Resident Evil: Degeneration
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie is not a direct continuation of the Resident Evil live-action movies. It's a computer-generated feature that carries over none of the established characters, although place names and overarching background story will be familiar to longstanding viewers. Those unfamiliar with the first two films in the series (and the video games) may wonder what's going on. Action is intense, and there's bloody violence consisting mostly of zombies being shot in the head and a mutant monster on the rampage. Some mild swearing happens, and big corporations, businessman, and politicians are depicted (usually) as forces of evil.
What's the story?
The graphically violent Resident Evil movies are based on a popular series of Capcom video games in which players must use weaponry against contagious flesh-eating ghouls and monstrous mutations, the results of an amoral, high-tech corporation that unleashed a genetically-modified "T-virus" strain. Seeing the original Resident Evil and its first sequel are key to comprehending (maybe) this digital-animated spinoff, with a new cast of characters. A giant pharmaceutical corporation has a cure for the dreaded T-virus, but outbreaks of zombies around the world suggest that either terrorists wield the virus or the drug industry is deliberately spreading the plague for their own gain. A T-virus outbreak at the international airport in mythical "Harvardville" traps a number of people, including a disagreeable US senator and battle-hardened activists who escaped a previous zombie holocaust at Raccoon City. Their plight leads eventually to the health company's enormous subterranean lab/complex (never a safe place in these movies!), where an even deadlier mutation, the "G-virus," is housed.
Is it any good?
The decision -- probably very cost-effective -- to render it in CGI makes this violent movie look very much like the video games on which it's based. (Imagine a console playing in "demo" mode for an hour and half.) Maybe there's a bit more plot to it than that, but even with occasional gropings at emotion and intrigue, you're rarely engaged with the story in the rudimentary degree you might were these flesh-and-blood actors. Though backdrops are photo-realistic (and the crash of a zombie-ridden airliner a spectacular effect), the mostly unmemorable characters/icons have unresponsive, doll-like faces whose blank expressions can either signify "I love you" or "Oh, all my teammates have been killed and my brother's turned into a ravening hell-beast determined to mate with me." On the plus side, graphic violence is a little less sickening in an all-digital milieu, and swearing, sex, and bad taste have been toned down from the live-action installments. Those are very faint "virtues," mind you.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the appeal of zombie-gore movies and compare the slam-bang action of Resident Evil and its sequels to the more up-gross-and-personal realism of Night of the Living Dead and 28 Days Later. Which is spookier? This Resident Evil movie looks just like the Capcom video game come to life, rather than the live-action features. Is it more effective? What's more relatable: "real" people or computer-generated ones? Which is more entertaining: the interactive zombie-killing game experience, or the passive one, watching other characters carry out the perilous work?