Doom (2005)
By: J.R. McNamara on May 2, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Universal (Australia). Region 2 & 4 PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DTS 5.1, Hungarian DD 5.1. English, Hungarian, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish Subtitles. 108 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Starring: The Rock, Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike, Deobia Oparei, Ben Daniels, Razaaq Adoti, Richard Brake, Al Weaver
Screenplay: David Callaham, Wesley Strick
Country: USA
Are movies based on video games a good idea? Why not? Movies based on comics, or books can be a good idea, so why not video games. The problem with adapting video games for the screen is a video game has a different narrative style, and without the involvement of the viewer having a controller in their hands, occasionally they can fall flat. Sure, Tomb Raider relied on Angelina Jolie's wonder bra, and let's not even talk about Super Mario Brothers or House of the Dead, but the source material cannot necessarily be blamed. It is creator's interpretations that may make the movie fall apart. The creators behind this film have just fallen short of the mark with this, and have not come up with the greatest interpretation of the game Doom, but certainly a half decent, mindless bit of shooty action. The problem with this film is that a major element of the game has been changed. The villains in the movie of Doom have an alternate origin than that of the game. To me this seemed an unnecessary change, but doesn't really affect the overall experience, but I do wonder why a license like Doom would be purchased by the movie makers, and then a major plot of the game altered.

Doom starts with something awful happening at a remote scientific research station on Mars. No communication has been possible, except for the occasional snippet of sound, which are quite distressing. The base has been put on a level 5 quarantine, which means nothing comes out, and nothing goes in…nothing except for Sarge (The Rock) and his Rapid Response Tactical Squad, a crew of hardnosed marines, armed with the greatest in military hardware and ready to kick ass. Assisted by the lovely scientist Samantha Grimm (Rosamund Pike), these guys are prepared for anything…anything, except for what awaits them behind the doors of the locked down facility…

Basically, take Aliens, Predator and any other sci fi 'bug hunting' movie you can think of and mix them together with elements of the Doom video game, and you have Doom: The Movie. The cast is pretty good, and The Rock never takes over the film as you expect a wrestling personality (an oxymoron, I know) potentially could, in actual fact, he plays the grizzled marine veteran 'Sarge' pretty well. Of course the special effects are the star of the show, although when the film goes to 'first person mode', which you expect it would have to at some point, it seems to get a little silly. There is just enough sci fi for the sci fi fan, just enough video game for the game fan, and just enough gore for the gore lover, and if you like all three, you probably can't go wrong. If you sit down to this and expect you are going to be watching a classic of science fiction, boy will you be disappointed, but if you want to watch marines with big guns killing monsters and Rosamund Pike in a tight shirt with erect nipples, you're gonna love it!!

Over and above this film being good or bad, I will admit this, when the BFG turns up, that little fanboy hidden inside of me started to get excited.
Video
In general the visuals are excellent, but I did notice one thing. I usually watch my review DVDs on several different DVD players and I found that when this was played on one of them, the posterization on was pretty shocking. The image is basically a good one, until it hits darkness, and then the blacks go flat and other colors have no depth to them at all. Like I said this was on only one machine out of three, but it hasn't happened before.
Audio
The 5.1 and DTS audio tracks on this feature is fabulous. When the BFG goes off, oh boy, does it go off. Doom is loud and proud, and loves your surround sound system
Extra Features
Doom has a series of short documentaries about its making. All of these vignettes show interviews with various members of the cast, crew, fans and game developers.

Basic Training (10 minutes 33 seconds) shows the military training the actors that played the marines went through, taught by Special Forces vet Tom MacAdams to look as convincing as possible in their roles. It shows not just the weapons training, but also explains how the men trained together so they felt like an actual team. One of the real interesting things about this mini doco is showing what a blank round in a weapon can do to a foam dummy head….

Rock Formation (5 minutes 37 seconds) shows the evolution of the make-up that the Rock ends up in by the end of the film. This is one of those make up documentaries that is really only interesting if you like make up effects and how they are done.

Master Monster Makers (10 minutes 54 seconds) looks at the design and the workings of the monsters in Doom, and if you have any knowledge of the game, you will know these beasties range from zombies to massive mutated freaks of nature. Obviously not all the monsters from all the games appear, but the ones seen are pretty effective.

First Person Shooter Sequence (10 minutes 47 seconds) is the how's and whys of the 'First Person Shooter' sequence that Karl Urban's character John Grimm experiences. The technical side of this doco is quite interesting, considering it seems to be one shot; this doco breaks it down to its elements, and shows it piecemeal.

Doom Nation (14 minutes and 38 seconds) is a look at the origins of the game, and the evolution of it.

Game On! (6 minutes 47 seconds) is a 'hints and tips' for the game, Doom 3. This is basically a voice-over with some pretty impressive footage from the game.

This disc also has trailers for Jarhead and Serenity.
The Verdict
It may be loud, obnoxious, gung ho and ridiculous, but it isn't that bad. This is one of those bubblegum movies that are great while the flavour is there, but strictly throw away at the end. The extras are great fun for fans of the game and the movie. With any luck we will get a Duke Nukem movie next…now THAT I wanna see. This film is probably not for the serious horror fan's carefully organized selection of giallo and exploitation flicks, but at the very least it is worth a rent. I will say that turning off your brain is advisable though.
Movie Score
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