Customer Reviews: S Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale (Widescreen)
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on December 6, 2010
I can remember a defining moment for me in this film when, only a few minutes in, the titular character looks out her car window and sees a CGI unicorn made of clouds running alongside her. I immediately reached for my gun, but a compassionate friend stopped me, ensuring me that this couldn't possibly be the two hour long Guess Jeans commercial it was setting itself up to be.

My friend was damn wrong.

S. Darko is a sequel, like Troll 2 or the Second World War. The direction is hopelessly one-note and plagiaristic, the dialogue is reminiscent of a TV spot for Calvin Klein cologne, and the story is less a sequel, and more an accidental anthology of mini sequels, each sucking a little harder than the last.

Remember the pensive sequences in Donnie Darko where they'd show a time lapse of cloud cover, or morose suburbanites living out their lives to a somber soundtrack? Well, this movie does, and is considerate enough to include 50 or 60 shot-for-shot reproductions of those scenes for those who might've forgotten. With the bulk of the movie thus out of the way, the remaining running time is filled with multiple time travels that are impossible to care about, because they're established, abandoned, and picked up again like a relay baton in the Special Olympics.

Also, the principle relationship between Sam and her idiot friend is painfully bad. You know the one: lifelong friends who have been forged in the crucible of adolescence to become blood sisters. A bond so close that they can only communicate their intimate connection through the following dialogue:

Girl 1: "We're perfect together."
Girl 2: "Immaculate."

I am not making that up. That back and forth happens at least three times. Also, Sam's friend all but spits on her grave over a guy who the friend hooked up with over the course of maybe a week. A guy who ALWAYS has a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his shirt sleeve, exactly like how NO ONE does. The blood is rushing into my eyes again, so I have to stop this now.
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on May 14, 2009
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.
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on September 20, 2014
I think that if you truly loved Donnie Darko (Director's Cut) then you will find some redeeming quality in this movie - hence my two stars. If you only liked DD or hated DD then you will projectile vomit all across your TV screen while watching this abortion of a movie. The writer and director DESTROYED the entire DD concept with this thing. They left GAPING plot holes - completely unexplainable pieces of BS - throughout the movie. The acting is terrible. The CGI barely passable.

Do yourself a favour: go online and read the storyline line complete with spoilers. You will be satisfied with that. Save your $.

If you are a DD cult film fan: It is nice to be able to return to the world and imagine it all being a better story than you are watching. Plus Sam Darko is a real cutey.
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on January 13, 2012
On my first viewing of this film I hated it but for some reason it kept creeping back into my head so I revisited the film again and realized that I just didn't understand it. The film extras help the film non experts like me but it really stayed with me and I started to think about it in a seriously different way and now I love it! I think about it so often its scary. It really is not a film for the " I just want it to entertain me" crowd. You need to watch and think with this and it will have a different meaning to many. The final kicker is that it has a killer soundtrack! The last song on the film is "The Carnival Is Over" by Dead Can't Dance and its a great song to end with being the most haunting beautiful song written. This is definately not a film for the masses but I am glad that it was able to be done by us few who appreciate such obscure film making and its meanings.
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on August 16, 2016
the video would glitch... basically the left half of the screen would duplicate and flash onto the right side of the screen. At first, the movie had no audio at all and was also doing the flashing thing..There are no other problems with Prime Video or anything else streaming on the device, problem was not with the t.v. Refund please,
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on May 11, 2009
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.
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on September 26, 2010
Was this movie meant to be a parody of its predecessor? No. Did it turn out that way? In my eyes, yes. If you're looking for the same level of writing, directing and/or acting as "Donnie Darko", you'll be sorely disappointed.

The first thing the viewer should take note of--or rather, beware of--is the fact Elizabeth Berkley is billed near the top. God bless her, I never thought she'd be able to top "Showgirls" as the worst movie she's been in..."S. Darko" definitely gives the formerly mentioned flop a run for its money.

Oh, and yes David J. Brown (most helpful customer reviewer), I did watch it all the way through. I just don't happen to agree with your opinion of the quality entertainment this flick provides. I won't bother with the plot: you can see other reviews for that, or, if you have the patience and can put up with the pain of wasting a couple hours you'll never get back, you can try to figure it out for yourself.

Do note, however, that I'm not totally slamming "S. Darko"--I did give it two stars: it deserves those for the special effects, sometimes interesting cinematography, and Ms Berkley's pretty face.
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on January 9, 2014
From the opening moments of the film where some POS 70's leadsled breaks down and they say it doesn't look so good.. well, that is the foreshadowing of what is the rest of the film. Instead of the brilliantly dark original film we have here a brazenly awful, wretched series of filler scenes. If an actual movie editor got ahold of S Darko the movie would possibly be a minute in length. The acting is supremely terrible, the cinematography becomes stupid, you begin to notice the actors from the original film wanted nothing to do with S Darko.

It is difficult to convey with actual words just how awful this movie really is. Imagine everything that could possibly go wrong with a film and this is basically it. S Darko makes Phantom Menace look like a bloody masterpiece and makes Manos Hands of Fate seem like an illuminated tapestry of clever continuity in comparison. The acting in this film should be used in film school as an example of what not to do. What is most noticeable is the complete lack of focus and direction. There seems to be no tangible continuity to the film, instead it is a montage of bad, seemingly unconnected scenes that at their height only serve to make a mockery of Donnie Darko. My girlfriend literally begged me to shut off this film. S Darko achieves the noted unwatchable status in my movie experience as I sought to lessen my girlfriend's misery of having to endure this awful film.

Closing thoughts are it's like sorority girls who didn't know film wanted to make a remake of Thelma and Louise but ended up getting sidetracked by somebody in Utah that wanted to make a mockery of Donnie Darko in every form possible.
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on May 13, 2009
Rarely are sequels better than the original. So it should come as no surprise that this isn't as good as Donnie Darko. Was it a necessary sequel to make, maybe not. However, S. Darko does a great job at exploring the mythology of time travel through black holes and the theory of it's consequences.

The film itself looks and sounds great. While many of us will miss the 80's esque mood of the first film, this is a very stylish and well edited movie in it's own right.

It has enough uncertainty and fragmented symbolism that will have you rewatching it. Trying to find some understanding while putting the pieces together was part of the fun of the original!

If Donnie Darko was 4-5 Stars this is an easy 3!
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on July 4, 2014
Interesting film but mostly a more transparent take on the original. Some wooden performances at times but also some convincing moments. Probably a good film for folks who found Donnie darko's script too complicated to enjoy (as opposed to those who found the subtlety a prime component).
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