Sunday, October 26, 2008

Animation #18

First of all let me say - I have no idea about the DEAD SPACE game and I'm not a fan of the game, but I am a hardcore animation fan and I follow pretty much everything that comes out. So when I got my hands on this one I was pretty excited - a brand new mature oriented animated feature!! And when I say mature oriented I mean that it has some swear words plus animated violence and blood, which we don't see every day, especially when it comes to western animation (cause if you're into anime you can't complain from the lack of these elements) "Dead Space: Downfall" is above average, but far from brilliant. And the reason for this is mainly the screenplay. The characters lack depth and emotional charge and the story itself is somehow ripping off key elements from John Carpenter's "The Thing" (the designs of the creatures...), Ridley Scott's "Alien" (the intro on the distant planet, the strong female lead, the ship sent by some corrupt institution we never really see...). There's nothing wrong in borrowing already tested classic elements, some fan-service is always welcome. The problem is that the story itself just fails to grab you. There's no background of the characters, too little information about the aim of their trip and the institution that sent them (some kind of a new religious organization... maybe it's the dystopian future when Scienthology rules the Earth?!? OMG!! I can hear Charlton Heston screaming "Damn you all to hell!", we'd prefer the rule of the Apes). The story lacks drama and suspense.

The voice cast is doing more or less OK, I guess that you can't expect them to put into their characters something that's not really there in the script and make them more interesting, so...

The music - during the movie I hardly noticed any music, but the ending credits were quite good I can say. And the use of "Twinkle, twinkle Little Star" is creepy for sure! The character design is very well done, nothing that will totally amaze you, but it fits perfectly well into the atmosphere of the movie. Everything from faces and expressions to clothes and hairstyles is neatly done.

The backgrounds are detailed and not in contrast with the coloring of the characters and the animated objects (unlyke some other animations where you can "feel" what moves and what doesn't just because the animated objects are colored differently). Even the CGI doesn't break the unity and doesn't feel out of place when it's there (mainly for the 3D models of the spaceships) The animation and the directing itself are quite good, well done boys! The perspectives and the camera angles are nice, the movements as well. It's a mixture of traditional western animation with some elements taken from the Japanese school (when it comes to the blood being splattered or the shrinking of the eye-irises for example).

I enjoyed the film, but I felt disappointed by the story. Maybe it was enough for a survival shooter game, but it wasn't enough for 75min. feature. The animation is stylish enough to accomplish more than that and with better writing it could be something of the class of "Heavy Metal" or "Titan A.E.". Still worth watching, though! Check it out if you have the chance.

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