I saw the film. Now I'm going to spoil it for anyone who hasn't.
I saw it in an almost empty cinema on the last day it was open. That was good. I'm glad I didn't miss its closing date, and of course I like empty cinemas. The fewer people around making me self conscious, the better.
On the other hand while waiting for it to start I pressed the light button on my watch. To my horror the resulting power drain pushed the battery over the edge and the display got all scrambled. This could really have ruined my day as my watch is 16 years old and I'd hate for something to happen to it. However after I got home I managed to get the back off - I'm surprised I had a screwdriver small enough - and found there was a reset button which put it right.
The reason I just wrote out that anecdote was that it was as relevant to the film as the plot of the film was relevant to the game.
No, no, that was a cheap joke. See the thing is I liked this film, unlike, as it would seem, nearly everyone else. The fact is I like terrible action / SF / fantasy / horror / whatever films. The more excessive gore, violence, swearing etc, the better.
Let's make a list of points I laughed at or otherwise found noteworthy
- Sarge's squad are all hilarious stereotypes. There's a religious guy who goes crazy, a colossal pervert, a rookie on his first mission, a comedy black guy, a tragic hero whose parents were killed on Mars 10 years ago... Sarge himself is a large foul-mouthed man with a tattoo of some Latin phrase I forgot the meaning of. He is given orders to neutralise a containment breach at a UAC corporation research facility on Mars, rescue some trapped scientists and retrieve data.
- They go to Mars via a teleporter called the Ark. I don't know why this is here other than it's basically a plot device. What it looks like, well, imagine Stargate SG1 and blowing bubbles. A stargate is what you get when you dip the ring in the soap, the ark is what you get when you blow through it.
- On Mars the marines are coordinated from a bunch of TV screens by a man with no legs whose name is Pinky. Pinky? What are we going to do tonight, Pinky? Same as we do every night, we're going to try to take over the world...
- The head scientist in the trapped UAC lab is called Carmack. One of his team is called Willets. Yes all right we get the reference (although I didn't know Carmack had a Van Gogh fixation)
- A lot of the film consisted of the marines creeping round wrecked laboratories and sewers and dark corridors and stuff. So just like Doom 3 then I guess! Well apart from the fact that the guns have lights on them!
- They are accompanied by the young and beautiful but forceful and confident leading lady, who is another UAC scientist assigned to do the data retrieval. It turns out she is tragic hero's twin sister. Indeed this is used to cause friction as she thinks he should be a scientist too like their parents raised them but he thinks she shouldn't be anywhere near Mars and blah blah blah.
- However, the fact that she's his sister means that there is NO ROMANTIC SUBPLOT. This is a very good thing and deserves its own bullet point. Okay the comedy black guy tries it on a bit but she's not having any of it.
- There is a "drugs are bad mmkay" scene and also the religious guy kicks a barrel down some stairs accidentally and says "Goddamnit" then cuts a cross into his arm with a big knife to punish himself for blasphemy
- Imps replicate by shooting their tongues into people's necks, it's just like Aliens! Well, sort of.
- I never thought you could use a computer monitor as a club! Come to think of it I've never seen a monitor with that long a cable before!
- The scene when Sarge finally gets hold of the BFG looks like it is straight out of the Doom Comic. Seriously he does everything except burst into tears.
- It turns out Carmack's lab was working on a recently discovered serum that either makes you invulnerable or turns you into a monster depending on whether you're basically good or evil. Imps can sniff out evil. As I'm sure you're aware, the game's plot is roughly "UAC's experiments in teleportation technology inadvertently open a portal to Hell". You could argue the film shouldn't be called "Doom", but "Evil Genetic Mutations Running Amok In Space" doesn't carry the appeal of the franchise
- It wouldn't be Doom without someone shooting the wall with a rocket launcher and getting badly injured. There's no rocket launcher in the film but our tragic hero does manage to injure himself this way.
- Sister then injects Carmack's Wonder Serum into tragic hero to cure him, despite the risk that he might turn into another imp. He doesn't though of course, instead he turns into the unstoppable killing machine that is The Doom Marine
- At that point the film switches to a first person viewpoint. Cheesy as this is, I really liked it. It came in at exactly the right point in the film. It features the death of Pinky, who has mutated into a demon, using a chainsaw.
- The climactic battle for our tragic hero turned supersoldier is basically a fistfight against Sarge, who has been infected and is beginning to turn into an imp. This was a letdown, it'd have been better if they'd turned The Rock into a giant monster like they did with him at the end of The Mummy Returns...
- The closing credits are again in first person mode, the names chased around dark corridors and shot by the viewer. But if you watch this sequence all the way to the end, you get to the exit door, only for it to jam and for you to die!
Nevertheless like I said I enjoyed Doom and embarrassing as you might think it is to admit I'm glad I went to see it. Just to confirm my monumental sadness I'll leave you with a few more references I spotted. Obviously most of the game references were to Doom 3 but there were a few from the original era...
- I already mentioned the Doom Comic reference when Sarge gets the BFG. However his use of the severed hand of a scientist to bypass the security restriction could well be from the Doom Bible, the original design document for Doom, written in 1992. Search for "hand" in section 7. I think its presence in the film might be a coincidence, I mean using severed limbs to bypass security is not uncommon (The Inquisitor episode of Red Dwarf, Demolition Man, etc.) but still.
- Sarge gets more and more obsessed with "containment" and "quarantine" which eventually results in his ordering the death of uninfected innocent civilians. The plot of Doom involves your being sent to Mars for assaulting a somewhat deranged superior officer who orders you to fire upon innocent civilians (see Section 2, "What is DOOM")
- Mutation via a potion isn't new to Doom, it is an idea used in the much maligned Doom novels. In these, zombies are created from humans with some kind of chemical that makes you smell like rotten lemons. A good way to troll Doomworld is to post a thread asking about the books, but I can't help but wonder, if the film's screenplay writers read them.