Tag Archives: film roman

Dead Space: Downfall My Reviews 04 NOV 2010

Finally, the discovery of the mysterious alien artefact, the second “Marker” Earth has been hoping it would one day find. Located deep within a dead planet by a local mining team, plans are soon launched in order to retrieve this strange, tooled rock, and the Ishimura, a planet cracker is launched to handle the pick up.

However, something is not right. Chief Security Officer Alyssa Vincent is concerned with the unusual spike in violent crimes that has all of a sudden befallen the usually quiet mining colony, characterised by particularly bloody and brutal murders carried out by otherwise normal, everyday people.

But there isn’t time to fully investigate, as the operation to pull the massive landmass out of the planet is already underway, and soon the Marker finds itself onboard the ship, ready to undergo a series of tests and experiments as it slowly begins to make its way back towards the Earth.

However, where matters were of a minor concern before, they are about to get a whole lot more serious and attention grabbing now. Something is in amongst the colony, killing every living thing in site. And now it would seem that it may have made it onboard the Ishimura after all.

Whatever it is, Alyssa Vincent is about to enter the most horrific and bloody fight of her life… a fight for which the fragile humans are very little prepared!

Alyssa Vincent and her team blast away at the undead!

EA’s hit survival horror third person shooter, Dead Space is certainly going all out to establish itself as a proper franchise, and what better than releasing a full length animated film to act as a prequel to the game story itself?

Dead Space: Downfall hit the DVD racks in October 2008, directed by Chuck Patton and written by comic scribe/inker Jimmy Palmiotti and his comic book partner in crime, Justin Gray, with animation chores handled by Film Roman.

A gory, violent space horror, Dead Space: Downfall goes straight for the jugular, dishing up plenty of action and suspense, combined with loads of violence and a mysterious alien presence.

There is very little character development throughout this film, most of which can be attributed to the fact that most characters simply don’t stick around for long, and more importantly, the relentless pace of the film simply doesn’t allow for it.

The start of the film sets us up well for what is to come and after we are introduced to the main character Alyssa Vincent, we get stuck straight into matters as we are first tasked with solving a murder puzzle which slowly ratchets the tension right up, before being dropped right into an all out battle for survival against a very real, very alien horror!

The film juggles its suspense, drama, violence and action very well, and as such draws a viewer in from start to finish, managed to maintain its sense of enigma throughout the story as the horrific events unfold before you.

In terms of the visual front, Film Roman’s animation is pretty slick and apart from the slightly silly gun fire,  everything looks and works pretty well. In particular, the grotesque, animated dead are well depicted and Film Roman moves easily between the various forms of these distorted monsters.

The color palette naturally contains a lot of red with all the blood splatter permeating through everything and the visuals make very effective use of light and dark, to keep the suspense and horror at its maximum.

Of course, gore and brutality is at the heart of this horror survival and this film is certainly not for the squeamish – even at its animated level, some of the visuals will require you to have a particularly strong stomach to take it all in!

Aurally, the film hits all the right notes, with a great soundtrack which serves well to set up the mood for the various sequences, from the tentative investigations to the all out running for survival. Bruce Boxleitner and Kelly Hu are the only real recognised live-action actors in the voice cast and they do their respective roles quite well. However, the aggressive Nika Futterman really steals the show as the voice of Alyssa Vincent.

Wouldn't really want to meet him in a dark alley, that's for sure!

In summary then, Dead Space: Downfall succeeds 100% in what it set out to do. It is a competent, terrifying survival horror story out in space, one with no chance of a happy ending and lots, and lots of blood and body parts lying all over the place. Fans of the game will no doubt enjoy this piece of animated cinematography, while there is certainly something in there for fans of horror in general.

As for me, well I don’t really do horror normally, but putting that aside, Dead Space: Downfall is really well made and a very good ambassador for its genre, making it well worth checking out if you are into that kind of thing!

Gory death, guts and blood. You won't believe how much that stuff splatters!

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Space_Downfall

Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic My Reviews 02 APR 2010

EA Games recently released Dante’s Inferno, a re-imagining of the original epic poem sharing the same name, and a game that borrows much from the hack and slash classics that is God of War. Of course, in an attempt to cash in on the big release, EA has seen it fit to commission the creation of Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic – basically a straight to DVD, feature length film created from the stitched together work originating from a number of animation houses, much in the vein of The Animatrix and Batman: Gotham Knight.

But here’s the kicker. It’s actually a stitched together movie that’s got the formula right!

The story follows Dante, a knight returned from the Crusades only to find his beloved Beatrice dead, slain at the hands of one who steals her very soul and transports it straight to hell. Realizing that it is his fault and with nothing else but the salvation of his beloved on his mind, Dante charges after the dark figure and attempts to break into Hell as a living mortal, though this is initially denied to him. However, be it divine or demonic intervention, his sins get sewn upon his body and his renewed spirit, together with the unexpected council from the long dead poet Virgil, allows him to break down the doors and so his descent through the various levels of Hell begins as he tracks down Beatrice’s soul in an effort to free her and deal with the Dark One responsible for her capture.

Limbo. Lust. Gluttony. Greed. Anger. Heresy. Violence. Fraud. Treachery. Dante and his Hellish scythe must cleave the way through these all and in the process confront his own trespasses if he is ever to save the pureness that is Beatrice from the clutches of pure evil!

This is just one of the looks (probably the most bedraggled) that Dante and Virgil sport throughout the movie...

In fairness, borrowing only the smallest of elements from Dante Alighieri’s masterpiece, Dante’s Inferno, Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic is written by Joe Goyette and was released in February 2010, featuring segments from six different animation studios, including Film Roman (Dead Space: Downfall), Manglobe (Samurai Champloo), Dongwoo Animation, JM Animation and Production I.G., and is delivered through the eyes of six different directors, including Shuko Murase (Ergo Proxy) and Yasoumi Umetsu (Kite: Liberator).

As mentioned above, the story is pretty much one way traffic in that you basically have Dante starting at point one and hacking and slashing his way through to the final encounter at point b. However, along the way things get interesting as with each new level of Hell comes a bit of backstory which then slowly sheds light on as to how this situation did eventually arise as well as Dante’s rather less than innocent involvement in this whole matter. Of course, the big thing for this sewn together movie is the various realizations of hell and as such, the story manages to get this one nailed down pretty tightly as you are taken on a truly harrowing journey through the underworld. Of course, not all plot ends are explained nor followed fully to their end for that matter, but for the most part by the end of the movie you can be satisfied that a full story has been told, left possible room for a sequel and at that you haven’t just sat through an hour and a half of mindless violence without something to show for it.

In terms of visuals, for the most part Dante’s Inferno really impresses. Film Roman gets things going with some great animated sequences and their particular vision of the demonic hands sewing up Dante is a thing to behold. Manglobe as can be expected churn out some stellar action sequences and stylish backdrops and this is complemented by Production I.G. segment at the end. Unfortunately the character design from the two Korean studios don’t exactly meet my approval, but their capturing of the action as well as the visual look for their respective circles of hell are certainly well worth the look.

As a whole, the film manages to make Hell as repulsive and harrowing as what you can imagine, throwing some disturbing imagery at you whenever it can. The animation remains tight and fluid and as a whole, the whole thing is pretty nicely choreographed, though you do have to make a conscious effort to make the mental leap each time Dante and Virgil take the character design shuffle with each new animation studio crossing. Of course bloodshed and gore are central to the whole Dante’s Inferno experience and as such you need to go into this expecting plenty of blood, severed body parts and spilled guts literally littering the screen – which they do I’ll have you know.

Oh, and do realize that there are plenty of biblical and demonic references to take in. Showing this at a Sunday School camp may not necessarily be a good idea.

Quite frankly, I don’t like the multiple studios handling a movie gig but I will grudgingly admit that Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic had got the formula right. The segments are tightly bound together and form a coherent and single story that is quite enjoyable to sit through. It is a polished release with some great audio in terms of soundtrack and voice acting, some hellishly rendered, effective animation and manages to suck you in and make you sit down and watch from start to finish.

If you love your animation brutal, bloody, stylish and full of fight (with just a tinge of disturbed), you can’t go wrong with Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic.

Who says sewing is for sissy boys?

Meeting your father in hell can never be a good thing, right?

Believe it or not, this is actually one of the more pleasant demons to behold!

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dante%27s_Inferno:_An_Animated_Epic