Monday, October 24, 2005

Doom the Movie

I’m wary every time they announce a movie based on a video game, usually the dynamics makes it very hard to successfully adapt one format to the other and the viewer usually ends up with bitter feelings that a favourite game has been literally trashed by its movie adaptation. Take for example past movies such as Street Fighter, Mortal Combat, Resident Evil, Mario bro., Alien vs. Predator and Tomb Raider. None can actually be said to be true box office successes, either trying to compress the game concept into a two hour stint thus giving only shallow impression of the intricate storyline or trying to cram too many of the game elements until the audience is overwhelmed.

Now Doom has at last been giving its screen time, and the verdict?

Many fans actually played Doom early in the computer revolution being one of the earliest form of first person shoot-em-ups in the market (Castle Wolfenstein being the first) to give a real gameplay experience that sends shivers down your spine and till today it is still a yardstick to be used as for the genre. So the film makers has a high yardstick to measure up to in trying to bring it to the big screen, can they give the thrill and shock of the marines being chased by hellish demons? Can they give the sense of urgency of a sudden demonic attack? Is the adrenaline pumping actions enough to make audiences gasp in their seat with back to back violence and gore?

Sadly to say that Doom suffers much of the problems its predecessors have been prone to be subjected to. For the unfamiliar Doom centers around Earth and Mars, with the discovery of a gateway (called the Ark) in the Nevada desert leading to a lost city on Mars. Soon a scientific station was set up to study the lost in habitants as well as to conduct research on the red planet. A level 5 quarantine order soon causes hell to break out (literally) and the Rapid Response Tactical Squad (2RTS) were sent in to manage the situation. What they expected and what they encountered were two entirely different scenarios.

What I never liked about the way Hollywood portrays sci-fi horror movies is that they use dark lighted scenes and sudden flashes of attacks that leave audiences unable to grasp what is actually happening in a battle scene, to me it’s a cheap trick to build suspense and to save on costs of rendering the monsters. The usual suspense build up (sudden shrieks, false scares, shadow moving in the dark, sudden appearance of monsters from nooks, etc.) and swift battles (claws flashing for a sec, head ripping, etc.) used in previous horror films are all presented here with long pauses of slow build up to a climatic scene. Acting is so so with the usual casts of characters one expect to find in such movie genre; the loud mouth know it all that often dies, the inconsequential squad members all slated for early and gory deaths for the audience pleasure, the tough guy that knows no fear, the self doubting retrospect hero that will save the day, the good looking actress that we all know is there for the sake of it and the inexperience kid. No real outstanding acting here, even from the ‘Rock’ who plays Sarge.

CGI is okay but not outstanding, if you compare Resident evil and Doom you’d swear that the same graphic department is involved in the development since both have dead human zombies and Nemesis look alike monsters. Monsters looks ok but some of the more exquisite beasts found in the game did not make an appearance. Battles look good but again nothing out of the ordinary but one part I found was a nice touch was when Marine John Grimm (Karl Urban) was going about the Earth facility and the battles were made in the style of an actual Doom game with first person perspective and actions mimicking actual battles in the game such as gun loading, squaring off with foes and setting traps.

Gamers would instantly recognize most of the features in the movie and the most poignant must be when Sarge went and handled the Big Fat Gun (BFG). The story has been change a bit but the bulk of it stays true to the game. A few of the movie plot may leave a bit of questioning though and loose ends abound like why some of the infected humans change faster than others etc. In the end Doom does not push any new milestones nor does it do justice for game movie adaptations but it isn’t too bad a film yet it’s the mediocrity that will make fans a little perturbed and leave you wanting. Watch it if you’ve ever played Doom or just for fun, its basically a no brainer, bash em up flick most likely trying to capture the Doom gamer or ‘Rock’ lover audience. My take; 5.5/10.


seth.frostheart said...

"fat"? i dont know what they said the "f" was in the movie but it aint "fat" for sure in the game, lol *grins*

simon said...

well, the day has come when they have made a movie from a fps. Next a movie from a rts...

Kervin said...

seth.frostheart: I'm sure having the Rock uttering f***king gun would have not been a wise move in front of millions of audience haha but yeah that wasn't the real name for it.

simon: True true hopefully if they ever do it won't be a flop and better on par like lotr, maybe fallout would make a good movie adaptation or even diablo, heck starcraft and warcraft are genres of their own if they ever make it to the big screen.