Matthew Preston | March 17, 2002
I went to see "Resident Evil" this afternoon and expected a stinker of a movie. I was more than pleasantly surprised that it ruled!

I have been a fan of video games my whole life and more recently of the "Resident Evil" line of games. Even though the trailers make the movie look like crap and it doesn't have too much star power, I went to see it. I will always see a movie based off a video game.

From the beginning to the end, it ruled! It was action packed, had a spetacular near non-stop invigorating soundtrack, and stayed true to the game. I was very worried that this would be some Hollywood producer's bastardized version of the original games. It wasn't. Everything that I always pictured these games could turn into on the big screen were up there. From puzzles and mazes, to the expansion of the virus, corporate technology and blunders, and not to mention the level of terror that is involved with zombies. The only thing that was bad about it was the dozens of times something jumps out at the screen and a loud noise rumbles the theatre. A few here and there are okay, but they take it to an annoyingly new level in this film. Also, the acting isn't perfect, but I don't think they were going for an Oscar winner here. Other than that, go see this movie.

Warning: This film has a ridiculous amount of viloence and gore. I wouldn't recommend brining small children to it... like the family in front of us who had to take their terrifyed child out of the theater several times. That kid is gonna have nightmares.

Scott Hardie | March 17, 2002
Going to see it in four hours with Jason, will comment afterwards...

What happened to that free sneak preview you were bragging about going to see earlier this week?

Matthew Preston | March 17, 2002
It turned out that the sneak preview was only for members of the press and people who had gotten the free tickets from a radio station. I tried to say that I was reporting on behalf of, but they didn't buy it.

Scott Hardie | March 18, 2002
My opinion of the film: Eh. So-so. [There are some large spoilers to this comment.]

It has some excitement, with a lot of monsters closing in on the heroes in cramped spaces. It has good special effects, especially the hologram of Red Queen. The action scenes are good, but there aren't a lot of them - the heroes run out of ammo early, and spend the rest of the movie kicking and running away. The acting was decent, given how few lines the actors had. One really cool thing that you don't get in the games is a close-up of zombies going in for a good bite - in the games, you only see them far away, with no facial expressions, but the movie gives you zombie faces eight feet high. I loved little touches, like the mention of the "Nemesis program," and how the humans showed up on the visual heat sensors but the zombies didn't. Also, my personal favorite thing about the movie: The zombies, the dogs, and the licker were all exactly like they appear in the games. Their size fluctuated a little bit on screen from shot to shot, but they were fucking perfect otherwise.

What really turned me off about the film was that it was incomprehensible. There were too many quick cuts (trying to hide the fact that they only had a half dozen zombie extras and were trying to make them look like twenty or thirty, I suspect), so it was hard to follow the action scenes, and the movie was a mess for the first 20-25 minutes. I'm not just talking about the big picture of the plot, which is easier if you know the games already. I'm talking about following what the hell is going on, shot-by-shot. Very confusing.

Also, giant gaping plot holes. How do the heroes expect to be safe if it's an airborne pathogen and they're not all immunized at the end? The movie makes mention of the virus becoming liquid after so-and-so conditions have been met, but if that did cover the plot hole, it didn't make much fucking sense. (Not a problem in the games, where the virus is not airborne.) Plus, why do the Umbrella mercenaries come smashing through the windows in the beginning? They own the damn house! And, if Red Queen is capable of reporting to Umbrella that there's something wrong with the Hive, why doesn't she report what is wrong with the Hive? The corporation paid a massive amount of money for that ultra-sophisticated computer system, and they figure that it going homicidally haywire is more likely than it behaving that way to try to contain a viral outbreak, like it's fucking programmed to do? I don't mind letting plot holes like these slide with the excuse that "it's just a movie," but it gets harder when there are so many of them. Other questions: What happened to the sliced-up corpses in that laser-beam corridor? Why did the zombies shuffle slowly in some scenes but chase the heroes at full running speed in others? Why did Red Queen kill the second elevator group so inefficiently? Why didn't Red Queen stop the bad guy from escaping with the t-virus as soon as she saw him toss the vial at the floor? Why does a public hospital have a large, empty examination room with an electronic lock? How could Umbrella possibly build a complex that large underneath a city of 850,000 people without them noticing? Ah well, "it's just a movie."

The biggest turnoff was that the movie wasn't true to the games, imo. It had some elements of the games - zombies, dogs, lickers, a mercenary team, Raccoon City, Umbrella, a high-tech research lab - but that's surface stuff. What about the spirit of the games? It's why they're so popular, after all. The movie wasn't creepy, it was just loud and boorish. More subtle moments of terror, and characters softly saying things to each other instead of yelling everything, might have helped. Also, more gunplay. I'm sorry, that's a trademark of the games. If I was making the movie, I would have dropped the silly puzzles and the big mutated animals (except the dogs and the crows), and otherwise left the original game intact. It works so well as it is. Why fix what ain't broke?

So, on its own, I'd give this movie two stars, a perfect medium rating - but as a fan of the games, I have to dock it half a star for changing them for no reason.

Oh well. It's just a movie.

Scott Hardie | March 18, 2002
Also, I wanted to mention: At one point, the men are supporting Rain while they walk out, and she says, "When I get outta here, I'm gonna get laid." (This line is repeated at the end of the credits, but I think it's part of the song.) I think a better line would be, "When I get outta here, I'm selling my company stock."

Matthew Preston | March 18, 2002
The virus was described by the Red Queen as only starting out as airborne. She says that it quickly mutates and ends up being spread by blood. This was described by her after they bring her back online.

I also can't believe that you don't think this movie stays true to the game! After all the pieces of crap that Hollywood has put out based on Video Games or Television shows ("Master of the Universe", "Super Mario Bros.", etc.), I think they did a great job with this one. A few similarities you mentioned and a few you didn't:
- Racoon City, (Thank you jesus they didn't just have it in New York or Los Angeles).
- Umbrella.
- S.T.A.R.S. team. (The fact that they chose differn't weapons like each of them in the games).
- Her outfit (usually in the game to get teenage boys to buy it, but still what I would expect in the movie).
- Mutations of the virus (Nemesis, Licker).
- A digital map giving your position, having to find alternate routes (the line where the guy says "We have to go through Dining Hall B" was hilarious).
- A LARGE computer based lab with defenses. (Someone usually gets trapped in the games).
- Several differen't types of weapons that are listed on screen by the HUD of the Red Queen.
- The creatures were flawless (Zombies, Cerberus Dogs, Licker).
- The panic that ensues when they realize what is going on and no one can decide what to do or they just do their own thing.
- The train escape.
- Trying to beat the clock.
- The classic, the battle is never over storyline (survivor horror, always another end boss and always room for the virus to expand and bring out another game or movie).
- Always expanding ignorance of the Umbrella corporation to keep making these viruses and to keep testing them.
- Just letting the S.T.A.R.S. team die if they can't get out.
- Everything is owned by Umbrella, including her wedding ring.
- The gradual overtaking of the virus in someone's system (would have been great if Rain started to say "Itchy, Tasty" though).
- The scenes where they have to wade through a foot of water (happens in every game).
- Travelling through the underbelly of the facility and not just sticking to the main rooms.
- Finding other ways to defeat the enemy rather than just with a gun.
- Finding alternate ways to open doors (not quite finding several chess pieces that fit into doors, but still good nontheless).

I know I will think of more, but that's about it for now. What more do you need? The puzzles are a large part of the game and what make the game challenging and fun. They only had a small part in the movie anyways, but just enough to stay true. Dropping the puzzles in the movie would be like making a movie based off of the game "The 7th Guest" and just having ghosts haunt people... it wouldn't work. I think part of the problem you have with the loss of spirit is that the game has long pauses while you need to figure things out to advance. But think back to the first time you played the game without a game shark. My heart was pounding fast and the action was intense and I was trying desperatley to fend off all of the zombies that were attacking me. This is what I think the movie was trying to capture. And there was the occasional slower talking scene, when Matt found his sister, when they talk in the water flooded room. Most of the short pauses though were taken to give you background on Alice or Marsha or whatever you want to call her.

Maybe I am biased, maybe I liked the video games a lot better than you did, maybe I just took to heart all of the little things that rang true to the game.

Scott Hardie | March 18, 2002
I got the whole airborne-then-blood thing afterwards, thanks to Kelly and Jason explaining it, but I still think it doesn't make any fucking sense.

Of course "Resident Evil" was more faithful than most video game movies. Most of them are not at all faithful. :-) I still hold that "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" is the best one, and that's barely loyal at all.

A lot of the similarities you mentioned are, imo, insignificant, because they are common and appear in many action movies, or because they are not especially unique to the games (which I guess is kind of the same thing). The last three items on your list, and the "panic that ensues" item, I think are insignificant in this way. "Trying to beat the clock" is in just about every action movie.

What about the large computer system with defenses? Locked doors, yes, but that's it. I haven't played Code Veronica, but in the three Playstation games, nobody ever gets locked up by an AI computer system.

There was no STARS team in the movie. That squad worked for Umbrella, and said so. Essentially, we were watching Hunk and his crew, in black instead of green & gray.

The mutations of the virus aren't the same. In the movie, they say the licker is created by direct injection of the t-virus. In the game, lickers are failed g-virus experiments, like zombies are failed t-virus experiments. And Nemesis is t-virus, not g-virus. I know I'm nitpicking, but I think that's what we're supposed to be doing here. :-)

I also disagree about several different types of weapons. Carrying them isn't the same as using them. They used the big machine guns against the first wave of zombies in the dining hall, then abandoned them. They used pistols, and sparingly so, for the rest of the movie. They carried knives, but didn't use them except to pick their fingernails.

Is that outfit in the games? Doesn't look like any that I remember. It looks to me like Rinoa from FF8, in red instead of blue. :-|

I agree with some of the other ones, like the underground train, and the computer map of the premises and so on. Umbrella's ignorance is no big deal; that's also in a lot of movies like this.

Matthew Preston | March 18, 2002
I might have looked into some things a little too far, but they made me really enjoy the film. Could it just be coincidence the similarites I found? You are right in saying that these are big aspects of all films, but then again, the RE series was like one big playable movie.

I will say that the movie wasn't without it's faults (The G and T viruses, but they didn't go into too much detail for that, just a quick way to make a sequel). As long as we both agree that it was made into a movie better than past hollywood projects, I am happy.

I also agree that Final Fantasy was great. Not spectacular, but great. It stayed true to the games as well as it could, being that each FF game is a differen't plot from the last*. It was exactly how I would see a movie being made based on the games.

* there were rumors being spread that there is a part in FFX to go and revive Aeris from FFVII. These have been proven false of course.

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