As most fans of this site know, I’m the resident video game expert on the site. Which means? I play lots of video games. So by default, whenever something video game related comes to this site, it goes to me. Good, bad or indifferent. Many video games these days do the cross-promotion thing whether it would be books, movies or even games before the actual game. One of these I received recently was Dead Space: Aftermath on Blu-ray to promote the launch of Dead Space 2.
Space. We enter to see the USG O’Bannon come into view. Suddenly we see a bunch of dead bodies all around the ship. Something is very wrong. Soon, the scene shifts to inside the ship where there is a rescue crew investigating for life signs. They find four blips on their equipment and then the engine starts up without warning. The crew rushes and finds the four life beings.
The people still alive are Isabel Cho, Alejandro Borges, Nicholas Kuttner and Nolan Stross. The survivors put up a fight while Nolan mentions something about the Conversions being here and they will be made whole. The rescue crew soon subdues the four and then takes them back to the lead ship. Once aboard the ship, the leaders there decide to interrogate the survivors and see if they can extract the information they need.
Their first subject is Nicholas Kuttner who is constantly talking about his dead daughter who unfortunately he thinks is very much alive. The Lead Interrogator decides to simulate the act of burning him alive in order to get him to speak. He does so reluctantly and starts to spin the tale of the mission to Aegis 7. The mission there was very secretive and had many layers but he tells his side.
The movie flashes back to the space mission on Aegis 7. The plan was to stabilize the planet with gravity stabilizers. The problem is that the planet is splitting apart at the seems and time is not on their side. However, we soon learn that Nicholas seemed to come into contact with a very strange alien artifact. There is something more to this story than a mission gone awry. With each interrogation of the four survivors we learn a little more about the mystery. What is truly going on and will anybody survive?
The movie runs a tidy seventy eight minutes but a lot of ground is covered. Imagine a twenty episode season of a half hour show. Dead Space: Aftermath is episode 10,11, and 12. The first few episodes were Dead Space: Downfall (available on Blu-Ray), followed by Dead Space 1 the game, and then the ones after Aftermath are Dead Space 2, the brand new game. They are some graphic novels thrown in to clean up some of the gaps.
So basically, Aftermath is a mid season story that acts as a bridge between games. But it is sold as a movie to an unsuspecting audience. Furthermore, it is going to confuse the heck out of a lot of people. Those who give the feature a chance are people who have already kept up with the mythos to this point or are going to go back and start exploring that mythos top to bottom. I probably fit into the latter as I own a copy of Dead Space, just never got around to playing it.
The thing is that the movie is actually pretty decent. The four characters they introduce do have some interesting back stories and it does play out as a standard horror picture. The only problem with it is some of the choices made by the Interrogation were puzzling and didn’t make a lot of sense. It seems like the movie creators wanted to make it a bloodbath without any sense to the blood and violence.
The video is in 2.40:1 widescreen presentation in 1080p resolution. There are two types of animation at work here. The present where they are interrogating is more of a computer animation and the flashbacks are more in the classic animation style. Both worked for me and it helped to bridge the gap as to what happened and what is happening now. The color is rich and full and there are no complaints. Good effort, just give me more detail on the monsters next time.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 English TrueHD. The audio is far and away the best part of the disc. The sound is loud, strong and detailed. Dialog is clear as a bell and the voice acting is quite good. Sound effects do resonate in rear and front speakers giving the feel of a live action film. Booms and other weapons of destruction will make the experience that much more real. Subtitles are included for English SDH and Spanish.
- Trailers: Dead Space 2, Dante’s Inferno, Let Me In, and The Bleeding.
A couple of points I will make here before I close out my thoughts. Don’t get attached to any of the characters. I made that mistake and I’m still frustrated over it. Treat it as a straight up horror movie and try to ignore its connection to Dead Space if you aren’t already in the mythos. Second point, the ending does mention the first game’s protagonist and is important. So, if you get bored with the flic, at least make it to the end for that little revelation.
The movie is decent horror fare. It establishes characters and gives us a fairly interesting back story so that we understand where everybody is coming from. The only difficult part to deal with is the Interrogation and understanding the choices they make. The disc’s only flaw is the lack of extras as video and audio are both excellent. I sincerely do recommend this disc to people who love Dead Space and are deeply into the experience. For the rest, I’d suggest finding Downfall first and then work from there.