Harry has a big fookin' blast with DOOM!!!
Whoa! I had fun with DOOM!
I loved DOOM and DOOM II. Played them back when I very first got a computer back in 1995. They were partly why I got a computer. Hell, before I even got the computer, Roro and I would get drunkish and head down to the University of Texas campus area to this computer networking game grid that was atop Quackenbush’s Coffee House right after the Austin Film Society vacated those immortal headquarters.
I remember at the time, it was such a revolution. Sitting in a room – computers everywhere, all jacked into one another. Hell, this was before I had ever really experienced the Internet. I was a green newbie that loved movies and games back then. And when Roro drug my widening mass into that place – it was for a game experience unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Plopped into a game grid with weapons, the need to reload and a room full of the same motivated geeks all with an urge to kill shit. Some came to the place to form hunting parties. I was always the jack off psychotic asshole that wanted to hunt and kill my fellow players and let the monsters own it all. After all, we’ll just fuck it all up. There’s no lasting peace so long as a single human lived. It’s my job to make sure the peace is made. Heh.
The taunting, the “Oh fuck man.” What was great about DOOM was there was no real story. No real characters. Really, shit went down and you were supposed to contain and wipe that shit up. That’s it. That the game was a total John Carpenter First Person vision thing… well, I was Michael Myers with a Big Fucking Gun! Heh. Too much fun. To me, I love games where the rules are loose enough that when playing with other folks, the purpose of the game is totally extraneous – ultimately the great thing about games with humans is improvisation and making the game your own.
I played DOOM and it’s sequel so much that I just burnt out on games altogether. I felt a year or two of my life go by without any change or evolution in my station in life – and then I got paralyzed. Shit like that makes you reflect. I decided to dedicate to film, to specialize and just try to shoot as straight as I saw it with whatever audience would eventually check out my insanity.
You know, what’s funny is… I don’t think I allowed myself to loosen up and really think about a “DOOM” movie till I was on my way to the theater today. Then I saw Glen Oliver, you long term site readers may remember him from the earliest days of AICN, he writes from time to time for IGN.FILMFORCE and while we’re the best of friends and often times go into film with the exact same point of view, there seems to be a difference in how we sometimes see them. As we talked about expectations for the film… We discussed our hopes for the film.
We didn’t want plot. We didn’t want deep character development. DOOM is about killing shit, hunting shit and blowing shit up. And while we discussed our “modest” expectations for DOOM we discussed the two ways that a good DOOM movie would play out. One would be a self-aware camp masterpiece -- and then the other route would be to follow the Coen Brothers’ lead and take the basic structure of their TO THE WHITE SEA ( a script I still dream of seeing Joel and Ethan realize one day!). In that version of DOOM you’d have a completely straight take of a mission that totally clusterfucked out leaving one man trying to fight his way through hell back to the surface. In the Coen’s script, there wasn’t a single word of dialogue once the mission started. And it was absolutely riveting. I knew that wasn’t the film that was playing, so I gave my hopes towards a big dumb fun film.
Now – as this film introduced the ‘ciphers’ that would stand in for characters. Are these ‘characters’ true those in the game? Yes and No. You see, first – there really were no characters in the game, not written by the folks at ID Software anyways – at least not that I knew of. But at the same time there were Hundreds of Thousands of characters in the game. Namely, everyone that ever played the game. The players that would panic and start shooting everything. The overly serious players that actually projected that they were a colonial space marine. There were those players that were constantly praying to God not to die (these ALWAYS cracked me up) – then there was the silent ones that thought of themselves as ultimate badasses. There were the Heroes and the villains and the Anti-Heroes. The players that subtly orgasmed when they found the BIG FUCKING GUN and those that always chose the chainsaw over the gun. The wonderful surprising joy I had with this film came from the fact that the writers for this film wrote the player ‘types’ into the game. From the novice to the veteran… they’re all here. As a result, I found the movie as amusing as casting actors and actresses as Talkbackers and as friends and family. Only, they really did it here.
These are stereotypes. Think of this kinda like TRON – only without ever showing the non-fantasy projection of the players at the keyboard. The “typical” fantasy projections. These characters don’t have families, children back home. They have all the history of an adolescent fantasy creation, meaning… when they’re not killing shit, hunting shit and blowing shit up – they’re on a never-ending search for pussy in the crudest most worthless misogynistic fashion. It’s hilarious that the one “girl” of the film is a character’s SISTER – whom every character kinda wants to fuck. You see – this isn’t just an adaptation of DOOM, it’s an adaptation of the culture of DOOM.
And that’s fucking fun. They didn’t over complicate things. Literally this film starts with the shit hitting the fan and the clean up squad being sent in. The loosest possible character histories are in place – and the actors aren’t playing it real – they’re playing it as an adolescent fantasy.
For Example… When The Rock finds a computer with a schematic of the BFG – it is as if 3 tabs of Viagra hit him and he began looking for the only thing that could get him off… a BIG FUCKING GUN. Later – when he actually gains access to that gun, it is the most amazingly hilariously awesome case of a gun boner that I’ve ever seen. You can just see in The Rock’s eyes and facial and body reaction his complete and utter pleasure at getting the BFG. And when he fires it, he’s delighted beyond words… and what it does… oh, see the movie you’ll see.
Essentially Wesley Strick and Dave Callaham have written a satire of McTiernan’s original PREDATOR. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t anywhere near that quality. That’s a brilliant work. This is merely very very fun. And while that film holds up under scrutiny – anyone that wishes to not go along with the goofy gamer fun of this film – well they’ll tear it to pieces like Massawyrm did. But ask yourself this, if you’re going to see DOOM, are you going to have fun or are you going to sit in judgment of art quality of this Video Game movie.
I was delighted that this movie was this fun. Just like when playing DOOM – there’s a point where someone on the team will just fucking go bug nuts crazy and the entire direction of the film changes. I like that I felt that shift. It played in all the same goofy dumb fun ways that I felt when being up in that room above Quackenbush’s taunting, shit-talking and blowing the fuck out of everything that moved. That’s what DOOM is supposed to be about, and while the monster quotient isn’t nearly high enough for the first half of the film, I like that build. The end result is a blast. They found a way to adapt many of the ludicrous things you could do in the game, including a “sort of” God Mode that just led to further absurdity.
Do not look for a serious endeavor. This has tons of gore, violence and mayhem. There’s wantonness at play here. You’ll see the chainsaw, the big fucking gun, big fucking monsters, head shots, decapitations, dismemberments, monster autopsy, accidental kills, panic attacks, cowardice, heroism and villainy when you least suspect it. Is it the great movie that DOOM lovers want? Not really, but it is a big fucking dumb fun film, and that’s all I was really looking for out of this one. It never surpasses any of the myriad of films it is borrowing from, and it is never quite as original as 7 friends chatting and acting like the retarded doofuses that we all turn into when playing these wonderfully fun kill crazy bits of entertainment.
If this review scares you, then don’t go. Drink a few beers and go to laugh at and with the film. Afterwards, you’ll probably go home and play HALO or whatever FPS you’re currently on. This is has the rather notorious honor of being the best VIDEO GAME movie till HALO or SILENT HILL… or maybe, giggle, BLOODRAYNE. LOL !!! I’m kidding.