The 1990s had its memorable moments of glory: grunge, O.J. Simpson, “Family Matters,” “Forrest Gump,” and most importantly, Furby. My experience during the 90s had little to do with pop culture and more with staying up late and feeling fear like no child in the 90s should ever feel. However, I enjoyed every moment of being absolutely terrified, thanks to the PC first person-shooter game, “Doom.” I wish I could say the same about the movie.
For those unfamiliar with the cult classic game from the holy year of 1993, “Doom” is set on a futuristic Mars and filled mainly with scientists and research facilities. The main character is a “space marine” that finds himself thrown into a debacle involving Hell opening up on Mars (literally). With plenty of demons and creatures to tear through, “Doom” offers endless hours of “shoot em’ up” excitement and startling jumps, all of which are highly supported by parents nationwide. Sounds like a perfect idea for a suspenseful fall flick, does it not? In fact, why not star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in what should be the most intense action thriller of the year? As the great philosopher Mick Jagger once said, “You can’t always get what you want.”
The one question that should be dangling about in your mind is, “Does it stay true to the game?” The plot does its best to stick with the series but for some reason mysteriously left out the entire concept of Hell on Mars. Instead, the plot for the adaptation involves a scientific research mistake that sends scientists into a “Martha Stewart Celebration” gone terribly, demonically wrong. Considering the type of film that it is, the character development is surprisingly sufficient and meaningless enough to support the entertainment. You didn’t really expect nearly a dozen Marines to be fully developed, did you?
Action films, or even video game films, are known for hit or miss acting. “Doom” is the quintessential acting-deprived film and knows how to do it with authority. The British actors, whose role was to bring quality to the acting, ended up butchering their American accents so terribly that they blended in with the other actors. The dialogue consists of one-liners that use the F-word in the most unnatural and ludicrous ways. Taking these facts into account made Dwayne Johnson look like an actual actor with raw, potential talent. Perhaps all The Rock needed was an R-rated movie to finally bring out his undeniable attraction to the big screen.
The lack of soundtrack, or any well-composed songs for that matter, was certainly venturesome for the production team but no more than boredom for the audience. The soundtrack is composed of ambient and eerie suspense combined with the classic “Doom”-style metal that fits
much better with video games. I personally found the lack of intense musical climaxes to take away greatly from the film’s attempts at being as gripping as the video game.
Instead of taking the CGI route that many action films tend to migrate towards, the creators of “Doom” decided to make it as realistic and frightening as possible. That’s right, they called in Jim Henson and the Muppets. Actually, they hired Stan Winston (“Constantine,” “Terminator 3”) for their demonic costumes and suffice to say, they were generally impressive. There’s nothing more frightening than an actual living person enacting the movements of a creature and that
realism came across throughout the majority of the creature scenes. Others, however, made me crave for Muppets and not a guy in a suit swinging his arms around.
“Doom” was made for the fans of the video game and will forever remain that way. It isn’t a potential Academy Award winner or even a movie worth taking a date to. It was made for the fans and will be enjoyed by them in some way or another. “Doom” even attempts to recreate a scene in the first person perspective much like that of the video game. The scene only lasts about six minutes and is entirely dedicated to the fans of the series. Every fan will go into “Doom” knowing there is atrocious acting ahead and cheese-filled dialogue worth quoting for a week. They will, however, allow you to experience “Doom” one more time. As the famous and award-winning philosopher Mick Jagger continues to say, “If you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need.” Amen.
The Word on the Screen: C