Resident Evil: Degeneration
R1 - America - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Jeremiah Chin (25th January 2009).
The Film

Video games and film have always shared some close ties, mostly in that so many great video games have been inspired by great movies, like “Blue Velvet” (1987) inspiring sections of the wonderfully bizarre “Silent Hill 2” (2001) or the awesome Snake Plissken of “Escape From New York” (1981) birthing the Solid Snake of the “Metal Gear Solid” Franchise (no offense to David Hayter or Hideo Kojima, but Plisskin will always be the superior snake). But this close relationship of films giving birth to video game ideas or moments may be the reason why so many videogames that turn into films seem like inbred children (with the notable exception of “Silent Hill” (2006) which worked really well). Some games have decided just to jump the film process all together though and essentially make feature length cut scenes into an animated feature. So with “Resident Evil 5” (2009) on the horizon for consoles, Capcom decided to bridge the gap between the last installment and their impending release with the animated feature “Resident Evil: Degeneration” (2008) which overlooks the trilogy of live action films and exists solely within the video game universe.

Not long after the events of “Resident Evil 4” (2005), Claire Redfield (Alyson Court) is working for an chemical and biological disaster cleanup organization called Terra Save and goes to the airport to meet up with a family she is working with. At the same time Senator Ron Davis (Michael Sorich) is waiting for a flight in the airport as protestors gather dressed as zombies in response to his involvement in the Raccoon City incident 7 years ago. Soon all hell breaks loose as a T-virus outbreak begins zombifying people in the airport causing an outbreak that leads to chaos as a zombified passenger causes a plane to crash into the airport itself. The Special Response Team is called in to help deal with the infected site, joined by special Whitehouse envoy Leon S. Kennedy (Paul Mercier) who’s had his fair share of experience dealing with zombies. Leon now has to try and save his old associate Claire at the same time as figuring out what terrorist group tried to spread the T-virus and caused the outbreak at the airport.

Above all what this film does is prove how good a direct-to-DVD release can be in terms of getting products out that never could have survived in theatres. It’s an interesting story, especially for fans of the “Resident Evil” franchise and gives a cool look at what happened to Leon after the events of “Resident Evil 4.” The story and tone of the film definitely feel like a video game, and if Capcom’s goal was to make me want to play some more “Resident Evil” it really worked, honestly the film would work great as a game of it’s own. The sequences in the airport are great, the action moves well and the zombies and ridiculous action they can involve in feel much more authentic in terms of the world it’s set in, and looks a lot better than if they had tried to put together the film on a large live action budget.

The voice acting is good, for the most part, and matches well with the characters of the video games, especially since they’ve brought back the actors who did the voices in their last appearances in the games. A lot of the script feels like the game and because of the animation that basically is from the game I find myself more willing to forgive bad writing or corny lines since it goes along with the in-game feel of the film. Animation wise it’s a couple steps above the quality of in-game graphics and above cutscenes in “Resident Evil 4” but the photorealistic style sometimes just feels a bit awkward, getting into the uncanny valley territory, but again I find this more acceptable here than I would in an original animated piece, since it duplicates the feel of the video game more than anything else.

Overall “Resident Evil: Degeneration” is worth watching for those who need a CG-zombie fix before “Resident Evil 5” comes out in a few more months. Sure the plot isn’t super deep, but it definitely feels like a "Resident Evil" game and hits the right notes that I would expect out of it. Perhaps the most disappointing part is that I can’t play the movie like I would the game, but otherwise it’s a good enough experience to go along for the ride.

Video

Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen the video looks really clear and crisp, all of the colors work well, which is to be expected since it was a digitally produced film directly-for-DVD. There are not even problems with pixilation or any kind of digitization issues that could occur, in the end a good production.

Audio

There's an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and optional Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround sound tracks are included. The 5.1 track works really well, again probably because it was produced for DVD it knows its limits and its basic needs. The sound and levels work together well and the sound moves properly as you would expect. A good example of how direct to DVD quality can actually work out well.
There are optional English, French, Korean Thai, Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese subtitles.

Extras

The single disc comes with a suprising amount of special features including several featurettes, ten character profiles, five theatrical trailers, sneak previews of "Resident Evil 5" and some bonus trailers.

“The Generation of Degeneration” runs for 30 minutes and 2 seconds. This making-of featurette is incredibly in-depth going behind the complexity of the motion captures, and the general production of the film itself, showing the incredible amount of textures, layers and everything that go on top the wireframes, which are also shown. There’s a good amount of interviews with director Makoto Kamiya, writer Shotaro Suga, and various other animators and designers involved in the production of the film. It’s an impressive featurette discussing all aspects of producing the film, going much deeper into the film than I would have expected.

Next are the ten character profiles which are a basic listing of different characters, which will lead to a menu with a profile photo and a brief description of the character. At some characters’ profiles are selectable action montages which basically just is a cut together piece of different sequences that they’re in within the film. Others have still photo galleries attached and include:

- “Leon S. Kennedy” runs for 1 minute and 6 seconds.
- “Claire Redfield” runs for 56 seconds.
- “Angela Miller” has a photo gallery with 18 still frames from the film.
- “Greg Glenn” has a photo gallery with 8 still images from the film.
- “Curtis Miller” has a photo gallery with 8 stills from the film.
- “Senator Ron Davis” has a photo gallery with 10 images.
- “Frederic Downing” has a photo gallery with 7 images.
- “Rani Chawla” has a photo gallery with 8 images.
- “Ingrid Hunnigan” has a photo gallery with 3 images.
- “G” has a photo gallery with 8 images.

“Voice Bloopers” is a featurette that works as a collection of different scenes that have been put together for comedic effect. The scenes use the same art assets as the film but with altered lines or just dubbed over voice acting to make something different. All together they run for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, here’s an individual breakdown of the sections of this featurette:

- “Claire’s Flare” runs for 1 minute and 38 seconds. Angela talks dirty to Leon, Claire gets mad jealous and blows things up.
- “Being ‘The Man’” runs for 1 minute 34 seconds. Angela is upset with how low her fee is, Glenn is okay with his because he just got an inheritance. Leon jumps in and brags about how well he’s getting paid.
- “It Ain’t Easy Being ‘The Man’” runs for 2 minutes and 19 seconds. Curtis worries about buying tickets, G holds a press conference and Leon gets scared of being alone.
- “Virus of Love” runs for 3 minutes and 57 seconds. Gregg and Angela deal with a zombie stalker, Gregg and Angela break up then Leon and Angel ago diving again.

“Faux Leon Interview” runs for 4 minutes and 47 seconds. In this featurette, the motion capture actor for Leon gives an interview about his experience working on the film while still wearing the motion capture suit on the motion capture set for the film. He mostly does some joking around and talks about his experience living in Japan. It’s interesting to hear from a motion capture actor and a bit odd that the others didn’t get a chance to do interviews.

Next are five theatrical trailers for “Resident Evil: Degeneration” which include:

- The teaser trailer, runs for 1 minute and 2 seconds.
- “Comic Con #1” trailer, runs for 1 minute and 10 seconds.
- “Comic Con #2” trailer, runs for 2 minutes and 6 seconds.
- “Tokyo Game Show 2008” trailer, runs for 1 minute and 48 seconds.
- The theatrical trailer, runs for 1 minute and 9 seconds.

Finally are the two pieces of "Resident Evil 5" Special Footage:

- “Tokyo Game Show 2008" trailer, runs for 3 minutes and 21 seconds.
- “Special" theatrical trailer runs for 1 minute and 14 seconds.

Of course there are a bunch of bonus trailers as well for:

- "Sony Blu-ray" spot runs for 2 minutes and 37 seconds.
- “The Grudge 3” runs for 1 minute and 20 seconds.
- “Vacancy 2: The First Cut” runs for 1 minute and 41 seconds.
- “Boogeyman 3” runs for 1 minute and 19 seconds.
- “Screamers: The Hunting” runs for 1 minute and 41 seconds.
- “Red Sands” runs for 1 minute and 19 seconds.
- “Zombie Strippers” runs for 33 seconds.
- “Starship Troopers 3: Maurauder” runs for 2 minutes and 2 seconds.
- “Balls Out: Gary The Tennis Coach” runs for 2 minutes and 12 seconds.
- “The Lodger” runs for 1 minute and 12 seconds.
- “Resident Evil: Extinction” runs for 33 seconds.
- “The Devil’s Chair” runs for 1 minute and 14 seconds.
- “Pineapple Express” runs for 33 seconds.
- “Lakeview Terrace” runs for 33 seconds.

Overall

The Film: B- Video: A Audio: A Extras: B+ Overall: B+

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.