DVD Tuesday: ‘Doomsday’ & ‘Nim’s Island’

by W. Andrew Powell


Rhona Mitra in Doomsday

Action heroes have typically been big, burly men with guns, but this week in the film Doomsday, a woman steps into the role of hero and butt kicker as a deadly virus threatens England. Plus, Abigail Breslin stars in Nim’s Island, and a range of classic television arrives on DVD, including Star Trek, season two.

The constant threat of annihilation seems to excite a lot of people, at least, that seems to be true considering the popularity of the modern day post-apocalyptic film. Throw in liberal doses of decapitation, big guns, half naked women, and you have a testosterone party waiting to happen.

Borrowing a page from Mad Max and dozens of other actioners, Doomsday is set in Scotland twenty-five years in the future after a horrific virus has destroyed most of the country’s population. To keep the virus from spreading, the British government has sealed it off from the rest of the world thanks to a gigantic wall which keeps the virus, and infected, contained.

When the same virus appears in the middle of London, threatening to destroy the entire city, the government turns to one tough cop, Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), who is sent into the wasteland to find a cure. Once they arrive, they discover that a new breed of people have sprung up who are immune to the virus, and within the walls of Scotland they are constantly at war and living off what remains of the once modern world.

Eden and her team must make sense of what is happening, and find a way to get a cure out of the country before London destroys itself.

Starring alongside Mitra are Bob Hoskins as Captain Nelson, and Malcolm MacDowell playing another memorable, but perhaps underused bad guy. But aside from Mitra’s kick butt attitude, the real standouts are Lee-Anne Liebenberg as the tattooed tigress known as Viper, and Craig Conway playing the part of the punk leader Sol. The few relatively short scenes with these actors prove to be some of the best moments in the film, aside from the constant blood spattered fights and battles scenes.

Standing out from the crowd of average action films, Doomsday is a blast, and doesn’t shy away from head-chopping good times. It’s an action film that definitely earns its 18A rating with bloody glee, with a laugh or too thrown into almost every action sequence to keep the film fun and fresh. I’ll be honest, the film will never go down in history as one of the greats, but action junkies are bound to love it, and Eden’s style. This is the kind of girl that Snake Plissken would envy, and probably ask out if she hadn’t already knocked his lights out.

There are only three features on the DVD, each looking at different aspects of the film’s production, but they delve into almost every aspect of the film and give you a good idea just what a massive project this was. After so many years of seeing special effects films, it’s easy to forget how much work goes into a single scene, and while the features on Doomsday will only entertain you the first time, they are a little unbelievable when you consider the number of custom vehicles and interesting sets that were created for the film.

Nim’s Island
Show me a children’s movie and I’ll show you a film with far too little appreciation for your average intelligent child. While there are a few companies out there producing smart films for kids, this really isn’t one of them, but I’m willing to forgive at least some of that insincerity and poor plotting for a bit of smart casting and moments of beautiful fantasy.

Abigail Breslin stars as the somewhat mentally scared girl named Nim, who lives on an uncharted island with her father Jack, played by Gerard Butler. After losing her mother when she was very young, the two have lived on the island since she can remember as Jack studies micro plankton and Nim plays with the creatures of the area while reading the latest Alex Rover adventure novel.

After Jack gets lost at sea, and Nim is faced by an imminent invasion of tourists, she strikes up an odd e-mail friendship with the real Alex Rover (played by Jodie Foster), who writes the series of books. As things get worse for Nim, Alex, who is all the way in America and suffers from a phobia that keeps her locked in her house, offers to come and rescue her. The problem is that Nim will have to find a way to protect her island until Alex arrives, and Alex will face her own challenges in travelling half-way across the globe, even as Jack tries to make it back to Nim.

Foster is the most memorable performer in the film, although there’s no missing Butler’s charm as the father and imaginary hero. Since most of the story deals with Nim’s explots and her cute animal friends, kids, and especially girls, should get a kick out of the film, despite the weak story.

Television arriving on DVD this week…

The first season of the classic 60’s spy comedy Get Smart lands on store shelves starring Don Adams, plus season two of the original Star Trek, a Doctor Who collection called The Five Doctors which chronicles the 25th anniversary of the series, plus seasons one to four of the comedy Family Ties.

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