Doom(the movie): Afterthoughts

The researchers at this Red Planet station have unwittingly opened a door, and all hell has broken loose. A legion of nightmarish creatures of unknown origin lurks in every corner and stalks the countless rooms and tunnels of the facility, killing what few people remain.

Traditionally a bad thing, Doom has been a reason for expectation and happiness to almost every person that has played computer games since 1993. The Doom series was a hit that popularised the 1st-person shooter genre, and its last installment was no exception, with luscious graphics, chilling sounds and, among everything, an unparalleled atmosphere that literally took you to hell.

With these credentials, and after a myriad of copies sold, it just seemed natural that someone wanted to make a movie based on the game. In fact, Doom, the movie is reasonably close to the game, though it’s not quite it… The plot doesn’t go as deep, by shifting towards genetic experiments. Every allusion to hell has been removed, and even though anyone who has tried the game will have the sensation of “been there, done that”, many of the props that made the game so terrifying have been omitted, and the sets are little more than a handful of rooms and corridors.

Overall, though “flattened” in comparison to the game, the movie is still good from the survival horror standards. The “I bet who dies first” game keeps the interest high to the end, with at least one unpredictable twist (and an interesting one at that). The emotional tension is also well managed, and adds some psychology to the usual load of whispers and moving shadows (perhaps too many). On the bad side, I recall a surreal conversation between two characters, a researcher and her brother, a marine. First, she asks him to use his knowledge on genetics and try to find something special in a gene map on screen. As soon as he turns to the computer, he shouts, “yes! this sequence has 24 chromosomes!” (fast counting, congratulations). Immediately after, she says “you’re right, the human being has only 23 chromosomes, but these samples show 24”.
I can´t forgive the fact that the line was written in order to explain to the public what they were talking about. Next time I guess they could print footnotes on screen, or maybe at certain points the characters should stop the action and address the public directly!

Besides the stupid lines and some other dumb actions (the place is infested with monsters but the guys keep going to places alone), there’s a sequence which mimics the game so explicitly that it looks out of place (or so I think). It’s OK for a second, but it ends up being a show off for some famous monsters from the game that the writers couldn’t fit anywhere else. The ending is a sudden cut and also as shallow as a puddle. It leaves a feeling of “that’s it?” which lasts for a while. Fortunately the credits are interesting enough to make up for it.
As for the soundtrack, the sounds were correct and the music passed almost unnoticed, which is not a bad thing.

All in all, I don’t have the feeling that I have wasted ninety minutes of my time; as I said before, the movie is entertaining enough. However, I think that there are better ones to watch in the same genre and, if it’s about killing monsters, better to grab the game and try the “real thing” (or the “unreal thing” 😉 , for what matters).

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