Doom is so nearly a good movie… but isn’t quite. It is of course based on the original video game, so ends up having more of a scenario than an actual plot. A bunch of military types have to go rescue some human scientists and civilians from an alien planet. You see, something has gone ‘wrong’ down on the planet. What the film does well (like the game) is not go into lengthy exposition – it just gives tantalising hints and clues, glimpses of ‘monsters’ lurking in the dark. It does build tension well in the first third of the film. It seems the scientists have been involved in an archaeological dig on the planet… and been experimenting with alien DNA. Silly scientists.
The characters are very flat. Yes, there is a moral dilemma within the film, which makes it interesting, but the dilemma is presented far too late in proceedings (whether to slaughter the civilians that have in all likelihood been ‘infected’ with the alien DNA). By the time we get to this conundrum, many will have already fallen asleep. And besides, the ‘problem’ is very quickly resolved by the trigger-happy leader of our gang.
There is a nice segment of the film played out as a first-person shooter (swapping to the game-player’s perspective) – it suits the film’s ‘narrative’ (generous term) as a moment of ‘altered state’. There is also a decent fight at the end – played out as angel v demon. There are some decent themes hidden amongst the nonsense if you pay close attention… but the film makes it so hard to pay attention, what with the silly deaths, silly frown-posing by Dwayne Johnson and the ‘clearly gonna die in the next second or two’ pseudo-characters all over the place. Karl Urban and Rosamund Pike do their level best, but ultimately the film doesn’t give them much chance. It’s a 6 out of 10, sadly. Ultimately, the movie couldn’t work out whether to be a ‘space horror for teenagers’ or a ‘serious scifi for adults’.