Monday, 17 March 2008
Neil Marshall's Doomsday opened this weekend in the US without the benefit of press screenings and did a disappointing $4.7 million. I saw it a few weeks ago but was asked not to write anything about it since it's not released in the UK until May 9. So I won't. But if I was to express my opinion, which I'm not, obviously, then I wouldn't be surprised if it was something similar to this Fangoria review which begins: "The biggest disappointment about Doomsday is not so much that it’s a pastiche, a stitched-together collection of scenes from great sci-fi/action/horror films of the late ’70s and ’80s. The real shame is that it comes from writer/director Neil Marshall, who brought a fierce originality and vision to his two previous movies, Dog Soldiers and The Descent. In that duo, he applied a distinctive intelligence to the werewolf and subterranean-terror subgenres, along with a talent for sharp characterizations. One could understand something like Doomsday coming from a feature first-timer who has yet to develop his own voice and feels most comfortable homaging favorites from the past, but it’s a shame Marshall has sublimated his considerable gifts in what amounts to his major-studio big break. All the derivations become wearying before the halfway point, and the occasional self-reflexive in-reference (like naming two of the characters “Carpenter” and “Miller”) can’t take the curse off. Homage is one thing, but the longer Doomsday goes on, the clearer it becomes that the film has nothing new to add to the mix. And not only have any number of cinematic influences appear to have been run through a blender here, but some of the action setpieces have as well: A key swordfight and the climactic car chase have been editorially Cuisinarted into virtual incomprehensibility." But that's one man's opinion. Not mine. Just so we're clear.