Sunday, March 16, 2008

The League sees DOOMSDAY (so you don't have to)

Holy @#$%.

Remember when you'd go to the movies and enjoy them? After seeing Doomsday, that all seems like a distant memory, as if a glimpse of a long-forgotten dream.

This is not to say that I did not enjoy watching Doomsday. I enjoyed the act of viewing Doomsday if I did not enjoy the movie itself.

Telling you Doomsday was awful may not come as a surprise. But to me, the depths of the awfulness... well, really Doomsday knew no bounds (nor shame) when it came to awfulness. Honestly, there was a minute there when I thought "oh, they're kidding. This is intentionally bad!" But, yeah... no.

Of late, it seems that many-a-sci-fi movie is but a deliberate, derivative knock off of a movie you've already seen (ie: Eragon = Star Wars). But Doomsday takes it one step farther by offering up a smorgasbord of stuff you've seen before in movies you kind of liked. The opening sort of lifts from any of a number of movies where a crowd is trying to escape an epidemic but is stopped by the military (most recently seen in I Am Legend). This is followed by some awkward expository scenes which kind of lift from the expository scenes from "Escape From New York". This is followed by a direct rip-off of scenes from "Aliens" (I mean, right down to the sort of vehicle being used), a minute or so of "Blackhawk Down", then into "Mad Max/ Beyond Thunderdome", which launches into a quick lift from... well, it's all stuff you've seen before. And when I say you've seen it before, I mean right down to editing, lighting, look and feel. It's... weird.

Also, star Rhona Mitra looks almost exactly like Kate Beckinsale. With hair and outfit styled after "Ghost in the Shell". Don't get me wrong, she's a good looking dame and all, but...

The dialog sounds like, maybe, it could have used an extra pair of eyes before the cameras rolled. However Director Neil Marshall is also, presumably, writer Neil Marshall. And, hence, nobody got between Mr. Marshall and Mr. Marshall when it came time to second guess uncreative and frequent use of the F-bomb, as well as the clunkiest exposition this side of "Monster A-Go-Go". Also, nobody seems to have told Mr. Marshall that showing every death (and method of death, of which the movie has innumerable and creative options) need not be shown in an extreme close-up. Sometimes cannibalism is also best suggested or mentioned to be something shown off-screen.

And I don't know how many of you have seen "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace", but the writing in the two has a lot (unintentionally) in common.

And, yes, I guessed they were about to eat someone by the odd use of the appearance of a Fine Young Cannibals' song. Really, this is that kind of movie. And then for some reason, they used Siouxsie's "Spellbound". Really the only pop music in the movie.

For a movie that includes car chases, knights in armor, gladiatorial combat, punk rock cannibals, plague zombies, a herd of cattle, a car chase and stuff I suppose I'm forgetting, its also kind of dull. Partially because after the initial exposition, the characters don't really talk to one another much, and a lot of stuff occurs, but not a lot happens.

Also, everything vaguely sciency that happens in the movie is wrong. A Bentley turns over after sitting in a box untouched after 20 years. The understanding of viruses is... hazy at best. And more!

There IS a plot, which is sort of messed up and ridiculous if you buy that a wall could be built in about 48 hours which would bi-sect the UK. Also, the issues between the UK and Scotland sort of run as a nasty undercurrent through the movie, making some not very flattering assumptions about what would happen in Scotland if push came to shove.

The truth is, I love me a bad movie. And this movie fits that bill on so, so many levels. We found ourselves throwing high-fives every once in a while when we were really, really feeling it.

I really don't know if movie directors/ producers are really that mercenary that they don't care if we already know this movie, and are willing to blatantly rip-off material wholesale and put it under a different label. I don't know if they THINK they're trying, or if they just have not a clue that they ARE ripping things off, or if they don't realize it, or what... There's certainly a certain video-gameness to the movie, if a video game were dreamed up by a hyperactive 8th grader. There's no payoff between our hero and a Big Boss, and, honestly, it could have used it for the trajectory of the movie. Honestly, almost nothing about the end of the movie makes sense, including an incriminating speech by one of the characters.

But, anyway, I've warned you. You're on your own from here. But, God bless it... Doomsday is here to tell us that the B movie is alive and well. And I don't mean how movies that used to be B movies are now, really, not B- movies but sheepishly claim to be so in order to bullet-proof themselves from critics who blanch at movies with superheroes, etc...

Dammit, I mean the cheap, lousy B movie with an iffy plot, clunky dialog, exploitative use of violence, ladies, car chases and shoddy science in the science fiction. You, B-Movie, are the real spirit of the silver screen.


J.S. said...

I was about to point out that at least there wasn't gratuitous nudity, but then I remembered that topless girl in the bathtub with the shotgun...
Damn. That movie had everything.

Anonymous said...

Garth Marenghi is a freakin' genius. You don't know what you're talking about.

J.S. said...

Uh, I think The League likes Garth Marenghi, although I assume it's because he finds the man humorous. This movie was similarly humorous without intending to be. You've learned to read, Anonymous. Now to comprehend...

The League said...

I apologize if I wasn't entirely clear on the Garth Marenghi bit. Steanso nailed it, though. Much as Marenghi overplays his dialog for laughs, this movie had similarly ponderous and clunky dialog, but it was enitrely unintentional. Just like the stuff Marenghi spoofs.

I was going nuts for the first twenty minutes of the movie trying to remember what the dialog sounded like to my ear, and then it struck me. Right about the time a heavy synth-line, much like Marenghi's Darkplace score, blasted out of the speakers in the theater.

Honestly, part of me thinks that if this director WERE kidding, he's an absolute genius along the lines of the Darkplace team. But in an odd, Kaufmann-esque manner where you couldn't tell if he's kidding or not.

Michael Corley said...

I'm glad to hear B-movies have survived.

But to drop, not the F-Bomb, but the "Monster A-GoGo" bomb is too much. Anything that deserves comparison to that flick must be avioded.