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S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale [Blu-ray]
S Darko A Donnie Darko Tale
Actors: Elizabeth Berkley, Matthew Davis, James Lafferty, Justin Chatwin, Daveigh Chase
Director: Chris Fisher
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy
R     2009     1hr 43min

Studio: Tcfhe Release Date: 04/28/2009 Run time: 103 minutes Rating: Pg13


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Movie Details

Actors: Elizabeth Berkley, Matthew Davis, James Lafferty, Justin Chatwin, Daveigh Chase
Director: Chris Fisher
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: Blu-ray - Color,Widescreen - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/12/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 43min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

Hey, A Review By A Non-Fanboy Who Actually SAW This Film!!!!
David J. Brown | 05/08/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Firstly, let me be blunt and admit up front that this film is really only a three star flick,I REPEAT ONLY A *** STAR FLICK, two and a half at the least, but there are already too many fan-boy rants, not reviews, about the movie sucking without ever having viewed it. You know fan-boys, right? Well, in case you don't, they're the same narrow minded losers who complained about the Transformers film not sticking closely enough to the original 80's cartoon's storyline. Yeah, the same boring cartoon that was made after a successful line of action figures, essentially to be a further adverstisement for said action figures. That film was as good as any whose main premise has to do with a bunch of over grown action figures from the Reagan era duking it out with things blowing up real good. Don't even get me started on the Speed Racer dweebs.

Okay, sorry about the rant folks.

Going into this film's plot is futile. Just like Donnie Darko the plot is dense and uneasily consumed in the first viewing. Without spoiling the film too much, I can tell you that the movie comes from and explores the perspective of a character whose role is that of the manipulated dead as opposed to the first film's living receiver. If you know your Donnie Darko mythology that little bit of info will help you swallow the film with a little more ease. Sam Darko is similar to Donnie in that she is an outcast and morose. She's running from her past and it leads her to a town in the middle of nowhere that might as well be hell. She meets a man by the name of Iraq Jack, who has the same role in diverting a major dimensional disaster that her brother did in the previous film. That's about as much of a plot description as I can give.

THE GOOD: The acting is all wonderful. The character of Sam Darko is more passive then her brother Donnie so she may come off as more of a victim, but her ultimate role in thee story requires all this once all is said and done. The cinematography, using the digital Red Camera, is perfect and filled with gorgeous vistas that even Ang Lee would envy. The story supplies a switch of focus more traditional to the first film half way through and its really unexpected and interesting. Whats really neat about he film is that it really expands the set mythology and explores things left out on the sidelines, like what exactly is the manipulated dead doing or going through while the living receiver is doing his duty? The soundtrack, like the original, is AWESOME! It's filled with obscure or minor hits from 1995(The Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance), so don't expect the radio rotated hits that the original had from 80's, but they're all great tunes and brought me back to middle school days. Lastly, and most importantly, its a sequel that expadns some of the mythology set forth in the original but doesn't change or alter the final conclusions of the first film. Donnie Darko isn't cheapened and none of its final impact derided. Another real cool change, in keeping with the perspective switch, is that instead of seeing the universe thorugh the genre of a super hero/sci-fi view we get a more feminine perspective, a fairy tale. Some of the first few images drive this point home.

THE NOT SO GOOD: As is the case with most sequels some of the romance and surprise is removed. The film is smart for just changing the perspective, but at the same time we've vistied this universe already and nothing can change that. We don't get enough time insid Iraq Jack's head, and since he's so very important to the film's final conslusion this is a real problem. The director cribs or tries to pay homage to some imagery in Richard Kelly's original and they just come off hollow this time around. The first film's conclusion tightly wrapped everything up, but this one seems to purposely leave some loose ends, maybe for a further installment? Finally, my biggest gripe with this flick has to do with the impending doom itself. The original had a very interesting, weird X-Files like disaster involving the plane engine, that was creepy and very visual, but this film's doomsday is so abstract it just doesn't leave enough of an impact on the visual level. It's a cool concept especially if you've read Carl Sagan, but its abstract nature just doesn't have the real and relatable visual oomph of the plane engine from the original.

Well, there it is. You really need to have seen and understood the first film to get into this one, but it doesn't rely too much on the first movie for its main story, just some of its concepts and overall mythology. So check it out, it's not great or brilliant but it is truly entertaining and it moves at a fast clip. It doesn't screw with the rules set by the first. So, if you're not a finatical, basement dwelling fanboy at least rent it. If you're a fanboy-nazi, then why would you bother seeing it or even reading this review. Now go back to your blog....somewhere else.

The film stays true to its title, A Donnie Darko Tale. Unlike most sequels, it takes place in the same universe(universes?) but doesn't change what went before it. Besides, the original was so comic book centric, why wouldn't a sequel be warranted? Comics have way too many sequels, spin offs, and even alterante realities(DC's Earth II) to take place in."
They've Peed On Donnie's Grave
Matt Poole | Louisville, KY USA | 05/13/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I, like many other avid Donnie Darko fans, was 80% angry to hear this movie was coming out...but at the same time, 20% excited at the possibility as well. I couldn't help thinking they would soil the premise and ideas behind Donnie Darko--try to change the artistic brilliance of the original into a formula.

But, I rented it anyways and wanted to actually give it a chance without being TOO pre-judgmental.

Sadly, it turns out I was right to pre-judge, I thought thy were going to try to capitalize on what made DD so unique, and I was SO VERY right. From the opening shot of a skyline, you can feel the blatant mockery and lack of any original direction or cinematography.

But still, I kept on watching--and I kept on being disappointed. All of the actors were stiff, including Samantha (Donnie's little sister), and the friend she was traveling with was extremely annoying to look at and listen to.

There was no plot really, no storyline--not even a general direction outside of a failure to mimic the orginal's. It was more like they literally went out of their was to mock DD instead of pay homage to it in a continuation/sequel. They amplified everything surreal about DD by 100% and dumbed it all down--somehow making the movie far more incoherent than DD was. I agree with the other reviewer who said Samantha just wandered aimlessly through the movie for the most part--and her character as well as the rest of the movie was terribly written. And I also agree with that reviewer when he said the prop guys need to be fired.

However, I made it a little over half-way through the movie and had to turn it off. I was just too horrible. Even as a stand-alone movie, if it weren't affiliated with Richard Kelly's masterpiece whatsoever, it would still be an awfully dreadful excuse for a smart, surreal film. I believe the only way the movie could've been worse is if Steven Seagal had been in it as the Manipulated Dead...but at least that would've been comical.

I think they just tried far too hard to recreate the magic of Donnie Darko, and ended up slaughtering the premise instead. I personally hope that the director of this wasn't a fan of the original, because if he was--he should be very ashamed of himself. And even though I'm sure she just needed the money, Daveigh Chase should also be ashamed of herself for partaking in this.

IT SIMPLY DOESN'T WORK ON ANY LEVEL! I tried, World, I really very hard.

And if you're reading this having never seen the original Donnie Darko, buy the dvd Donnie Darko - The Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) or Blu-Ray Donnie Darko [Blu-ray] instead...PLEASE."
Mainly a product review, not as much a content review
Steve Kuehl | Ben Lomond, CA | 05/11/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Content reviews on a film like this can be very subjective, especially for the followers of the original film. Best summation I could come up with was the cast said in interviews: "...this is a continuation, not a sequel.."

The story follows Samantha Darko seven years later as she sojourns across the Country lost in a haze. She breaks down in a small Utah town with her friend - and then the rest just gets ridiculous. The whole prop department needs to be fired. It is "June/July 1995", but the vehicles, fire engines, signage, and other assorted materials are way off. For instance, one central part of the film was the theater showing 12 Monkeys, I doubt some small town in Utah got the film the year before it premiered nationwide. I know, a time travel film - anything is possible. The majority of the story is a train wreck of bad acting and irritating characters. Mostly a 2 star film - but the Blu quality is superb.

The picture is extremely clear throughout and the special effects looked professional and thorough. The camera work, slow motion shots, and rapid forward clips all looked well preserved. The destiny/Abyss snake-looking things all looked crisp and the indoor shots did not show any grain. The DTS gets quite a workout with the music, and assorted montages of that garbles voice and dimensional stuff.

The special features give this another star (half). It will probably help satisfy the curious minded regarding the whole what-were-they-thinking. The main documentary lasts 15 minutes and covers the usual interviews, rife with plenty of quotes about why there was a "continuation" not a sequel. There is also a 6:45 minute clip about some of the cast making a music video and talking about the uniqueness of Utah. There are 6 minutes of deleted scenes - glad they were cut, they were worse than the movie itself (more of the God will save you mess from the film).

I have enjoyed the original film for years and it still rents very well, but this is one of those films that moves off the shelf for curiosity sake, and for some nice Blu quality, but not for the story or acting."
Some great ideas...but poorly executed
ReadingTurtle | Indiana | 05/15/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"1. I think the idea of telling the story from the point of view of the Manipulated Dead instead of the Living Reciever was great. 2. I think the idea of continuing the story using Samantha Darko was great. 3. I believe Iraq Jack was a brilliant character.

These great ideas, unfortunately were poorly executed. Here's why I think this way:

1. As I have watched Donnie Darko, I have certainly wondered what it was like for Frank the Bunny. He was the second most important character in Donnie Darko but we know virtally nothing about him. So I could certainly understand why someone would want to write a movie from this perspective. I think the reason it was so poorly done in the movie is because the idea that Samantha Darko would be the Manipulated Dead is just downright stupid and illogical. The Manipulated Dead should have been a completely different character.

2. Continuing the tale from Samantha Darko's perspective is brillant. Why? Because she would have found the book The Philosophy of Time Travel. She would have been motivated to find out why her brother had this book and what the book meant. She could have tracked down someone who knew Roberta Sparrow, leading her to Iraq Jack. Then Fisher (the director)could have explored Roberta's back story like he said he considered doing in the special features on the DVD. Perhaps Corey could have still been a part of it. A friend occupying her on her journey trying to run from her past, while Samantha was trying to find information so she could understand hers.

3. And while these two young women are trying to deal with their past, Samantha meets Iraq Jack (and some of the towns characters. A few of them were nothing but filler in this movie.). The character of Iraq Jack was the one character that the creators got right in this movie. Unfortunately, they do very little to let us get to know him. In Donnie Darko, Donnie's identity and angst was explored in great detail. The creators of this movie should have done the same with Iraq Jack, exploring the depths of his post traumatic stress disorder and need to do something to right all his wrongs. If Samantha had watched his life unfold in a similar way that Donnie's had, she could have understood what Donnie went through, realized her brother was a hero, and made peace with his death. Samantha would have had a huge character change by the end and been a lot less passive.

Ultimately, I think the director Chris Fisher made a fairly good fan fiction movie, but nothing more. I give the movie 3 stars because there were some brillant ideas in there. Samantha's role as the Manipulated Dead does perhaps help us understand the incredible character of Frank the Bunny a bit more. I think the subplot of the asteroid affecting the person studying it was vulgar and ruined the beauty and mystery of the Donnie Darko universe. It just didn't fit in with the rest of the story. The asteroid shower was hardly end of the world like. The scene where Iraq Jack goes back to the windmill to change his fate was great but everything else just fizzles at the end.

In the special features, nearly everyone's gut reation to the idea of making a continuation of Dannie Darko was DON'T! The fact that The Director's Cut of Donnie Darko was somewhat poorly recieved should have made Fisher realize his continuation would not be well received. It's almost as if he thought, "Die hard fans will hate this movie, but they will still want to see it." There just seems to be something very wrong with that. Egotistical even.