Doom is a motion picture adaptation of the popular video game series. It was released on October 21, 2005 in North America and December 2, 2005 in the United Kingdom. The DVD was released on February 7, 2006, and a Blu-Ray edition followed on February 10, 2009.
The film is closer in style to the horror game Doom 3 rather than the original action games, Doom and Doom II: Hell on Earth. It is likely that the success of Doom 3 played a part in prompting the eventual production of the film. The film's design also featured the involvement of id Software, helping to ensure authenticity.
In a September 2005 interview, executive producer John Wells suggested that a second Doom movie could be created if the first was a box office success. The film's production budget was $70 million. It received mostly poor reviews, eventually settling at 20% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, and grossed only $28 million domestically at the box office.
A follow-up production was announced in late April 2018 and has since been revealed as Doom: Annihilation in March 2019. However, it has been confirmed that Annihilation is not a sequel to this Doom movie and instead takes place in its own continuity.
The Olduvai Research Facility on Mars has been shut down and placed under quarantine, for reasons that are unclear but ominous. No one is allowed in or out except the Rapid Response Tactical Squad, a heavily armed marine special forces unit dispatched to handle the problem. The RRTS are lead by the cool, calm, and collected Sarge, with John "Reaper" Grimm serving as his second-in-command. Reaper has a special interest in this mission; his sister, Dr. Samantha Grimm, is one of the research scientists on Olduvai. The team travels to Mars through a wormhole originally discovered by the Olduvai workers, named the Ark. They are greeted by a technician named Marcus "Pinky" Pinzerowski, who informs them that when emergency alarms were tripped, the Ark was sealed off from the rest of the base, in order to make sure the teleporter was not compromised.
Upon entering the quarantined area, the marines discover members of the science team who have changed into hostile zombie-like monsters. Some of them have mutated even further, becoming creatures resembling imps. Although the creatures attempt to infect some of the remaining humans, others are killed outright. After several marines are killed, Sarge demands to know more about the research being conducted at the station. Samantha eventually reluctantly explains.
Excavations at an archaeological site have revealed the remains of an ancient Martian race. Although more or less human, they were technologically advanced, and apparently performed research into genetic manipulation. The result was an artificial 24th chromosome, which integrates itself with the subject's existing DNA. The purpose of the new chromosome was to transform individuals into superhumans, with enhanced strength, agility, and endurance. The Olduvai scientists experimented with the chromosome, injecting it into convicted murderers. However, instead of becoming superhuman, the test subjects transformed into hideous monsters, and the scientists lost control of the facility.
Samantha has come to the conclusion that what the chromosome does to a person depends on whether or not that person has certain tendencies; essentially coming down to whether they are inherently "good" or "evil"; good people become superhuman, as planned, but evil people become mindlessly violent monsters, who instinctively "infect" other evil people with the chromosome and murder good people. It was an outbreak of the monsters that ultimately lead to the destruction of the Martian civilization thousands of years ago. When the marines fail to protect the wormhole, they must pursue the monsters back to the underground UAC facility on Earth, and find it overrun.
Sarge decides that they must kill every last human on the base, as they could be infected by the disease, and it must be contained, at any cost. The squad is unaware, however, that Sarge himself has already been infected. When The Kid, the team rookie, refuses to kill a group of women and children who have survived and are obviously not infected, Sarge casually murders him. One by one, members of the RRTS are killed by infected humans. Sarge is dragged away while Reaper and Samantha escape.
Reaper is seriously injured by a ricocheting bullet and Samantha is forced to inject him with the 24th chromosome, knowing that her brother is inherently good and that the superhuman abilities it brings will heal his wounds. He awakens to find himself alone, and after battling various monsters (including a mutated Pinky, who has, appropriately enough, become a Pinky demon), meets with Sarge, who is beginning to transform. The two fight hand-to-hand, and Reaper defeats Sarge by throwing him through the Ark - followed by a grenade. Sarge is killed, the portal is destroyed, and the research into the 24th chromosome is trapped on Mars where no one will ever be able to use it for evil. The film ends with Reaper, carrying an unconscious Samantha, riding the elevator from the Ark facility to the surface.
The film stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Sarge, Karl Urban as John "Reaper" Grimm (the film's version of Doom's protagonist), and Rosamund Pike as Samantha Grimm, John's estranged sister, who is a scientist at the UAC facility. Other characters include Portman, Goat, Duke, Destroyer, Mac, and The Kid, who are other marines, and Pinky, another UAC employee.
The Doom movie was criticized on a number of points by most people who had played or were otherwise familiar with the games. Many objections had to do with the plethora of differences between the film and the games:
- The origin of the "demons" is no longer Hell, but rather genetic experiments. The creatures are all former humans, although some have mutated into monster shapes. Many fans thought this was a cop-out and turned the film into "just another zombie movie", although the most likely reason would probably due to budget constraints. Some pre-release publicity was quite vague on exactly this issue (see the Ain't It Cool News interviews linked below).
- Iconic weaponry such as the BFG9000, chaingun, and chainsaw are not used much. The BFG fires only three shots (one of which is off-camera and none of which are depicted impacting creatures), the chaingun fires for about 10 seconds total, and the chainsaw is only used for one scene. A shotgun is only fired three times, and what appears to be a plasma rifle is never fired. The explosion of a BFG projectile also appears more like a giant ball of corrosive mucus, rather than a massive green energy burst as in the games.
- The monsters themselves are inaccurate and/or sparse — it was expected the zombies would be carrying guns, the imps and Hell knights would throw balls of energy, and that the other monsters in the game would appear. Instead, the monsters only attack close-up, the zombies act like ordinary horror movie zombies, almost entirely human and unarmed, and the imp lacks its signature fireballs, though it can stab a parasite into a human being using a detachable tongue, which infects them with the 24th chromosome. A very large, muscular monster, referred to in the credits as the Hell Knight, makes an appearance, though it lacks any special abilities whatsoever and is instead simply very, very strong and resistant to injury. Much to the disappointment of fans, many famous Doom monsters do not make an appearance at all. Perhaps the most noticeable absences are those of the cyberdemon and spiderdemon. Conversely, the sole demon in the movie appears almost identical to the version of the monster from Doom 3, save for having wheels instead of cybernetic rear legs.
- The first-person sequence is only five minutes long, despite the original prediction of 3/4 of the movie being first-person. (A longer cut is included as a bonus feature on the DVD.)
- In general, the film failed to capture either the tense, scary, and foreboding atmosphere of Doom 3 (which the movie most closely resembles) or the constant run-and-gun action of the original game.
In addition, the idea of whether a test subject becomes a monster (like Sarge) or evolves to a superhuman being (like Reaper) depends on whether he or she is genetically "good" or "evil", has been criticized as unreasonable (especially considering the fact that virtually everyone else was transformed into a monster). However, the actual existence of a soul does hint at the possibility of Hell's existence. Ryan Davis of Giant Bomb commented in a review of the film that the idea of good or evil genetics is no less "silly" than the idea of a demonic invasion of Mars, making it unclear what exactly the writers intended to accomplish.
It is believed that all of these points contributed to the film's box-office failure and its rejection by fans.
A movie based on the series has been widely expected since the original game's publication in 1993. In 1994 or 1995, id Software sold Doom's movie rights to two studios, reportedly Universal Pictures and Columbia Pictures, but the rights expired (apparently due to a lack of timely production). In 2002, it was reported that Warner Brothers had acquired the rights, which were subsequently lost and then given to Universal Pictures in 2003. Universal moved the film into production in 2004.
Details known before release
- id Software was heavily involved in the movie's production and development from the start. They reviewed the script that was used in the movie and approved it.
- One of the weapons included in the movie is the BFG 9000, referred to as the "Bio Force Gun v3.14", although Sarge says "that's a big fucking gun" (the true meaning of the acronym) when he sees the gun.
- The Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC) from the games is also featured in the film.
- Certain monsters from the series are included, such as a Hell knight, imps, zombies, and a demon.
- The film contains much gore, violence, and harsh language, and has been rated R in the US and 15 in the UK.
- An action scene between Reaper's injection and his fight with Sarge is filmed in a "helmet-cam" style (such as might be integrated in advanced infantry armor), nearly identical to a player's perspective in a first-person shooter.
- A theatrical trailer (1:57 in length) was released by Universal Pictures, and is available on the film's web site. It reveals that Olduvai Station is a UAC research facility located on Mars.
- It has been reported, via the IMDb Pro forum for the Doom movie, that Universal Pictures gives the movie's running time as 98 minutes.
- November 27, 2003: Computer Gaming World stated that Warner Brothers is indeed working on the Doom movie and has placed it on the fast track. A revised script was submitted to id Software and approved; John Wells (producer of ER) and Lorenzo Bonaventura (who introduced The Matrix to Warner Brothers) had signed on to the project. Concept art and storyboards have been delivered by Federico D'Alessandro, who has worked on various movies, music videos, and video game covers and advertisements.
- May 15, 2004: The Associated Press, in an article regarding film adaptations of video games, mentioned that "[s]oon, more blockbuster game franchises, such as Halo and Doom, are expected to become the basis of movies."
- June 2, 2004: Variety reported that Warner Brothers has lost the rights to the Doom movie and Universal Studios has acquired them. Variety confirms that the Doom movie will be based on Doom 3.
- June 4, 2004: IMDb Pro reported that Warner Brothers has lost the rights to the Doom movie and that Universal Studios has picked them up. Also, Enda McCallion has been signed as the film's director.
- August 9, 2004: A Doom 3 article in an issue of Time magazine mentioned that Universal is set to film the Doom movie in Prague in the winter of 2004-2005.
- August 10, 2004: The Hollywood Reporter stated that Doom will have a wide release on August 5th, 2005.
- August 15, 2004: The Hollywood Reporter reported that John Wells Productions is currently in pre-production for the Doom movie.
- August 18, 2004: The Box Office Prophets website listed the release date as August 5, 2005. Their article also confirmed that Universal has Doom on a production schedule of "Winter 2004-2005" in Prague's Barrandov Studios.
- September 15, 2004: Variety and The Hollywood Reporter reported that Karl Urban has been cast as the star, John Grimm, the leader of a special forces team. Enda McCallion dropped out of the project and Polish director Andrzej Bartkowiak signed on to be the director. Production was set to start in mid-October with an August 5, 2005 release date. Universal Pictures was reportedly talking to Dwayne Johnson regarding a role in the Doom movie.
- September 22, 2004: The Hollywood Reporter reported that Universal Pictures has cast Rosamund Pike as a scientist named Samantha.
- Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
- Producers: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Laura Holstein, John D. Schofield, Jeremy Steckler, John Wells (executive producer), id Software
- Writers: Dave Callaham, Wesley Strick
- Music: Clint Mansell
- Cinematographer: Tony Pierce-Roberts
- Editor: Derek Brechin
The film's score was composed by Clint Mansell. A remix of the Nine Inch Nails song "You Know What You Are?" appears at the beginning of the first person shooter ending credits. "Switchback" by Celldweller was used in the trailer.
The Doom Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released the same day as the film.
- The characters Dr. Carmack and Dr. Willits are named after John Carmack and Tim Willits of id Software.
- Pinky's character is named after the very monster into which he later transforms. The demon in both classic Doom and Doom 3 is nicknamed "Pinky" or "Pinky demon."
- Unlike in the games, the movie features a Hell knight wielding a chainsaw. This is likely to compensate for the Hell knight losing its signature ability to throw balls of energy.
- The unrated "extended edition" DVD has a running time of 1 hour 53 minutes, which adds 15 minutes of footage that was removed for the original release.
- If the DVD of the initial release of Doom is inserted into an original Xbox, it allows the user to play a demo of the Xbox version of Doom 3.
- In the original screenplay, there were a number of demon-like creatures including the "Spider Skullington" (likely a reference to either the spiderdemon or the trite), a cacodemon, a variant of the arch-vile that had additional spider-like limbs, and "an obscene female demon". It was likely that these monsters were cut from the movie's production due to budget constraints.
- This article incorporates text from the open-content Wikipedia online encyclopedia article Doom (film).
- Bartkowiak, Andrzej (Director). Doom (Unrated Extended Edition) [DVD]. USA: Universal Studios, 2005.
- IMDb page
- Rotten Tomatoes page
- Hollywood's Interest in Video Games Grows (Associated Press article of May 16, 2004; archived at KOTV.com)
- IMDb Pro article about the Doom movie (requires registration)
- Doom The Doom movie at Box Office Prophets
- "Doom's day for Pike with Universal Pics" at hollywoodreporter.com (requires registration)
- Official site
- Movie trailer at IGN.com
- A report from Comic-Con with information from a panel of the cast and crew, from Ain't It Cool News
- An interview with Karl Urban, from Ain't It Cool News
- Recent Interview with John Wells