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Dead Space: Downfall (2008)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
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5.8
 / 10
7 votes
Movie Connections:
Dead Space
> Dead Space: Downfall (2008)
> Dead Space: Aftermath (2011)
Genres / Traits:
Animated Feature Film, Animated Horror, Animated Sci-Fi, Animation, Sci-Fi Horror, Video Games
Director:
Chuck Patton Chuck Patton
Starring:
Nika Futterman Nika Futterman
Keith Szarabajka Keith Szarabajka
Jim Cummings Jim Cummings
Kevin Michael Richardson Kevin Michael Richardson
Kelly Hu Kelly Hu
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Review by TM
Added: October 16, 2011
Dead Space: Downfall is a prequel to the first Dead Space video game, and follows the trials and tribulations of the USG Ishimura after picking up the Red Marker. As anyone who played Dead Space knows, a whole bunch of bad shit had to have happened for the story of the first game to take place, so the idea of getting to find out what all happened is always fun. If you never heard of the game, just picture a super gory zombie movie in outer space and go from there.

On a routine mining excursion, a strange artifact (the Marker from Dead Space) is found on the planet Aegis VII, which prompts the Ishimura (a mining ship) to come visit the colony and help pick up the marker. The ship's captain, Captain Mathius orders the Ishimura to pick it up and transport it, even though the colony has given reports of random violence from the colony's members since the discovery of the Marker. While en route to the planet, we meet Alissa Vincent, who's the head of security for the Ishimura, who's against the captain's plans but is still forced to go along and handle the issues.

While the Ishimura is on the way to the colony, the colony starts having a strange outbreak, and some of the inhabitants start going crazy. After seeing his wife go "crazy" and kill herself, one of the miners takes her into an escape ship and blasts off towards the Ishimura in search of answers. What this miner doesn't realize is that his wife was infected with the alien presence that the Marker brought, and that he's about to unwittingly infect the Ishimura crew. Upon his arrival, the film takes off into what would basically be the Dead Space video game.

The film aspect of it shows the conflict between the Ishimura crew in regards to the marker and all of the insanity that turns up because of the alien outbreak. Along with that, one of the main concepts of the games is a group called the Unitologists who worship the marker much like a Christian would worship a cross. We see a handful of interactions in the film that are very religion vs anti-religion, but it's never really fleshed out as any sort of story plot.

For the art and animation style of Downfall is very reminiscent of the old Aeon Flux cartoons, which is very crisp with well-defined character models, especially with the characters faces. The art department did an extremely good job of capturing the feel that the games originally started, with the ships feeling cold and sterile mixed with the gore and paranormal that was brought in with the arrival of the Necromorphs on the ship and colony. Along those same lines, all of the trademark sounds from the game are used in the movie. EA had a hand in making Downfall, so of course there was (or should have been) easy access to everything that was needed, but it's still a nice touch. The actors that they used for the voices for the characters all seem really into their roles, and the fact that there aren't any really big names as the characters helps avoid any distraction of seeing the actor versus seeing the character.

In regards to the rest of the gaming aspects of the film, I think they did a pretty spot on job of hitting on all of the notes that are important to the Dead Space universe. The trademark Necromorph variants are in the movie and are creepy and violent as hell, attacking and acting like their video game counterparts. The ships look exactly like they did in the games as well, down to the way the lights were set up, the way that the direction signs were laid out, etc. If you ever played one of the games, you could randomly flip the channels on TV, come across this movie, and go "Oh shit, there's a Dead Space cartoon?" without any hesitation.

Overall, as someone who loved the Dead Space games, it's really cool to be able to just watch part of the story unfold,and not have to be worried about shooting Necromorphs while trying to pay attention to all of the great atmospheric stuff that's happening. One of the great things about this film is that I'm pretty sure that even if you never played the game, you could still enjoy this for a creepy sci-fi movie (a benefit of this being a prequel to all the games, and not the story of between Dead Space 1 and 2).

7.5/10

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I also have a little sidebar I want to put with the review, as this is a film that is directly related to a couple video games at this point. Since DS:Downfall came out after the original game, I'm going to base the story/concepts from the game as the "standard" of how the Dead Space universe works (even though the film is a prequel), and all of these complaints would probably only matter to a gamer and even then, most of us might not care.

Nerdy Complaint #1 : Whenever the characters talk to each other while in their suits (like what is shown in both games), their visors are up and they have glass over their face (like a traditional astronaut would have). In the games, their masks would either fold off of their head (completely showing their faces when they talked), or would be completely on while they were outside or in a dangerous environment. The way that the suits are portrayed in the movie would be "impossible" based off of the way the facemask part of the suit works in the game. I can't really pinpoint why this bothers me, but if they're trying to keep everything in the same universe, this would be a "flaw".

Nerdy Complaint #2 : Everyone in the Dead Space universe wears what basically equates to a life bar on their backs in the game. No matter if it was the main character, or anyone else involved, the bars on the suits would adjust based on the person's health status. In the movie, there's a few times where someone gets thrown around/hurt and the bar does nothing, but there are other times where someone dies and the bar drains. Again, small nitpick, but as someone who loves the Dead Space series, it's a little disappointing that sometimes they stick with that concept, and sometimes they completely ignore it.

Nerdy Complaint #3 : The foul language (ironic as I curse a few times in the review). In both games, you MIGHT hear the "F word" once or twice, but as a whole, most people never say any bad words. In the movie, it's constantly "fuck this, fuck that, this is shit", and it just seems a little out of place. Again, I curse all the time, I'm not against cursing, it's just weird in the situation.

And one last "neat" game tie-in : One of the commercials for Dead Space used a famous song in a super creepy way, and the movie uses that same song in the same fashion. I don't want to ruin that part, but you'll recognize it instantly.
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Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added 10/16/2011, 12:16 PM
I couldn't get into this. 5/10
Bill Wolford #2: Bill Wolford - added 10/16/2011, 03:05 PM
there's a sequel to this out now right?
Chad #3: Chad - added 05/08/2012, 03:01 PM
I liked it. I wasn't a huge fan of the animation style, but the story made up for it. If I hadn't already played the game, I'd be itching to pop it in after seeing this.
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