Though I’ve not played the games (aside from the demos, at least), I did watch the first animated film in the series (Downfall) and despite it being a large waste of time it at least had a gruesome baby zombie and that made it at least partially redeemable. In the sequel, Aftermath, we’re given a lengthy (and I do mean lengthy) build up to the action sequences in the film, all the while we flutter between a mix of CGI animation and traditional anime style. Those looking for a follow up experience that was remotely similar to the first film will likely want to just go back and watch that or replay the video game as this film is about as far from satisfying as you can possibly get.
The year is 2509 and not only has Earth lost contact with the Ishimura and Isaac Clarke, but now also the USG O’Bannon, the first responder ship sent to rescue them. Four crew members of the O’Bannon have survived. But what happened to the rest of the crew? What were they doing? What secrets are they keeping? All to be revealed…in the Aftermath! Dead Space: Aftermath is a fast paced, horrifying thrill ride told through the perspective of the 4 survivors by several renowned international directors.
To say that this is a haphazard mess would be an understatement—the fact we end up with another Batman: Gotham Knight situation in terms of multiple directors makes it all the more confusing, simply because while Knight played with the rules and didn’t always attempt a cohesive storyline, Aftermath really is just one story broken up in a very mundane and boring way. I’m 50% sure the person who wrote the official synopsis (displayed above, as always) didn’t even watch this film as there was nothing “fast paced” or “horrifying” (at least not in the sense they wanted it to be). I say only 50% cause half of writing synopsis for stuff is about half BS and marketing terminology so the writer technically wouldn’t have even had to watch it.
But, such is not the case with me as I suffered through all seventy some minutes of it. The worst part of it wasn’t even the return of poorly delivered dialogue (including spontaneous displays of f-bombs, just ‘cause) or the occasional bit of sex (oh no!) that was truthfully just there to keep it “unrated” and adult; no the worst part was the staple of this series, interstellar zombies, didn’t even show up until the film was half over. The majority of our time is spent diagnosing these characters and how some rock turns them from perfectly sane individuals to murderous psychos. I’m sure in some far off land where similar stories were not already explored and with much better execution this would be a terrific little plot device…but for an animated movie that already has a limited audience it’s just baffling. I mean, really…you had the budget to do a sequel to a film that wasn’t even really all that loved by the video game or animation community and you churn out something worse than the first? How hard can it be to look at reviews and criticisms of the first film and take what everyone did like about it and amplify it?
On the other hand I get that they probably wanted to go a different route, so kudos to them for at least trying to change it up. Sadly it wasn’t enough to pique my interest or keep it and a large portion of that is due to the animation styles used. I don’t mind it when you blend CGI and traditional animation together, but why on earth would you think it a good idea to jump between the two? I know it was used as some kind of look into the future, but even though we’ve come very far from the first Toy Story, the budget for this film apparently made it necessary to return to times before Pixar’s Knick Knack short film because that’s about the same type of fluidity we got out of the CGI work here. I get when there’s not a budget to do CGI correctly…but why do it at all if you’re going to do it like this?
Overall Deep Space: Aftermath is really a giant waste of time. I don’t know how to even put it better than that. Even those who loved every waking moment of the previous Space productions will look down on this one and blow a raspberry. Avoid It.
Dead Space: Aftermath arrives on DVD and Blu-ray from Anchor Bay and for this review I’ll be tackling the Blu-ray edition. The title receives an embossed (and oh so shiny) slipcase over the standard single disc Elite Blu-ray casing. Doesn’t look as if there’s a digital copy this time around, but I can’t imagine why you would want to watch it on the go anyway.
Video is an AVC encoded effort and like the film it’s really just disappointing. While everything is fairly clear looking, the various animation styles just really make for distracting times. Not just in terms of the storytelling but the video transfer becomes weird as well with all the banding and odd shifts in color. The hyper-lined CGI work looks crystal clear but when we go back into anime mode everything is much…cloudier looking. I’m sure it’s a visual effect done on purpose, but it really just smoothes over the detail in the animation to the point where it becomes pointless to watch it on Blu-ray. The accompanying Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is thankfully a bit more engrossing than anything else on this disc as it does its fair share of directional effects and the like. Not really enough to even warrant looking at this disc twice, but still for those who have to watch it for some reason at least there is that one redeeming quality.
Actually there’s a second redeeming quality—there aren’t any extras. Normally I’d say that’s a downer, but having to watch anymore of this production in any fashion would’ve just made me all the more annoyed at this film. Thankfully this is a disc you can Avoid as spectacularly as the movie itself.
Deep Space: Aftermath is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.