So I was at the library today, and over in the DVD racks, they had Doom, the movie. With not a lot else to choose from, I grabbed it. The movie didn’t do well at the box office, and having now seen it, I know why.

Probably the most important factor is that it has the title, and not much else. In the original game, a teleportation experiment on the moons of Mars goes awry, opening a portal to Hell. Demons pour through, and Our Hero, the nameless Marine, defeats this veritable army with a variety of weapons in non-stop, pulse-pounding action.

The movie is set on Mars itself. Our Heroes (there are several, rather than just one), zip there after a distress call by going through a teleportation device called the Ark.

However, there are no demons, just some blood-soaked, buffed-up, corpse-zombies running around causing trouble. Much of the film is in dark or semi-dark areas where it’s hard to tell what is going on, even when weapons are being fired.

Scientific gibberish is mixed in, with blather about a “24th chromosome pair”, which somehow becomes a sort of virus. This was apparently the result of (dare I say it? Sure) “nasty covert genetic experiments”. I’ll also just mention in passing that there were once – haha – Martians on Mars.

The BFG makes a cameo appearance. Described delicately as “Bio Force Gun”, it is called by its rightful name by the Marine who grabs it. It is used just twice during the movie. Plasma rifles are nowhere to be seen.

There is one fight with a critter somewhat resembling the piggy demons, the Marine using a chainsaw to attack. Where did that saw come from? Why didn’t he just shoot the monster? Who knows? Maybe they threw this in as a sop to the players, the chainsaw being a popular weapon (right up there after the BFG).

It is difficult to say what market this film was aimed at. Doom players were certainly disappointed with the lack of traditional opponents, such as the imps and cacodemons. Also the lack of action; there is fighting, but I wouldn’t call it “non-stop” or “pulse-pounding”. More like “hide and seek”.

Special effects? Not many, and none of what’s there could be called “stand-out visuals”. So nothing here for the eye-candy crowd. For a shooter film, the mess was rather restrained, being mostly blood. Thus anyone looking forward to a “gore fest” was also disappointed.

Basically, the Doom movie was nothing more than a pedestrian semi-action film with a quasi-SF setting, trying to trade on a popular game title and falling flat on its face.

We know that there have been in the past – and more are coming in the future – other movies based on games. So far, none has really been popular, especially with the gaming crowd.

It’s not hard to see why: film makers are taking an interactive form of entertainment and turning it into a passive one. And what works in a game doesn’t work in a movie.

This is especially true of a FPS like Doom. The action is simply killing monsters before they kill you. An entire movie of that would be a bomb. Even with some more “content”, it doesn’t work.

Gamers want to do, not watch (or not for very long). Note the recent failure of the World Series Of Video Games. Non-gamers were uninterested, and gamers would rather be playing than watching.

Yet the movies keep coming. The film industry hasn’t learned its lesson yet. Maybe, after a few more flops, they will go back to making real pictures instead of trying to put out schlock products with a “famous game brand”. We can only hope.