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DOOMSDAY BOOK (BLU RAY)
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Jee-woon Kim & Pil-Sung Yim

Starring:
Kang-woo Kim
Seung-bum RYOO
Sae-byeok SONG
Doona BA

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
This anthology deals with tales of the end of the world.

Brave New World: Zombies engulf Seoul, Korea after a viral outbreak.

The Heavenly Creature: A humanoid robot gains some sentience while working in a holy temple, and becomes targeted by man for destruction.

Happy Birthday: A little girl tries to order her father a billiard ball on the internet, which somehow leads to earth being threatened by a meteor that threatens earth.
Is it good movie?
I'm always up for a good anthology movie- really eases my attention deficit. Seriously though, taking three stories from two of Korea's more talented filmmakers certainly sounded interesting. Couple that with an overall theme of Armageddon, and I'm down for the cause.

Let's get started with Brave New World, which tries to be a little zombie story but doesn't totally succeed. The whole thing just didn't feel totally finished for me. A lot of zombie flicks deal quickly with the cause of the outbreak (if they deal with it at all), hit the chaos, then pick up the pieces. This one instead focuses mostly on how things go wrong, and very little else.

The gimmick here is an Adam and Eve story, as ingesting the poison food injects us with a whole new sort of sin to bear which will change us forever (by making us into flesh-gnawing zombies). Couple this with a bizarre hatred for meat products (animal violence and gross close-ups of chewed food), but the morality doesn't totally work. Yeah, we're poking fun at the media and wagging a few fingers and the story works, but the whole things is pretty linear.

Kim Jee-Woon's Heavenly Creature is next, and deals with a future where robots are prevalent. A robot repairman is sent to a monastery to perform service on a robot named In-Myun. See, the problem is that the robot is supposed to crunch numbers and handle the finances but instead now acts like a monk. This development causes some of the monks to believe the robot is the reincarnation of Buddha, which sparks debate and leads to an "I, Robot" situation where the robot must be destroyed.

This one honestly didn't do much for me, and I found it to be a little boring. With that being said, this piece is directed beautifully and has a great visual style with solid effects. The camera work is beautiful stuff. The problem is that things are all too familiar, and while there is a bit of a twist at the end of this one, it isn't enough to make things exciting. Mostly, this story feels all dragged out and essentially amounts to people just standing around and chatting. If you're not up to listen to a debate on life and religion, you may want to avoid this.

Last to the party is Happy Birthday from Yim Pil-sung, which is unquestionably the most bizarre story in the trifecta. It's not meant to be taken seriously and borders on being absurd- the main story revolves around a young girl named Min-seo who accidentally breaks an eight ball and orders a new one online. It takes two years, but soon a huge 8-ball meteor is heading for earth and Min-seo grabs her uncle to try to stop things.

This off-kilter story is downright silly, and almost serves as a parody of the typical apocalyptic disaster movie, but manages to squeeze in another "stop sitting around and talking about change and just make it happen" sort of message. This story was sort of entertaining to watch, but didn't have much of an impact on me.

Video / Audio
Video features a 2.35:1 1080p widescreen transfer and looks quite pretty, really. Doomsday book has a great visual style and it is presented beautifully with great detail and vivid color when appropriate.

Audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and it too manages to impress with a great surround balance, clear dialogue and music.
The Extras
The only thing you'll find here is a trailer.
Last Call
I was pretty excited to slide this anthology into my player and while it does look exquisite at times, none of the stories felt fantastic, original or fully fleshed out. This one is most certainly not a stinker, but the lack of extras and some not-quite-there stories might make you think twice before picking it up.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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