‘Doomsday’ Blu-ray review
Neil Marshall has made some excellent films in his early filmmaking career with ‘Dog Soldiers’ and ‘The Descent’. While both films are completely different from each other in terms of material, his style of writing and film making carries through. Marshall returns with his big budget film ‘Doomsday’ which was released by Universal Studios in theaters nationwide this past spring to lackluster reviews and a not so great box office showing. Did something go wrong with the film? Was it the way that others interpreted Marshall’s vision?
‘Doomsday’ follows the dark atmosphere that we found in both Dog Soldiers’ and ‘The Descent’. ‘Doomsday’ begins with a disease called Reaper which has overtaken the land of Scotland, infecting millions. The original trailers were a bit misleading at first, making this film seem as if this was another zombie infestation. Wait till you see the infected, most of them look as if they came out of a zombie film. As this disease spreads, the government in England decide that they must built a fortifying wall on the border between both countries so their own doesn’t get infected. The infected die off one by one as the government has quarantined them with no chance of survival.
We fast forward 25 years later where the disease has made its way into London. This is where things start to get interesting as the government puts a task force of military people together to reopen the doors to the wall that separate England and Scotland. Why would they want to go back to a land where it could be still infected with disease? Dr. Kane (Malcolm McDowell) is a scientist that had the cure at his finger tips on stopping this virus dead in its tracks, but for some reason he was part of the group of people that were stuck on the other side of the wall. Enter Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) whom leads the task force team, which is part of the Department of Domestic Security. Their main mission is to get Dr. Kane from Scotland and bring him back to England.
While the entire infected are wiped out, Sinclair will not have it easy for her and the rest of the team. They meet a Cannibalistic group called the Marauders. These Marauders look like they were torn off the film reel of the Mad Max films. This is one brutal crew of people that survived the Reaper plague. They are led by a maniac by the name of Sol and have no regards to rules. When they find Dr. Kane, to their belief, the find yet another group that is led by the Dr. that has gone a little mad himself. This only makes their mission even harder to reach.
I enjoyed ‘Doomsday’, but there is just so much going on and the film steers in multiple directions which really hurts this film. Neil Marshall has proven to be a great writer and director. Creating such a convoluted storyline with so many subplots is what I believe to have hurt the film. The problem lies with the original trailers, making the film feel like you are going to watch a movie about zombies or an infected set of people running around mindlessly to kill. Instead, it turns into something a bit on the stranger’s side with 2 groups, the Cannibals and Dr. Kane’s society (which was even stranger at first). At first, I thought I missed something when I saw the society that Kane had put together. For a second, I thought there was time travel involved and I missed something.
‘Doomsday’ is probably one of the most beautiful films that I have seen on Blu-ray yet. The image is pristine with fantastic looking details. Take a look at the cuts on Mitra’s arms; you can see the details making them look very realistic. ‘Doomsday’ sound is presented with a DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. ‘Doomsday’ has to be one of the best sounding films that I have heard to date on the high definition format. This is an action heavy film and boy does the action sequences not miss a beat. Even the dialog is mixed well for that perfect balance.
‘Doomsday’ is a film where you must just sit back and enjoy as a mindless action film with plot set aside. The problem is that there is way too much going on that will lose many. Marshall should have focused on the Marauders as the main villains in the film and making Dr. Kane a captive of theirs making this a rescue mission. I enjoyed ‘Doomsday’ for what it is, not taking any of the material seriously. ‘Doomsday’ is a reference quality disc that will show off what Blu-ray is all about.