Dwayne Johnson has been reflecting on his first video game movie experience Doom – and knows all too well it was a failure. Video game to movie translations have proven extremely difficult to get right. Things began poorly with the Super Mario Bros movie in 1993, and while the genre has produced the occasional fun blockbuster – like the recent Tomb Raider movie – video game movies have yet to produce a genuine classic.
Doom was added to the scrap heap in 2005. Based on the classic first-person shooter, the movie started Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike and Johnson, and mainly took its cues from the game Doom 3. The games were light on plot anyway, but they all generally revolve around a soldier trapped on a Mars base when Hell literally breaks through; he has to shoot his way through a horde of demons to survive. For some baffling reason, the movie jettisoned the Hell angle, and instead featured a bunch of generic soldiers walking around dark corridors with flashlights for 80% of the runtime; occasionally, they shoot a monster. It featured a fun FPS scene towards the end, but on the whole, it was roundly hated and failed to recoup its budget.
Related: 16 Things You Never Knew About The Rock’s Doom Movie
Fans may have hated Doom, but Johnson himself received some good reviews for his somewhat hammy performance. The failure of the movie marked a downward turn in Johnson’s career as an action star, and he spent the next five years in comedies. Johnson is all too aware of the so-called “curse” that afflicts video game movies, and he now admits to Total Film (via GamesRadar) Doom just didn’t work.
I lived the video game curse because I made Doom. And Doom was a movie based off a very popular video game and was incredibly unsuccessful. So I lived the curse, and I experienced it.
The failure of the movie informed his approach to Rampage, and he wanted to inject humor into the movie; something that was sorely lacking in his previous video game movie.
Also making sure that there was a winking charm and humor in Rampage that, for me personally, was not in Doom.
The Doom movie feels like a relic from another era now and was seems to have been made by people who didn’t particularly like or understand the game. The movie at least tried to play with audience expectations, with Johnson’s character Sarge being revealed as the villain as the story evolves, while Urban’s character emerges as the hero. There are a couple of fun action scenes and creature designs, but the screenplay and characters are both very poor, and there’s very little even The Rock can do to help.
Rampage is based on the classic arcade game and the movie version is selling itself as an almost gleefully dumb blockbuster. Hopefully, the painful lessons of Doom helped Johnson shape Rampage into something a lot more fun.
More: Rampage: Dwayne Johnson Had The Original Ending Changed
Source: Total Film (via GamesRadar)