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Sunday, July 11, 2021

Is Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness a Worthy Binge? *SPOILERS*

 


The new Netflix Resident Evil four part mini-series event has dropped, but is it the Resident Evil experience we are all waiting for?  Be warned, there are some spoilers ahead.

Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is not the RE series that we are all eagerly anticipating.  However, it is a worthwhile watch to tide us all over until the live action series drops; also on Netflix.  RE:ID is a fully animated CG outing much like the previous three CG films, Degeneration, Damnation, and Vendetta.  This series, which feels like it should have been a proper film and NOT a 4 part series, falls into the timeline of the three films and the games.

First off, let us talk about how this series is laid out.  Each of the four episodes is about 20 minutes in length when you remove the opening and credit sequences.  With each of the four episodes stitched together, and the title and credit sequences added back in; you end up with a proper 90(ish) minute long film.  This is on par with the length of the previous three films.

Speaking of the three films, where in the timeline does this sit?

RE:ID sits somewhere after Resident Evil 4, the video game with specific references to the events of said game.  However, the film does not reference events in Degeneration.  Do not let last bit throw you though.  Degeneration was set one year after the events of RE4, where Infinite Darkness is 2 years after RE4.  According to the series, it is in the year 2006.

With all of that, this series is like the films and is specifically part of the video game canon and NOT the Paul WS Anderson series of films.  This is important as it helps establish a level of "quality" that the live action films do not carry over from the games.

Now, let us step away from the the timeline stuff, and look at presentation.  RE:ID has a solid story.  It is muddled a bit in political content that almost feels like tuning into news media of the last four or so years regarding the USA and China.  The plot is pretty heavy with intrigue and uncovering a plot of bioweapons, terrorism, and conspiracy.  Surprisingly, the zombie aspect of the series is pretty light, and takes more of a backseat to lore building.  Much of the series of games and animated films have followed the same concept for lore building, but this series pushed it to the front and center.

The overall acting is reasonable.  It isn't exactly gripping, and there are scenes that feel as if the emotion was sucked out in favor of maintaining pacing.  Dialog is delivered professional, with some emotional weight when necessary, but overall feels right at place in an RE game or animated film.

Seeing that the series uses CGI to deliver the action, it is a demonstration in the evolution of style since Degeneration was first released in 2008.  There are times when the character models look life like.  The skin even refracts light in a way that puts it in an uncanny valley.  You can see it, but your brain is fighting the notion that it is not real.  There are even mild movements in the characters that give them a deep lifelike feel and appearance.  Eyes that jitter around in a natural manner.  Little mannerisms that we see every day, but don't notice.  The things we notice are missing when not present.  There are moments when there is an unnatural jitter in the animation, but nothing jarring to ruin the illusion.  It helps that much of the animation incorporates some of the best motion capture I have seen in a series of this nature.

Overall, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is a solid series.  A series that should have been a proper 190 minute film.  It has its flaws, but nothing that will ruin the experience.  It adds to the overall lore of the franchise that gives added depth for characters that just don't get enough attention, like Claire Redfield.


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