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Saturday, October 22, 2005


I saw Doom last night.

OK, I wasn't expecting a great movie, and it had its moments, but overall, Doom perpetuated the "bad movies from licensed from video games" trend.

Movies are shot out of sequence, and I felt like I could tell which scenes were shot earlier (where the acting almost sucked), and which scenes were shot later (where the acting sucked a little less).

And they messed with the premise of the game. It's not marines on Mars where a gateway to Hell has opened up and is letting Demons through. It's a pseudo sci-fi -- And by "sci-fi", I mean "skiffy", the semi-derogatory sub-genre that is the lesser sibling to better sub-genres like speculative fiction and space opera -- semi-horror, and zilch supernatural.

And they they seem to try to make excuses for it being out of whack with the games' continuity -- things like half-hearted references to the situation ("this is hell") to trying to classify the monsters ("these demons"). Even the website tries to bridge the disparity when they summarize the story: "... researchers at this Red Planet station have unwittingly opened a door" (they're being metaphorical); and "A hellish zoo of demons, Imps, Barons, and Hell Knights ..." (which is their way of trying to get the games' menagerie into the tale).

I don't get what went south on the acting.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has recently done a decent job in things like The Rundown, Walking Tall, and Be Cool. He's got like 7 new films between now and the end of 2006 in various states of production, so maybe this performance will just prove to be an aberrancy.

Even Karl Urban did a much better job as Eomer in The Lord of the Rings, but was pretty uneven here.

Solid supports like Deobia Oparei and Brian Steele (the man behind many good creature performances) do a good job.

On the upside, Rosamund Pike (Samantha Grimm) does a great job throughout.

Again, the flick had its moments. There are nods to Doom (the video game) conventions throughout -- many of them somewhat clever. There's a subtle "pick up moment" between Ben Daniels (Goat) and Al Weaver (The Kid); and some good refreshes classic Doom tunes.

One of the best nods, though, is the much-ballyhooed first-person sequence, which is a great video-game-fanboy-slash-music-video-moment, but not a great music-video-slash-movie-moment (for that, you want to see Underworld).

Speaking of which, the high point of Doom wasn't in Doom -- it was the full trailer for the upcoming Underworld sequel, Underworld: Evolution. I'm a fan of the first film, have been fairly stoked since the sequel was greenlighted, and, I admit, I'm taken with Kate Beckinsale's work.

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