Critic's Log - Earthdate: December 2, 2012. Review #23: Resident Evil: Degeneration
I want to apologize before I start this review that I have never played the Resident Evil games prior to writing this review but I have expressed interest in playing them. Let's shoot some Zombie bastards and get right into Resident Evil: Degeneration!
7 years have passed since the outbreak and destruction that occurred in Raccoon City. Umbrella, which is a company, is dead. Leon S. Kennedy, a U.S. government agent, and Claire Redfield, a rescuer of an NGO Terrasave, are now caught in what may become a repeat in history. With the T-virus spreading in the Harvardille Airport and a new G-virus monster on the horizon, Leon and Claire race against the clock to stop history from repeating itself.
To be technical, this is a movie based on the Resident Evil games (obviously) but this movie has a connection with the video games. Please try not to confuse yourself with the American Live-action film series because Resident Evil: Degeneration is not part of that continuity. According to some sources, this movie takes place after Resident Evil 4 and before Resident Evil 5. This is a Digital Frontier production and this was conceived by Capcom themselves and this is the only Resident Evil movie that is canonical to the games. This is also a Capcom Studios production and I will say that the CG animation does look like that it has some hiccups, I actually don't care all too much since the CG fits in with the video games. So I don't have much to complain about it. It may not be like Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, but I'm willing to let the CG animation pass this time. My only complaint is how Leon looks in the movie. At first I thought Leon looked alright, but when I researched the games, I found that Leon looks different than Resident Evil 4 and that's my only complaint.
The music by Tetsuya Takahashi is kind of an interesting one to talk about. The music I guess is okay, but Tetsuya Takahashi is an interesting case because he worked on games such as Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, Xenogears, and other games. He never composed music for any of those games and I kind of wonder why that he was chosen to compose the music for this movie. It's really beyond me to ask why this would seem to be a good choice. I guess it's nice that this guy is composing music for a video game movie even though that is not in his forte. The music is ok but I do think it could have been better because I don't think the soundtrack is too memorable to say the least. Even if the music isn't all that great, it does not hurt the film's overall enjoyment.
When it comes to voice casts, You're gonna have stick with the dub on this one because apparently there is a Japanese version but us Americans only have this movie in English. Which I guess can be a problem since lip-syncing would be spot on in Japanese in which the dub found it difficult to do so they just did what they could do. However, since we get the games in English, I guess it wouldn't make a big difference since the dub is well-performed for the most part. Paul Mercier and Alyson Court do reprise their roles as Leon and Claire in this movie to fit in with the video games since this movie is labeled as "Canonical" with the games. Laura Bailey is pretty good as Angela and Steve Blum really sounds like he had fun playing a tough guy that gets to use a big gun. Crispin Freeman plays a really interesting role as Frederic. Roger Craig Smith is also nice to hear as Curtis. Mark Hamill...*Record Scratch*, Oh wait a second, it's Michael Sorich that plays that slimy politician, Senator Ron Davis. At first when I heard that Senator's voice. I really thought I was hearing Mark Hamill in the movie. Michael Sorich is pretty good in his role. Mary Elizabeth McGlynn was the one in charge of the ADR director and that may not sound like much but she was the ADR director for dubs such as Cowboy Bebop, Wolf's Rain, and Naruto. This dub is pretty good overall.
As far as characters go, Leon is kind of a badass in this movie, Claire is nice and can kick ass. I really have no comment on Angela in this movie because I feel that Angela was a bit dense throughout this movie and because of convenience, Her brother is the main baddie in this movie and she somehow stands there when her brother turns into a monster (Which I don't blame her). Angela is a bit underdeveloped and could have had better character development . Greg Glenn is alright since he only sticks around for a half hour or so. Frederic was a bit mysterious in somewhat of a good way. Ron Davis is a stereotypical asshole politician. Rani is a character that does show up from time to time after the first 10 minutes and I almost have no comment about her since this movie is her only appearance and she doesn't play much of a big part in the central plot. The characters are cool or nice I guess but after doing more research on the games, I will agree that Leon is a lot different in personality compared to the games and that's where I think this contributes to the big problem in this movie. He sounds like he's way too removed from the situation that is happening a lot and sounds like he had something shoved up his ass. I don't think this happened in the fourth game while I did research it. Claire on the other hand is done right for the most part except for the fact that she's underused. She does kick some ass for a moment and then gives her pistol back to Leon despite the fact that she's in danger and then later in the movie, her leg gets wounded and has trouble walking normally. There is an odd moment that Claire has and that is during the airport scene when she's telling a security officer to run away after shooting a zombie instead of telling him to shoot the zombie in the head. The big problem that I think this movie has is that Leon seems to be the only one that knows about the Raccoon City incident which is regarded as an infamous incident and he's telling this to special agents. Let's think over this, would these special agents know everything about the Raccoon City incident since it's an infamous incident? Another thing that's off is that Leon tells these agents to shoot them in the head and they never shot any of them in the head *Slap Facepalm* Especially one scene where Angela shoots one zombie in the freaking kneecap. Gee, it seems those special agents didn't understand the intel that Leon gave them to just SHOOT THEM IN THE DAMN HEAD!. The characters are a bit mixed if you compare this with the games.
Another problem I have is the pacing with the story. There's a good chunk in the middle as well as the start of the movie, but there are scenes that just slow down the movie. On the bright side, there is a twist that I think payed off well for the most part but nothing too mind-blowing. But considering the story for the movie, it is pretty average and it's not really all that special. Another problem I could see is that there are a few stereotypes in the movie. I will say that this is worth checking out if you are a Resident Evil fan. This movie is a lot better than the crappy live-action Resident Evil movies.
If there are any people that actually like the live-action Resident Evil movies, I want to point out that what I said about those movies is not a direct insult to those that like the live-action movies. I am not a snob while saying this, I've tried it and all I can say is that it could have been so much better if they would give it to the right talent. I will say that on the bright side, I think we're all glad that Uwe Boll was never involved in this series and if he did get involved, he would have screwed it royally for the fans of the games. So here's what I think of Resident Evil as a whole. I'm interested in playing the games. I am going to pass on the live-action movies but I won't stop you from seeing it or enjoying it. As far as this movie goes, I think it was okay.
Resident Evil: Degeneration is available from Sony Pictures Entertainment. The Resident Evil video games are in multiple consoles, so do a little research if you plan on collecting the games and choose wisely because certain ports of the game may differ. The Resident Evil live-action movies are available from Screen Gems.
With all that said, Resident Evil: Degeneration is a pretty average film with CG animation that does fit in with the video game franchise that it's based on. I'm afraid that this is the only good trait in the movie because the characters are a bit hit and miss if you compare this to the video games, the music may not be too special as well as the story. If you have high expectations over this movie, except to feel a little disappointed in some areas. If you didn't like the live-action movies, this movie is not like those movies, so there's room for optimism on that. The most important thing about all this is that if you are a fan of the Resident Evil games, then I easily recommend seeing this movie with one quote of advice, just don't put your expectations too high.
I give Resident Evil: Degeneration a 6.6 out of 10, it is DECENT!
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