Monday, August 31, 2009

Zombie Week: Resident Evil Movies

(for the record it took me forever to figure out what picture would work best. this does. Milla looks hot, ready for action and appropriately kick-ass worthy.)

Movies watched:
Resident Evil
Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Resident Evil: Extinction

Alice is hot? Er...okay a little backstory here. I had never played a Resident Evil/Bio-Hazard game in my LIFE. The whole shooter game set isn't really my cup of tea, so I avoided all the games like the plague (despite being zombie games :sobs: ) when the first movie came out, I didn't care. Oh I was intrigued, because I grew up worshiping Milla Jovovich for her role in Fifth Element just like any good little girl, but I wasn't interested in seeing the film. I didn't become interested until, hm, about a year later when I was very ill and sick at home. It was on TV, but I didn't have the energy or health to get up and flip the channel (the remote being on the floor several yards away from me) so I had to sit through it.

Loved it!

From there my obsession grew. And by obsession I mean, I watch these movies at least once a month. If its on TV when I'm flipping, I turn it on. I own them on DVD. I own the soundtracks. I am in the process of owning the novelizations (more on that later).

Basic Outline:
In the first movie we meet Alice (Jovovich) as she wakes up in the shower, naked and without memory of what happened. As she is dressing and touring this palace of a house highly trained paramilitary folks burst through the floor to ceiling windows and take her (and apparently some other dude in the same situation, played by James Purefoy, who may or may not be married to her) captive. They begin demanding things of her, she can't answer and thus everyone decides a trip into the super secret underground research and development facility located underneath the palace of a house is the key to everything.

Because obviously if the super secret R&D lab had cut off all contact, locked its VERY heavy-duty doors and armed its weapons system, asking it for answers is the best idea ever.

As you can guess things go terribly wrong.

The second movie (Apocalypse) takes place...after the last scenes of the first movie and has Alice again waking up in a mostly naked state. She has on a hospital gown of ineffectiveness however. As she tours a rather creepily silent facility (that's at least above ground) and walks out into a city of rampant chaos, she tries to figure out what the hell happened this time. She is smart enough to arm herself.

We cut away from her to follow a bunch of others. Slightly formerS.T.A.R.S. team member Jill Valentine (also looking kick ass), Umbrella paramilitary commando Carlos Oliviera (the yummy Oded Fehr), a few folks who end up being cannon fodder, a street wise guy (who must have been a pimp or something) named L.J., reporter Terri Morales (who's useless) and some more cannon fodder. Jill, Carlos, L.J. and Alice are given a mission by the original creator of the T-virus Dr. Ashford to find his poor pre-teen daughter Angie who's hiding somewhere in Raccoon City cowering in fear (he knows this because he has her TAGGED electronically).

Of course things aren't so simple and this should be a lesson to anyone who thinks that pharmaceutical corporations are pansies, because Umbrella has its own paramilitary tactical team, R&D lab made specifically to make 'the ultimate soldier' (not sure if this is...sanctioned tho) and the pull in the media circus to not only cover up an atom bomb detonation (destroying an entire city) but covering up the fact they were the ones who set it off!

This movie actually ends slightly better then the first however.

The third movie (Extinction) picks up an unspecified time after the second movie. The world is pretty much in ruins (its not called an Apocalypse for nothing folks) and there are small pockets of humanity left scattered to the four winds. Alice, as always, is on her own (but dressed!) and after taking a side trip to kick some hick, creeptastic family's ass for being...creeptastic basically (and trying to kill her), she drives off into the sunset onto the road. Her mission isn't very clear, but she's kicking zombie ass on the way at least.

Cut to a convey of vehicles--a refitted schoolbus (they saw the new Dawn of the Dead obviously), ambulance, RV, and a few others. The jokesters in charge seem in fairly high spirits all things considered. We meet Claire Renfield (Ali Larter), Carlos (yes from the second movie), K-Mart (don't ask, she's a confused young girl), L.J. (yes pimp man is back), AshantiBetty, Mikey (with the hot accent) and not!Madsen brother shows up in a ten gallon hat named...something. Oh and Otto (from Simpsons) comes to life. I wish I was joking.

Anyhow they have troubles! It seems their silly need to make camp attracted ZOMBIE CROWS! Yes I said it, ZOMBIE CROWS. These things are HOT. So while the Zombie Crows attack (ala 'Birds', obviously classic watchers) a bunch of people die, a few people martyr themselves and then Alice comes and kicks the Zombie Crows ass with her awesome 'I can Kill you with my mind' powers. You see she had met up with River Tam and the two of them had a conversation about how to appropriately use corrupt corporations mind modifications for your own gain.

Sadly Ali Larter isn't feeling the love so much (I think she wanted Carlos, but Carlos was all about Alice) and tries to give her the boot except Alice has the holy grail of survival--Alaska! There's an enclave in Denali, where the Cullens hang out that hasn't been effected by the virus. Don't ask me how the original diary owner found this out, but she did so go with it.

This sparks what becomes a doomed mission pretty much.

Along the way we see an oily creeper named Dr. Issacs (who some might remember from being an oily creeper in the second movie that Alice tried to totally pwn) who is trying to either domesticate the crazy Zombies (he saw Shaun of the Dead) or possibly a mass an army of naked Alice clones to do his bidding. At any rate he's in one of the famous several leagues under the ground Umbrella facilities (there's lots of them we come to find out) and has to answer to a sunglass wearing dude named Wesker who doesn't like him that much. None of us do Wesker, none of us do. Dr. Issacs becomes even less likable by the end of the film.

This movie ends...kind of better then the first, but less hopeful then the second (unless you are a fan of naked Alice).

Zombie Threat Level:
Let's put it this way, no one, not even James Purefoy, makes a hot zombie. By the third movie they are starved (its believed they don't NEED to feast on the flesh, but feel compelled to. Obviously Jenny Craig isn't working and the 12 Step program failed again) and nasty nasty nasty looking. For the most part it seems like the new ones retain a lot of their mobility from living, but as they get older (and degenerate more) they begin the shuffle dance. Still they're pesky, persistent and one little scratch will make you into one. Though several characters get themselves bitten throughout the movie franchise and half of them take a long while to become zombies. There is however only primal instincts--a hive mentality almost exists so that if one reacts they all react.

Tie-in to the Game Franchise:
I didn't start playing the games until after the original movie. Also I still don't play the older ones, I've really only played 4 and 5 with forays into Umbrella Chronicles with my boyfriend.

A lot of the characters you see are from the games--Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield, Carlos Oliviera, Dr. Ashford, Wesker--but unlike in the games, they aren't the main focus. Alice is clearly the main focus for the movies and to my knowledge she never appears in any of the games. That being said most of the characters are only superficially like their game counterparts. Wesker for instance was a desk jockey basically in the third film, but in the games he is much more 'If you can't do this I WILL DO THIS PROPERLY'. He's much less a threat in the movie then he is in the games.

Storyline wise...some plot points are hit, but with Alice taking the lead instead of whoever was the lead in the games. Apocalypse, roughly based on the third game (Nemesis), had Alice in Jill Valentine's position of fighting Nemesis for instance, but the basic plot of Nemesis tracking down the remaining S.T.A.R.S. team members is the plot from the third game.

Interesting Trivia:
My brother and I first heard about the Resident Evil movie back in 99 or so. At the time it was meant to star Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield--two well known and well liked characters from the game series--and be directed by George Romero (yes THAT George Romero). Sadly it fell through. Romero apparently wanted a much more game like movie while the production company wanted a much less game like movie. Paul W.S. Anderson (who wrote/directed the first and then wrote the following two) was then hired on in 2000 or so. Romero's full script can be read online here, its very different.

Lexie is Happy:
The Fourth movie is rumored to be released in late summer 2010. I will be ALL OVER THAT.