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resident evil: DEGENERATION (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 21, 2008 by  



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“For fans of the video games, ‘resident evil: DEGENERATION” is going to satisfy fans as we see ‘Resident Evil 2’ characters Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield reunited once again to take on more zombies and an evil monster.  Total Resident Evil fan service for those that are passionate about the video game series!”

(C) Images courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

TITLE: resident evil: DEGENERATION

DURATION: 96 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: NTSC, Region 1, 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English, Portugese 5.1 (Dolby Digital), Thai, French, Spanish (Dolby Surround)

COMPANY: CAPCOM/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Restricted for Bloody Violence)

Directed by Makoto Kamiya

Screenplay by Shotaro Suga

Produced by Jun Takeuchi, Hiroyuki Kobayashi

Music by Tetsuya Takahashi

CG Producer: Yusaku Toyoshima

CG Director: Atsushi Doi

CG Production: Digital Frontier

Sound Director: Yota Tsuruoka

Sound Design: Koji Kasamatsu

Executive Producer: Haruhiro Tsujimoto

Production Designs by Joseph Hodges, Henri Du Rand

Director of Photography – Rodney Charters, ASC CSC,

Starring:

Alyson Court

Paul Mercier

Laura Bailey

Michael Sorich

A zombie attack brings chaos to Harvardville Airport. Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield who fought the sinister Umbrella Corporation during the Raccoon City tragedy 7 years ago, are back. In high-octane Resident Evil style, they’re ready to battle a rogue warrior who is seeking revenge after his family was killed in Raccoon City. The deadly G-Virus is unleashed and a new mutated monster goes on the rampage. Will Claire and Leon be able to terminate the virus before history repeats itself?

The Resident Evil series has become one of the top selling titles for video game company CAPCOM.  Known in Japan as “Biohazard”, the series has sold over 34 million games and among the series, one of the most popular titles was the 1996 Sony Playstation game “Resident Evil 2” which introduced us to the characters of  Raccoon City rookie police officer Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield (sister of “Resident Evil 1” hero Chris Redfield).

The two were popular characters that fans enjoyed and in 2005, “Resident Evil 4” featuring Leon Kennedy became a huge hit earning “Game of the Year” by various publications.

With the popularity of the character of Leon Kennedy, how fitting was it when CAPCOM announced the reuniting of both Leon and Claire.  As a fan of the video game series, I was definitely excited and couldn’t wait to see the film.

“resident evil: DEGENERATION” takes place seven years after “Resident Evil 2”.  The film starts off with a man on a flight to Harvardville and he happens to be infected with the T-virus (this virus turns a human to a zombie and can spread the virus by biting on a human/animal.  The only way they can be killed is a bullet to the brain), meanwhile at Harvardville Airport, we see Claire Redfield.

Claire now works for Terrasave, a search and rescue organization at chemical and biological attacks and meeting up with a friend and her niece.  Of course, all hell breaks lose in the airport after someone infected with the T-virus starts chomping on people and next thing you know, the airport becomes full of zombies. Next thing you know, the plane carrying the infected person with the T-virus crashes into the airport and zombies start coming out of the damaged plane.

Claire, Rani, a woman and Senator Ron Davis have barricaded in the airport but need help quickly.  Because the Senator is involved, the government sends in Leon Kennedy, who has experience taking on the zombies plus the help with two individuals from the Special Response Team.  The search and rescue begins.

After the first arc of the film featuring the search and rescue, the focus then goes to WilPharma, an agency that is creating an vaccine for the T-virus but it appears the terrorist have blown up the WilPharma trucks carrying the antidotes.  It is revealed that the terrorists are pretty much individuals who are trying to get people to recognize what happened at Raccoon City (since the government pretty much has covered up the zombie infestation due to the Umbrella Corp. and the T-virus).

Claire recalls seeing one of the terrorist at the airport, a man named Curtis Miller.  And then you find out that Angela Miller, one of the members of the Special Response Team that accompanied Leon is the sister of Curtis.

Because of the damaged trucks with the vaccine, WilPharma director Frederic Downing needs to go back to HQ and retrieve the vaccine.  Meanwhile, both Leon and Angela go to the home of Curtis to find him but find his home burned down.

You realize that Curtis is a terrorist because his family in Raccoon City was killed and he can not let the government continue to hide what happened to the city and thus, to prove to people of what happened, infects himself with the G-virus (which was featured in video game “Resident Evil 3”, a monster that is nothing like a zombie but a hideous and very powerful).

Thus the second arc of the film features Leon, Angela and Claire trying to stop the monster.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

Picture quality is pretty good.  The film is entirely in CG and was created in Maya.  The CG was well done but not as fluid as “Final Fantasy: Advent Children” but still looked very impressive.  The rendered character models were just great to look at (especially at the beginning when you see the airport or even the WilPharma HQ.  Both look very realistic!) and Leon, Claire and Angela Miller model renders were just very well done.  If anything, there is slight jerkiness when it comes to a close up of a character and trying to make it do natural and realistic movements during a conversation.  But during the action scenes, the movements were very nice and overall, the CG was very well done.

On Blu-ray, you can see the skin bumps a bit more clearly and the action scenes look great.  If anything, fans of the video games will more than likely enjoy these CG rendered scenes.

As for audio, the audio, you get English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French Spanish, Portuges and Thai in 5.1  The audio sounds awesome in TrueHD and the action scenes come alive when compared to the DVD version with its 5.1 track. Dialogue is quite clear.  As for the music, the ending theme “Guilty” is by Japanese music artist ANNA TSUCHIYA.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

For the Blu-ray version, you get to access an interactive picture-in-picture (I-PiP) which allows three PiP streams at any point during the movie.  For example, you can click the corresponding color that is lit up on screen via your remote.  Red would feature the actors in their motion capture suits and you can compare the motion capture to what you see in that exact scene.  The other is a stream that features a non-rendered 3D footage and the other stream is the storyboards featuring hand drawn images of certain scenes from the film.

Another feature is a pop-up trivia track.  Really interesting facts about the film and how certain characters were rendered.  Why certain characters were created a certain way and much more.  Also, the Blu-ray is BD LIVE ENABLED.

The Blu-ray disc features quite a few special features which include:

  • The Generation of DEGENERATION featurette – This featurette interviews Makoto Kamiya and other CAPCOM staff and their goal with the film, why they used the actual English voice actors in terms of the motion capture (including having them learn how to hold a gun) and more behind-the-scenes footage on the creation of the film.  Also, fan reaction at San Diego Comic Con.
  • Character Profiles – Profiles feature a text blurb on each character and you can access a video or photography profile (from parts of the film).
  • Voice Bloopers – This is more or less bloopers but not sure if it was intentionally created or if it was actual bloopers.  One featured Leon Kennedy telling the others about his “fee”.  Quite funny to watch.
  • Faux Leon Interview – I’m not quite sure what this feature was about.  A man is interviewing one of the motion capture actors and the actor is talking about working with Kamiya-san and others on the film.
  • Resident Evil: Degeneration Trailers – Trailers for the film
  • Resident Evil: Degeneration Tokyo Game Show Trailer – Tokyo Game Show trailer
  • Resident Evil 5 Special Game Footage – Promotional video for the upcoming Playstation “Resident Evil” game.
  • Resident Evil 5 Game Trailers – Trailers for the upcoming Playstation 3 video game.

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Let me first say that I am a big fan of the “Resident Evil” series and I own nearly all the US releases.   “Resident Evil 2” really was innovative when it first was released for the Sony Playstation and was my favorite R.E. game until “Resident Evil 4” was released and that video game was just incredible.

So, that being said, watching this film had me smiling because I absolutely adore both the characters of Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield.  How this film furthers the storyline of the two characters but also builds on certain situations that may have major ramifications for future video game releases is quite exciting.

So, with that being said, I enjoyed the film because the creators really wanted to pay homage to “Resident Evil 2” and “Resident Evil 4” video game series and its fans.  But I realize that many people who are not familiar with the video game series are wondering how the context of this film is to the live-action film series featuring Mila Jovovich.

There is a relation by name and of course, the virus that turns people to zombies but really, this film was created for the fans of the video game series in mind.

Also, with this being a video game-related film, many who crave a deep storyline with character development of who is Claire and who is Leon may feel disappointed.  The reason why video gamers who played the video games is that through those video game moments of playing these characters for hours, there was a vested interest.

I would assume that many viewers not familiar with the video game series won’t pick up the importance of Claire or Leon to the actual “Resident Evil” storyline.  In fact, some may wonder why they should care about these characters especially at the end with the politics surrounding the viruses.

So, with that being said, “resident evil: DEGENERATION” is an awesome film for those who followed the video game series.  The film features plenty of non-stop action, bloody violence courtesy to the zombies and you even get a scene with blood that splatters on to the camera.  But the enjoyment comes from those who had the experience of playing “Resident Evil 2” and “Resident Evil 4” and to see Claire and Leon again.

The CG looks great and there are some moments that I was just really in awe but at the same time, there are some movements that were jerky and robotic at times.  But overall, the model renders were good and Leon and Claire look very good.  So, the bottom line is that this film is just total fan service for “Resident Evil” video game fans.  So much that I highly recommend this Blu-ray disc.

For those who are not familiar with the video game series, you may enjoy it but if you are expecting a continuation of the live action films, then this Blu-ray disc may not be for you.  In fact, some may be disappointed because there is no strong plot for them to truly enjoy these characters especially without playing the video games.  So, I can understand if they don’t get into it.

Again, if you are fans of the “Resident Evil” video games, you can’t help but have a smile on your face because there is now a “Resident Evil” film that was created with the RE video game fan in mind.  And for that, I recommend this Blu-ray disc for you!






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Comments

  • I thought that this Resident Evil movie was one of the best CGI films I’ve ever seen so far. I watched it because I’m a big fan of RE and Claire Redfield… I personally did not see any glitches or inhuman-like movement throughout the whole movie. The story plot was only ok though. Overall, it is well done and definately worth watching. I would recommend this to any fans of RE, Claire or Leon.

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