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Doomsday Book Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), Korean Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Unrated
  • Runtime: 114 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Well Go USA Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 11, 2012
  • List Price: $29.98

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Doomsday Book brings together the two South Korean directors Kim Ji-woon (I Saw the Devil; The Good, The Bad, The Weird) and Yim Pil-Sung (Hansel & Gretel) for an anthology of three apocalyptic, dystopian visions of what the future holds for humanity. These combination films are always interesting to watch in order to see how different directors’ styles mesh when tackling a common theme whilst working together. I’m reminded of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez grindhouse/exploitation double-bill that yielded two distinctly different takes on the genre. Stylistically, Kim and Yim play it relatively safe, it’s the stories that vary rather wildly. Even in the material they offer up, however, they really don’t bring much to this genre of science fiction that we haven’t already seen.

Doomsday Book opens with Yim Pil-sung’s Brave New World, which finds a young man (Ryoo Seung-bum) at the center of a biological outbreak that turns everyone in the world into crazed zombies. It is bloody, strange, but pretty much follows the rules of any zombie flick you’ve already seen. The second film, Heavenly Creature, from Kim Ji-woon ponders the threat of the advancement of robots and artificial intelligence when an advanced humanoid robot is claimed to have reached enlightenment and hailed as the Buddah by a Buddhist monastery. It’s philosophical discussion of the meaning of religion, God, and life as we know, and if any of that can be applied to a machine we ourselves created is also nothing new to the genre, but it is handled well in this segment. Finally, we get the most unique story of the film in Happy Birthday, directed by Yim Pil-sung, in which an elementary school girl (Jin Jee-hi) orders an eight ball from a mysterious website that somehow intersects with time and space, creating a wormhole that, when she throws the ball through her window to hide it from her parents, sends it hurtling back to Earth as a massive, asteroid sized object with apocalyptic consequences. Its wild expositions on theoretical physics, time travel, and alien exploration make it the most worthy, interesting, and original effort of the whole film and a good way to wrap up this three-part compendium.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

Shot on Super 35mm with the Arricam LT, the transfer for Doomsday Book looks absolutely gorgeous, showing strong contrast, crisp detail, a fine, thin grain structure, and deep darks with nuanced shadow detail.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The audio mix, offered in Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) is dynamic and atmospheric with clear dialogue and beefy low frequencies. Surrounds aren’t used as discretely as one might normally expect from a sci-fi flick such as this and high frequencies are just a bit too metallic sounding, but overall its a good effort.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

Only the theatrical trailer is included as a “bonus”.

  • Trailer (2.35:1; 1080i/60)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

A good effort from these two directors that is fine viewing, but ultimately not significantly groundbreaking in its visions of the future or its visual language, Doomsday Book is middle of the road sci-fi that will appeal mostly to hardcore fans of the genre.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B00984659Y[/amazon-product]

Purchase Doomsday Book on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B00984659Y[/amazon-product]

Purchase Doomsday Book on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]



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