US (dir. Alexander Witt)
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sophie Vavasseur, Razaaq Adoti, Jared Harris, Mike Epps, Sandrine Holt, Matthew G. Taylor
Synopsis: After an outbreak in a top-secret facility, Umbrella ponders on covering up their mistakes by releasing the deadly Nemesis to eliminate surviving STARS members in Raccoon City.
Review: DVD Special Features Review (September 2010)
I picked up the Resurrected Edition double DVD (“Resident Evil” and “Resident Evil: Apocalypse”) set primarily because it was $20 and came with a free movie ticket to see the third film in the Resident Evil franchise: “Resident Evil: Extinction”. Now that’s a damn good deal if I may say so myself. The special features are pretty much all on one separate DVD and they consist of a making of featurette (Diary of an Apocalypse) a memory retention training quiz, several photo galleries (Evil Archives), a stuntman set tour, a zombie extras training featurette (Undead Boot Camp), a zombie dog POV test featurette, a sneak peek at “Resident Evil: Extinction” which is basically just a look at one of the best scenes of that movie and to top it all off, a rather pointless re-hashing of the events of “Resident Evil” and “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” titled “The Evolution of Resident Evil – Bridge to Extinction”,which for some reason doesn’t appear on the special features disc but on the disc containing the “Resident Evil” and “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” films. This edition is definitely choc-full of stuff, and for the price I paid ($20) plus a free movie ticket, it was definitely worth picking up – but unfortuantely I do have a few issues with the DVD special edition.
“The Evolution of Resident Evil: Bridge to Extinction” is a pointless feature that merely re-tells the events of the movies included on the DVD (as if you were incapable of watching the films yourself and making the connections between the first and second film). It’s basically there to remind you that, oh yes, there is a third “Resident Evil” film coming out, as if you really needed reminding. It’s not even worth watching, so skip it entirely, and just move on to the special features disc.
The special features disc starts off with “Diary of an Apocalypse”, likely the best feature on the disc. It’s essentially a making of feature film that reveals how many of the action scenes were filmed. Add to that a feature titled “Stuntman Set Tour” and another feature titled “Undead Boot Camp”, and you essentially have one giant behind-the-scenes look at the making of “Resident Evil: Apocalypse”. The stuntman set tour goes through the making of two action scenes and the boot camp for the undead is a look at how the film’s zombie choreographer managed to train the extras and make them into the zombies you see in the film. There’s a lot of talk about something known as “The Undead Bible” (a highly scientific booklet that explained how the T-Virus infects human hosts) which was distributed to all the zombie extras in order for them to get into the zombie spirit both mentally and physically, however despite everyone’s best efforts, the zombies ended up looking pretty damn fake in the final cut of the film. I’ve seen more realistic zombies at Toronto Zombie Walk. Someone also mentions how Alexander Witt (the director) didn’t even want to be bothered with shooting any of the zombie scenes. That’s pretty much how it was phrased too… bothered. If it’s a fucking hassle for you to direct/film a hoard of zombies in a fucking zombie film, then GTFO. Seriously. There’s a shorter featurette that details how the zombie dogs (those famous Dobermans) were trained and filmed, but it has more to do with detailing how the zombie dog’s point of view is accurately captured on film. Unfortunately despite their best efforts, the zombie dog POV looks like crap, and the fact that they felt it was necessary to shoot the zombie dogs’ point of view in the first place makes me wonder why they didn’t put more attention elsewhere. Do we really need to see the zombie dogs’ point of view? No! We fucking want to see Alice do a crazy wall flip and then kick the dog in the face to the pulsing beat of a remixed Nine Inch Nails tune. Am I the only one out there who wants to see that again?
To fill up the remaining room on complete the special features disc is a “Memory Retention Training Quiz” that shows you scenes from the movie and then asks you impossibly hard multiple choice questions on what you just saw in the scene. Sample questions: “How many bullets did Alice fire before re-loading?” or “Which eye did Alice open first?” and various other inane questions that are not only pointless, but extremely challenging too. In the end, I answered less than 10 questions right, therefore garnering me more grunting Nemesis noises as punishment prizes than Alice pistol slinging noises as reward prizes. There are also five photo galleries within a surprisingly sparse “Evil Archives”. Some photos are neat to sift through: set design, story boards, art department. While other photos (production and publicity) are crap you can probably get from Google images as soon as you type in “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” or “Milla Jovovich Alice”. And the cherry on the proverbial cheesecake of this special features disc? A sneak peak (one scene) from “Resident Evil: Extinction” that essentially succeeds in making you think, “wow, this looks better that ‘Resident Evil: Apocalypse'” and which is obviously thrown in to complete the Resurrected Edition DVD’s mission: to make you want to get up and go see “Resident Evil: Extinction” the second, nay, millisecond, it hits theatres.
So is this special edition DVD set worth picking up? Well for starters, you get TWO movies for the price of one, and since one of those movies happens to be “Resident Evil”, it’s a no-brainer for someone like me. The fact that this set came with a free movie ticket was fucking awesome, but they didn’t need to cram down the whole “JUST TO REMIND YOU! RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION IS COMING OUT IN THEATRES SOON! SO GO SEE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!” down my throat, especially since me having picked up the DVD set is proof enough I’ll be most likely seeing the third film in the series without their manipulative efforts . My biggest qualm with this DVD set is that it is not comprehensive. None of the special features are from the first film, “Resident Evil” and to top it off neither the first nor second film come with commentaries. In the end, it just feels like this is one big promotion for “Resident Evil: Extinction”, and the inclusion of the first film in the DVD set (but no special features from the first film) makes that film feel more like it too is just a special feature to add to “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” – and that’s kinda shitty for a fan-girl like myself.