Sunday, September 12, 2004

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Let us keep in mind that this is a movie based on a video game and that thus far I can't think of a game-based movie that has been absolutely fantastic -- these movies are meant to appeal to folks who have played the games and, like games, just be something entertaining to watch with belief suspended. Movies like these aren't here to make us cry or think or inspire us, really. That said...

It was an entertaining film and I found it far more enjoyable than the second "Matrix" film, actually. "Apocalypse" feels much more like the games than its predecessor. The city, the piles of cars, the trolleys, the old church, the crawley mutant zombies... they all felt like they did in the games, as did the characters and their action-figure cool 2-dimensional personalities. So, while none of that is even thinkable as Oscar material, it's dead-on for a video game-to-screen flick.

The original film had a better air to it - more mystery, though they really could of done better by really playing up the Alice in Wonderland thing they kinda half-heartedly had going. Sorta. There was no mystery with "Apocalypse" - especially with Nemesis. First of all, Nemesis wasn't scary at all - he's heart-pounding, piss-your-pants FREAKY in the games. You DREAD meeting him in the games. Here? He's just some monster we KNOW Alice is going to whup. :\ Also, I had totally forgotten that Matt had been captured along with Alice in the end of the first movie. So they totally could of tried to fake us out and played out the true origin of Nemesis like a mystery. If it didn't fool the folks who watched the first film it at least would of fooled people who HADN'T seen the first film. Because we knew from the start, all the flashbacks became tedious and pedantic. They really could of done better.

The ending was a bit drawn out. 2 hours later, 2 days later, 3 weeks later... geez! It looks like there are plans for a third movie, so why not just have shown them crashing, shown the Umbrella soldiers hauling off with Alice's body and be done with it... leave it on an uncomfortable, unfinished note. Instead, it was like they tried cramming the first half of the third film into the last 10 minutes and I just feel like they told us too much. I can guess what the third film would be about easily.

now for the good stuff.

Alice had a much better outfit - rather, a bit more practical if still a bit stylish than practicality would have demanded in realistic circumstances. But this isn't a realistic film, so -- she did look hot in the first film but I liked the netting shirt and all the buckles and the semi-dreded hair. Jill looked like she did in the game so I guess that's her excuse for a skimpy outfit but her attitude really went with it - I hope they have more of Jill in the third film (assuming there is a third). Kinda missed that there were NO "knowing glances" and heart rending moments between Alice and anyone like there was between Alice and the mercenary woman in the first film, which really caught me off guard when I first saw it. It's not just me and wishful thinking, these woman felt something there...

I liked how Alice and the girl both had the T-virus and how that seems to of started a bond of some sort between them, the fact that they both have it and aren't zombies. Maybe they'll use that in the third film the way they used Matt (Nemesis) and Alice's mutations to pull them into an alliance at the end of this film. I like the injustice and I really hope that's the point of the third film - revenge for the injustice done to so many.

And of course, Milla is a joy to watch. Not her best performance, though. :\ I don't think she had much to work with. Alice in the first film at least had amnesia and was slowly coming out of her foggy fake 'i'm just a wife' haze and having her head of security mode kicking back in... she got to work with more emotion (as much emotion as one can have in a game film). This time, though, her character has been there, done that and is pissed off in a single minded way. Like I said, not much to work with. Ah, well.

Oh, gaping plot hole -- the zombies that come out of the graves. I think they do that in the games, but there's no logic to how that would work. This whole thing started with the shattering of the container that held the virus, which spread through the air and contaminated all the lab workers and people inside the Hive. They all turned into Zombies who can pass on the virus by biting their victims. When the first team went into the Hive to shut it down, there was no more T-virus in the air, just in the zombies. Our heroes sort of escape and the Hive is locked up. Then in "Apocalypse", scientists open the hive back up and zombies get out. If there was no more virus in the air in the FIRST film, then the T-virus could only have been spread by zombie-bite to the citizens of Raccoon City. So how did the corpses end up reanimating? And all at the same TIME, too. :P

The only other major thing that bothered me was the weird cinematography of the fight scenes. Up-close and really blurry to save bucks on actually training the actors and showing really cool REALISTIC fight moves. Even MOREso than Xena (and I love Xena...). Other than the fight scenes, most of the framing was actually not bad and they used interesting lighting (for an all-night movie) and the angles weren't static.

Ohh! I TOTALLY didn't see the reporter dying when she did - it caught me off guard the way she went in such an easy way. I thought she'd be grossed out by the kid and run, but nope, that was her demise.

That lunch lady was perfect.

[Edit:] hallalundi mentioned that there are interesting paralells between Resident Evil and Alien - between what happens to Alice and what happens to Ripley, the way they both start out just doing their jobs, are thrust into fighting terrible creatures and then BECOME the monsters themselves. Heck, there's even the two outsiders bonding - Ripley/Call and Alice/the girl.

I'm glad I went to see it in the theatre anyway, because it was fun and there's lots of things you'd only know if you played the games - and I used to watch Eric play the games and I'd play RE: Survivor, and Trey, Eric and I watched the first film on the computer together, and Eric and I have been anticipating the sequel since January... :P AND we knew what to expect ahead of time. If I'd had high expectations, I would have been disappointed, but I didn't so all was well. I just watch these films seeing all the POTENTIAL and I think that makes me kinda forgiving.