|Doom (Unrated Edition)|
|Written by Paul Lingas|
|Tuesday, 07 February 2006|
Once on Mars, the group is introduced to Dr. Samantha Grimm (Rosamund Pike), who is Reaper’s estranged sister and a scientist with the Olduvai project. She must go with the team into the dark labyrinth of spooky corridors in order to retrieve the research discs while the meatheads try to ascertain just what went wrong. It turns out that the scientists found evidence of life on Mars and then proceeded to experiment on humans, which of course lead to some nasty mutations and a lot of monsters that look like huge sides of thick, wet beef jerky. Soon all hell breaks loose, the Marines are killed one by one and Sarge and Reaper must have a confrontation of will and body to determine the fate of the survivors.
This movie is awful. I saw it in the theatre and was bitterly disappointed. The worst part about it was that I wasn’t even expecting anything. You know something is bad when you don’t expect anything from it and it still disappoints. Just because it is based on a video game is no excuse for having such a lame story. There have been plenty of video game adaptations that had decent writing. Heck, I’ve played video games with better storylines and more interesting characters. The acting is atrocious and the casting is partly at fault. I mean really, is there no way that director Andrzej Bartkowiak could have gotten a better casting director or even given the actors something to work with? Pike and Urban are capable actors and the Rock is even pleasant enough in his own cheesy way, but this is just terrible. Part of the problem lies in the angles at which they shot close-ups and other dialogue, almost as if they’re cheating the lines. The music sucks as well, a bunch of standard rock beats and riffs that serve no purpose whatsoever except to annoy. Music like that doesn’t make a movie kick ass all by itself; the ass-kicking has to already be there, though the music can help out.
This DVD is presented as the unrated version, which simply means there are a few extra seconds here and there and that the MPAA didn’t rate it for video. If you ask me, it would have been better if they’d left it as short as possible. There is little additional footage, mainly a bit of nudity and a few extra spurts of blood. So much for the version “too intense for the theatre.”
As a DVD, this is disappointing as well. The menus are a direct rip-off of the “Aliens” DVD menus, except that they’re louder, more obnoxious and far less clever. “Basic Training” is the usual behind-the-scenes bit about the military training the actors went through, so that they looked comfortable and authentic as soldiers. This was interesting in “Saving Private Ryan” and “Black Hawk Down,” but here it’s rote and really begs the question as to why the director would want his actors to look and act like real soldiers when they can’t act at all. The additional featurettes are an interesting look at the makeup and creature effects in the film, which, while fun, are a bit too goofy to really provide any scares. The rest of the bonus features revolve around the “Doom” video game. “Game On!” discusses the genesis of the original video game, as well as the second and third generations of the game, while “Doom Nation” further discusses the impact of the game through the use of interviews with various gamers and designers. Both show game footage, and it’s a wonder to see the changes in quality and complexity between the first and third versions. The discussion of first-person shooter games, gaming in general and “Doom’s” impact on the entire gaming industry is the most interesting thing about the DVD, bonus features and film included. There are a few Easter Eggs, but they require more patience than detective skills, but don’t bother waiting, because they really aren’t anything you haven’t already seen anyway.
I will say that the DVD is much crisper and cleaner than the film print was. In the theatre, it looked like the film had been shot on 16mm and blown up, but the video transfer takes away some of the graininess that seemed both incipient and distracting. It still doesn’t look that great, though. For a cinematographer who has talent, Andrzej Bartkowiak has no clue as a director how to make movies that look good. It’s as if he forgot that aspect of filmmaking. At least the filmmakers decided to make this disgrace fully available in three languages. Not only are there English, French and Spanish subtitles, but each language is represented with a clean though often overblown Dolby Digital 5.1-channel mix.
“Doom” is an utter disappointment, even if all you want are some cheesy action sequences. The unrated version and its accompanying features don’t add enough to warrant spending your time on this waste of money, so spend wisely and go out and buy “Doom 3” for the Xbox. I can guarantee that it’ll be much more fun, as well as more worth your time and money.