February 6, 2006

DVD Review: Doom

Cheesy dialogue, bad acting, and plenty of action are the order of the day in Doom. For some reason I enjoyed the heck out of it. I am not sure I can defend that position, but the movie is a lot of fun.

Doom opens with people running and screaming, fleeing from some unseen creature. The man in the lead makes his way into a room and frantically tries to close the door behind him, even as a woman is crying out to him. The door closes just as she reaches it, her arm gets caught in the door. That is followed by screams and the caught part of her arm falling to the ground, severed from the rest of its body.

That opening incident triggers a lockdown and a call out to the only men that can handle the job, the Marines, more specifically, the RRTS. The RRTS is a specialized team of commandos, led by Sarge (The Rock). They are sent to the facility on Mars in order to seek out and destroy the disturbance.

As people start dying, it is learned that there was genetic research going on in the facility. The research led to a mutation, and the mutation led to this outbreak that the team is looking to stop. There are brief moments of exposition, just enough to link the action sequences. The mutation eventually makes it to the team which leads to a ....... No more, see it for yourself, it actually is a fun little twist that I was not expecting.

Doom is a slick package, it has the feel of an A list film with the look of a B list film. Something tells me that the goal was to make a fun adrenaline pumping action film rather a piece of high art. It was made to appeal to fans of films like Resident Evil, and also to gamers. Sadly, it didn't really succeed at either, particularly gamers. The movie, while fun, does not channel enough of what made the games so popular.

There are a couple of real fun and cheesy lines strewn throughout, with my favorite probably being "I'm not supposed to die!" The placement of the line and it's meaning to a fan of these types of movies makes it humorous and not the throwaway it seems to be on the surface.

My favorite part of the film would have to be the first person sequence, which is peaked in the trailer. The full 5 minute segment is included in this unrated cut of the film. It is well staged and does a decent job of evoking memories of what it was like playing the games. It is long enough to get in some good action, yet short enough so as not to overstay its welcome.

I could not identify all the changes in this cut, but there are a few. First we find the rest of the woman whose hand was cut off at the beginning. Another features an infectee eating a mouse which is extended from the film. Lastly, the first person sequence is longer. I believe there is a bit more gore footage and other lengthened scenes, but nothing that I could state specifically.

Video. This disk was a watermarked screener, therefore it is not the same quality as the final product. The transfer looks very dark to these eyes, which I hope is a result of the watermarking. The image is presented in its OAR of 2.35:1 and is, of course, anamorphically enhanced.

Audio. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, sorry no DTS (probably would have sounded nice). The Dolby track sounds very good, with the creature noises, gunshots, and pulsing rock score. Turn it up and give your speakers a workout!

Extras. There is a decent amount of features included.
-Basic Training: Runs for about 10 minutes and chronicles the training they went through to handle the weapons and general military training with ex-special forces Tom McAdams. This was pretty interesting.
-Rock Formation: This is a brief look at Rock's makeup. We see the design and application. This isn't too bad, but not really any different from makeup featurettes on other films. This runs about 5 and a half minutes.
-Master Monster Makers: Takes you behind the scenes with Stan Winston's effects team and their work creating and making the creatures.
-First Person Shooter Sequence: This was a part of the movie that I was a little leery of, and pleasantly surprised at the effectiveness. The featurette runs near 6 minutes and takes a look at the planning that went into this complex set piece. It is followed by the complete 5 minute sequence.
-Doom Nation: This is a brief look at the history of doom. It runs about 8 minutes and chronicles the rise and popularity of the Doom games. It is interesting to see the impact that the game had on the industry.
-Game On!: Here, a fan of the game offers some game play tips while you watch some game play video from the game. This runs about 6 minutes.
-Doom 3 XBox Demo: Don't have an Xbox, but if you do you can play the first level of Doom 3.

Bottomline. This is a far from perfect movie, yet I found myself entertained by the bloody cheese being thrown at the screen. This is a strictly B level movie, so if you are looking for some sci-fi schlock, look no further.

Mildly Recommended. ** / *****


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