Sunday, May 9, 2010

Doomed to Watch Doom

I don’t know why I expect video game-based films to be fun. I don’t even find video games themselves to be that enjoyable (though my nostalgic affection remains firmly in place for Street Fighter 2 and Zombies Ate My Neighbors). When you beat them, there’s the inevitable disappointment, a sort of “that’s it?” 30-second epilogue to reward hours of carpel tunnel syndrome-in-training fingers.
So fine. I am indeed bitter over the finale to Super Mario Bros. 2’s end on first generation Nintendo, when even if you spent an entire weekend playing as Princess Daisy, you beat the big boss only to discover the entire storyline was just a nighttime dream for a snoring Mario. 
Not cool childhood.

But anyway, Doom, a film I lazily used as background for the bimonthly cleaning of the actual Doll’s House, is no Super Mario Bros. That’s a good thing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Doom is, you know...a good thing.
Quick Plot: In the year 2046, scientists are playing with genes in space, which inevitably leads to super human monsters that leap around while coated in early CGI flubber. A military recon group led by a surprisingly dour Duane Johnson attempts to hunt down the infected remains of a research group on a high tech spaceship with lots of doors and disappearing/reappearing walls. And that is that.

In full honesty, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to Doom, so everything in this review should be taken with a few spoonfuls of salt substitute. Then again, if there’s one thing Doom needs, it’s more flavor, so heap it on. 
As expressed in this corner of the blogoworld nearly every other week, Starship Troopers and Total Recall are kind of the best films ever made. Space + guns + R-rating x cheesy dialog never doesn’t equal magic, so there was really no reason for why I shouldn’t have enjoyed Doom
But I didn’t. Perhaps it was the forced POV shots crammed in to please game fans. Perhaps, at one hour and forty five minutes, it was a half hour longer than a movie based on a video game I’ve never played had any right to be. Whatever the reason, I couldn’t quite find anything exciting to keep my eyes onscreen. 

It was a movie. I watched it. Ask me details next Thursday and I’ll probably forget that fact.
High Points
Having the main protagonists be estranged twins gave film a somewhat interesting character dynamic to play off of. Not much happened with it, but hey. It was there.
The Rock is still a little too affable to pull off playing a major villain, but I do appreciate his character’s surprising jerkitude

Low Points
Bombastically electric music and lots of character shouting at each other is a great way to 1) prevent your audience from having any idea what’s happening in tense action scenes and 2) give them migraines
Lessons Learned
If you’re a scientist in a dangerous situation, always be pretty so that marines will do favors for you

In addition to transporting your body into a superfly, teleportation presents other serious dangers, such as sucking up your lower half and rendering you butt-less for your remaining days
Video game cinema fans could do worse than giving Doom a casual try. The film provides what you’d expect and absolutely nothing more. If Alien was Jaws in space, then Doom is Deep Blue Sea in space, but just not in any way awesome. Make of that what you will and, in the words of The Rock, semper fi mother fucker. 

Really hope I find the real-life opportunity to say that. Preferably while holding a “Big. Fucking. Gun.” I found floating in a high-tech room.


  1. I watched a big portion of Doom on TV once and it was as whatever as I expected it to be. I wouldn't mind sitting through it as background noise, much like you, but that may be about it.

    I do like the Rock, though, and I agree with your thoughts. He's almost too charming to be the villain in a way, but it is his charm and charisma that may work towards the right villain role at some point in the future.

  2. The Rock (I'll never accept calling him Duane) is the prime example of charisma carrying films. He's sooooo darn likable, and such a solid presence in any film. He doesn't get much to do here, and his badassness isn't quite buyable, but he keeps things interesting nonetheless.

  3. He is a major reason why I like Southland Tales - his performance is so odd and quirky, and he is a lot of fun to watch on the screen.

    Even movies like that Toothfairy look fun, because he looks like he will be entertaining and the fact that he doesn't take himself so serious is great. The man is wearing tutu, how can that not be funny?!

    p.s. I had to look up the spelling of tutu.

  4. Doom the movie would be better if they didn't try to tie it with Doom the video game....
    It is noteworthy, however, in that it features the lovely Rosemund Pike.

  5. Dolematt: I have yet to see Southland Tales, as the freakishly long running time scared me off. Maybe if he wears a tootoo-ahhhh, tutu--I'll give it a go.

    Interesting point Andrew. I think the main draw of this film IS the video game, but I agree that the forced first-person shooter angle was just annoying. Also, I've never played the video game but I'm pretty sure I could have found the references simply because they were so awkwardly jammed in there.