Saturday, October 10, 2009

Doomsday (movie #30)

Ok,confession time. I don't think Neil Marshall is as cool as he thinks he is (and he's sure as hell not as cool as his fans think he is, rabid, mean, nasty little buggers that they are) so I spend most of his movies wanting to punch him in the face. There, I've said it. Who is Neil Marshall? He's the guy who directed "Doomsday," and "Dog Soldiers," and "The descent." Now all of those are good movies, and I might even be counted among one of "The Descent"s rabid fanbase (I do love that movie) were it not for my aforementioned desire to punch the director.

My problem with Marshall is that as good as his movies are, they would be ten times better if he'd quit getting in his own way most of the time while filming them. "Doomsday" is the worst of his movies for that. The camerawork jumps around and the characters in one scene dance and gyrate about like a bunch of high school kids at a rave, and you start to wonder, what exactly about this is supposed to be scary? It's not frightening, it's just annoying, and as compelling as the movie is, it makes you want to shut the movie off and go watch paint dry.

Here's the beginning of the movie in a nutshell: A deadly virus known as "The Reaper Virus"has started wreaking havoc in Scotland,and things have gotten so bad that the government has decided to build a wall around Scotland and seal it up and let everyone inside the boundary of the wall die off. Stand up way to handle a virus (and I don't trust our government not to do the same thing with the Swine Flu, so let's start stockpiling our weapons now just in case). Now, 30 years later, the world basically hates England for handling things the way they did (and I don't really blame them) and the virus has managed to rear its ugly head again, but hidden cameras inside the wall surrounding Scotland have captured some people, so if there are survivors then there must be a cure for the virus, so a team is sent inside the wall to try to find a cure,and things go from there.

This premise is entertaining as hell to watch, and it's what kept me watching the movie even when I already wanted to stab Neil Marshall three minutes into the movie. Here, let me introduce you to life in Neil Marshall land. The camera won't hold still for more than three seconds, it has to gyrate around like a hyperactive four year old, and during one fight scene near the end, I honestly couldn't tell who was fighting who and whether anyone was winning because I couldn't see what the fuck was going on. The aforementioned scene where the villains are LITERALLY dancing around (one of them on stage...oh my poor,poor brain) while preparing to cook a guy alive seriously got under my skin for all the wrong reasons. NEIL MARSHALL, you DO NOT make your characters dance and SING while they are killing someone. This does NOT make you look cool. In fact, no one thinks you're cool. NO ONE.

SERIOUSLY, people, I'm sitting here trying to be scared for the poor guy who's going to be cooked,and I've got a camera being flung around by a toddler shouting "wheeee! Look what I can do!" and characters dancing and gyrating around and caterwauling in my ears, and I was punching the couch in an effort to contain my rage. NEIL MARSHALL, shut the fuck up and let me watch the damn movie, ok? Stop trying to ooze style from every orifice in your body, it's not working. It's only making you look like a tool. You are NOT making a statement with this scene (well, unless you count "I'm a fucking idiot!" as a statement). There's another fight scene near the end where he does it again as well, and this time the camerawork literally looks so choppy that I yelled "Oh no, they threw the camera guy into a blender! No, he had so much to live for!"

If you can ignore these HUGE HUGE HUGE flaws marring what would otherwise have been a brilliant movie, then you might enjoy his other movies as well. I enjoy them too, I just have to bring some Dramamine with me before I sit down to watch them.

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