Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Doom and Doomer

I made the mistake of watching Doom last night, the movie based on the video game... And ye gods, was it awful. I mean, ever since I saw the trailer last year, I was expecting the worst, and still my expectations of badness were exceeded.

Which is not to say there weren't some good ideas buried beneath all the schlock. I appreciate that the screenwriters actually tried to do something interesting with the story, and that The Rock was willing to tweak his macho screen persona in the service of a few plot twists--but none of those evanescent gleams of creativity was enough to salvage the experience.

To add insult to injury, the FPS sequence was an absolute joke. It was embarrassing to watch. I've seen better sequences, with more tension, in amusement park rides--in Looney Tunes, for crying out loud!

And then the third act turns into a bad kung fu movie. I'm not even kidding. Just stay away.

Ever since Aliens, people have been ripping off James Cameron's kick-ass Space Marines in movies, TV, and video games--including, whaddyaknow, DOOM. It's pretty clear that the filmmakers here didn't understand anything about the game and why it became such a phenomenon. It wasn't about team tactics or technobabble; it was about you, the player, fighting off hordes of inexplicable monsters all by yourself. Alone, with limited weapons and resources, while dodging demons that throw fucking fireballs at you.

The movie attempts to recreate some of that ducking-through-the-corridors suspense, but it's just not the same when you've got teams of two men moving in cover formation. And heavy metal. Did I mention the annoying heavy metal music, which is no substitute for the actual adrenaline rush of surprise?

We shall speak of this no more. Some good movies I've seen lately:

The Holiday - fluffy, inoffensive, enjoyably sentimental. Kate Winslet and Jack Black make a cute couple, and apparently Eli Wallach is now the go-to guy for Hollywood nostalgia.

Stranger Than Fiction - offbeat and friendly. Loved Emma Thompson, and was pleasantly surprised by Will Ferrell's restraint. Not as remarkably mind-blowing as Being John Malkovich or even Adaptation, but arresting on a different level.

Casino Royale - as everyone says: liked Daniel Craig, thought the film was a bit long--especially what my wife called the "Harlequin romance" sequence in the middle. And Eva Green's character, so promising when introduced, fizzles at the end.

And on DVD:

Crash - good? Yes. Best Picture? Shrug.

The Break-Up - which I rented only because there's a cappella in it (including ex-Bob Gunnar Madsen and members of Chicago group Vocal Chaos). Otherwise, nothing special.

House of Games - David Mamet's directorial debut. Good stuff, but I saw through the con from a mile away, and the dialogue was more stilted than usual--yes, even for him.

D and I will do our traditional day-at-the-movies over the Xmas break, but first, we've still got the second season of House to finish off...

~CKL
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