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HD-DVD Review: Doom (2005)

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“In the year 2026 archaeologists working in the Nevada desert discovered a portal to an ancient city on Mars. They call this portal the Ark. Twenty years later, we’re still struggling to understand why it was built and what happened to the civilization that built it.”

[ADBLOCKHERE]Based on one of the most respected video game franchises, Doom is the story of a bunch of marines who go to Mars to fight the unknown. When the team arrives they find that something is lurking in the shadows and killing along the way. Sarge (The Rock) leads his Rapid Response Tactical Squad and instructs them to quarantine the area and not allow anything to leave the planet with them. When John “Reaper” Grimm (Karl Urban) finds his sister Samantha (Rosamund Pike), a scientist on the planet; he tries to protect her and figure out what they are fighting.

Considering the plot of the video game is go to Mars and shoot stuff, the film was surprisingly fun. While most movies inspired by video games suck (especially those directed by Uwe Boll), Doom stands out above mostly because at its core the movie is a good mindless shoot ‘em up action flick. One scene that is particularly cool pays homage to the video game; the camera reverts to a first-person perspective and follows Reaper throughout the compound.

The Rock in DoomThe resolution was definitely High Definition. The close-ups of Sarge provide a revealing look at The Rock’s face and left me wondering “does he wear makeup?” Other than well-lit close-ups, the film is draped in black much like the video game and does not prove to be a great choice for the HD-DVD format. The sound on the other hand was well above average. Anyone who played Doom 4 the video game might be familiar with the creepy ambiance that the setting provides. Sometimes hearing the creepiest sounds coming from my rear speakers, I had to remind myself that this is just a movie and all I had to do was click my heels and… nevermind.

Doom has gotten butchered by many critics from a film standpoint. In all fairness, I do have to say that if you compare Doom to other films like it, mindless shoot ‘em up action flicks, this movie stands up pretty well. This is definitely a movie to pop in when your buddies are over and you are looking for some mindless entertainment.

[Editor’s Note: The film grade is gauged against any film while the Picture and Audio grades are gauged against other HD-DVDs. HD-DVD Value refers to whether or not the film is worth re-purchasing or re-watching in this new format.]

The Upside:
Fun at times, cool “first person shooter” scene.
The Downside:
Just another “video game turned into a movie” movie.
On The Side:
The first-person shooter (FPS) sequence took about 14 days to shoot.

Breaking Down the DVD:
The Film: D+
The Picture: C
The Audio: B+
HD-DVD Value: B-

HD-DVD Stats:
Release Date: April 25th, 2006
Starring: Karl Urban, The Rock, Rosamund Pike
Directed by: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Writing Credits: Dave Callaham, Wesley Strick
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital, DTS
MPAA: Rated R for strong violence/gore and language.
Country: USA
Run Time: 113 min.
Studio: Universal (official site)
Watch the Trailer Here

By Brian Gibson, Associate Editor for Film School Rejects.

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