Rip and Tear: How to Make the Stupid-Fun DOOM Film Everybody Wants
After two atrocious attempts by Hollywood filmmakers, it’s time for something different and the right ingredients are necessary.
By Jay Gervais
You probably already know my somewhat controversial thoughts on last year’s Doom: Annihilation, but to summarize it rather bluntly: it sucked. Some of the arguments in favor of this film were the fact it had keycards and other silly nods to the games, but so what? Don’t let Doom: Annihilation be the mountain you fight and die on. You should expect and demand something much better than that.
This thought begs the question, how can they right this ship and what could a great DOOM movie look like? A good place as any to start is to consult with the folks who have been developing these games since the series’ inception. We are, of course, talking about the creative people over at id Software. While staff at the company have come and gone over the years, the current team seems to be hitting all the right notes when it comes to its handling of the franchise.
Having watched various presentations featuring Hugo Martin and Marty Stratton, the directors behind 2016’s DOOM and the upcoming DOOM Eternal, these are two brilliant minds who understand the franchise and what makes it not only great, but fun too. And therein lies the one simple ingredient to a great DOOM film: fun. It’s not a movie that’s going to take it itself too seriously, because how could it?
DOOM is essentially about a “gives no fucks” angry badass who gradually acquires bigger guns on his journey through treacherous territory filled with equally-angry demons waiting to pummel his ass to death. Did you read that and manage to keep a straight face? It’s supposed to make you chuckle a bit inside, because it’s intended to sound stupid and absurd. Keeping this exact premise for a movie won’t help win it any accolades on any serious award circuit, and the project should probably stand alone as one feature, but fans would surely be thankful this ridiculous film ever happened at all.
As mentioned in an earlier discussion about Doom: Annihilation, taking the live action approach doesn’t seem to be working very well. DOOM games are full of big and rich environments, hence why it was suggested that a computer-animated approach would be beneficial to achieve a wider scope. You may have noticed how both of the previous movies scaled back on going big and trapped itself in a done-to-death haunted house style. How boring! Everything felt too aesthetically correct, and too familiar, which is so not what DOOM is supposed to be.
There are all sorts of insanities going on in the games, most of which don’t make any sense and aren’t supposed to either. Jumping through portals? A floating Fortress of Doom? I doubt anyone at id Software has some mastermind plan behind any of this, and creative meetings probably went something like: “How can we make the Doom Slayer faster and more powerful today?” with another designer shouting a wicked idea like, “Give him a huge sword with demonic inscriptions on it because why not?” See where this is going? A fatal mistake is getting too serious with something already so absurd, which both of those so-called DOOM movies are guilty of doing.
If the choice was in my hands to pick who should lead the charge on this potential film, it’d easily go with Hugo Martin and Marty Stratton. As mentioned earlier, they both just “get” and understand the product. They approach it as fans themselves, and manage to keep everything feeling like DOOM by cutting out the bullshit, such as inserting unnecessary dialogue and storylines when the player is really asking themselves, how can I swap this tiny peashooter for that big fucking gun currently held by that nasty demon? Somebody make this movie already. It’s a win-win scenario, all things considered.
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