October 27, 2005
by Amy Diaz
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shoots stuff, most of if very splatty, in
Doom, a movie adaptation of the video game.
Aliens make good villains in video games and video-game-adapted-from
movies because of their splatty properties. A good round of CGI bullets
in their CGI hides and these slimy, monstrous creations become puddles
of green, black and red goo that can drip from things and help give
military bunkers a sense of menace. Also, their non-human-ness avoids
any messy moral issues over killing them and negates the need to come up
with elaborate backstory as to why killing them is necessary.
This is good because Doom doesn’t do backstory, or even story, all that
well. After some noise about a group of scientists and assorted people
living below the surface of a dead planet, some of whom have gone
missing, we get right to the part where Sarge (Johnson) and his unit of
army men show up and start shooting at stuff. Eventually, we get to see
some of the stuff they are shooting and learn that most of these alien
creatures were, at one time, humans. How did they change? Why? What can
be done to protect others?
Whatever, man, why are you asking questions? This is an action movie. An
action movie based on a video game. Plot has no place here.
Watching Doom gives you the same feeling of weary impatience that you
get watching someone else play a video game. No matter how much better
they are than you, watching someone else shoot and kill isn’t nearly as
fun as shooting and killing yourself. Even the happy splat of alien guts
hitting the floor of a sparsely decorated sound stage does not delight
after the first few times. I was struck, watching this movie, by how
much better a video game is than a movie like this. The graphics are
just as good (if not superior), the story is usually more fleshed out,
the goals give the game a sense of urgency and the spectator is actually
a character, the main character usually. If this is the kind of movie
Hollywood hopes will win it back the 14- to 30-year-old males, no wonder
the movie industry is getting its butt kicked by the latest PlayStation