A nice quick description of ‘Resident Evil: Degeneration’ is that Capcom simply took the controller out your hand and are allowing us to enjoy the cut scenes uninterrupted. This is not an altogether bad thing either as this was one spectacular animated film to watch, a virtual feast for the eyes. Maybe not the ears so much since part of the aural activity including listening to the rather mundane voice acting, but this doesn’t make ‘Resident Evil: Degeneration’ any less spectacular to witness.
Forget the live action movies and the 90 pounds worth of Milla Jovovich running around in next to nothing kicking ass, as this is an extension of the actual video games. In this particular universe Raccoon city is long gone having been wiped off the face of the earth due to the shenanigans of the wicked Umbrella Corporation, but picking up where Umbrella left off is the WillPharma corporation which seems to be pushing some drugs similar to the wicked T-virus that we’re all familiar, which has the populace in quite an uproar.
Now even though I’m sure they set all this up, but I think I missed it because I was paying attention to all the pretty pictures running across my eyeballs, but what I do know that we are in an airport when we are reintroduced to the erstwhile Claire Redfield (voiced by Alyson Court) who is here for some kind of conference or another. Also flying in for this conference is a senator who lobbies for the scurrilous WillPharma in Ron Davis (Michael Sorich) who will be the sniveling cowardly bureaucrat that movies like this simply can’t exist without. No sooner than you can say ‘sucks to be us’ the zombies are on attack at this airport due to some wicked case of bio-terrorism. Worst still, should they manage to do something with these zombies which have showed up at the airport, which I doubt, a fresh batch is being flown in
through a rather spectacular crash in the airport lobby. Of course hungry pissed off slow moving zombies ain’t nothing but a thing to Ms. Redfield, but the rest of the folks in terminal are freaking out.
Now with the airport quarantined it’s time for the heavy guns to take over, and for this we have our stiff hero with the effeminate haircut Leon S. Kennedy (Paul Mercier), who takes along CGI super cop hottie Laura Bailey (Angela Miller) and her testosterone fueled partner Greg (Steve Blum) for some zombie slaughtering goodness. Together the trio proceeds to put bullets in the heads of numerous zombie vermin in an effort to free the surviving captives in the airport, including Claire. But now the movies really just getting started because there is a conspiracy going on involving a family member of one of our principle members who may be behind all this terror, this sniveling senator of ours seems to be up to something crooked, and we also have a slippery scientist who might be hiding a few things, in addition to his putting the move on Claire’s sexy computer generated ass. And the G-virus is on the loose. This is not a good thing. Now we must see if our heroes can defeat their mutated Nemesis before it defeats them.
I was going to spout off how I’m no Resident Evil fanatic but then after mentioning how I’ve played all three games on the Dreamcast and RE:4 on the PS2 and not to mention seeing all three live action movies you might want to challenge that statement, but I’m sticking by it. I will admit however that it might be a bit of a challenge for me to be completely be unbiased in this since A.) I like CGI movies in general, B.) though I’m no Resident Evil fanatic, I am a fan, and I even dug the live action movies except for the second one and C.) I love zombies. So there you go. My obvious bias aside ‘Resident Evil: Degeneration’ is one beautiful movie to see. On my relatively modest 37 inch LCD TV mated to an every day run-of-the-mill DVD player the visuals were spectacular, so I can only imagine how it would look for those of you with 60inch Plasmas and Blu-Ray disc players. Director Makato Kamiya seemed particularly happy with what he and his artist could do with fire and water since these were some of the more impressive computer generated effects in the film.
Everything surrounding the CGI characters was incredible and literally popped off the screen, the CGI characters themselves on the other hand, though lovely to look at, did move a bit stiff and unnatural at times and looking into those clear glassy eyes they possessed did get a little creepy at times, almost more so than the zombies, but in the long run this was an animated film and a rather photorealistic film at that so it still worked on many levels.
What didn’t works so well was the lackluster voice acting which often lacked any emotion and didn’t really elicit the urgency of the situation that these characters were thrust into. Most of the times the voice actors just seemed bored, or they were reading lines that they were seeing for the first time. I also think it’s quite possible that Leon S. Kennedy might be the first openly gay video game hero judging by his complete resistance towards the hot computer generated women that seem to want him – and of course his haircut. Not that there’s anything wrong with having a gay haircut, but Leon just might come to grips with his real self which will make the rest of his CGI life that much easier to cope with.
Despite the flaws in ‘Resident Evil: Degeneration’ it was certainly easier to get into and comprehend than the equally visually spectacular, but completely confusing ‘Final Fantasy: Advent Children’ CGI film from Square, but then there are physics doctoral theses out there that make more sense than ‘Final Fantasy’. I may be biased but still I don’t think you can go wrong some good old fashioned zombie, super graphical, video game, CGI hottie, gay hero monster slaying. Seriously.