A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the movie -- based on a first-person-shooter video game -- includes loads of shooting, which leads to frequent bloody wounds, dismemberments, and explosions. The marines curse repeatedly (they're especially fond of the f-word and "hell"), the monsters roar, attack, and generally look ugly. One marine anticipates going on leave, where he will have sex with "she-males." When a young marine takes a drug, a veteran rebukes him for being irresponsible. Monsters are dispatched horrifically. One marine is beheaded, another slammed against walls and ceiling, and still another turns into a monster and kills himself (being Christian, he crosses himself first) by slamming his head into an unbreakable window. One character in a wheelchair is missing his lower body, explained as the result of a molecular transportation accident.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A group of Marines, led by Sarge (The Rock), are sent to Mars to investigate a containment breach: an archeological research facility has lost scientists and data. The scientists have run into the fallout from a gone-wrong experiment conducted by a previous crew on this now "dead planet," namely, super-strong, super-mean genetic mutants. They pass on their "infection" by piercing flesh, preferably the neck, whereupon a 24th chromosome pair is transmitted into the victim, who dies then revives, ready to kill everything in sight, zombie-style. Among these researchers is forensic archaeologist Samantha Grimm (Rosamund Pike), whose brother John (Karl Urban) is one of Sarge's best marines.
Is it any good?
Predictably bloody and gory, DOOM's violence is video-gameish and relentless. The Rock is entertaining, showing off his hard body and investing workmanlike dialogue with some humor. When an archeological research facility on Mars comes under assault by monstrous mutants, he and his men are assigned to recover survivors and data, but most important, to contain the threat. Sarge's dedication to the mission seems exceedingly simple. The unit is assigned to retrieve data and keep the mutants from moving through the same passageway (called the "Arc") through which he and the guys have arrived on Mars. If this means everyone dies along with the mutants, so be it.
The Rock is the most charismatic object on screen, gazing hard at each opponent, whether mutant, civilian, or wayward commandee, to ensure each feels his incipient wrath. Though Sarge loves his signature Doom weapons (including the Bio Force Gun, nicknamed the "BFG"), he is not granted the film's fan-treating first person shooter point-of-view sequence. While it's clever, it also suggests the limits of such perspective for movies, where consumers can't interact. Watching the weapons take out creature after creature, while the guitar-track grinds on, you find yourself waiting for The Rock to show up again. He's where the action is.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the value of following orders, even when they seem wrong: does the Kid do the right thing by refusing to kill civilians who might be infected? Is Sarge right to follow orders no matter what? And, though the sister resents her brother's choice to become a soldier, how does the film suggest her dedication to science might also be misplaced?
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