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Paul W.S. Anderson
Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy
Paul W.S. Anderson

A secret experiment. A deadly virus. A fatal mistake.

Something rotten is brewing beneath the industrial mecca known as Raccoon City. Unknown to its millions of residents, a huge underground bioengineering facility known as The Hive has accidentally unleashed the deadly and mutating T-virus, killing all of its employees. To contain the leak, the governing supercomputer, Red Queen, has sealed all entrances and exits. Now a team of highly-trained super commandos including Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), Alice (Milla Jovovich) and Matt (Eric Mabius) must race to penetrate The Hive in order to isolate the T-virus before it overwhelms humanity. To do so, they must get past the Red Queen's deadly defenses, face the flesh-eating undead employees, fight killer mutant dogs and battle The Licker, a genetically mutated savage beast whose strength increases with each of its slain victims.

Box Office:
$33 million.
Opening Weekend
$17.707 million on 2528 screens.
Domestic Gross
$39.532 million.
Rated R for strong sci-fi/horror violence, language and sexuality/nudity.

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $19.94
Release Date: 9/7/2004

• Audio Commentary With Director Paul W.S. Anderson, Producer Jeremy Bolt, and Actors Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez
• Audio Commentary With Director Paul WS Anderson and Visual Effects Supervisor Richard Yuricich
• 11 Featurettes
Resident Evil: Apocalypse Fangoria Clip
• Alternate Ending
• Theatrical Trailers
• Filmographies
• Production Notes


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Resident Evil: Deluxe Edition (2002)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 1, 2004)

Since this represents my third review of 2001’s Resident Evil on DVD, I’ll skip the long summary and discussion of the flick. If you’d like to read that, please head to my original review. As I said in conclusion there, Resident Evil doesn’t feel like anything new or especially creative, but it does what it sets out to do. The film offers an edgy and exciting piece that seems much better than the average video game adaptation.

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio A-/ Bonus A-

Resident Evil appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, dual-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. For the most part, Evil provided a good picture, but it didn’t seem to be a terrific one.

Sharpness usually appeared solid. Most of the movie looked nicely crisp and distinct. At times, some wide shots were slightly soft, but those occasions didn’t happen with great frequency; the majority of the flick came across as well defined and accurate. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, but I did discern a little light edge enhancement on occasion. In regard to print flaws, I saw a few specks, but grain created the most intrusive presence. Some scenes showed a moderate amount of grain, and those examples didn’t make much sense from a stylistic point of view. The grain likely always existed in the film – I didn’t think it related from this particular transfer – but it seemed odd and slightly distracting.

As with most edgy movies of this sort, Evil featured a very stylized palette and tended toward fairly cool colors. A dark film, it kept the hues pretty subdued most of the time. The colors seemed well reproduced and appropriately saturated, without any problems on display. Black levels also came across as deep and dense, while shadow detail was appropriately heavy but not overly thick. Ultimately, Resident Evil presented a fairly positive picture, but it fell short of greatness.

On the other hand, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Resident Evil suffered from virtually no flaws. The soundfield presented a very lively and involving affair that really helped make the movie creepier and more effective. All five channels worked actively through most of the film. The elements blended together well and panned efficiently across the speakers, and the surrounds contributed lots of unique audio. The Red Queen’s voice panned neatly across all five channels, and the rear speakers added some very useful spooky effects.

Audio quality seemed positive as well. Speech sounded natural and warm, and I noticed no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Music seemed clear and lively, as the rough-edged score presented the right level of crunch and fuzz. Effects appeared distinct and accurate and packed a solid punch as well. The movie presented very solid dynamics, with clean highs and some powerful but tight bass. The soundtrack of Resident Evil provided a fine complement for the action that accentuated the material.

When I compared the picture and audio of this “Deluxe Edition” of Evil, they compared very closely to those of the original DVD. This made them slightly inferior to what I heard and saw on the Superbit disc. The improvements aren’t extreme, but the Superbit remains the strongest audio/visual presentation of the movie.

On this “Deluxe Edition” release of Resident Evil, we find a nice array of supplements. Many of these repeat from the original special edition that came out in 2002. I’ll denote any new features with an asterisk.

This set includes two audio commentaries, and these start with a chat from director Paul W.S. Anderson, producer Jeremy Bolt, and actors Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez. All four sat together for this running, screen-specific track. If you’re looking for scads of specific information about the making of the movie, you’ll probably feel disappointed. If you’re looking for a rollicking and amusing piece, then this is the commentary for you.

The women dominate the track, as they offer sassy and uncensored comments. They talk about the movie, their commentary companions, their co-workers, and pretty much whatever else comes to mind. This occasionally possesses the potential to become annoying, but it never quite does. Instead, their attitude makes the program a nice change of pace.

As for the men, it’s very tough to tell which Brit is which, and they definitely take a backseat to the women. Nonetheless, they add a fair amount of useful information, and they help ground the track. They get into the impertinent spirit of the women, but they do so in a more restrained English manner; they seem content to act as straight men for the women’s wild musings. A few moderate gaps appear during the piece, but these don’t become too onerous. You won’t get much insight into the creation of Evil during this track, but you probably won’t care.

For the second commentary, we get remarks from *director Paul WS Anderson and visual effects supervisor Richard Yuricich, both of whom sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. They taped this around the same time as the preceding commentary, a fact I figured since Anderson mentioned it in the 2002 chat.

Not surprisingly, this track offers a much heavier emphasis on technical elements than its loose predecessor. One also should not feel flabbergasted to learn that visual effects dominate the discussion. We hear a lot about the various techniques they used and also learn a bit about stunts and different working methods to bring the film to life. Sometimes when the screen offers little effects work on which they can comment, Anderson prods Yuricich to chat about past efforts on flicks like 2001 and Close Encounters. The commentary can be dry and probably won’t offer much for those without an interest in the nuts and bolts side of filmmaking, but it’s a good exploration of the appropriate topics.

Fans will flock to the *alternate ending. It fills three minutes, 18 seconds, and starts with an introduction from Anderson. He explains why he considered a different conclusion and why he didn’t use it. The clip is unfinished, so we don’t see all that much, but it’s interesting to take a peek at a possible finish to the flick.

Within the “Featurettes” domain, we discover 11 different programs, some old and some new. *Playing Dead: Resident Evil from Game to Screen runs 15 minutes and two seconds and explores the world of the original games. We see clips from them and the movie as well as hear interviews with Anderson, Jovovich, Rodriguez, Bolt, composer Marilyn Manson, video game designers Ryan Lockhart and George Collins, Scifi.com news editor Patrick Lee, and Chud.com writer Mark Wheaton. We hear a little about videogames in general, their growth over the years, the Evil series, and other videogame-movie adaptations. However, most of the information comes from Anderson as he discusses the ways he attempted to incorporate Evil elements into the movie and stay true to the franchise while he created a new story. I’d have liked a richer look at the games, but this still offers a nice glimpse of the thought processes Anderson used to adapt the material.

Scoring Resident Evil lasts 11 minutes and seven seconds. Unsurprisingly, it concentrates on the music of the film, as we get comments from director Anderson plus composers Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson. Overall, they provide a solid little chat about the score. Manson particularly offers some good information about what he wanted to do with the music, and the program seems generally compelling.

For *Storyboarding Resident Evil, we need six minutes and 24 seconds to examine that topic. Anderson gives us a quick intro to his use of boards, and then we watch splitscreen comparisons of the art and the final movie. It’s a good presentation of the material.

In Costumes, we get a quick look at the garb seen in the movie. The three-minute and 26-second piece mixes visuals from the film and interviews with production designer Richard Bridgland, director Anderson and actors Jovovich and Rodriguez. The program provides a little useful insight about the rationale behind the outfits, but overall it seems too brief and superficial. The program presents some good comments but includes little depth.

The piece that examines Set Design follows the same formula. The four-minute and six-second featurette shows movie bits, design plans and interviews with Bridgland. I feel exactly the same way toward “Set Design” as I do “Costumes”. The show includes some decent tidbits but remains too superficial to be worth much.

Within *The Creature, we take five minutes and 17 seconds to learn about the design and implementation of the movie’s main monster. This includes lots of good behind the scenes footage plus comments from special effects makeup supervisor Pauline Fowler and Michelle Rodriguez. *The Elevator fills a mere 67 seconds as Yuricich details the shooting of that early scene.

In *The Laser, we get a five-minute and four-second featurette with remarks from Anderson, Yuricich, and actors Colin Salmon and Liz May Brice. More behind the scenes footage helps us learn how they virtually diced Salmon and mutilated other actors. *The Train goes for two minutes and 19 seconds as we look at the design and execution of that vehicle. We hear from Yuricich and Bridgland as they discuss the melding of practical and miniature trains.

The “Featurettes” area ends with two more pieces. *Zombie Dogs goes for three minutes, 52 seconds as we learn about how they brought those critters to life. We get notes from Anderson, Fowler, Jovovich, and producer Samuel Hadida, as they discuss making up and working with the poochies. Finally, *Zombies presents a four-minute and 29-second glimpse into that subject. Anderson, producer Bernd Eichinger and Fowler chat about the makeup designs for the zombies as well as motion training for those actors. All told, these various featurettes seem consistently informative and enjoyable. They mix comments with behind the scenes clips to give us nice explorations of the subjects.

With the *Resident Evil: Apocalypse Fangoria Clip we get a three-minute and 33-second piece that offers a minor preview of the sequel. It simply shows an early snippet from the upcoming movie. That makes it interesting as a teaser but nothing more than that.

In the Filmographies area, we get listings for a few participants. This domain includes entries for director Paul W.S. Anderson plus actors Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, and James Purefoy.

Lastly, we get a selection of trailers. In addition to the ad for Resident Evil we get promos for Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Steven King Presents Kingdom Hospital, and Hellboy.

What fails to port over from the old DVD? The biggest omission is a decent documentary, but we also lose a short clip of zombie make-up tests and a bad music video. The various trailers in the “Preview” area are also mostly different.

If you desire an original and totally creative experience, Resident Evil probably won’t do much for you. If you think you’d enjoy a lively video game come to life, then Resident Evil should prove to offer a lot of fun. Though not a great flick, it offered enough spark and life to make it enjoyable and entertaining. The DVD provided good picture along with excellent audio and a decent roster of extras highlighted by a wild audio commentary. Action fans should get a kick out of Resident Evil.

But which version of Resident Evil should they get? I’d endorse this “Deluxe Edition” as the best of the bunch. The Superbit release has slightly stronger picture and audio, but it doesn’t offer a radical improvement; it’s the one to get if extras don’t matter to you, but if they do, pick up the Deluxe Edition.

If you already own the old special edition, should you get the Deluxe Edition? That’s an iffier question. The DE includes some nice materials but nothing earthshaking; even the alternate ending isn’t anything special. I’d say that unless you’re a die-hard fan, the original disc should remain good enough.

To rate this film go to the original review of RESIDENT EVIL.