Yeah yeah, entry number two for the day...So you've all had to deal with me raving about the fantastic game Dead Space. A game that breathes much needed new life into the survival horror genre, a game that is truly thus far quite a bit more than the sum of all it's fantastic parts. Never less than gripping, always disturbed, and a sheer joy to play through due to fluid controls, a riveting storyline, and one of the best atmospheres ever placed within a video game. Like last year's Bioshock, I believe that Dead Space elevates itself above a simple video game to become art. Shocking, absorbing, and most importantly, completely fresh, the game, as I've stated before, will likely be my favorite for 2008.
Having been on my radar for some time, and given my level of interest in the title, I opted to steer clear of a huge amount of the hype, including pre-release reviews, the web comic, and apparently completely missed this, the animated prequel. My initial gut reaction to news of such a thing was of course thoughts of a giant publisher like EA trying to milk the proverbial cash-cow. Ideas like that are typically shit and sully what otherwise could have been a promising franchise. Color me bewildered when I came across a complimentary review at highdefdigest.com for the Blu-Ray edition of the film, prompting me to seek it out at a local Blockbuster before my return to work... I couldn't find the high def version, so opted for a copy of the standard def, and just finished watching.Let me first say, I was still skeptical going in initially, but within the first minute of the film was sold on the melodramatic voice acting and the actual cell shaded animation, a rarity in animated films anymore. Rather than go for an anime style, it went for a mixture of realism, but with just enough cartoonishness about it to keep it from becoming completely overwhelming, because this is a gruesome and violent movie to be sure. And while there was minimal use of CGI animation in the film, it wasn't terribly noticeable in the version I had to watch.
The story was solid as well, crafting the mood and feel for what's to come for those who opt to play the game afterward, and filling gaps for those of us who have either already played through or are in the process of doing so. It's actually quite brooding overall, and while the animation in the film is in contrast to that in the game, they fit together astoundingly well. As a setup, though, the focus is more on the action rather than the aftermath (which the game settles on), so I can't say there are any truly scary moments in the flick. There are disturbing scenes aplenty, but there is a difference in those visually demented sequences and the real terror present in the game.
Ultimately, it ends up on my recommended list. Paying homage to films like Carpenter's the Thing, Event Horizon, Alien, and old school animation, it's a fun watch for the gorehound, and a no-brainer for fans of the game, if not as anything other than a curiosity. Check it out, though, you may seriously dig it... I did surprise surprise.