Cover Art and Menu: 8/10
The rarest of rare beast in my DVD world is the illusive CoverArtius ThatDoesn’tSuckiass. I think they hide out in the hills, in caves, under rocks, just waiting for a moment to jump out and renew my faith in the whole movie marketing jungle. I like this cover art. It’s bold and a little bit exciting. I saw the chick with the crazy face tattoos with that bloody red smear thing and I was ready to see whatever movie was lurking within. I would even like to have this poster.
The menu is Blu-Ray, so it’s got the slidy thing going on. It’s got a certain appropriate design about it, but it’s not very exciting.
The features on the Blu-Ray disc are integrated as an interactive thing. I’m not a fan of the way it works. You have to re-watch the movie and then pick and chose each extra, the dossier pages, picture in picture, and tech specs. They don’t just play. You have to press a button to access each one as it “pops up.” The standard DVD has a shorter list of extras that can pick and choose at will. I prefer the old school ways sometimes. Give us more extras in a list with Play All included…come on people!
- Reaper Virus Files (Blu-Ray Exclusive) – This is a pop up video type set of extras that you access while watching the movie. It’s information about the killer virus that is the heart of this story. You get details about the characters, circumstances, etc.
- Tech Specs (Blu-Ray Exclusive) – This is more pop up type information that covers the um, technical specifications of things in the movie. It’s kind of self explanatory. I’m not that interested in all the notes and back story of items in the movie so this doesn’t do much for me.
- Picture In Picture (Blu-Ray Exclusive kind of) – As you go through the movie with these features turned on you can watch small bits and pieces of documentary footage behind the scenes of making the movie. They pop up in the lower right corner but you don’t have a full screen option and if your TV isn’t bigger than 32 inches, you might need a magnifying glass to enjoy them.
- Feature Commentary With Director & Cast Members – Surprisingly this is a pretty good commentary. The actors talk about their moments with a lot of enthusiasm like “ohhhhh that’s when I got an axe to the head, OUCH!” It’s fun to listen to, which I can’t say for all commentaries. I love this movie so watching it again with the commentary isn’t a problem. You can’t access other features while you listen to the commentary, so you might have to watch it thrice.
The Movie: 8/10
I love doom and gloom tales. Toss in some zombies, a planetary disaster, or a killer virus and I’m like a kid in a candy store. Doomsday brings me a lovely virus epidemic with puss and blood and punk and apocalyptic attitude with a medieval touch. How can it go wrong? It doesn’t.
Doomsday doesn’t have the occasional momentary hoak factor, but that’s what makes it a well balanced movie watching experience. The big ideas, the push to mix in to many different visual elements, ideas, movie telling trickery, and excellent music could seem like overload, but for me it works beautifully. I totally dig the feeling while I’m watching a movie of total emersion. If I find myself with a gaping jaw and my mind racing in anticipation of what will happen next, that’s pure pleasure.
Doomsday has the reaper virus hitting the city of Glasgow, and then spreading to include all of Scotland. The government doesn’t try to rescue them, they just build a wall around the whole place and leave them to die. 35 years later the shit hits the fan and we are taken back to the forgotten cities and countryside where those who did survive have made their own new world. I love that shit. Rebuilding society after some disaster is always a big “what if”. It’s clear that when someone takes over as a leader in a disaster situation, people follow them, believe in them, like a cult leader, whatever their personality is will trickle down and the new culture of their world will be a reflection of who they are. A man who is broken and let down by modern society might take the turn toward a more pure, throw back society. He might find a castle and implement the more brutal ways of the past. That’s how it goes in the movie with Malcolm McDowell’s character.
If you are a younger man with a bad attitude, a thirst for blood and a crazy streak, your culture would be different. Sol, the punk guy who promotes blood and violence and cannibalism makes sense to me. He leads through fear and giving his populous the freedom to follow their more basic instincts.
The contrast is a bit overt, but it makes sense for this story and I really enjoyed the ride from one to the other and thinking about the possibilities of how dictators and cult leaders really do push their ideas and beliefs onto their followers…it can happen.
All the performances aren’t stellar. Some of the medieval folks are a bit overly theatrical, but other than that I like the characters and how bold they are. Sol is the cannibalistic punk dude who rules the city with a bloody fist. He’s intense, and a different actor might not pull it off just right to make him not over the top, but this guy is right for the job.
I like Rhona Mitra. She’s beautiful and sometimes they play up the pout factor a bit too much, but she does a good job of not being just a pretty face. She’s crazy, but not glamour crazy. She’s more intimidating than I thought she would be, so that’s cool with me. A kick ass woman character isn’t always a success for me, but this time I’m loving it.
I have to say that from the first moment, with the voice over telling us about the virus that has taken over Glasgow and then Scotland, my heart was racing and I was soooo into it. That feeling didn’t stop, ever. The journey was fun, stimulating, exciting, and I would love to show this movie off to other people who appreciate a wild ride. If you hate blood and gore, you might want to close your eyes sometimes, but don’t miss the whole movie just because of a little goo.
Video & Audio: (By Ascully) 9/10
Doomsday is a rock’em sock’em good time at the movies, there is no doubt about it. The Blu-Ray version of the movie is top notch when it comes to the visual presentation. It’s just a shame that Universal chose to use a single layered 25GB disc for this instant cult classic as I think it deserves more.
The first half of the movie takes place in darkness and Blu-ray never shows any artifacting which is usually prevalent in these scenes. About half the way through the movie it switches tone and we do get a bright daylight punctuated with tons of blood which comes across perfectly.
Unfortunately audio is a mixed bag here. The movie is action and music all the way and has a very loud booming DTS HD Master soundtrack. On occasion, particularly during the narration at the start of the movie, the music comes across louder than the voice which is a bit distracting. During chapter 2 there are times when you cannot hear what is coming from the actors mouths at all. It sounds muffled under the intense score. This does all fall away once the movie gets going. And then there’s the car chase set to Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Two Tribes” which sent shivers down my spine.
Doomsday is now one of my favorite action flicks. It borders on silly sometimes and is a melting pot of lots of other movies, but most of all its fun and looks and sounds great on Blu-Ray. Apart from the couple of problems mentioned earlier with the audio I recommend it wholeheartedly.
I want home viewable movies to be cheap. I want to go to the store, pick up a movie and see a $12 price tag. No, I don’t care that the studios need thirty bucks to break even…bullshite! This movie is one of my recent favorites, so I’m not saying you shouldn’t pay to have it on your shelf. I am saying that anything over $20 is too much. Unless you toss in a sandwich, a soda, and a foot massage, Blu-Ray prices are too friggin’ high regardless of how good the movie is.
Overall Score 8/10