Remember how I was pretty vocally optimistic about the future of video games and film. Remember how I thought Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed had some major positive points that made me feel like there might be hope? What I didn’t tell you is that I actually quite enjoyed the new Tomb Raider film, thought it was alright. I started to feel like there was hope, a genuine upward swing, and hell, I even said as much in the comments of my Captain Marvel review.
Then my dear friend Mike sends me this:
Dear Mr Giglio, Regarding Your Upcoming Project:
I have some notes.
I get that Universal probably aren’t giving you the funding that a video game based film would demand to make it look slick and stylish, and while I will wave the flag for the miracles that can be performed on a low budget, I can see a lot of things that I shall dub “forgivable”. Consider this your free pass, and by all means pass these comments on to the money-people. Rubber-suit monsters for example, can be done well, can be done very well, and you’ve worked on the Resident Evil film franchise, you know what can be done, so need as I say that I am not optimistic for your rubber-suit?
Props wise I can see you spared no expense, but maybe didn’t have that much expense to spare? Is that a mop-bucket with a gun handle? Kudos to the prop department for working with what they had, and I suppose DOOM is not the most understated of games so sure, go nuts on the ridiculous firepower I suppose.
Now let’s have a chat with your marketing team, shall we?
It is still a game. Let me make that absolutely clear, and let me also say that gamers are clannish and passionate, so the phrase “It’s not a game anymore” as if that were something to embrace and be proud of, like we’re somehow stepping out of the kiddy pool? Not to come over all Technology-Kid (been watching American Gods lately, damn that’s getting good) but we are the new hotness, and while no media ever truly dies, none of them get to claim superiority over any other. We still read books, we still paint on the walls, and we’ll still watch films, but… look I’m ranting now. The short version, if your goal is to goad in the gaming audience, that is not the way. Quite the reverse.
And that’s not the only way I feel you’ve insulted our intelligence, and here Mr Giglio, I must start pointing fingers at you. The line “Die! Die! Die!” featuring so prominently… well that’s some pretty badly cliched “dialogue” for a start, but it does feel like a personal dig at the violent gamer stereotype. It wouldn’t, but in amongst the rest of this mess, and lines like “Move Out” and “What the fuck is going on?” being the lines that featured most heavily, the latter while nervous-science dude is being pinned violently against the wall by a jarhead military stereotype.
Ok, I get it, DOOM is an over the top ultraviolent murderfest, but that is no excuse to write your script by copying and pasting from the scripts of the worst 80’s action movies, and ok, this is a thirty second preview, maybe this is just the worst of it… but then why is it in your trailer? Are we to assume you’ve built your entire film out of the same tired schlock we’ve heard a thousand times? I can’t decide if the actors are badly delivering the content intentionally, or whether they simply couldn’t muster the passion.
This is one trailer. It is not fair to judge a film on a shred of evidence… but considering the purpose of that shred is to try and make people excited… it failed. I also feel as if Universal are determined to kill the notion of the video-game film once and for all in an effort to cling to an IP that wouldn’t make a good film in the first place. Yeah I said it, DOOM is not for the big screen, it’s all about the violent shower of blood and dead demons, that’s not a fun film experience, even Karl Urban and Dwayne Johnson can’t make it fun even while they’re enjoying themselves on screen, and they had an entire FPS sequence that was actually pretty funny, evoking some serious rail-shooter imagery and combining it with some cheesy as hell action. That noise was kind of funny back in 2005, games have moved on a bit since, and there are better titles to option for the big screen.
Something could be done with Half Life, hell I think at this point we’d even take Half Life 3 as a film, but we’re liking our grim dystopias at the moment. Could something be done with Monkey Island perhaps? It’s been long enough since Pirates of the Caribbean. Something, pick something with a strong and prevalent narrative, rather that one you had to root out of datalogues and audio files, but could ignore in favour of wholesale slaughter.
Ok, I think I’ve worn out all the anger thirty-seven seconds of footage could elicit. My apologies to anyone with talent currently working on this project, I hope you get something better soon. And congratulations Bethesda for washing your hands of this well ahead of time.
As a complete tangent, I wanted to have something on the subject of gameplay stereotypes, but I don’t think I could be more eloquent than the hasty notes I was taking on my initial watch: “Shoot the ‘splodey barrel for make asplosion!” So that’s what I’m sticking with.