Doom 3 was, frankly, the most frightening video game I ever played. Visually and aurally stunning, I actually had to limit my playing or else I had trouble sleeping. Now turned into a movie, would Doom: Unrated Extended Edition live up to the game?
I didn’t expect much from this movie. Sometimes I find that is to the movie’s advantage – if the expectations are low, they can meet them easily.
The movie borrows somewhat from the game’s plot. A base called Olduvai on Mars has been conducting some experiments – and they have gone horribly wrong. Word gets back to Earth, and they send in a Rapid Response Tactical Squad – an elite UAC marine unit to lock down the facility and find out what went wrong. How do they get there so fast? The “Ark”, a mysterious blob that that can instantly transport people back and forth between the Nevada desert and Olduvai. Most of the time you arrive intact.
The improbably small marine group consists of the stereotype characters you’d expect: the ultra-loyal, stick to the words of the orders Sarge (wrestler-turned-actor The Rock); John “Reaper” Grimm (Karl Urban – Eomer from The Lord of the Rings), really the main character; Portman (Richard Brake, Batman Begins), the degenerate guy; Duke (Raz Adoti, Resident Evil: Apocalypse), a likeable guy; Destroyer (Deobia Oparei, Thunderbirds), the big guy; Goat (Ben Daniels, Ian Fleming: Bondmaker), the religious guy; and The Kid (Al Weaver, Color Me Kubrick), the kid.
Also we have Pinky (Dexter Fletcher, Band of Brothers), who lost his legs in an Ark accident and operates the Ark on Olduvai, and Samantha Grimm (Rosamund Pike, Die Another Day), Reaper’s sister and genetic scientist at Olduvai.
This could have been just another Aliens movie – macho marines on a bug hunt. But leave out Sigourney Weaver, and through in some elements from the game – notably the monsters – imps, the Hell Knight, and of course – the B.F.G. (which technically stands for “Bio Force Gun”, but of course Doom fans know another name) – and it attempts its own identity. In fact, you could almost see it being adapted from a cast of Aliens script.
First thing – do NOT watch this with young kids. Probably not even older kids. This is meant to be a frightening, gory movie – and plenty of f-bombs get dropped along the way.
Frightening? I’m not sure it succeeded here. I don’t know why, but I’m more afraid of the game than the movie. Maybe its that I’m not seeing it in the theater – if someone has seen this on a big screen, let me know if it was better. Gore? Yes, plenty – but I still expected more than what was there. I certainly wasn’t grossed out. I was more disturbed by the end of last Sunday’s Grey’s Anatomy with the bomb than I was with anything here. As for the language, I’d actually think it was less realistic if there were less.
Overall, the plot was weak. I don’t think it made a whole lot of sense – I didn’t like the “24th chromosome” explanation, and think they could have done better with a “portal from Hell” explanation from the original games. And to have so few Marines trying to lock down a facility like this is completely implausible. And I was confused by the whole ending…they get back to Earth, but its more of the same – they didn’t do a very good job with the lockdown, and what stopped the monsters from escaping the Ark facility once they were there? Or did they? I think I need to rewatch it just to try and figure it out.
I didn’t expect much from the acting either, but this isn’t generally an actor’s role to show off in. Even still, I think The Rock did poorly. The “I’m not supposed to die!” line especially, although it is ironic, and you may go into this thinking he’s the “hero” character. Urban did a decent job with what he had, but he didn’t seem the marine type.
Visually, the movie was excellent. The makeup effects were good, but it was also aided in the fact that filming was dark. I wish they could have played up the imp caught in the “nanodoor” more, and where was the B.F.G.?? I think it was fired only twice – and missed both times!!! You dedicate time to finding a cool weapon, use it! I think the grenades they had were more effective.
I did like the opening of the movie – the eerie sounds among the screams gave a slightly supernatural flavor to what was happening – but for some reason
The thing that makes this movie unique is what it takes directly from the game – the first person perspective. In this version, you get a first person view as Reaper in an extended, 5 minute long sequence. You turn, shoot, move, shoot, look through the gunsight, etc. placing _you_ in the situation of the character. Again, this probably works better in a full theater (or at least a bigger screen), but it certainly provided a unique aspect to the movie.
In addition to the DVD, there is a small set of extras. I expected some deleted scenes, but none are to be found. Included:
Also included is the first level of Doom 3 for the X-Box.
On to the scores:
Plot/Story: It’s really just a fragfest, but the plot attempts to attach a reason to it. I think they would have done better to keep more to the game’s plot than this one. 1/5
Characters/Acting: Could the characters be more unoriginal? The only twist is when you realize that the Rock isn’t the main focus, despite the hype. And you really don’t get to know much about their motivations. 2/5
Effects/Visuals/Audio: I think they did really well here, as mentioned. 4/5
DVD Packaging/Extras: Standard DVD case (I wish they’d get rid of the ones with the little tabs you need to open first…why are these needed?) with a reflective cardboard slipcover and raised logo. Extras are pretty basic, and lacks some of the standards like deleted scenes or commentary. 2/5
Overall: Despite all this, I actually kind of enjoyed it. It wasn’t a gross-out movie, it had some humorous lines, and works for just a guy’s fragfest movie. A Doom 3 deathmatch game may be more fun, but if you don’t have enough computers, this may be the next best thing. 2/5
Total: 2.2 out of 5. Only for those who want lots of guns and blood.