This is a weird opinion to have because a) I don’t play first person shooters, and b) I don’t watch films above the 13/14 rating range, depending on where one lives, but I kind of like the movie Doom. I ran across it and watched it because Karl Urban and sci fi, and I actually like it pretty well. I recognise that I’ve never even seen a let’s play for Doom, and so I come from a different place. Also, I came at it with feminism and philosophy in my metaphorical backpack.
I say feminism because Doom is possibly a secret feminist commentary on what it means to be a woman amongst men. The scene that really brought this to my attention was when the scientist Sam is alone in a room with a giant angry man who advancing on her. There’s no overt sexual threat, the character Sarge is looking her in the eye and his hands are to himself. But the cuts between angry Rock face and actual woodland creature scientist face is almost too informed - and possibly informative - to be on accident. Considering the fact videogames, especially first person shooters, have been ‘considered’ (most geek girl will know what I mean) a male heavy genre the subtle message that attacking, and even threatening women is a mark of something that has the potential to turn you into a monster is powerful to me. And I like that it was done in a way that was better written then the rapist is killed like a performance sacrifice.
The fact that ‘the girl’ feels real, isn’t sexualised in a way that is super common in sci fi, is really nice. And to support my theme of feminism that is possibly in my head, or just so well written its not performed like a school play. It is the female doctor who makes the realisation that the monsters are men, that the doctor who got his female associate killed turned into a monster (also what was with the tongue thing that guy did?), that not all men were infected. That individuals like Destroyer who took care of Duke had the potential to turn superhuman. That the most important relationship she has in the movie is with her brother and that her relationship with her ‘love interest’ is more bantery than anything.
Which leads me to my second point, although on a second note, I’ve read a lot of complaint about the good and evil part of the plot. But I both really like that part of the story line and don’t think it’s about being good or evil. The conversation between Reaper and Sam is more along the lines of, if you have the potential for psychosis the thing make you have psychosis. That I think is far more subtle and far more enjoyable. I will lift as example one Sarge. At the beginning of the movie Sarge is nurturing, he is kind, he is thoughtful, a good leader. He follows protocol. Even later in the movie when he goes around killing everybody from a cold logical perspective what he’s doing makes sense. There is a dark bleeding heroism is choosing to be a villain to save the world.
But the solution isn’t attracted to evil people. It’s attracted to people with potential for psychosis and violence, those two things are not the same. It’s more comfortable to call it the same because then we wouldn’t have to worry about turning into a monster. In other words, the crux of why I honestly enjoyed the movie, is no one knew if they got the magic formula where they would fall. Monster or superhuman (also props on calling them superhumans and not super men). Anybody had the potential to be either. That part of the genome hadn’t been mapped out. It’s interesting then that while Sam who had faith in her brother connected the solution with brain chemistry and her brother wanted to 1) destroy the solution, 2) connected it with evil, and 3) thought he would turn into a monster because of what he’d done in the past.
I understand why its more comfortable to think about it as magic soul potion, but I think its far more intriguing to consider its a movie about the fear of humans’ to lose what makes them human. Be that beauty, good, sense, or whatever other name one wants to call it. I’m usually the last to call too much Judeo-Christian interpretation, especially considering all the in movie religious references, but I think in this case the movie is more about the very human fear of what we can become. That the necessity of the situation will turn us into Soldiers (all I need is soldiers). That some of us create and nurture and others of us have it in us to be soldiers and we don’t get to know which.