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While it may not be great cinema, DOOM ($30) is a winner, as far as movie adaptations of video games go. Low on plot and characterizations, but high on action, gore and violence, DOOM proves itself to be a whole lot of fun, especially if you enjoy the first person shooter type of video game, or just like munching popcorn during mindless action movies. Set in the year 2046, after mankind has discover an ancient portal that allows nearly instant transport the planet Mars, DOOM follows Sarge (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) and the Rapid Response Tactical Squad of marines as they are deployed to the red planet, to deal with an unknown threat to a scientific/archeological installation.

Scouting for missing scientists in a remote, sealed off section of the installation, the marines soon find themselves in harms way and slowly being picked off by things that are certainly not quite human. What follows are tons of gunplay, as the marines stalk down poorly lit corridors, hunting for god only knows what, while trying to save civilians and just stay alive. If the scenario sounds strangely familiar, itís because youíve played that very same video game countless times before. The cast of DOOM also features Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike, Deobia Oparei, Ben Daniels, Razaaq Adoti, Richard Brake, Al Weaver, Dexter Fletcher, Brian Steele, Yao Chin, Robert Russell, Daniel York, Ian Hughes and Sara Houghton.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made DOOM available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is really quite good considering that much of the film is intentionally dark. High definition renders more detail than what was apparent in the DVD edition of the film, but the lack of lighting still does limit what can be rendered in the darkest sequences. When there is enough light, the image appears very crisp, highly defined and quite dimensional. Additionally, colors appear quite vibrant during well-lit sequences, although the intensity of the hues drops off as the lighting drops off. Blacks are accurate, as are the whites. Contrast is relatively smooth and shadow detail can be good, when the opportunity presents itself. The elements from which DOOM have been mastered appear virtually free from flaws. Image grain is fairly minimal for such a dark movie.

DOOM is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The sound design is everything one should expect from this type of shoot Ďem up action movie- DOOM makes excellent use of all the discrete channels for sound effect placement and panning. Gunfights during the monster attacks are showcased on the track and are certain to give your speakers a workout, with sounds exploding out of everywhere. Fidelity is top of the line, thanks to the lossless encode, producing intense sound effects and a strong musical component. The bass channel track adds plenty of percussion to the gunfire and explosions, not to mention a nice bit of rumble. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains complete intelligibility. French and Spanish DTS 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well the extras, which have been replicated from the DVD release. Basic Training is a ten-minute program focused on the military advisor, who whipped the actors into shape to make convincing marines. Rock Formation runs five minutes and looks at makeup that "The Rock" undergoes for the filmís climax. Master Monster Makers clocks in at ten minutes and examines the design of the filmís creatures. First Person Shooter Sequence is a five-minute program dedicated to the movieís homage to the game play experience. Doom Nation spends fourteen minutes reviewing the history of the game that spawned the movie. Game On! provides six minutes of tips on actually playing the video game.

DOOM is a fun, albeit mindless motion picture equivalent of shoot Ďem up video game. Universalís Blu-ray release offers strong video and audio, so fans canít go wrong with this title in high definition.



Doom [Blu-ray] (2005)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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