Horror / Sci-Fi / Action / Animation
Resident Evil: Degeneration
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
While looking into a new Resident Evil game (Resident Evil 6), I noticed that a new animated Resident Evil film had been made. Resident Evil: Damnation, a sequel to Resident Evil: Degeneration, had been released in 3D format in Japan in October 2012. I couldn’t wait to check it out. Happily, I received a copy on DVD for Christmas.
Set some time after Degeneration, Resident Evil: Damnation finds Leon S. Kennedy (Matthew Mercer/Kevin Dorman) in the Eastern Slavic Republic, a country that fought for independence from Russia, but is still having growing pains. A civil war is in full swing and Leon has learned that BOWs (Bio-Organic Weapons) are being used. Determined to stop the BOWs, Leon ignores an extraction order and ends up being captured by the resistance with the aid of a Licker.
Leon soon realizes that the rebels are using Plaga parasites to control the Lickers in their battle against the ESR government. Meanwhile, President Svetlana Belikova (Wendee Lee/Melinda Lee) meets with Ada Wong (Courtenay Taylor/Jolene Andersen), under the guise of a BSAA agent. Wong gives Belikova information regarding BOWs and how to control them. Neither Leon nor Ada could ever guess what is really going on under the palace.
Desperate to avenge his fallen loved ones, the last surviving leader of the rebels, Alexander ‘Sasha’ Kozachenko (Dave Wittenberg/David Earnest), infects himself with a parasite and with his army of BOWs, heads off to depose the ruling government, but the President still has some tools up her sleeve, the likes of which threaten to destroy the rebel movement once and for all and possibly take Leon S. Kennedy with it.
Resident Evil: Degeneration was good, but Resident Evil: Damnation is amazing. The CG is so good that after only a couple of minutes, I completely forgot I was watching CG. Everything looked so realistic, from the characters’ facial expressions to their movements to the surrounding environments. The storyline was plausible with quite a few twists and was easy to get into even if you have never seen the preceding movies or played any of the games.
Having experienced both aspects of the franchise, I can honestly say that the creators of this movie stayed completely faithful to the gaming franchise, expanding on its storyline without ruining the continuity. Of course, Resident Evil fans are going to root for Leon in this film, but you also find yourself rooting for characters we only see in this film like Alexander and J.D. (Val Tasso). You genuinely feel for these characters and hope for their success.
The action in this film is amazing and, despite having watched this film in non-3D format, I could tell when the creators of the film wanted things to pop out at the audience. What I loved about this film is that the powers that be didn’t tailor the story to fit the 3D action, but added in 3D effects around the storyline, a refreshing change from the norm. The DVD version of the film that I watched featured a documentary entitled The Making of Resident Evil: Damnation in which the various production staff members explained just what went into making the film. Although it was obvious that new technology had been employed for this installment of the franchise, it was fun to hear the technology and its usage explained and then see the final results. I found it quite interesting that the director spoke no English, but was able to get what he wanted out of each character across to the actors. I could tell that everyone involved in this film truly believed in it and had a great deal of fun making it.
Other extra features on the DVD include previews of various movies, games trailers for Resident Evil 6 (which also appears during the credits at the end of Damnation), Devil May Cry and Dragon Dogma, a gag reel which really wasn’t worth watching and Las Plagas: Organisms of War, a featurette well worth taking a look at for those who are not all that familiar with the various BOWs in the Resident Evil franchise.
All in all, I have to say that I was not disappointed in Resident Evil: Damnation. In fact, I was surprised that this animated film was so much better than the last one. Not being a huge fan of Leon and realizing that my favorite, Jill Valentine, would be absent from this film, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the powers that be created an animated feature film that will knock the socks off of any Resident Evil fan out there. I dare say that I enjoyed Resident Evil: Damnation more than I did the live action Resident Evil: Retribution. To say that I enjoyed an animated feature so much more than a live action one in the same franchise is quite amazing to me and should be enough of an endorsement for any Resident Evil fan looking for a good film spin-off from the video game series.
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