Doomsday Book

 

Doomsday Book

Production Design: Kang So Young, Cho Hwa Sung & Park Ju Young

Photography by Ha Sung Min & Kim Ji Yong

Music by Mowg

Produced by Kim Jung Hwa

Written & Directed by Kim Ji Woon & Yim Pil Sung

Theatrical Release: 2012

 

Cast:

A Brave New World

Ryu Seung Beom

Ko Joon Hee


The Heavenly Creature

Kim Kang Woo

Kim Gyu Ri

Park Hae Il


Happy Birthday

Song Sae Byoek

Jin Ji Hee

Bae Doo Na

 

Production Studio:

Theatrical: Gio & Lotte Entertainment and Time Story Group

Video: Well Go Entertainment

 

Video

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Codec: AVC

Disc Size: BD25

Feature Size: 19.92 GB

Bit Rate: High 30~40 Mbps

Runtime: 113 minutes

Chapters: 14

Region: A

 

Audio:

Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

 

Subtitles:

Optional English

 

Extras

• Theatrical Trailer

• Well Go Trailers

 

Presentation:

Amaray Blu-ray Case: BRD x 1

Street Date: December 11, 2012



LensViews:

The Movie: 7

Originally slated as a triptych from three edgy Korean directors (Kim Ji Woon (I Saw the Devil; The Good, the Bad, the Weird), Yim Pil Sung (Hansel & Gretel; Antarctic Journal) and Han Jae Rim (The Show Must Go On), the film was shelved after Han Jae Rim’s idea didn’t work out.  Four years later, Kim Ji Woon & Yim Pil Sung sorted out the third segment themselves, raised the necessary capital, and: voilà.


    


Doomsday Book could be described simply as three views of the End of the World as we know it. Roughly equal in length (38, 39 & 37 min) but otherwise, superficially, little else in common aside from the end-of-days theme.  First up is Yim Pil-Sung's Brave New World, ostensibly a wonderfully disgusting zombie movie, points the finger at overpopulation, overproduction, and altogether too little oversight.  This segment, like the finale, pokes considerable fun at the news media and our peculiarly intimate connection to it.


    


Kim Ji-Woon’s The Heavenly Creature is, by turns, contemplative and violent.  The title character is a robot assigned to a Buddhist temple for rudimentary tasks but comes to find Enlightenment - the monks go so far as to take him for the Buddha.  A by-the-book technician is called in to determine if there is a fault in the chrome skeleton, but suffers an existential crisis of his own when the manufacturer insists the robot be terminated altogether since he deems a thinking robot is a threat to humanity - a not altogether ridiculous idea. The underlying theme here seems to be about class: corporate vs. intellectual vs. spiritual.


    


The finale, Happy Birthday, is a collaborative work of both writer/directors - an infectious blend of comedy, suspense, parody, family drama, whimsy and science fantasy.  A young girl orders a replacement 8-ball on the Internet for her father’s pool table, only to see it hurtling through the solar system on its way to Earth a few years later. No longer the size of a fist but big enough to put an end to the dinosaurs that humanity has become.


    


Critical Reaction:

Variety

A well-crafted Korean anthology, "Doomsday Book" imagines the end of the world via three disparate, tonally distinct scenarios. . . With films like "Melancholia" laying out their mournful visions of the apocalypse, comedy and understated philosophizing indeed seem ripe for mining. Certainly nothing ties these three tales together beyond their Armageddon premise, but then again, the best anthologies seldom necessarily cohere. - Ronnie Scheib


    


Twitch Film

Although not anything mindblowing, Doomsday Book is a fine anthology for fans of Korean cinema. I'll admit to expecting more WOW! from Ji-Woon's segment, but that could be due to expectations built up by The Good, The Bad and The Weird and I Saw The Devil. He was on such a genre roll with those two, the prospect of him making a sci-fi film had too much potential to deliver, especially in the short form. Still, a nice package overall, and a nice apertif for Ji-Woon's upcoming Arnold-Schwarzenegger-starring-American-debut-that-can't-possibly-be-good-can-it? - Joshua Chaplinsky


    

 

Image: 9/9

Each segment has its own color and contrast schemes, each presenting special challenges for the camera and HD transfer.  Well Go does a nice job of conveying, depth, detail, and contrast control.  The Heavenly Creature is especially problematic since there is so much deliberate blowing out of detail in the monastery.  The bit rate is very high, which probably helps give the image a solid feel.  Transfer artifacts and enhancements are not a problem, and noise, even in night scenes, is vanishingly low.


    

 

Audio & Music: 7/8

The Korean language uncompressed surround mix has everything going for it except LFE, conspicuous by its absence especially in the final piece when one gigantic object collides with another.  Otherwise points for true-to-life sounding dance bar acoustic, clarity and proper blending and placing of effects, dialogue and music.

 

Extras: 1

Nothing here except a theatrical trailer in HD plus a few Well Go previews, also in HD.  The subtitling is satisfactory, but I should note that the cast is listed in Korean only.


    

 

Recommendation: 7

I am wracking what’s left of my mind to remember if there has ever been an entirely satisfying movie comprised of contributions from different writers and directors.  Nothing comes to mind yet, not even from the European, who seem to like this sort of thing.  I like Happy Birthday very much, and The Heavenly Creature enjoys a thoughtful title character, but A Brave New World strikes me as little more than an exercise in well done gross-out effects.   All the same, the movie should make for a worthwhile rental with repeatable promise. Recommended.


    



Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

December 1, 2012



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