I expect and really want from a movie is to be entertained, and Doomsday did that for me. Marshallís direction and his director of photographer Sam McCurdy (also worked on The Descent as well as The Hills Have Eyes II), present the post-apocalyptic future in a manner that isnít so dark that itís unbearable to even watch (or see what the hell is going on), yet at the same time also makes it visually interesting.

This unrated version clocks in at 113 minutes while the theatrical version is 109 minutes. I decided to check out the unrated cut but having never seen the other one; I canít tell you exactly whatís different. The film was already rated R (for Strong Bloody Violence, Language and Some Sexual Content/Nudity), so there couldnít have been much added other than padding or stuff that the studio wanted cut.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

There arenít a whole lot of features which, given the filmís subpar box office, isnít too surprising, but itís a decent lot Universal gives on the disc. No deleted scenes but I assume those were just added back in anyway...

Director & Cast Commentary Ė Writer/Director Neil Marshall and cast members Sean Pertwee (Dr. Talbot), Darren Morfitt (Dr. Ben Stirling), Rick Warden (Chandler) and Les Simpson (Carpenter). This is a fairly mundane commentary as all the participants are fairly low key at times, though they seem to have a good time watching while providing info.

Anatomy of Catastrophe: Civilization on the Brink (17:22) Ė This is a making-of featurette going from source material to filming on the set and also includes some storyboard-to-film comparisons with cast and crew interviews weaved in.

The Visual Effects and Wizardry of Doomsday (8:32) Ė Interesting short featurette where we get to see how some shots were done (i.e. composite shots for future Glasgow or using a miniature scaled bus for an explosive scene.

Devices of Death: Guns, Gadgets and Vehicles of Destruction (20:08) Ė Kind of a self-explanatory featurette covers everything else not noted in the other two featurettes. Here you get to check out how the military vehicle was designed from scratch to the use of certain weapons and other fun little goodies.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

I didnít notice anything wrong with this transfer. Universal has given this release a fine transfer with a 2.35 OAR. Skin tones seem to be right on and any colors donít bleed through either.

The unrated film has only an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track while the theatrical version also has a Spanish 5.1 track available. I wasnít entirely impressed with this mix. Sure, itís perfectly suitable but I like my action/post-apocalyptic movies to have more oomph to it that whatís here.



.::OVERALL::.

Doomsday may not be entirely original nor is this a movie that Iíd personally will probably see gain anytime soon, I still think it holds a certain amount of entertainment value. Itíll certainly please fans of 28 Days Later along with other stylized action films such as Crank or Shoot ĎEm Up. While not a great film, I have no problem recommending this DVD.