Written and Directed by: Neil Johnson
Starring: Alain Terzoli, Amy Pemberton, Darren Jacobs and Helen Soraya.
UK Release TBC
What’s it all about?
Achilles, a Chrononaut from the year 2410, travels back to present day Britain in an attempt to bring about the downfall of the Erebus rulers of his own time.
Originally called ‘Chrononaut’, this low budgeter spent most of it’s production life titled ‘Death Machine’, before finally settling on ‘Doomsday’. Writer and Director Neil Johnson, has a huge interest in time travel having twice read HG Wells’ The Time Machine as a young boy. His film certainly shows a love of the concept, reminding us of the effect that present day actions can have on the future and that once history is written, it cannot be undone.
I really wanted to like this film more than I did. It has some good performances and is full of ideas and creativity, but there is no sense of urgency and some events just seem to be plain forgotten.
For instance London is destroyed by The Erebus 7, a half man, half machine future Frankenstein’s monster type creation, yet we never feel the effects of this disaster across the rest of the film. In fact, a couple of days later we see people having a happy day out at Whitby beach. Not saying that people should stop enjoying their lives, but the news tells us that Britain is on alert from this unknown terrorist attack and fears war. I don’t doubt the British spirit, but there is no air of fear or panic. No dark cloud hanging over the nations heads, just the urge to have a paddle and an ice cream. To add to that, The Erebus 7 can single-handedly destroy a whole city, yet it can’t kill three people in a car and it’s batteries keep running down. If only it had brought along it’s car charger. Also, it’s rubbish at hiding.
The action scenes never excite and there is no tension, even though you want there to be. The Visual Effects are fine, no complaints there. Just wish he’d played it a little smarter and taken a less is more type approach. Johnson does like his explosions and they are slightly overplayed. The sound isn’t great as it is hard to hear the dialogue at times, words are lost, though even when heard it’s not always very clear what everyone is going on about. I don’t want it all to be negative though as you do get a sense of heart here. Johnson himself comes across like a nice guy. He lost a close friend of his before embarking on this, a project they had planned to work on together. Characters talk of fate and destiny, reflecting Johnson’s emotions. We have one character ruing the fact they never had a chance to say goodbye, you can feel it is Johnson himself speaking of the sudden and tragic loss of his dear friend.
The film is a try-er, it aims high and considering it’s tight budget, parts of the film were shot on the hop, it’s a commendable effort. If it had lost a few scenes and upped the tension it could have been a very exciting piece. Unfortunately, it is ultimately weighed down by it’s own ambition.
It has heart, it has soul and it looks like they had fun making it. If only all of that were enough.