I have never played any of the Doom games - my boyfriend tells me they're sort of like Duke Nukem - so I can't really attest to how accurate this movie is to the game series. I know that both the game and this movie include sci-fi elements and monsters and that's about it so this review is coming entirely from an outside space.
The best thing I can say about this movie is that it actually defied my expectations here and there. Within the first fifteen minutes I figured it was going to be a riff on John Wyndham's The Last Lunarians at best, or John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars at worst, and it managed to do something different from either of those which is commendable. As well, I was surprised that the singular female character in the movie (Rosamund Pike) was the sister of one of the characters rather than a love interest. Finally, I didn't expect Dwayne Johnson's character to deviate from the stoic, gung-ho sergeant stereotype so that was another bonus.
I liked what they were trying to do with the look and feel of the movie - it had that grimy aesthetic of darker sci-fi, like not everything looked shiny and new and high tech, and some of the props, like the skeletons in the archaeology lab, were cool to look at. The monsters were not too bad although they weren't overly interesting to look at. They were sort of big and slimy and violent and not too different from other big, slimy, violent monsters. The technology in the movie was pretty standard, except they had this "nanowall" that was sometimes a solid wall but also sometimes a door which was cool and at one point provided an interesting way of trapping a monster. Ultimately though I feel like the art direction fell short in a lot of ways. It wasn't bad by any means but it wasn't especially exciting.
As well, I liked what they were trying to do with the overall sense of something weird and unnatural going on, but like with the art direction and monster design, they missed the mark a little bit. Partly because I had little to no emotional interest in the characters, partly because nothing that happened inside the research facility was that weird. A movie like this should have at least one scene that makes me extremely nervous and/or uncomfortable and this didn't do either.
There's a three or four minute scene in first-person shooter style which was tacky as hell but I liked it. If I hadn't know that this movie was based on a video game I would have found it really stupid, but I looked up Doom and according to Wikipedia it was like the very first first-person shooter game so that's a cute way of representing the original idea.
As I mentioned earlier, none of the characters were good enough to warrant an emotional investment, not that any of the characters were particularly important to the plot, but I literally gave no shits about whether people lived or died. There was exactly zero chemistry between Rosamund Pike and Karl Urban making their brother-sister relationship (estranged or otherwise) unbelievable, and even less chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and everybody else in this movie.
One thing I gotta hand to Johnson is that his acting seems to have improved over the years. This was early in his career, back when he was still being credited as The Rock and dinosaurs roamed the earth, and watching him cycle between two facial expressions - neutral and somewhat perturbed - is painful.
The other thing that was weird was that it was almost as though the characters knew that the movie was totally out to lunch. Like there's this scene they're de-fibrillating one of the marines that got attacked by a monster, and the Rock interrupts to basically say "hey, what happened to the dead guy that was here earlier". The dead guy had disappeared in a previous scene which surprised the characters but they apparently didn't do anything about it. Then after buddy is pronounced dead, instead of addressing the problem of where the hell did that other dead guy go they start yelling at each other about one of the monsters that they killed and brought back to the lab. It's a weird scene and pretty much sums up how random and arbitrary the pacing is.
I also felt like the filmmakers were trying to say something about judgement and the battle between good and evil but it didn't come up until late in the movie and as such was not a very prominent theme.
Furthermore, I felt that the whole movie really got bogged down with too much military protocol stuff. It was like somebody watched Aliens and was like, yeah, that's great, but there's not nearly enough detail about how marines do things. Like, the thing that made Aliens a great movie was not that there were marines in it doing marine stuff. The only people who are really interested in military procedure are people who are in the military, and I'm sure they found this movie glaringly inaccurate.
The same rationale applies to the sciencey stuff. First of all, nobody cares, second of all people who do care (like me) don't appreciate the effort the writers went to to make the movie sciencey. Like the whole thing about how the martian race was super strong and super intelligent because they had twenty four sets of chromosomes instead of our piddley twenty three. You know what else has twenty four sets of chromosomes? Fucking potatoes.
Anyway, besides irritation over the chromosome thing, I didn't have any strong feelings about this movie. It wasn't good by any means, but it wasn't bad enough that it was fun to watch.
Directed by: Andrzej Bartkowiak. Written by: David Callaham, Wesley Strick, based on the video game series developed by id Software. Starring: Karl Urban, The Rock, Rosamund Pike, Razaaq Adoti.
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