This week at the movies brings stories of marines on Mars ("Doom"), iron miners fighting the man ("North Country"), little girls who love horses ("Dreamer: Inspired By a True Story"), and questions of human identity ("Stay"). Which of these films will score with critics?
"Doom," the video game, was nirvana for button-mashers. It took the simplest concept in the world of gaming – shooting aliens with big guns – and drove it home with a kaleidoscope of sensory pleasures. But video games and movies work on our senses in different ways, and "Doom," the movie, is – perhaps unsurprisingly – far from the revolutionary masterstroke of its source material. Granted, the source was not an Iris Murdoch novel. The film stars The Rock as a marine investigating strange goings-on at a research facility on Mars; naturally, things eventually get blowed up real good. While some critics say it’s not all that bad, others say it’s just big and loud. At 27 percent, the scribes are pressing the reset button, but its makers should take heart in the fact that it’s one of the best-reviewed video game adaptations of all time.
John Lennon once said, "A working class hero is something to be." That’s a sentiment the makers of "North Country" feel will resonate in these ambiguous political times. Charlize Theron stars as an iron miner who speaks out against hazardous working conditions and sexual harassment. Critics say that while "North Country" has its flaws, it’s an inspiring and passionate underdog story. At 64 percent, critics say this is one beautiful "Country."
A family-friendly tale of a little girl, her father, a horse, and Kris Kristofferson, "Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story" is not a movie for cynics. Dakota Fanning and Kurt Russell work to bring a once-promising horse out of retirement (and, presumably, the glue factory) for a run at the Breeders’ Cup. Critics say Fanning is solid as always, but the film, while well-crafted, breaks about as much new ground as an antique plow pulled by an aging nag. At 48 percent on the Tomatometer, the critics are putting this "Dreamer" out to pasture.
"Memento," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Blow Up"…. Moviegoers love a good, twisty meditation on the human condition. "Good" is the operative word here. "Stay" stars Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts in the story of a psychiatrist whose reality starts to crack as his life becomes entwined with that of his suicidal patient. The critics say the movie is certainly a brain-teaser, but it’s more tease than brain, and more murky that meditative. At 10 percent, critics are imploring viewers to "Stay" away from this one.
Recent Video Game To Movie Adaptations:
1% — Alone in the Dark (2005)
20% — Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
6% — House of the Dead (2003)
23% — Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)
36% — Resident Evil (2002)
18% — Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
7% — Wing Commander (1999)
24% — Mortal Kombat (1995)
0% — Double Dragon (1994)
6% — Super Mario Bros. (1993)