Doom (2005)

(In theaters, October 2005) It takes a heck of a lot of work to adapt a first-person shooter into a dull movie that completely ignore the game’s plot. And yet the geniuses behind this movie (including director Andrzej Bartkowiak, whose Exit Wounds and Cradle 2 The Grave weren’t bad at all) found a way to neuter Doom‘s hellish theme and make a movie whose middle hour is one uninterrupted stretch of boredom. Nice going, Mensa candidates (golf clap). The movie isn’t without its good moments (the opening zoom shot; the BFG; and boy-oh-boy isn’t Rosamund Pike a cutie?) but they’re like droplets of cool water in a scorching inferno of dull movie-making. Karl Urban and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson both do fine as macho heroes (even graphically illustrating the original meaning of fragging), but the rest of the film can’t really rise above the level of a dull Aliens ripoff. Except when it comes to scientific verisimilitude, in which case Doom gets beaten up by every zombie film ever made, including the first Resident Evil. As one of the original 1993-vintage Doom fans, I can recall then-rumours of a movie project with amused bemusement: “What? An hour and a half of a first-person view running through corridors?” And yet the neatest ironic twist on that wisecrack is that the best sequence of the film is indeed five minutes of a first-person view running through corridors. Showing both technical skills and amazing audacity, this sequence rises far above the rest of the film. Well, except for the end credit sequence, in which a first-person player shoots away the names of the film’s cast and crew. Nice touch. Eerily appropriate, given my mood at the end of the film.

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