Published on October 24th, 2005 | by Erich Becker0
We’ve waiting years and years for a movie based on the popular DOOM series to surface, and that its here, I almost wish we were still waiting. Like many of the video game-based movies before it, including Resident Evil and the atrocious works of Uwe Boll, DOOM disregards most of the classic points from the games in favor of some screenwriters “take” on what they would have done. Most of the time this practice results in a clichéd movie banking on the name of a popular game series in order to guarantee a built in audience and secure a profit on the moderately budgeted picture.
I won’t lie when I say I had high hopes for DOOM. After being stuck in development hell for what seems a better part of my short 22 year life the series has finally come to big screen with the basics intact, but not much else.
DOOM very loosely centers on the story of DOOM 3 (PC/Xbox). In the game you are a lone marine transferred to the UAC (Union Aerospace Corporation) base on Mars where a gateway to Hell has been opened up and demons begin to run amok. The movie puts your character, John Grimm, into a squad of canon fodder transported to Mars where experiments with a long extinct race have resulted in “monsters” being created. Naturally they aren’t too happy with the human population and proceed to thin out their numbers.
There’s a lot to like about DOOM. The atmosphere of DOOM is accurately presented on screen with dark, dank corridors littered with steam and body parts. The monsters, created by Stan Winston Studios, look good, even if their departure from the source material is evident and we never get a really good look at them.
To appease fans of the series there’s a slight dose of series canon thrown in for good measure. The oft-talked about BFG (called the Bio Force Gun) is present, and the effects are well done. As mentioned before both UAC (as a Umbrella-like heartless corporation) and the series’ monsters are here, but the part that should be DOOM-flavored, the story, really missteps.
For one the absence of the demons from Hell storyline is very disappointing considering all three games (and expansion packs) in the video game series have made use of this. The scriptwriters seemed more inclined to make the story believable via mapping the human genome, but DOOM was never meant to be a science lesson. Early drafts of the script rumored that the movie wouldn’t even take place on Mars, and while this was corrected, there is still evidence of this by the marines having to use a wormhole like travel device to reach the red planet rather than a simple transport.
Series-based nitpicks aside; the movie still isn’t able to stand on its two feet very well, almost like a drunken prom date who shows signs of becoming coherent but simply drifts off into vomiting her Black Angus dinner up. Karl Urban does an adequate job of portraying a likeable protagonist who the audience can follow throughout the film, while the dialog is choppy and cheesy; he makes his way through it well. The Rock is some-what miscast as Sarge for the sheer fact that he doesn’t need to act like a Drill Sergeant to be taken seriously as a leader. This is the next action star in the making and we’re left to see him flounder around with poorly written “tough-guy” dialog. Overall the rest of the cast is only there for a few memorable death sequences and they aren’t given enough camera time to really mention.
Finally, the most talked about part of the film, the first person action sequence, came off better than I thought it would. The series was accurately represented via this cinematic gimmick and the sequence was especially fun to watch, and ended with many gamers have done before, shooting at themselves in a mirror reflection.
DOOM is a hit or miss film with an average storyline muddled by Hollywood and their tinkering with an established franchise with an established, and rabid, fan-base. While I’d like to say the film did everything I expected it to, I’d certainly be lying. DOOM did enough to warrant a sequel, and if it does, hopefully the person writing it will actually play the game.