Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Doom Movies Will Always Stink

Remember how Doom was about scientists on Mars accidentally opening a portal to Hell, and a lone marine beating back the hoard of demons and eventually taking the battle into Hell?

Remember how the movie stripped out Mars* and the demons and the lone marine, so it was a bunch of soldiers fighting...something on a space station?

I’m not saying that the story of Doom is Hamlet. It's schlocky B-movie sci-fi horror. In other words, the story is cool and fun and part of what made the game so popular. I've never understood why films so often strip out core elements of the source material.

Now there’s word of a Doom movie “reboot.”

Who knows if they'll address the story issues—the script has not been written. But that’s not why they’re rebooting it. It’s because of 3D. That and the fact that people recognize the title.

Oy.

The story of Doom was told quite well in Doom 3. Ironically, it had more gameplay problems than its comparatively primitive predecessors. But it had sweet graphics, and it fleshed out the ludicrous premise in a way that made it seem real, tragic, and terrifying. Well, kind of real.

Do we really want a repeat of this?
I’m learning to accept that some stories can be told well enough in video game form that I don’t need to see millions spent to make them into live-action disappointments on the big screen. Graphics keep getting better, and so does the writing talent. Mostly.

Don’t forget—games are games. They contain long stretches of repetitive actions, sometimes just walking around, sometimes fighting. In other words, the gameplay, which is often the only reason the story exists. These elements rarely translate well to film.

The Doom film featured a "first-person" sequence with the gun at the bottom of the screen blasting away at enemies, just like in the game. It's meant as an homage, but I get douche chills every time I see it.

The story's been told well in the games, and it won't make it to another film intact. Leave Doom alone!

* Later reinstated.

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