Critique: ‘Doom’ (2005)

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Directory of World Cinema: American Hollywood 2, edited by Lincoln Geraghty, published by Intellect Books, 2015

Hollywood films adapted from video games tend to have one thing in common: the production teams for the film frequently claim to be trying to please fans of the source material, but they also implement their own changes for a variety of cultural and commercial reasons.

Like the source material, Doom features a pumped-up Space Marine Corps, an escalation of improbable weaponry and a war that is waged against evil forces on Mars after a research mission spectacularly backfires and nearly everyone involved has either died or become undead. However, whereas the games in the series focus on the contents of Hell pouring out in an unstoppable wave of motivated and murderous demons, the film blames a mystery virus which mutates individuals with an ‘evil’ soul.

The first Doom game thrived on propelling damned cannon fodder towards a single, unnamed protagonist who is charged with a Herculean journey into Hell to save the world (only to have him fail and set-up Doom II, where he then successfully repels the netherworldly invaders). In contrast, the film version of Doom allows for a standard action-horror style whittling down of an ensemble cast within a confined location until only a few characters are left standing.

This change in the pace and structure of the storyline is very much closer to the style of the videogame, Doom 3, which split critical opinion…


The full 800 word version of this review is published in Directory of World Cinema: American Hollywood 2, edited by Lincoln Geraghty, published by Intellect Books, 2015. 

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