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Lisa Ann Beley,
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The USG Ishimura, a miner spaceship, is transporting a strange artifact called the Red Marker. In the Aegis VII colony, where the Red Marker was found, there are some suicides and murders and the people are slowly going mad. The people are being infected by something. Barrow, the foreman, finds the body of his wife having committed suicide. Barrow decides to escape the colony's madness and, taking his wife's body, goes on board the Ishimura. But something happens to Barrow's wife on board the Ishimura. Written by
It is clearly seen about 18 minutes into the movie that Jen slices her throat; a large gash is shown with blood spilling out. A few moments afterwards, Barrow is seen rushing down the hallways with Jean's body in his arms. It is shown that Jen's throat has no blood - in fact, it's not even cut. See more »
My name is Alissa Vincent. I may be the sole survivor. We've encountered an alien life form. They have taken over the bodies of the crew. The colony was lost. My team is dead. It is my belief that the artifact we discovered on the surface is somehow responsible. If you find this recording, the Ishimura and the artifact must be destroyed.
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This movie came free with a special edition of the Dead Space game that i bought. Being a fan of animation, i immediately popped this into my DVD player for a view. On first viewing i was impressed, though with subsequent viewings, the flaws started to bubble to the surface.
The story seems to be a blend of Aliens, Resident Evil(the game) and Doom(the movie). Spaceship responds to a distress signal from some far off mining colony, some alien organism gets on board and starts replicating and killing the crew. Throw in an internal power struggle between the ship's captain and his doctor, a dash of pseudo-religious talk and lots of bloody action and you get Dead Space Downfall.
The more interesting parts of the story is actually the interplay between the captain, his bridge crew and the doctor. It builds up very nicely to its satisfying climax and plays out like a live action movie in terms of the dialogue and level of acting. Hidden agendas are brought to light and trust goes down the drain hole, leading to the eventual breakdown of order on board the spaceship. Sadly, the film chooses to focus on the bland and clichéd story of the security team tackling the alien infestation.
Characterization wise, none of the characters really come across as any thing but one dimensional. The captain and the doctor are pretty well done but since the story did not focus much on them, it was a wasted effort. The main characters in the security team are typical sci/fi B movie stock characters. Acting tough but still getting killed off ever so easily. The pseudo-religious subplot could have evolved into something really interesting or could have been used as a metaphor for some really life issues today. Sadly, the writers focused too much on the action than on developing the more interesting aspects of the plot.
Which brings me to the action itself, and the animation. The animation is inconsistent. Though it is a huge step upward from Film roman's previous animated movies like Hellboy Animated and Turok Son of Stone, it has not yet reached the standard one would expect from direct to DVD animated features. The animation for the most part is smooth with a high frame rate, but that is due to the stylized angular character designs and simple shadows and shading. The CGI and backgrounds though are a real treat to look at as the cel shading blends almost seamlessly with the simpler 2D designs and doesn't feel at all jarring. While most of the animation and art are quite good, it is during the action scenes that we see a visible dip in quality. The level of art detail drops A LOT in the action scenes and the character movements suddenly get really stiff and choppy. Some scenes are very obviously only a few key frames "motion blurred" to give the illusion of movement or a single frame "panned" across the background with a shaky camera. Muzzle flash from guns are also out of sync with the blood splattering hit squibs. At times, a few gun fight scenes even look like a bad flash animated internet game.
The most slower paced scenes in between gun fights are more enjoyable and really effective in their combination of lighting, shock factor and designs in conveying a overall scary feel. This is especially true in the first quarter of the film where the suspense is allowed to build nicely. But once the action picks up, the scares die down.
For fans of the game, many would notice the many inconsistencies between this movie and the Dead Space game. For starters in Downfall, the alien artifact is huge, almost as big as an entire hanger bay. In the game, it is only twice the size of a person. Also, the plasma cutters work very differently. In the game, they emit charges of plasma energy that can be used to sever limbs with a click of the mouse. In Downfall, they are presented like lightsaber chainsaws.
In the end, this movie falls short on many levels. What could have made the movie great, such as the power struggle intrigue, the pseudo religious sub plot and the scary atmosphere in the 1st quarter, were cast aside in favour of following tried and tested(see cliché) story plot and themes. The animation is on par with many anime OVAs; better than TV series but not as good as animated movies. A great show to pass some time at home.
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