Malcolm Owen On April 18, 2006 at 11:59 am

Since the dawn of film making, there have been a few golden rules that people follow when it comes down to choosing films they want to watch. Some of these rules (And the exceptions that prove the rules) are:

  1. Games of Movies Do Not Work. (Exceptions include Resident Evil and Tomb Raider)
  2. Films starring The Rock will not in any way be highbrow or decent (Except for The Scorpion King. According to my Mother.)

With these in mind…

Doom – The Movie is the long anticipated film version of the game series. The game version gives you the chance to blow away anything that moves in an environment that you would surmise as creepy, scary or similar, and the game generally tries to kill you in it. Lots of violence, lots of monster deaths, job done. The movie, however, takes a different approach.
There’s been an incident on Mars, where messages of panic are being sent back to Earth in the hope the scientists may stay alive. Cue a specialist unit paid for by the large corporation that owns said settlement on Mars to descend an elevator on Earth to travel by some globby futuristic space travel thing to Mars to find out what the problem is. And that’s where we start finding issues.

If you want people to believe you’re on Mars, then you set the entire film on Mars. If you don’t set it on Mars, then you do everything in your power to make it seem set on Mars. What you don’t do is make the entire complex on Mars seem as if it’s just another part of some underground bunker that you see the main characters take an elevator into. Granted, this “goo-ball of magic” that they touch is probably some fantastical futurism view of what could happen in the future, it just doesn’t translate to Hollywood well at all.
Then, we have the principle characters. You have The Rock playing “Sarge”, or “yet another character that is basically The Rock by every measure if not by name” and a bunch of other generic “squaddies” like the new one that only recently joined up (“The Kid”), the deeply religious one that goes into self-harming if he even uses the “Lord’s Name In Vain” despite being in one of the random fire fights he encounters, and even the obligatory weird one that is also into drugs and other weird stuff (“Goat”). This mix of characters just screams cliché.

The pace of the movie, I have to admit, matches Doom 3 pretty well. A slow plodding of possible fear-inducing actions within claustrophobic conditions with visuals that match the game down to the buttons they press to open and shut doors. Sadly, this pace doesn’t quite work for the film. It works for the game, but for an apparent “blockbuster” it is too slow and empty.
The only part of the film with a decent amount of action was the end sequence with a stylized “first person shooter” perspective for a few minutes. It was pretty weird yet neat to watch it the first time, but it just felt wrong for some reason. It’s also a shame that they saved most of the actual action sequences for this end bit, when the film could have been better if they were dropped throughout the film to try and bolster up the slightly lacking storyline and The Rock’s “fantastic” acting.

And then there’s the creatures. Yes, it’s understandable that there may be some creative license involved when you make a movie of a game, but I find it very unbelieveable that what the monsters spread the infection with happens to be a flying sock. Even the monsters themselves seem slightly B-Movie on looks alone for most of the film. The end sequence which features things we don’t even see in the film are all CG and are there to try and massage the ego of the player as he sees the chainsaw get brought out for the only damn time in the film.

Generally, the movie could have been better, and everyone around the TV wanted something a bit more meaty to watch compared to what Doom offered. Even The Rock saying such painful lines like “It’s Game Time” couldn’t make it rise above half-marks.

A tip for all film makers out there: When making a film using a game as reference material, try and make an actual film that you would want to watch, instead of a film that keeps close to the game you are sourcing from. You’re making something that everyone should be able to watch and enjoy, not just those that have played the game and get the in-jokes such as “Pinky”. Make a film first, a game film second. If only Doom had done this, we’d all be happy.

Keywords: ,
Bookmark and Share

Comments are closed.