Idle Thumbs has been in a tizzy for the last couple of days because the Doom Movie will not be based on Hell, Space Marines or anything else vaguely Doomish. To quote their source article:
Doom 2 was subtitled ‘Hell on Earth’, and the key plot point of Doom 3 is that the monsters in-game are Hellspawn, hence the multiple pentograms and such vile creations as dead-baby-cherub-wasp combinations. A ‘necessary’ change, or a neat way to avoid right-wing criticism? We wonder.
To quote Idle Thumbs:
It may be worse than this. I’m not a zealot about brand protectionism the way that some people are. Hell, I even like the taste of Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. I tried to put steampunk into Ultima (I plead duress). But I still firmly believe that brands have real value, more value than the people who create these brands seem to grok. If you’re Id, then the Doom brand is your bread and butter. It’s got a core fan base that loves what the brand stands for and is willing to evangelize it, so long as you don’t betray what the brand stands for.
Doom is, fundamentally, about being a space marine killing demons from hell on a space station with a shotgun. At its core, when I think of my fondest memory in any of the Dooms, that’s what comes to mind. It’s also shockingly original – except for perhaps Event Horizon, what other movies can you think of that bring theological themes of heaven and hell into sci fi?
The Doom movie, as currently slated, looks to strip out the demons from hell, strip out the space marines, and set it in common times. If we’re lucky, though, maybe they’ll remember to give someone a shotgun. The Id guys would be better served by having a crappy movie that exactly fit Doom’s themes and values than by having a mediocre to good movie that betrayed them. They risk enraging their core evangelists, and confusing more tertiary fans who thought they knew what Doom was about. They also end up looking like ‘me-too’ers with a warmed over Resident Evil ripoff, rather than the venerable market leader with a golden IP that they are.
In the long run, this could easily weaken the franchise, hurting it in the long haul. But try telling that to the money guys, who see a quick way to cash in.
EDIT: It seems that lately, Penny Arcade has been annoyed by exactly the same things I am.