A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 28 – Resident Evil: Degeneration

Resident Evil: Degeneration – March 28, 2010

Well, nothing helps one unwind from a weekend of gaming convention like a direct-to-video, based-on-a-video-game animated zombie movie! Seriously, I’m in a post-con haze right now and the brain is not working at full capacity. I’m at maybe 3/4 power, max. But Resident Evil should wake me right up. I say this because I’ve had to stop watching Andy play the games because they started giving me nightmares where I’d hear that fucking chainsaw in the distance and run and run and run. Fun times. Maybe I’ll make him put in Katamari or something after the movie’s over.

My first impression: This looks exactly like the cut scenes in the games. I keep expecting to be instructed to hit a button to start the game or something.

Ah! And our floppy-haired hero has arrived. I am dead serious when I say this is like playing a game but you don’t get to control anything. The floppy-haired hero has just been given a mission: To go into the infected zone and rescue three civilians and a senator who have barricaded themselves in and given their location to a 911 operator. He’s got a little team with him and a map and a goal. And then later on, after the mission and another cut scene, there’s another goal and another mission. It’s a game without controls.

Now, here’s where I wax nostalgic about PAX East (yes, already): In his keynote address, Wil Wheaton talked about how when he had a 12 hour block of time alone at home with uncontested access to his home theater, he planned on watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy back to back to back. A noble goal! But instead, he pulled out Dragon Age: Origins and continued his game. The reason he gave was that he didn’t know how it would end. That’s the cool thing about a well-written video game. You get to make decisions that change how the story plays out. You get to change the ending. I swear, it was an amazing speech and I wish I could be half so eloquent. Hopefully he’ll post the entire text on his blog eventually and I can point to it.

Anyhow, the point I’m making is that the interactive stuff is a crucial difference between movies and video games. In a movie based on a video game, you’ve got to deal with that. This movie? Didn’t. I can’t say whether or not the game that could have been made from it would have been any good, but it would have been better than just sitting here and watching the plot play out without my input. It’s not made any better by the insertion of flashbacks from the actual videogames that the plot is based on.

Oh, yeah, there’s a plot. It’s pretty much every Resident Evil plot. There’s a virus that turns people into zombies and a big corporation that’s run by assholes and it might or might not be directly involved but it sure as hell has something to do with the mess. Our floppy-haired hero is a special agent who’s dealt with outbreaks of the zombie virus before and then there’s a woman who’s a civilian and also dealt with an outbreak. It’s complicated a tiny bit by a terrorist who lost his family in a prior outbreak who’s convinced the shady corporation has something to do with the virus, but really, it’s not that complicated. Terrorism’s bad, shady corporations that have illicit stores of zombie virus are bad, and zombies are bad. Oh, and never trust anyone with an accent that’s not American. What more do you need to know?

I really really wish there was game play in here. Because the story’s coherent, if predictable, and that would make for a decent plot if I didn’t always feel like the characters need a little help getting things done. I mean, the soldiers in the movie have to be told to shoot the zombies in the head! How the hell do they not know you’ve got to shoot zombies in the head? I expected this to be a lot worst than it was. I mean, it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t a slog like Advent Children. Still, hopefully tomorrow we’ll watch a real movie (instead of a prolonged cut scene) since PAX East is over now.

March 28, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resident Evil: Degeneration

March 28, 2010

Resident Evil: Degeneration

As with yesterday’s movie today’s is another full-length CGI movie based on a popular videogame franchise.  Resident Evil today instead of Final Fantasy.

At the get-together we attended yesterday with LoadingReadyRun several fans suggested that Paul and Graham should do a full length unskippable of this movie since it was so laughably horribly bad, so it is with some trepidation that we set out to watch the movie today.  (Neither Amanda nor I have watched it yet, so it’s going to be an adventure.)

So far it’s not so bad… for a videogame cut scene.  It looks like they’re using the same models from the Resident Evil 4 game (Leon in particular.)  Indeed at one moment early in the movie I reached for my X-Box controller when the camera rotated around Claire and pulled back to look over her shoulder: I fully expected to have to take control and fight my way through the infected and out of the airport.

The movie IS eminently MSTable though.  At times I think deliberately so.  During the plot exposition at the start of the movie we’re introduced to the world of Resident Evil by a series of news reports and television channel flips.  One of the stations briefly shown is “Network 23,” a clear reference to Max Headroom.  So the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously.  It’s just a fun zombie romp.

On another videogame related note I should say: replacing Umbrella Corp. in this movie is a new bad guy – WilPharma.  But the font they use in the movie for their corporate logo makes it look a lot like WiiPharma – like it’s some kind of weird new Wii game.  I guess it would be a sequel to the Trauma Center game for Wii – no longer just about operating on emergency room patients you now work in a pharmaceutical company.  Use the Wii remote as a pipet to extract tissue samples!

I don’t feel like I have much to say about this movie.  It’s pretty cheesy.  It doesn’t have the kind of amazing special effects we saw in Advent Children yesterday.  But at least the plot is straight forward and easy to understand (if unoriginal.)  More than anything else it just makes me want to play a Resident Evil game.  Maybe Resident Evil 5, or the new Wii lightgun shooter Darkside Chronicles.  Or maybe just Resident Evil 4.. still the best in the series.

It’s not a good movie, but it’s a great way to end PAX.

Now we just need to figure out what videogame related movies we’ll watch at PAX East in 2011.

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment