Said it many times before, just like scratching a semi-decent winning lotto ticket, once in a very long while SciFi's Disaster/Monster/Alien Weekends produces a decent flick.
Clearly we're not talking anything near a well-funded mainstream production with all the bells and whistles like 'Battle Los Angeles'. These flicks are made on the cheap, with rendered sfx commonly generated from desktop computers. But as always, it's the story that carries the film, not bells or whistles.
The aforementioned 'Battle' was a craptacular failure. Why? Because the plot was a pitiful retread; a story that was clichéd and uninventive. It lacked a proper foundation to build on those pricey special effects. And when you do that - you doom your project to mediocrity, or worse. So when a feebly funded project like 'Doomsday' is produced, but carries with it a decent plot that's charged with cogent energy - I'm appreciative. Even if it doesn't qualify as a hit, I suspect many of these films do well enough in the marketplace to make the producers money. And as aside, these flicks make for a fun popcorn distraction for cinephiles waiting in the lulls between so-called blockbusters and important films.
In 'Doomsday' the events of a prophesied day of destruction begins to unfold, the film's characters have been unknowingly cast into a cosmic play whose actions will either save humankind or become unwitting participants in its annihilation.
A.J. Buckley plays Fox, a junior book editor who has been handpicked by a reclusive writer who hasn't been heard from for decades. An infamous scribe whose last book became a huge worldwide bestseller then promptly disappeared. Fox been offered a chance at a his newest tome, one the author has worked on for the past twenty years, and all he has to do is show up. He's understandably a bit freaked out and suggests a more experienced senior editor take the meeting, but his boss tells him that he won't risk the loss of the publication rights by not following the instructions down to the last detail - he's going.
Simultaneously, a field anthropologist is given the same instructions. The author has promised an incredible endowment to her program - and all she has to do is meet him at a specific time and place. The offer comes on the heels of her university's funding crunch, so she reluctantly leaves her dig to receive the check.
Unfortunately, neither will ever collect anything - the author died the day before sending out his instructions. All that remains is a video recording he made at the moment of his death.
Thus begins a high-paced adventure to try and unlock the secrets of the past. A past that included visitors from another place who gave humankind a very special gift. Countering their efforts - a nihilistic military officer who has himself been hunting for both the author and the gift in order to facilitate the breeding of a new human race, one made in the image of himself. He wants to become God.
The battle of who will obtain the gift and use it properly will determine the fate of the planet.
I have to be honest and admit that a fair portion of my enjoyment comes from watching Jewel Staite, on whom I've carried a film crush for many years. It would be too obvious to throw in all the adjectives, suffice to say: As far as I'm concerned she's one of the most stunning actresses of her generation.
Personal drooling aside, 'Doomsday' really was a decent budget-conscious thriller that I enjoyed. Very much like 'Maximum Velocity' or 'Anacondas - The Hunt for the Blood Orchid' where interesting characters and a movie plausible story carries what would otherwise be a forgettable production.