Sunday, January 15, 2006


Well it's been a while since I last posted here, but decided that I should do a comeback so here I am. Now, people who have read my previous posts have mentioned that I'm sort of too benevolent wit some of my critiques. Me, I like to point out the good stuff about all movies I see, even if the bad stuff outnumbers the virtues. This approach however becomes impossible when you run across a movie so bad you simply don't care mch for it. Last year it was Boogeyman. This year, the first movie I caught turned out to be a bad start. I'm talking about Doom.

I'm pretty sure fans of the videogame have waited years for a movie to be released. I don't consider myself a die hard videogame fan but I do like to get into a FPS every now and then. However, from my experience, movies based on games have never been succesful, bringing results such as House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark (I must say I haven't seen them but I've heard from videogame fans all around that they are awful), Alien vs. Predator and yes, even lighter games like the terrible Super Mario Bros. movie back in the 90s. Maybe the one with a better outcome was Resident Evil, though it's fans who have the last word.

In Doom, we have an elite commando team lead by Sarge (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) that must go to Mars through a portal on Earth called "The Arch". His mission is to secure a research facility after news of an attack. Upon their arrival they learn from doctor Grimm (Rosamund Pike from Die Another Day) that six scientists are unaccounted for. Of course the team is eventually hunted down by mutant creatures with a taste for maiming and evisceration. Not only that but anyone who was killed by one of these is then infected and comes back from the dead as a hideous monster... unless they were a sweetie when they were alive, because all non-meanspirited people don't turn to monsters when infected but gain superpowers. Sort of a bad breed between a vampire movie and an aliens movie. Soon enough, Sarge starts showing a darker side and it's up to Reaper (Karl Urban for The Chronicles of Riddick), who is also Dr. Grimm's brother, to save the day, but not of course not before finding out what The Rock is cooking.

Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak (Exit Wounds), the problem with Doom is that it's terribly BORING, especially during the first hour where pretty much nothing happens. Remember when you start a new videogame and you walk around for a very long while and you find nothing and you get really frustrated? This is the same thing. The problem is the movie never gets any better. The creatures are just these humanoid hulky messes that always appear in shadows, we never get a clear view of them. Many times the camera movements are so fast that we can't make much sense of what's going on. And then there are the deaths. They are gruesome, they are plenty. But the movie is so unappealing and flat that we don't really care. At one point you simply lose track of who's dead or not and this is mainly because none of these characters have any depth. The only exception is Reaper who has a haunted face and a past, therefore he must be the hero.

On the last third of the movie we have a sequence where we enter the FPS (first person shooter) point of view. And yes, we are suddenly watching Doom! Yes, this is just like the videogame! Yes, fans of the game are clappign and cheering! And it does work but only for about a minute after which it just becomes weird and you are suddenly watching a trailer for the game in the big screen. While when playing you never know if you are going to be killed the next second, here you just sit and watch CGI monsters get blown to smitherens. That is the biggest problem with this movie. There is no suspense whatsoever.

The only part of the movie which actually stirs some interest takes place when we realize that Sarge is not the good guy since he kills an innocent guy. Thus, he must be a mean guy! Any ideas what might happen next? The moment of interest then fades again and we are left waiting for The Rock's next appearance, because, this is Rock after all so you bet there will be some wrestling.

Nothing against Johnson really, who has lately been seen in movies where although playing the tough guy, he's been in more humorous situations such as The Rundown or Be Cool. The trouble with Doom goes beyond The Rock or the characters. It is about a boring script taken to the screen with lighting that doesn't work, action sequences that don't generate any emotion, a plot that glues things together as effectively as a paper clip, and in general, a formula that has been worn down by previous movies that didn't work either.

My advise, stick to your joystick.