Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008)

Resident-Evil-G1

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
I prefer Milla.

In case you haven’t caught on, there are two universes in which Resident Evil takes place. One is the movie universe with Milla Jovovich as Alice and the other is the game universe with different characters. The movies are based on the games, yes, but they aren’t what you’d call canon. Just like the games aren’t canon with the movies. This much is obvious. Now, fans of the movies may also be aware of the two movies that are based on the game universe (Degeneration and Damnation). These films are completely CGI, and are canon with the video games, so those of you that are fans of the movies, but aren’t well-versed in the games…Resident Evil: Degeneration just isn’t for you.

To avoid risk of sounding stupid while explaining a plot I didn’t understand, let me do a copy-paste job from our friends over at themoviedb.org: “A zombie attack brings chaos to Harvardville Airport. Leon 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 rampages.”

How lovely, but what in the world does that mean? Let me break it down for you: if you haven’t played the games, this might seem similar to the first Resident Evil movie…just with different…things. Instead of Raccoon City, it’s Harvardville; instead of Alice, it’s Claire; instead of the T-Virus, it’s the G-Virus…and that pretty much sums it up. I know I’m completely off based because I’m comparing this to a non-canon thing…but I have no choice. As a movie, this just doesn’t work on its own, you have to have knowledge in the games or you aren’t going to have a good time watching it. You’ll end up like me, filling in the blanks with the live-action stuff.

People who like the games hate the live action films and prefer this to those. No. Just…no. The live action films are their own thing, who cares if they sidestepped the videogames and went their own route? They are allowed to do that, it’s called creative freedom, and the action and violence and ever-expanding stories of the films are absolutely astounding and compelling. I do prefer the live action films over this…by a landslide. Now let’s talk about how it looks.

Um. So you know those pre-rendered sequences in videogames, sometimes known as cut scenes? The graphics in this film were pretty much just an hour and a half of…that. People who like video games might like that, but I found the quality disturbingly disappointing. There’s a difference between what CGI movies look like in general and what video game CGI looks like. In short, it looks worse. Especially in 2008. They were just getting started with good graphics. If this were any other studio making the graphics, it might have looked phenomenal, but no…it was pretty much all cut scenes. The animation is sometimes stiff, sometimes too smooth, but it never feels natural. Plus, this is technically an anime, so it’s dubbed in English, and that doesn’t always sound natural either.

I will say that some things seemed ok, even good at times. I would say in terms of visuals, they seemed to have a good grasp at shading. Shading was hunky dory, it was just that animation that made me whimper in slight disgust.

The Good:

If you are a gamer and are familiar with the Resident Evil gaming universe, you’re going to want to check this one out. From what I hear, you’ll prefer this to the live action films.

The Bad:

The animation is sometimes stiff, sometimes smooth, and never feels natural; doesn’t work as a standalone film; it requires extensive knowledge in not one, not two, not even three, but four video games, so the audience is extremely limited.

Memorable Quote:

Claire Redfield: [inspects a red and white umbrella she is holding as a weapon] Never saw this coming.

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