One thing I’ve noticed since I decided I would take this writing thing seriously is that I tend not to enjoy books and films as much. I’d read something like this would happen, but that was after I realised I was appraising stories rather than just enjoying them. Which is normal, I suppose, for a storyteller. Everything is raw material to us, and stories, in their base form, are judged when we come across them.
Which is what I was thinking as I watched DOOM last night.
My lovely lady wife was out with friends, so I thought I’d catch up on the kind of films she’d rather divorce me than watch. About midway in I would have divorced myself.
It really is that bad. But here’s the thing; it’s trying really hard to be Aliens, so why was it failing? Especially consdierring that even indexed for inflation, the budget for DOOM far outstripped that of Aliens. It could have gone on The Rock’s per diem for creatine I suppose.
There are myraid reasons why, but what jumped out at me was Aliens built on scenes, and each scene had a purpose:
- The opening shot of Ripley being found (catalyst)
- The debriefing (exposition and background)
- The job offer (revealing Ripley’s mindset and laying groundwork for final fight scene)
- “We lost contact!” (the call to arms…. god I feel dirty for using The Writer’s Journey terms)
- Waking up on the navy ship (introduction of extra characters, or “cannon fodder”)
…and so on. Where as 30 mins in to DOOM it was basically fifteen different shots of marines walking down corridors saying ‘ooh, isn’t this spooky’. I paraphrase, but that’s the gist.
So within half an hour we found there are some dead scientists on Mars and they can’t find anyone. Compare that to the five points above for Aliens, and that happens in about 20 minutes.
IN short; scenes, scenes, scenes. Make ’em count, make ’em mean something, and, above all, make sure you have some kickarse knife tricks in one of ’em.