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PHOTOGRAPHY

DOOMSDAY Unrated
DVD review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 109 minutes (Rated R)/ 113 (unrated), audio commentary, three featurettes
VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO: English 5.1, French (R version only), Spanish (R version only)
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

STARRING Rhona Mitra (Major Eden Sinclair), Bob Hoskins (Bill Nelson), Malcolm McDowell (Kane), Craig Conway (Sol), MyAnna Buring (Cally), Lee-Anne Liebenberg (Viper), David O'Hara (Canaris), and Alexander Siddig (Prime Minister Hatcher)
WRITTEN and DIRECTED by Neil Marshall

STUDIO: Rogue Pictures/ Intrepird Pictures/ Moonlighting Films/ Crystal Sky Pictures
Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 3-14-2008
DVD RELEASE DATE: 7-29-2008

PLOT:
Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) of the Department of Domestic Security leads a team into quarantined Scotland to find a cure for the Reaper virus which has shown up in London 27 years since the walling off of Scotland (back in 2008). Anarchy rules the land where there are people who are immune to the Reaper virus.

ANALYSIS:
DOOMSDAY is one of the best sci-fi action films since John Carpenter's ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and George Miller's MAD MAX series. It is a loving homage to both (director Neil Marshall even goes to name characters after both directors). The music score even evokes some of the music of John Carpenter in a few ways. Further look at how the title credits and captions reflect the ones used in John Carpenter films. Major Eden Sinclair is a character definitely inspired by Snake Plissken. Eden has one eye (her other eye is an electronic eye that can even record video). The rock songs in the film even are cool. The production and costume design are top notch. Neil Marshall has made the most out of using the $30 million budget by filming in (and around) Glasgow, Scotland and South Africa.

The tension and suspense rule the first half and then it becomes a balls-to-the-wall action film. You have Malcolm McDowell as a medieval lord named Kane (I can imagine Donal Pleasance in the same role if this was a John Carpenter movie in the 1980s) with people in armor and a castle while his crazy son Sol leads a group of punks (staright from the MAD MAX films) in Glasgow. Viper is a cool bad girl punk. DOOMSDAY has sword fights, car chases, and plenty of shooting up of bad guys. Rhona Mitra just rocks in DOOMSDAY. She takes the strong intelligent kick-ass woman and runs with it.

DOOMSDAY is a film that will definity be a cult classic. I want an Eden Sinclair sequel badly. They can run with the anarchy themes and provie the same dose of action like DOOMSDAY. It is a fantastic effort for a third film from director Neil Marshall (also go watch DOG SOLDIERS and THE DESCENT if you haven't already). If you love action films, see DOOMSDAY now.

The film is presented in two version on DVD: R and unrated. I can't tell the difference between the two yet even though I have seen the R version twice in theaters.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
The unrated version of the film has an audio commentary by Writer/Director Neil marshall, and cast members Sean Pertwee, Darren Morfitt, rick Warden, and Les Simpson. It is nice to listen to and you learn what locations and sets were filmed in South Africa, London, and Scotland. You learn the actress playing Viper was a last minute change and a stuntwoman took the role. Too bad Rhona Mitra wasn't on the track. However, she was interviewed for the making-of featurette.

Three featurettes are on the disc:
ANATOMY OF A CATASTROPHE: CIVILIZATION ON THE BRINK-
Making-of featurette with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with cast and crew. It focuses on the main action sequences and shows a little bit of the 12 week training that Rhona Mitra went through to prepare herself for the role of Eden (who is 70% Rhona/ 30% Eden).

THE VISUAL EFFECTS WIZARDRY OF DOOMSDAY- The effects in the film were created through various methods: matte paintings, green screen, miniatures, and dummies.

DEVICES OF DEATH: GUNS, GADGETS AND VEHICLES OF DESTRUCTION- a look at the construction of the two APCs that were built in 10 weeks, the Marauder vehicles, the weapons (hard and soft versions), and the gadgets for Eden Sinclair (her special watch). The Bently took a beating and came away unharmed (the audio commentary reveals three Bentlys were used for the film and one accidentally rolled off a cliff).

FINAL ANALYSIS: DOOMSDAY is an excellent homage to the films of John Carpenter and teh Mad Max films. It is a cult film that should find a great following on DVD.

this DVD review is (c)7-22-2008 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com  

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