Universal's DOOM: ANNIHILATION is Doing the Franchise a Disservice, But Can They Right the Ship?
The negative reaction surrounding the film's trailer should serve as an indication of what fans don’t want to see.
By Jay Gervais
Let’s make a plausible prediction and just call out DOOM: ANNIHILATION for what it is: another disappointing stinker for Universal and its DOOM film series. As you may recall, we recently reported on the revealing of the title of the film, the synopsis, and the first official images. Soon thereafter, the first trailer for the film was released. Based on the overall reception we reviewed, fans of the series are not very impressed or even excited about DOOM: ANNIHILATION.
Seriously, why does this film even need to exist other than Universal trying to capitalize on the upcoming DOOM Eternal? While there is no confirmed release date for DOOM Eternal, we’re sure to get a better idea of when the game is dropping either at E3 in June or QuakeCon the following month, at the latest. Either way, a 2019 release is seemingly the most likely scenario, especially when you consider that Mick Gordon, the man behind the music for DOOM Eternal, has begun work on the soundtrack this month.
Considering DOOM: ANNIHILATION is a direct-to-home video release, we should probably lower our expectations and give it a fair shake, but come on. Let’s just have a look at the premise of the film, which is basically about a group of UAC space marines responding to a distress call on a Martian moon and are there to rescue some unfortunate souls located in a research base. When they get there, the place is overrun with lab coat zombies – ahem, demonic creatures who threaten to bring Hell on Earth. Sounds a bit like the 2005 movie, doesn’t it?
In that film, a security breach at a Mars science facility causes a group of space marines to be sent to investigate what's going on. To quickly summarize the remainder of the film, of which there isn’t much more to talk about, we learn an outbreak occurred after some UAC experiments went haywire, causing humans in the facility to be infected and mutate into grotesque creatures. Following a really cool but now embarrassingly out-of-date first-person shooter scene, Reaper (Karl Urban) and an infected Sarge (Dwayne Johnson) duke it out. Reaper gets the upper hand and manages to escape the facility before it’s destroyed along with Sarge.
As for DOOM: ANNIHILATION, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if this film takes a similar approach to its story. One thing is for sure, which is that it doesn’t seem to be honoring the DOOM legacy in any meaningful way. Are we seriously getting another movie about space marines heading off to a doomed facility and inevitably into a hellish mess? This formula has been done a dozen times over and much more successfully by films like Aliens and Starship Troopers.
Perhaps it’s just not working out for these DOOM movies due to the over-the-top nature of the video game series these films take their inspiration from? The 2016 video game, DOOM, featured highly-detailed environments, such as the cold aesthetics of the UAC facility and the nightmare-inducing imagery of Hell itself. The Doom Slayer, our cut-to-the-chase character we assume in the game, carries out insane acts of violence as all hell breaks loose. Armed with some really big and outrageous guns, the Doom Slayer spends the entire game ripping and tearing through demons as he attempts to track and stop Samuel Hayden, who uses him to locate an artifact that controls an energy source.
With that said, when you aim to make a serious DOOM movie and expect to come out on top, this is where things go wrong. So, then, when exactly has it gone right? We need to go back to 1996 with the hilarious and awesome Doom comic book by Michael "Splatter" Stewart, Steve "Body Bag" Behling, Tom "Gallows" Grindbeg, and Edd "Dead" Fear. It takes the already paper-thin premise of the original 1993 video game and hits a serious home run. This comic is seriously ridiculous, but we’ll let you be your own judge. If you’re curious about this comic book, have a look here.
Perhaps what we need is an animated series like Castlevania, or CGI-films similar to what the Resident Evil series did with Resident Evil: Degeneration and Resident Evil: Vendetta? How do you think the DOOM series should venture away from its primary source as a video game? Things clearly don’t seem to be working out very well in its current state and this awful-looking DOOM: ANNIHILATION movie.
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on any of our social media accounts. Stay tuned to Dead Entertainment for everything DOOM!