Sunday, January 11, 2015

Doom


  Doom plays like it was made by a team of guys who played the game for 5 minutes when they were younger, grew up and thought, "Oh hey, remember that one game with guns and monsters?" and then the second guy was like, "Wasn't it on Mars?" Then they collectively decided to make it a movie, starring The Rock. If only you could hear my long sigh just now, it would've summed up my thoughts on this flick quite nicely for you. On the flip side, this movie might be serviceable to someone who has either never played the game, or has no knowledge of it. However, if you're a fan of the games, you should have been in the prime target audience for this movie. Yet sadly, us fans are the first people it alienates.

  The movie also seems to exist solely for people who've never seen any other sci-horror/action movies. It borrows so much from Aliens, Resident Evil, and Predator that you wonder why they didn't even try to borrow from the game which it's based on. Because the video game, Doom, isn't really like any of those movies. I don't know why I'm shocked honestly. I think Super Mario Bros. the movie had more in common with it's own game than this movie did. Hell, Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat, and all their sequels were more like the games they were based on than Doom is anything like it's source material. I will concede that I have so far only been referring to the '93 video game and it's sequel, Doom II: Hell on Earth. This movie in fact actually shares a bit of likeness with the 2004 video game, Doom 3.

  That's not a good thing though. See, even fans of Doom and Doom II had a hard time accepting Doom 3 for what it was. Why? Because Doom (and Doom II) were balls-out action games in a horror setting. You were loaded to the teeth with guns and ammo, and you had to mow your way through legions of demons and possessed soldiers. The game is a non-stop gorefest. It's nasty, it's in your face, and it's insanely fast paced. Doom 3 is a survival horror game with jump scares and bad guys here and there. Doom and Doom II had waves and waves and waves of enemies after you, but they also gave you the hardware to feel like you could handle it. They made you feel like a badass. Doom 3 doesn't really do that. You never feel like you're on the winning side, unfortunately.

  Point being is that, in order for Doom, the movie, to be remotely worth watching it needed to be like the first two games. It needed to be wall-to-wall gore, satanic imagery, and non-stop action. Instead, it modeled itself after Doom 3 and became a ripoff of every other sci-horror/action movie that's ever managed to be competent in the slightest. Does this make Doom a bad movie? Well, yes and no. Is it original? No. Smartly written? No. However, it is very competently made. From the creature effects, to the camera work, the cinematography, and the industrial rock soundtrack- it all coalesces to make a rather entertaining flick, in a mind numbing way. It's mediocre at best, but not awful.

  It's saved from being a total waste by a number of things. First and fore-fucking-most... Karl Goddamn Urban. This man has saved many a shitfest from being total wastes of time. (Cough. Pathfinder. Cough.) Karl Urban plays a member of the RRTS (Rapid Response Tactical Squad), a group of marines who've been called to a research facility on Mars, to 'deal with' a "level 5 threat". The Rock (I refuse to refer to him as Dwayne Johnson in any movie pre-Fast Five) plays the leader of this team, affectionately dubbed, "Sarge". How original. That's his actual call sign too. It's not just a nickname. Anyhow, if you're not seeing the gi-normous likeness to Aliens yet, you're either dumb, or you haven't seen Aliens. In which case you should stop reading this review right now and go watch Aliens. You'll thank me later.

  If you're still here, and you know what I'm on about, you'll know why this is super annoying. The plot of the game for Doom had a better story, and it was tailor made for the big screen too. The game has a marine, punitively stationed to a research facility on Mars (the most boring assignment imaginable) for disobeying an order to fire on civilians. Whilst there, the resident scientists, who've been experimenting with teleporter technology accidentally open a portal... to Hell. Literal Hell. The actual Hell. Not the figurative "this place is hell" Hell that the movie keeps teasing us with. Oh, yeah. I forgot to point out, the creatures in the movie aren't from Hell. They're not demons. They're mutated people who've been infected with a Martian virus that makes good people... superhuman, and bad people... super bad-er?

  It mutates them into various creatures and blah blah blah. At that point, finding all this out, the movie had lost me. Not that it didn't have me checking my watch before that, but it was bearable, to an extent. They stripped everything that makes Doom... Doom away from it. The only other highlight of the movie worth mentioning, is the First Person Shooter sequence. Once Karl Urban goes superhuman, the film's perspective literally shifts to First Person, and we're treated to a rather awesome action sequence shown entirely through his eyes. Shooting zombies, monsters, and fending off a neat looking creature with a chainsaw in a rather bloody showdown. It's a great freaking scene. The only great scene. Shit, the only good scene in my opinion.

  Karl Urban's stoic glare and natural aire of badassery go a long way towards making any scene with him in it watchable, but not even he can make this a great movie. His talents were put to the best use in 2012's Dredd. Anyways, Doom makes so many rookie errors, and if you think too hard it'll leave you with the stupidest questions. What's the different between a code red lockdown, and a level 5 lockdown? Do they rank by colors... or numbered levels? Why do they flip flop between the terms? Did I miss something? If they're in a level red code 5 lockdown... why are all the lights off? Wouldn't it make more sense to have the lights... on? So nobody trips or dies trying to evacuate or get to safety? Sure it'd sacrifice the half-assed "atmosphere" the filmmakers were going for, but who gives a shit? I want to -see- the monsters.

  The first two games didn't do this crap. Everything was thrown at you to your face. Once in a blue moon you'd run into a dark room, or a hallway with flickering lights. That was scary. But if the whole game was dark like that, it would've been an abortion! Kind of like... the movie. Ah... Not like we're seeing a pattern here or anything. If the movie was more like the game, it'd be awesome. Since it's not, we're left with a mixed bag. Surprisingly, I'm not ready to sentence this flick to death. Maybe it's childhood nostalgia? Or maybe it's because I've seen it so many times, I'd be embarrassed to tell you the actual amount of times I've seen it. Even though it's been a while... I scared myself because I knew all the lines.

  Ultimately no, Doom may be unoriginal and a terrible Doom movie, but it's an okay movie on it's own right. If you have no affinity for the game, Doom might be worth a watch on a Saturday afternoon if you're really curious. The flashy special effects and nicely realized set design go a long way towards making it at the least, watchable. It's not completely bad, and in it's best moments, is even a little fun. But those moments are rare. The Rock's facial expressions are fun. His big video game-y gun, is fun. Karl Urban being a badass is fun. Stumbling around in the dark with the least likeable group of space marines ever to hit the big screen... is not so much fun. So yeah, Doom is a mixed bag for those who don't care about the games. But for us fans of the game, Doom is a travesty. Yet I still find excuses to watch it every five years...

 It makes no sense, and I've been brutally honest about this movie, yet... I can't understand why I like it, but strangely enough I do.

Go figure.

  Could it be just because it's a slick and well packaged movie? Right down to the photoshopped DVD cover, that manages to be eye catching and cool looking, yet detestable in it's lack of effort or imagination. Much like the movie itself. I still like the movie against ALL my better judgment, but I can't say I actually ever enjoy it all that much. If that makes no sense whatsoever, don't worry about it. Just know that there's a scene in this movie where the marines are slowly walking through a dark corridor, and a steam pipe or something pops loose, scaring one of them so badly, he shoots at it. If that sounds familiar, it's because you've seen it a billion times in every movie ever.

  In fact, it might just be the scariest scene in the movie because you have to think... someone wrote that. Someone had to direct it, someone had to act it out, and someone had to leave it in the movie. There's nothing scarier than that.

No comments:

Post a Comment