Doom: Annihilation

Vampire Owl: Do you remember Doom? The only and only Doom?

Vampire Bat: Doom is not one and only. There are many Dooms.

Vampire Owl: What do you mean? How many do you know as of now?

Vampire Bat: I played the video game named Doom, in the 1990s.

Vampire Owl: Okay, the game which you played before you had Unreal Tournament, Warcraft, Age of Empires, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Hitman and Need for Speed.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and then I had a little bit of Doom II until it was replaced by Unreal Tournament and later adding some Quake 3 Arena.

Vampire Owl: I remember you having said something about Quake and Quake II. You had quite a metamorphosis with the computer games then.

Vampire Bat: There were others from the same video game developers, id Software including Wolfenstein, Heretic and Hexen.

Vampire Owl: So, your memories go beyond The Rock starrer movie of the same name.

Vampire Bat: Yes, those PC gaming memories are beautiful, and there was no reason why I wouldn’t watch this particular movie. Doom is like a legendary game during those days when I first had a computer. It was first love.

[Gets some french fries and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: United Aerospace Corporation (UAC) has established a base on Phobos, the innermost and the larger one among the two natural satellites of Mars. Dr. Malcolm Betruger (Dominic Mafham), after years of research, tries to teleport a volunteer from a UAC lab in Nevada to their lab on Phobos by using teleporters. Even though the experiment seems to be successful in the begining, with the subject travelling all the way to Phobos and returning in one piece, there seems to be some problem with him – there are some deformities with him, not just outside, but also inside, with nothing much normal about him. Against the wishes of the other scientists inclduing the senior Ahmed Kahn (Hari Dhillon), Malcolm decides to make one more teleportation, this time with himself on the portal. But things don’t go as planned, and there is a problem with the power supply, and things don’t go as planned.

So, what happens with the events here? :: On a UAC transport vessel, a group of Marines on a mission to guard the Phobos base wakes up from cryo-sleep. Joan Dark (Amy Manson), a disgraced lieutenant is among the first to wake up and go through the procedures. She is someone whom nobody in the team wants to work with, except for her former boyfriend Bennett Stone (Luke Allen-Gale), a scientist who is excited to be sent to that high tech facility on a moon far away from Earth. The team is led by Hector Savage (James Weber Brown) who is not happy about the fighting going on inside the team, and hopes that they will work together well during their next mission on Phobos, which could be more or less about making sure that nobody steals from the high-tech facility, as almost everything in there is supposed to be worth millions of dollars. Unable to communicate with the base, they enter through the emergency entrance only to find trouble. Can they survive the horror inside the facility and restore it, or will they perish?

The defence of Doom: Annihilation :: This movie brings that long gone video game feeling back, as it is something that we fans of the first person shooters have always wanted, getting that much needed nostalgia too. Even with a low budget, the movie has brought the looks of a moon and space station into believable mode. With the usual first person shooter look written into it, there are maps in the helmets of the marines which they can access, and the characters move accordingly – they also have different access cards, and entering some areas are prohibited just like in those good old video games. This movie is more or less deserving a gamer’s love rather than of the others. Still, you can’t deny its quality shooting sequences, creatures attacking all of a sudden and continuing to create a world of terror, simple but effective work of a facility in space, a hell being designed and looking pretty effective and above all, the idea which we know from the game itself. The movie also has its heart and soul at the right place, while it also adds some humour and hope for an even better sequel.

The claws of flaw :: Doom: Annihilation does suffer from the low budget, and the signs can be seen here, and with some of the demons and places showing missing links in the design. It could have actually had more demons, with some more locations inside the facility – each creature and space could have been different, with one grand antagonist in the end. But the movie doesn’t try that, and neither does it have as many weapons as the game, only trying to get one big gun before the ending moments. They could have brought some fine effects into place here with variety in demons and also the action sequences. Instead the movie chooses to go the straight path, which was too easy, considering the fact that a good number of games established the path a long time ago. It also has to be noted that some people had already declared this to be a bad movie because they didn’t like the previous movie, and because this is based on a video game, especially a first person shooter – that seems to have affected the number of people watching this.

Performers of the soul :: When a movie tries to live by the name of the highly successful, magnificent, nostalgic first person shooter gaming franchise, it would provide more action, thrills and even horror than dialogues, and we have the same here. The Scottish actress Amy Manson is in the lead here, and she has undoubtedly done a fantastic job here, as the marine punished for disobeying a direct order from the higher authorities. From the moment she gets out of the cryo-sleep chamber, we know that she is to play the determined marine is a very much believable manner – she keeps that level throughout the movie’s run. She has an emotional side, and is perfectly suited to action, making us hope that the movie’s possible sequel would also have her in the lead. After Amy, Jemma Moore is the next one we see early, among those marines, but she is not there to stay, while most of the marines follow the same pattern, except three who stays further, and you know who has to survive till the end, as it is no surprise. Dominic Mafham reminds one of Event Horizon, and does well.

How it finishes :: If you have played any of the games in the Doom franchise, there is a certain amount of nostalgia related to this particular movie. As far as I can remember, Doom was the first of the first person shooter games which I had played. There we fought our way through demons from the other world, playing the game which would be considered as a pioneer among the titles of the same kind. It had also inspired me to buy Quake, another video game built on the style of Doom. For all of us who have played computer games in the 1990s, this is a dose of nostalgia, and for others, there is that memory of the 2015 version – the one which had quite a star cast including The Rock, Karl Urban and Rosamund Pike. With the negative reviews all around, it was not quite a success, and even with a cast which is not that famous, this one manages to be a better adventure. It might have something to do with my love for the game franchise, but I did enjoy watching this movie very much.

Release date: 1st October 2019
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Tony Giglio
Starring: Amy Manson, Dominic Mafham, Luke Allen-Gale, Nina Bergman, Katrina Nare, Clayton Adams, James Weber Brown, Jemma Moore, Gavin Brocker, Amer Chadha-Patel, Chidi Ajufo, Hari Dhillon, Arkie Reece, Louis Mandylor, Cassidy Little, Plamena Bozhilova, Lorina Kamburova, Nathan Cooper

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Star Trek II

startrek (13)

Star Trek might be one of the most popular franchises based on its theme, but this surely is my first encounter with it. But the situation seems to be all set to change, as this movie surely seems to have increased its fan base by one on this day. Still, throughout the ages, Star Wars had been a favourite – but I had to miss this one at that time. Now, I am surely into this series, and its main aim, that is exploration and not invasion, destruction or colonization. There is the need to watch the Original Series, and it would add to my list. For now, this movie has come early to this part of the world, compared to its United States release. Even as it is the twelfth Star Trek movie and works as the sequel to the movie Star Trek which was released in 2009, this one still works well as a stand-alone version, with not much questions remaining unanswered. This could have have been the first movie of the series and might have still worked here, and that was evident from the reactions of the people in the theatre hall, and there is no visible doubt about the fact that it was their first Star Trek experience, and they clearly enjoyed it. This one might not do as good as Iron Man III or The Dark Knight Rises, but is still a formidable force in a world which is not used to such an environment in a movie.

In Star Trek: Into Darkness, the spaceship USS Enterprise is sent to explore another planet, but finds a volcano which is very close to going off and wiping out its primitive inhabitants. Nobody is supposed to know anything about it, but as the first officer and good friend Spock’s life is under threat, Commander Kirk is forced to reveal the Enterprise to the planet’s civilization to rescue him leading to the indigenous people worshipping the ship as God as the crew leaves. It was a heavenly object to a group of people who were in such early stage of their civilization that they hadn’t even discovered the wheel – they get to see a space ship instead and be stunned. As a result, Kirk is relieved of command, and Admiral Pike takes over the command of the Enterprise. But, later a meeting is called as the result of a bombing, and a resulting shootout leads to the death of Pike ultimately leading to Admiral Marcus sending Kirk to take out the terrorist who has taken shelter in the homeland of the war-loving Kilgons. The Enterprise is supplied with seventy two long-range photon torpedoes to be fired at the terrorist’s hidden location once they can locate him. As he fails to have enough information, chief engineer Montgomery Scott refuses to take the unidentified weapons aboard the ship and is thus forced to resign. The Admiral’s daughter, scientist Carol Marcus also joins the crew, under a false identity.

But the ship is stuck at the Klingon homeworld as there is malfuncion in the ship’s core, and they are saved by the same man whom they were planning to capture, whom after surrendering, reveals his real identity as Khan, a genetically enhanced superhuman, who has been in cryo-sleep for three hundred years after fighting an unsuccessful destructive war on Earth, and his success could have deprived the Earth or even the whole galaxy of most of its population. When he says “My name is Khan”, I wonder if something comes to the mind for the Bollywood fans – but in this case, there would be no possible second half of that sentence. This man would indeed be another name for terror without any boundary. As Carol and McCoy look into one of the torpedoes, they realize that each of them contain a genetically enhanced superhuman in cryo-sleep, the remaining members of Khan’s diabolical crew. Khan explains to Kirk that Admiral Marcus used Khan to develop advanced weapons to start a war with the Klingons, while keeping his crew as hostages. Kirk understand that they might be in big trouble, as none of the possible solutions might work out, as they are stranded in space.

Chris Pine as Commander James T. Kirk has come up with full power, as the character scores both with its negatives and positives. Each decision he takes seem to change him and lead him to the moment of the ultimate sacrifice. Karl Urban as Lieutenant Commander Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the chief medical officer – this could have been a longer role, even as there are some good memorable lines from him, for the Native American Viking of the Pathfinder, as well as the shooter of Doom had never really attached to the minds of the viewers as they never clicked as action movies, even as I have always felt the first one was superior stuff and the second one was quite fine. Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura also has quite a smaller role, even as it is significant. Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock steals show in many ways, as the one who chooses not to feel, but still has the feelings for his best friend, and finds his logic at the right moment, sometimes evoking laughter and sometimes saving lives. As half-Vulcan, half-Human, neither belonging to here nor there, but having the qualities of both, the man is more Vulcan among a group of humans and not really of his own species, thus more of an outsider even when considered more belonging to the group than anybody else.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan makes the perfect augmented villain of another timeline; condemned, frozen and now back in business. He is highly effective in his powerful superhuman role which is threatened only by the fear of the death of his comrades. He makes Peter Weller’s Admiral Marcus a lesser and weaker warmonger, another role which has been done according to the need. Talking about Alice Eve, the name reminded me more of the two superhuman, but gorgeous women – Alice of Resident Evil and Eve of Species; a bond with the T-virus and with the alien DNA respectively, both seemingly having all positive effects on beauty as well as strength and aggression. Both Milla Jovovich and Natasha Henstridge had made their roles memorable enough to make the characters that popular. Leaving the unreal superhuman element aside, one also can’t stop thinking about that 2010 romantic comedy film She’s Out of My League, when a gorgeous Molly McCleish was out of the league of an ordinary Kirk Kettner. Well, here she proves the same by being out of the league with those looks, and there should be a lot more coming for her in a sequel.

Still, I wouldn’t disagree on the fact that there is exaggeration involved here; thinking about that romantic comedy, exaggeration is never out of the equation, and it is time the common movie watcher of this part of the world who rarely checks the names of the leading actresses know a few names other than the usual leads; its time someone other than Megan Fox and Paris Hilton is known to the lesser movie watching world. The best extentions of the procedure of knowing go only from Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman and Meg Ryan, as far as Keira Knightley, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. Further into the movie, it is no surprise that here she no longer does the same with a romantic character, but with her role as Doctor Carol Marcus – and she is surely the eye candy in this movie, but she is not simply that. She is the balance between the evil of her own father and the righteousness of the crew of The Enterprise. It is her help that leads to the discovery that changes the whole situation of being misguided into the abyss and it is her presence that leads to their ship getting an extension of lifeline which is instrumental in the final battle.

Star Trek is not just a movie – it is a spectacular environment created by the wonderful special effects and the 3D which works correctly. It works so well, right from those moments in those bright, coloured planet with dazzling red coloured trees and the natives painted white, who throws their spears at our heroes, or rather the viewers, thanks to the 3D. The movie is about authority, and also about personal relationships, as well as the collision between the worlds of emotions and logic. The job is done professionally, and it is evident in the ratings in IMDB as well as the critics ratings. Its background philosophy has also worked out well, and there is no doubt that this ship is heading towards a sequel. This encounter between the different worlds, and the species, not as the usual alien invasion is something which is worth more what The Avengers and The Transformers were worth. This is so much like that one game which I felt more than anything else, which was Mass Effect. Commander Shepard might be Commander James T. Kirk, Garrus Vakarian – Commander Spock, Ashley Williams – Doctor Carol Marcus/Nyota Uhura, Kaidan Alenko – Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy; the Reapers could be Klingons or Romulans – such a connection has helped me in liking the movie even more with relation to my favourite game.

Release date: 10th May 2013
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: J. J. Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Alice Eve, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Cho, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, Bruce Greenwood, Noel Clarke, Peter Weller

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.