New Review: Doomsday (channel your inner 9th grader)

Well, I figured that after a break of, at least, a decade, it was time to actually start doing new reviews again.  I think I put it off for so long because I am no longer that happy-go-lucky drunken buffoon that started this site in 1996 and I wasn’t sure I could capture the same goofy enthusiasm.  But, I do still enjoy movies and I’m still pretty obsessed with the apocalypse, so hopefully I don’t always have to be Debby Downer in these reviews.

Well, if I didn’t want to be a downer, then I probably should have picked a different movie to start with than Doomsday.  But, there is good news… Doomsday proves that time travel is both real and possible.  I say that because I believe the creators of this movie harnessed the power of time travel to go back in time to 1987 and ask the 9th grade version of myself what would make a truly awesome movie.  Here’s what I must have told them:

  • There is no such thing as unnecessary gore
  • Explosions are “radical”
  • Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is “wicked awesome”
  • Heroes (or heroines) who talk to much are “totally gay”
  • Action and Comedy are “two great tastes that taste great together”
  • Adam Ant and Siouxsie and the Banshees will make this the best soundtrack EVER!

Yup, that prety much sums it up.  To really enjoy this movie, I just channeled the 9th grade version of myself and turned off my “old guy” brain.  It really helped.

If you want the quick summary.  This movie is the lovechild of Excalibur, Thunderdome and Escape from New York.  Yup, it’s like that…. only not that good, really.  Although, if I could put nostalgia aside and put this movie, side by side, up against Escape from New York, I bet I would be surprised.

Why do I keep mentioning Escape from New York?  Well, Doomsday is pretty much the exact same format.  The hero needs to get into the destroyed city (or, in this case, country) and get something important out.  But, what’s more, the heroine even sports a Snake Plissken-style eye patch!   (My inner 9th grader just said “Awesome” again at that mention of the eye patch).  Also, many of the survivors in the destroyed area dress just like your standard punk rock apocalypse kids.  You know the drill, gas is scarce but hair gel is growing on trees, so everyone has Mohawks.

At times, I started to suspect that this movie was actually an homage to the classic 1980s post-apocalyptic movies of my childhood.   But, there’s a fine line between homage and plagiarism.  So, I had to revert back to 9th grade form and just “shut up and enjoy the ride”.

Thankfully that helped me ignore some of the following cinematic moments that would have driven my inner “old guy” completely nuts.

  • What’s better than a one-eyed heroine with a robot eye?  Umm.. how about a two-eyed heroine with a robot eye.  Or, better yet, a two-eyed heroine with like six robot eyes.  I mean, if that freaking robot eye is so awesome when why doesn’t everyone in the squad get one?
  • You are in a completely destroyed, run-down city living on human remains when just miles away is beautiful green countryside literally over-run with cows.  Huh?  Are you telling me that human flesh is more tasty than cow flesh, because I’m never going to believe that.
  • If there is a secret tunnel that is used almost every day, how believable is it that this same secret tunnel has a) functioning backup generators after 23 years b) piles and piles of unopened crates (including a car with unspoiled gasoline)?
  • If you were raised in some sort of post-apocalyptic medieval castle and then were taken prisoner by the “punk rock” guys (who all ride motorcycles and drive cars).  How believable is it that you don’t know what a car does when you find perfectly mint car in the unopened box mentioned above?

Anyway, I’m just letting it all slide and trying not to get too discouraged.  I mean, the movie was fun and it was apocalypse by plague (which is my favorite kind).  But, the premise of the movie is my least favorite.  I don’t like it when the rest of the world is ok and just one tiny section is screwed up because not enough of the movie is spent on looting and scavenging.  Why scavenge when you are equipped with fancy modern weapons and super-suits?  I’ll tell ya why…. Scavenging is freaking awesome!  That’s why.

Also, after the crushingly realistic apocalypse portrayed “The Road” (which I just recently read), it’s hard to enjoy a fun make-believe apocalypse.  And that really bums me out.