Back in the early 2000’s, studios both big and small were starting to really get on the bandwagon of computer-generated animated films. Pixar was already rolling in giant piles of money, and other people wanted the same, so they started cranking out some relatively decent pictures like Shrek and a few others. Then things took a turn when Robots hit screens in 2005.
It then became clear to the general public that just because a studio has the ability to make a computer-animated film with a handful of well-known actors, doesn’t mean they necessarily should. This is the case with Sony’s Resident Evil: Afterlife.
We can all face the fact that 3D has taken over modern cinema, and it isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The positive side to that fact is that we get some visually genius and beautiful films such as Avatar. The negative to that is when something like Alice in Wonderland or Clash of the Titans are done in 3D after they’ve been made, and all the process does is ruin the experience.
Resident Evil: Afterlife likes to take 3D to the precipice of being campy and overplayed, and do an Irish jig on that line. Technically, the film is a mess. It looks like a music video someone wrote after staying up all night watching a Matrix marathon. There are wire techniques that don’t even bother looking like they would ever take place in this physical world, in which the main character Alice (Mila Jovovich) just awkwardly hangs in the air.
The story would be cool, if you could follow it. The opening sequence literally feels like a completely different film, tonally. It’s like director Anderson took as many visual effects artists and his wife (Jovovich) and shot a short film that was later worked into the film.
The film makes sure to retcon the last 20 minutes of Resident Evil: Extinction, only to disprove that theory in the latter acts. The rest of the movie plays a bit like an arch in The Walking Dead, but is still fun to see 3D zombies get their brains blown out.
The earlier statement about The Matrix needs to be repeated because there are definite sequences and even characters that look like they’ve literally been taken from Matrix films and reshot with lesser known actors. Most specifically, Shawn Roberts’ performance as the main protagonist feels like a dinner theater version of Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith.
The rest of the writing and plot problems can be chalked up to the fact that this really isn’t a movie made for plot or writing. That went out the window after the excellence of Resident Evil 1 back in 2002.
While there isn’t a whole lot to be said in defense of this film, there is a silver lining. The casting of Wentworth Miller (Prison Break) as Chris Redfield, who was made famous for being the main protagonist in the very first Resident Evil video game. This is definitely fan casting at it’s best. Wentworth pulls off the character both physically and in attitude flawlessly, and it will be nice to see him return in a possible future film.
Of course the film sets itself up for another sequel, as was expected. There is even a fun post-credits cameo, which is spoiled by the fact that Sienna Guillory gets 9th billing in the film. Basically, if you check your brain in it’s entirety at the door before walking in, and have no problem with 75% of the film being in slow motion, you’ll enjoy this flick.
Just don’t be surprised when you throw your arms up in the air a few times during the film and scoff a few more times. We warned you.