The first few details have emerged about Doom: the Movie, "loosely" based, of course, on the iconic first person shooter game of the early Nineties. Dark Horizons has ten photos from the film, due for release on 21st October in the US, and a week later in Blighty.

The film stars WWE wrestling star-turned-actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Sarge, and there are a handful of other actors you may recognise from recent films. New Zealander Karl Urban (The Bourne Supremacy, Chronicles of Riddick, Lord of the Rings) plays the lead character of John Grimm, Bond-totty Rosamund Pike plays "Samantha", and North London's own Dexter Fletcher (Lock Stock, Band of Brother, Deadwood, Layer Cake) will play "Pinky".

The film will be Andrzej Bartkowiak's fourth as director, having previously directed Jet Li in Romeo Must Die and Cradle 2 the Grave, and Steven Seagal in Exit Wounds. If that doesn't sound like much of a resume, Bartkowiak's record as a Cinematographer has somewhat greater credibility. Thirty two films, from Terms of Endearment in 1983, the Michael Douglas classic Falling Down, and a string of Nineties action flicks: Speed, Species, US Marshals and Lethal Weapon 4.

Of more concern is this the fact that for the credited writer, Dave Callaham, Doom will be his first feature film. Already, there is a petition of some 1700 fans concerned about key changes to the established Doom Universe. While the film follows the basic plot of the game - an invasion of an off-world military installation, the location is not Mars, Deimos, or Phobos but "Olduvai". Sadly, the film is due out in three months, so it would seem the protests have fallen on deaf ears.

It will be interesting to see the Box Office results for the movie come opening weekend. Universal and Warner Bros are gambling US$70 million on what promises to be a CG-enhanced action-fest. Yet will gamers leave their lairs to go and see it? Ignoring those who will download it illegally anyway, it is hard to imagine gamers getting excited about this film.

How do you conjour a story from a computer game that essentially didn't have one? Mowing down entire rooms of imps was fun in 1994, but translating "find key - open door - kill everything" gameplay into a 90 minute feature film will be challenging. Which is where the sleight of hand with the folklore comes in.

It is a little-known fact outside Hollywood that some six out of every 10 movies actually make a loss; was this project doomed from the start? Have your say in our News Discussion forum.

UPDATE: there might just be glimmer of hope for the Doom movie. Gamecloud has posted some observations from the San Diego Comic-Con, where a discussion panel was held. Here is a snippet:

"Both The Rock and Karl Urban were fans of the original Doom game before signing on to play the roles of space marines Sarge and John, respectively. The Rock said he got to use the classic weapons like the BFG in the movie and he, Urban and the other members of the space marine cast got real military training from an [ex-army] member to make sure that they worked together like a real special forces team would. All of the panel members mentioned that they were displeased that other movie adaptations of games strayed so far from the original material and while the Doom movie does have plot and character elements that the game does not have it still will be very close to how the game looks and plays. The Rock said that he saw a version of the movie a few days ago and in his words 'It really kicks ass'."
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October 14 2021 | 15:04