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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Science Fiction > Action > Zombies > Resident Evil: Damnation (2012/Computer Animated/Sony Blu-ray) + Resident Evil: Retribution (2012/Titan Books Paperback Adaptation by John Shirley)

Resident Evil: Damnation (2012/Computer Animated/Sony Blu-ray) + Resident Evil: Retribution (2012/Titan Books Paperback Adaptation by John Shirley)

 

Picture: B†††† Sound: B†††† Extras: C†††† Film: C+†††† Novel: C+

 

 

The Resident Evil series differs significantly between game and film.The RE game series is rich with storyline, action, mystery, suspense, and adventure.The films on the other hand borrow elements from the games but execute said elements very poorly.The films are merely fun action flicks with huge budgets.The reason everything went so wrong with the films is due to the first Resident Evil movie.It had a much lower budget, took forever to get off the ground, and ignored the storyline already established by the game series.Over the years, however, the films have gained a huge following and made a ton of money; hence why they can keep making them.The films at this point (outside of borrowing characters and having zombies) are almost completely detached from the game series; an offshoot if you will.Personally, I like the films as they are action packed and fun; but the game series does it much better.

 

The few CGI (straight to DVD/Blu-ray) Resident Evil films that have been made exist somewhere between the games and the films; more so relying on the established game mythos.They donít truly add anything to either incarnation, but are nicely done.The animation is not on par with DreamWorks or Pixar, but is solid enough.The storyline attempts to hold depth and intrigue, but falls somewhat flat.This time around we have Leon Kennedy (who made his first appearance in the Resident Evil 2 game) investing a war brewing in Eastern Europe in the ĎSlav RepublicIt seems there is much unrest between the government and its people, who had a long time truce that is now crumbling.The government discovered the people of the Slav Republic were sitting on a vast amount of resources and wanted it for themselves; so the government plowed their way in, on the pretense of terrorist activity, and raped the lands.Of course this causes a rebel uprising.Leon Kennedy was sent by the USA to investigate the rebel group that is forming as it is suspected they are using B.O.W.s (Bio Organic Weapons).Just as Leon is hot on the case the US Government orders him to pull back; but being a bit of a rebel himself he refuses and moves full steam ahead.From here the story develops to reveal secrets that both the government and rebels are holding.

 

The main problem with the film is pacing, whereas the action does eventually pick up it takes quite too long to get there.The film looks beautiful with rich textures, scenery, and character design; but as the beginning of the film dives too deeply into (unnecessary) character development I am left bored.Two thirds of the film is spent doing a whole lot of nothing until we get into some real Resident Evil action.The mystery and suspense are a tad lacking, but the slow progression from mere minion Bio Weapon (zombies) to progressively more gruesome/dangerous creations, it is quite awesome.Of course new characters (enemies) are introduced and even the sexy, charismatic, highly trained Ada Wong makes an appearance.

 

Damnation is a fun Resident Evil flick that does better justice to the game series than any of the live-action films have.It does help the established storyline evolve, while concurrently not rocking the boat.My only gripe (outside of pacing) would be that Umbrella Corp not being mentioned nor discussed.Umbrella has played a pivotal role throughout the series, so perhaps their presence was just assumed (or to be revealed later), but would have been nice to see some evolution from that angle.

 

The technical features are nice, above average but not cinema quality.The picture is a 1080p, AVC Encoded 1.78 X 1 widescreen presentation that as previously mentioned does not live up to that of say Pixar.The animation is on the same level or better than the cinematic moments found in the games, but could use some work as banding and aliasing issues do occur throughout.The image is mostly crisp and clean with dark, bold black levels and bright colors; but again could use some tuning up.The sound is a 5.1 DTS-HD lossless Master Audio track that is nicely done as it has suspenseful booming bass and solid directionality as zombies and bullets surround you.Dialogue came through crisp, clean, and clear; though again not a perfect track.

 

Extras are mostly weak trailers for other Sony products, though some parts of Ďmaking ofí featurette are fun.Extras include:

         Sony Film Trailers

         Dragonís Dogma film Trailer

         Devil May Cry game Trailer

         Resident Evil 6 game Trailer

         Conceptual Art

         Las Plagas: Organisms of War Featurette

         Gag Reel

         The Making of Resident Evil Damnation Ė The DNA Damnation

 

As for the latest live action installment in the series, this is certainly not a case of read the book, donít wait for the movie, but the 340-page adaptation of Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) is not as outright horrid as you might think or as thin as expected.

Producer/Director Paul W. S. Anderson wrote the original screenplay (this is the sixth film!) and it is good read, but there is only so much here and seeing how writer John Shirley translated the action sequences is amusing, especially since they are so wordless in the series.

This is also yet another tie-in to get fans to pay more money in an installment that is likely to push the franchise over the Billion-Dollar mark worldwide, though it does more business overseas and then has enduring legs on video.This could have been worse and is as good as could be expected, but Iíll be really interested how this compares to the film.Still, this is novel is for fans only and you might want to see the film first.

 

-†† Michael P. Dougherty II & Nicholas Sheffo


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