Coming to Home Video on December 11th
Jee-woon Kimâ€™s follow up to I Saw the Devil is a little different than what you may be expecting. Doomsday Book is an anthology that along with fellow director Pil-Sung Yim focuses on topics like the end of the world and the end of humanity. Told in 3 chapters and dealing with situations like Korea facing an undead epidemic, a robot who resides in a Buddhist temple who challenges life and existence, and a family who a little girl orders a billiard ball from the internet and it brings on the end of the world as that billiard ball is heading towards the planet to wipe it out.
The first story is titled In A Brave New World which is a love story told with a weird twist. Director Pil-Sung-Yim starts it off with a lot of comic elements that you know this little story does not want to be taken or perceived as serious. It is basically told thru the eyes of a young man, who starts the film off with having to do away with some garbage at his house dumping it in this waste bin. From there we watch this man as he goes on a date, and him and his date start to devour this entire meat plate, and shortly after things start going wrong for both of them. While her effects to zombie or contaminated (it is never told to us what they are going thru) is a little slower to happen, his happen almost immediately. And as you can guess within minutes the whole town is infected, then the city. To me, this is the strongest of the 3 stories, it was funny when it needed to be, had enough killing and blood to keep the gore hounds smiling, and most of all it had a sentimental heart towards the end that I am glad listening to the interview they did not go with the original plan for the ending. This was very fun, and if you have watched Rec or the sequels you will have fun with this, I am not saying it is as good as Rec, well maybe part 3 but it is still fun nonetheless.
We go to story 2 which is called Heavenly Creature, a robot who looks similar to the robots in the Will Smith film I Robot who resides at a Buddhist temple reaches enlightenment and the creators of the robot deem this as a threat and want to terminate the robot. This is not your typical robot film so do not think you are going to get some sci fi killing and action. This was all about a bunch of people who view a robot as getting smarter than they are, and how they should eliminate the threat. Where the first story was fast moving and gave us so much to have fun with, this one is very slow moving and gives us so much deep storytelling, that it may not be some peopleâ€™s cup of tea. This felt like a social commentary that questions existence and manâ€™s need to kill or destroy anything that they feel is a threat without no care or remorse. The Robot to experience human emotions like worth, fear, faith and the all too often thought of questions of existence and why are we here, and where we go next was really fine with me, the acting while this whole film is in subtitles, it was believable enough that I followed the story and loved the humor that was sprinkled with the tension and the dialogue. This was not what I was expecting watching the trailer before the film, but I still warmed up to it as the film went on.
Story 3 is entitled Happy Birthday. This is the most absurd premise I ever heard of, but yet this was a fun little 40 minute ending. The film starts off with a little girl throwing her dadâ€™s 8 ball out the window and having to go to a weird website and order him another billiard ball, without her family knowing. Then, before you know it the world is under a threat and a strange object is coming towards it at a rapid rate to destroy it, then they find out it is the 8 ball she ordered. This felt like the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy more than I Saw The Devil, and Jee-Woon lets his inner geek run free in this one, this is just a preposterous post-apocalyptic scenario that really is so odd you will enjoy and have fun with it. Like one scenario and people know the end of the world is within minutes and they turn on the news to hear what is going on, and the newscasters get into this argument about love, and cheating on people and the male newscaster and female newscaster just go on and on, because as they put it, they do not need their jobs after today.
As a whole, this was a really good anthology, it gave us three totally different views on what the end of the world and mankind will be. People who will see this dvd or blu ray box and expect I Saw the Devil 2 or even something along those lines will be letdown. For sci fi lovers who have a fixation with the end of mankind or the world, you may be more suited for this film. The film has enough humor and absurdity that people will get some laughs out of it, but also has some deep thinking that people may question their own existence as well. As a whole, I really think this is a title that people who dare for different need to seek out.
8 out of 10