Neil Marshall talks 2007 and Doomsday
Neil Marshall has been reviewing his 2007 year, a year that most of us would kill for, and it looks like it's going to get better this year.
Looking back on the year he reveals a few interesting things about Doomsday, and in particular those test screenings.
Now how does this sound for fun?
“One of the things I was adamant about doing with Doomsday was going back to a kind of gritty stunt/action movie that doesn't get made anymore. Real people, in a real world, doing really REALLY dangerous stuff! No green screen, no wires, just crazy stunties standing on, jumping into, and hanging out of cars travelling at 80mph and smashing into each other! Stunts SA I salute you! When I wanted to crash and roll a 10 ton armoured transport (one of two we designed and built especially for the movie), they hadn't done anything like that before, but were perfectly happy to give it a try, and it worked spectacularly!”
Now that sounds like the kind of year that you want to look back on and talk about. Then he talks about taking over the centre Cape Town at night for some more scenes in Doomsday:
“We took over a major theme park, dressed it as the villains lair (playing host to a twisted Moulin Rouge-style stage show and a spot of brutal human sacrifice!) and filled it with a thousand screaming extras, waving baseball bats, hanging from the rafters and generally baying for blood.”
What is most interesting though is what he has to say about the test screenings and how they were perceived.
“So far, the response to Doomsday as been great, bearing in mind that nobody has yet seen the completed film. (We only ever screened an ungraded hi-def tape with temp score and several temp vfx shots.)...Two of the main responses that came about from the test screenings stem from the fact that this film is an unknown quantity. With no prior marketing to go on, some audience members went in expecting a horror movie (based on my track record).”
Then he goes on to address the AICN review from one of the test screenings, and he addresses my pet hate about reviews:
“The only problem I had with this process (aside from what it does to my nerves) was with the Aint It Cool News website for posting a review after the first test screening. It wasn't that the review was negative that bothered me, as a filmmaker that's a fact of life, I have to take the rough with the smooth and Doomsday, because of its intense action and extreme nature, isn't going to appeal to everybody. So, I'm cool with that. No, what bothered me was them allowing this 'critic' to include a detailed synopsis of the entire movie as part of his so-called review – and not just a rough storyline, but every scene, every incident, every character beat, every death! Basically, just about the biggest spoiler you can imagine. I don't know what this is called, but it's definitely not a movie review.”
No matter who the site is or who the review is from, there's no need to give away anything in a review, and I hate it when people do. I've actually learnt the hard way to do three things – stay away from Internet Newsgroups about film, stay away from reading comments from certain site audiences, and (almost) never read reviews from test screenings.
The number of times I've read reveals, and big reveals too, or read someone talk about a part in the film that didn't seem that big a deal until the film was radically recut and it actually was, etc, etc.
I'm going to be waiting for a review of the completed film before I start reading them, and even then this is guaranteed a viewing from me because it's Neil Marshall and I love the characterisation and dialogue he has in his films – yes, who'd have guessed that one? Plus he's Scottish!
Head over to his blog entry, which unfortunately is on MyMarketingSpace, and have a read of his lengthy, and fantastic sounding, 2007.