Thursday, July 10, 2014

Doomsday Book (2012)

Some movies are hit or miss.  Either you like them or you don’t.  With this one, it’s a little more complicated.  Instead of one movie, there are three segments, each about 40 minutes.  (The total run time is 115 minutes with each segment almost exactly one third of the movie.)  Each one deals with the end of the world in some way.  Each one is sort of like an Outer Limits episode.

The first segment is about a zombie outbreak that stems from bad food.  A guy has to stay home while his parents and sister go on a vacation.  (At first, it looks like he’s being left behind, but it’s later implied that the sister horned in on her parents’ trip.)   He and several other people start to exhibit strange behavior.   News organizations have all sorts of theories.  Is it the work of a hostile government?  There’s even a debate that breaks down into some sort of musical weirdness.

The second segment is about a robot that gains sentience and poses a threat to its creators.  The robot is supposed to be a tour guide at a Buddhist monastery.  Someone is called in to diagnose the robot, but the technician can’t find any technical fault.  There’s no real problem, but the company wants the entire line recalled, despite the protests of the monks in the monastery.   The CEO sees the robot as a threat, even though the technician has doubts.  Humanity is unique in sentience.  What does it mean to have something encroaching on that?

The third segment is about a girl that brings about worldwide terror because of an Internet purchase.  She breaks her father’s 8-ball and wants to replace it.  Later, when a giant asteroid is approaching Earth, the girl realizes that there are unintended consequences to her actions.  I don’t want to say what, as that would ruin the story.  I will say that it’s a very strange movie.

The first two segments I could see being developed into full-length movies.  The last one, I’m not so sure.  It’s almost like some people pulled some random words and phrases out of a bag and had to write an end-of-the-world story about it.  (“Ok…I got vacation, apple and zombies.  What did you get”  “I got Buddhism, android and maniacal CEO.  How about you?”  “I got 8-ball, a fallout shelter and the Internet.”)

I didn’t get the ending to the first segment.  It ended with references to Adam and Eve, as in the bible.  The only thing I got from the segment was the apple being the source of the outbreak.  I’m not sure how they worked that in.  How do Adam and Eve work into a zombie apocalypse?  The last one left me wondering the most.  It was a little weird, which I can tolerate.  I think it’s going to come off as confusing to some people and a little silly to others.

One good thing is that each story is separate, so you could easily skip one and not have to worry about the other two.  The only thing is that I got it streaming through Netflix.  To skip one, I’d have to slide the bar over to get to the next one.  I don’t know if this is an issue with the DVD.  I’m not sure if you can choose the story on the menu, but I’d imagine that the beginning of a story would be the beginning of a chapter, making it easier to skip to the next one.

This is one of those movies that I might not have rented if I had to get it on DVD.  I probably would have wanted to see it, but would have kept bumping down to give priority to another movie.  I am so glad to have access to Netflix’s streaming services.

IMDb page

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