Doom - Video Game Film Review - Film Month Print E-mail
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Written by Christophor "SuperGuido" Rick   
Thursday, 06 September 2007

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Doom from 2005 starring Karl Urban, Rosemund Pike and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is loosely based on the 1993 video game of the same name. Basically the plot of the film is that in the year 2026 archaeologists working in the Nevada desert discovered a portal to an ancient city on Mars. They call this portal the Ark. Twenty years later, we're still struggling to understand why it was built and what happened to the civilization that built it. Then the problems begin and a group of marines are called in to start cleaning things up.

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The original plot of the game is similar but only somewhat:

DOOM-2 The player takes the role of a nameless space marine (referred to as "Doomguy" by many fans), "one of Earth's toughest, hardened in combat and trained for action", who has been deported to Mars for assaulting a senior officer when ordered to kill unarmed civilians. He is forced to work for the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC), a military-industrial conglomerate that is performing secret experiments with teleportation between the moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. The Marine may have been forced into a security or unimportant staff position according to the manual, stating "with no action for fifty million miles, your day consisted of suckin' dust and watchin' restricted flicks in the rec room." Suddenly, something goes wrong and creatures from Hell come out of the teleportation gates, or "Gateways". A defensive response from base security fails to halt the invasion, and the bases quickly get overrun by demons; all personnel are killed or turned into zombies. At the same time, Deimos vanishes entirely. A UAC team from Mars is sent to Phobos to investigate the incident, but soon radio contact ceases and only one human is left alive — the player, whose task is to make it out alive. (Source: Wikipedia.org article). Ok so not completely different and a little more realistic as there is no 'hell' mentioned in the film except for things like 'go to hell.'

 I like the fact that the intro was extremely brief and there were things happening on-screen while we were told, unlike the massive dissertation at the beginning of Alone in the Dark. This film is big budget from the get go and you can tell it's going to look better than many over videogame-to-film adaptations, and it does. The settings and locations look authentic and realistic even though they do pay homage to the game by using walls and areas that look as if they were lifted right from it. But that is a good thing in my book. Make the film look and feel like the game but still make it interesting.

 DOOM-0Most of the visual effects, limited to the Ark travel, the creatures and the results of firing the BFG (Yes, the BFG is cool and really big) are all well done. The larger creatures are creepy and look similar to some of the creatures in the game. The people however just look like zombies from any flesh-eating zombie flick and are even actually eating flesh at several points. My only major problem with the film is that nearly the entire thing is dark. So dark that it is hard to see what is going on at several points. Apparently they forgot to add electricity to the budget of the film. 

Overall the film looks good, the costumes and accessories look realistic and the locations are good enough to not make me think they're in the basement of some old hotel. Actually the film was shot here in the Czech Republic so they may have been in the basement of an old hotel at one point.

 The acting is pretty good, the characters are believable for the most part and none of them are so stupid that I want to reach through the screen and slap them crapless. Well except for Portman, he deserved to be slapped crapless, of course he got killed so that was fine with me. The interaction between the cast members is good, there was good chemistry and nothing appeared too awkward. Everyone with a weapon looked like they knew which end of the weapon to hold away from themselves and anyone they didn't want to injure and the military jargon was fairly authentic and correct. You may not like some of the actors in the film or think they cannot act very well (notably The Rock or Karl Urban) but they were cast well.

DOOM-3 There were some pieces of dialog that were groaners or awkward and a couple scenes that could have been different. Like when Goat and Reaper shoot one guy and he flies backwards like 10 feet. I mean that is just silly, the recoil from that would have knocked them off their feet.

The 'gun-cam' sequence or first-person sequence was a little over the top but as a homage to the game and the genre in general it was acceptable. They probably could have cut the length of it a little but at least we got to see the chain saw in action. 

The sound is decent in the film except for the score. The music sounds like they took the main theme of the film, chopped it into thirty second pieces and just reused those pieces for most situations. There are some other pieces of music in the film but overall I wasn't impressed.  Finally I thought the part of the film where they are looking through all the rooms in the facility trying to lock everything down just dragged on. I thought the film could have done with a small bit of pruning and it would have been better.

DOOM-1My rating: 82%

Some minor flaws but a pretty good film overall. I am not sure that an action film like this could rate 'great' with me but this one is quite high and definitely in the top 5 video game films list. Hell they even managed a pair of breasts in the film and since it is part zombie flick that's a necessity. I even liked the fact that nearly everyone dies. Sure it was left open for a sequel, what good director wouldn't leave himself the possibility of a return stint? But the story was mostly an open and shut case.  

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