Like Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series before it, Capcom has created what is basically a 90 minute cut scene set in their Resident Evil video game universe. The movie is a prequel to the game Resident Evil 5.
The “movie” features popular video game heroine Claire Redfield (played by Ali Larter in the feature films) who becomes trapped in an airport crawling with zombies after a plane crashes into the terminal. Investigating and trying to contain the zombie contagion is Leon S. Kennedy whom Claire teamed up with previously in the game Resident Evil 2 in 1998.
It is later revealed that the G-Virus, that set off the plague many years earlier in Raccoon City, was now running rampant. The virus leak at Raccoon City was covered up by the government and was thought to have been dealt with. The new evidence proves the experimentation continues. Claire and Leon track the virus to the WilPharma Corporation where they uncover just how deep the coverup goes.
Degeneration does what it is supposed to. It shows us just how far cut scene game animation has come and how much Pixar has spoiled us. The animation is stiff and not that engaging. Cutscenes while they look impressive in the 3-4 minutes they are between the game action this quality just doesn’t sustain the 90 minute running time. Capcom should have made the animation push above the standard cut scene and impress us. Square Enix did do that with their theatrical release Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within but it nearly bankrupted the company. Final Fantasy: Advent Children was miles better than this. So might I ask for a happy medium?
While watching the film, I couldn’t help but wonder what this would have looked like if it was an actual movie set in the Resident Evil movie universe and co-starred Milla Jovovich’s Alice. (Note: Alice has never appeared in a Resident Evil game and was a creation solely for the movie franchise.) Now that could have been something.
I can’t say I enjoyed Degeneration or am looking forward to any other Resident Evil animated films. I think I will stick to my Miyazaki and Ghost in the Shell flicks.
2 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer