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Doomsday

May 15, 2008
SCENE: It is the near-future, a darkened recording studio in Dean Street. Neil Marshall, Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins, Malcolm McDowell and the bloke that plays the punky Scottish bloke, are sitting in the semi-dark, looking at a big plasma TV screen, sipping frappuccinos from cardboard cups, waiting for Doomsday to flicker and whirl into action. Each fingers a sheaf of notes on which are written pointers and factoids and marks they must hit to give the upcoming DVD commentary a rounded and well thought-out feel. Eventually, the Universal logo, trumpeted with blaring pomposity, glides into view.

Neil Marshall: Good morning, everybody, I’m Neil Marshall, the director of Doomsday. To my right, we have, er…

Scottish bloke: I’m [rustling of paper] …Craig Conway.

Marshall: That’s right. And then, Malcom McDowell.

Malcolm McDowell: Hello.

Marshall: Bob Hoskins.

Bob Hoskins: Awright.

Marshall: And the lovely Rhona Mitra.

Rhona Mitra: Hi.

Marshall: And we’re here to provide the cast commentary for my film, Doomsday. Here we are, then, the start of the movie.

Conway: Yay!

Marshall: Thank you, and immediately we go in to the credit sequence which you overvoiced for us, Malcom.

[In the background, McDowell’s character, Kane, is explaining the plot: “Like so many epidemics before, the loss of so many lives began with a single microscopic organism. It’s human nature to seek even the smallest comfort in reason, or logic for events as catastrophic as these. But a virus doesn’t choose a time or place. It doesn’t hate or even care. It just happens.”]

Hoskins: Jesus.

McDowell: Hmmm.

Marshall: Obviously heavy exposition isn’t always a good idea. And yes, as a student of film, I’d concur with the view that when the presentation of exposition becomes awkward or wordy, it is sometimes referred to by the perjorative expressions ‘plot dump’ and ‘info dump’. In written fiction, the term is additionally used to indicate giving information by exposition rather than revelation through action and dialogue; if such passages are well-written and intriguing, they may be described as “info-dumping” with no pejorative intent. This method has long been used in classic drama and modern productions where the plot is the consequence of preceding events that would either weigh down the production or would reveal too much, spoiling the mystery. Exposition is also necessary in some dramas since it can be from the point of view and perception of a character, and may or may not accurately reveal the facts. Examples of such well done exposition include Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the 1956 film Forbidden Planet.

Conway: Cool!

Hoskins: Are you reading that out?

Marshall: No.

McDowell: You are, that’s from Wikipedia.

Marshall: It’s not. It’s what I think.

Hoskins: Right.

Marshall: Oh, now, here we go. The ship shoot-out. Sets the tone, I think. Lots of steel and chrome shine, like Walter Hill, referenced later of course with tribal figures, as a timely homage to The Warriors. And this boat shoot-out is certainly a nod to the famous Usual Suspects set-piece.

[a head splatters on screen, a naked woman starts shooting a shotgun from her bath]

McDowell: Just like it, yes.

Marshall: Now, Bob, here’s your first scene, the world-weary cop explaining to Rhona what she has to do, leading her SWAT-style team into the forbidden zone. Bob. Bob?

Hoskins:

Marshall: Bob?

Hoskins: I was in The Long Good Friday, you know.

Marshall: I know, but here we see y-

Hoskins: And Mona Lisa. Neil Jordan! Jesus.

Marshall: Sure, but here your charac-

Hoskins: Nixon, 24:7, Enemy at the Gates, Last Orders

Conway: Outlaw?

Hoskins: Fuck off.

[silence]

Marshall: OK, OK. Ah, we’re at the bit where the team go into the ruins of Glasgow now, looking for the cure. Here the armoured cars are pulling up outside the hospital. This is my homage to-

Hoskins: Aliens.

Marshall: Well done, Bob.

Hoskins: Well done? It’s a direct steal. Even the dialogue is nicked.

Marshall: It’s an homage.

Hoskins: It’s nicked.

McDowell: Crikey, isn’t it, though? I mean, precisely.

Conway: Oooh! Look! Akakakakakakakak!

Marshall: And now the crew are captured, and it’s your scene, er [rustling of paper] …Craig.

Conway: It’s me! It’s me!

Marshall: As you can see, we’re going for that Mad Max, post apocalyptic, Warriors look, with the mohicans and all the motorbikes and cars covered in shields and plating and spikes and so on.

Conway: Spikes.

Marshall: Spikes, yes. The jets of flame in the cannibalism scene add a sense of urgency and I think that the Can-Can with the blokes in kilts dancing to Bad Manners adds a touch of the macarbrely humourous.

McDowell and Hoskins: Really?

Marshall: Really. Absolutely. And similarly, the use of Good Thing and Spellbound in this sequence is an ironic take on the soundtracks of 1980s action films. Like when we use Two Tribes later on during the car chase.

[silence]

Marshall: Honestly.

[silence]

Hoskins: Bloody hell.

Marshall: Bob, I-

Hoskins: You know what, Neil, I really quite liked The Descent. I thought it was a smart, attractive, well-paced horror movie, way way above any of the other sort of dreck you get these days. It starts off nice, with a good evocation of loss and recovery, then moves carefully and intelligently through the gears, never once treating us like idiots. And it looks good, too, some of the outdoors scenes and caving sections were absolutely gorgeous. When my agent called, I thought “this’ll be a good one Bob, do this one”.

McDowell: Me, too.

Hoskins: But fuck me, what’s this? This is shit! It goes at a million miles an hour and Rhona looks fabulous but, and no offence, love, she acts about as well as my last fart. Sorry, sweetheart, but you do. Me and Malcolm are doing our best here, you know. OK, my accent goes from East End Bob to Posh Bob a little too much, but we’re still the best things up there. Poor old Sean Pertwee’s not bad either, but you only give him a dozen lines before he gets offed. Jesus, man!

Conway: Ooer.

Hoskins: And what’s this lad’s role in all this? All that shouting and gurning and screaming bollocks? It’s a fucking pantomime. Fuck it, I’m out of here. Malc, beer? Groucho in two minutes? I just need to get some cash out.

McDowell: Good idea. Let’s go.

Marshall: Bob! Malcolm! I put that money in your pockets.

Hoskins: And we gave you what you wanted. You then twisted it up into a right kebab of a movie, all mixed up rubbish covered in chili sauce so you can’t taste anything but the blood and diesel.

Marshall: It’s fun.

McDowell: For thirteen year old boys. See you. Hold up, Bob!

Marshall: Bob! Bob! Malcom! Come back! O bollocks to ya! I’ve got Hugh Jackman on my next movie, you know? Yeah, Hugh Jackman, that’s right!

[a door slams. Silence falls again. On screen a Bentley is crashing spectacularly through a bus. Neil Marshall looks at Mitra and Conway]

Marshall: You two are quiet. Cat got your fucking tongues?

Conway: Oooh, I’m telling.

Mitra: What’s this again?

[Dull thudding as Marshall hits his head repeatedly on the desk]

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2008 3:24 pm

    YOU ARE A BEST OF BLOG FINALIST!!! Congrats on making it to the final round and remember to tell everyone you know to head on over to http://www.thebestofblogs.com to vote for your site. Oh and don’t forget to enter our Exclusive Lijit Contest for another chance to win some fantastic prizes. Winners will be announced June 2nd so gather up your faithful followers and tell them you want to be one of this year’s Best Of Blogs!

    Bill Beck
    Project Mgr.
    http://www.thebestofblogs.com

  2. May 18, 2008 9:11 am

    Holy cripes, that was hilarious!!

    I love that you played Bob Hoskins as such a dick. I always imagine him being that way since my first and earliest impression was his take on the classic grumpy detective in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

    Also, just wanted to say: it is a pleasure and an honor to be nominated with you for The Best of Blogs award!

    Cheers!
    Chucklyn
    Urban-Etiquette.net

  3. May 18, 2008 4:36 pm

    Cheers Chucklyn, just popped across to your place to return the favour! Glad you liked the review

    🙂

  4. May 18, 2008 7:51 pm

    Thanks for doing so!

    And no matter what happens with the award, I am definitely a new subscriber of your blog. It is extremely eloquent, clever and I can tell you have a firm grasp (and appreciation!) of film.

    I respect that and am thoroughly entertained!

    Cheers amner!

    Your newest fan,
    Chucklyn

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