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Unlike the live action film series, the CGI animated, direct-to-video release RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION ($40) takes the story back to its video game roots. Those unfamiliar with the live action film series neednít worry about not having seen those installments, since RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION tells a self contained story that more close resembles the video games than the movies anyway. As a result, RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION plays more like an extended video game demo reel, than an actual movie.

RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION takes place within the continuity of video game universe after the events of Resident Evil 4. The back story finds that although the government has tried feeding misinformation to the public, as the events of Raccoon City have led to protests and terrorism, as zombie outbreaks relates to the T-virus continue spring up. By the time we get to RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION, the Umbrella Corporation has seemingly disappeared and been replaced by the WilPharma Corporation, which is claiming to have created a T-Virus vaccine. The main action of RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION finds that Harvardville Airport is the site of the latest T-Virus outbreak, when an infected passenger causes a planeload of zombies to crash into the airport. While the airport is in lockdown, the storyís nominal heroes not only have to fight the flesh eating undead, but a renegade bio-terrorist, as the kind of corporate greed that uses the public at large as a proving ground. The vocal talent behind RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION includes Alyson Court, Paul Mercier, Laura Bailey, Roger Craig Smith, Crispin Freeman, Michelle Ruff, Michael Sorich, Salli Saffioti, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Steve Blum, Michael McConnohie and Kirk Thornton.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation offer good clarity and detail, but a Pixar production this is not. RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION certainly has some Anime influences, but for the most part looks like a very slick 3D videogame; not a CGI film striving for hyperrealism. The image is strong, even if the animation itself tries to cut corners by employing smoke, mirrors and just a bit of diffusion. Still, texturing and detail are quite good. Colors are generally dusty with some vibrancy, although there are some moments where the hues appear slightly cartoony. Black and whites are highly accurate. Contrast is just fine for this type of production. The presentation appears to have been mastered from digital files, so there are no film related flaws.

RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. This is an unrestrained action movie style soundtrack that is aggressive and highly directional. Additionally, the track is atmospheric and filled with little sounds that add to the creepiness factor. Fidelity is very strong, producing convincing sound effects. The bass channel is percussive, which enhances the gunfire and explosions. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Chinese, Korean and Indonesian.

Animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. Starting things off is a Pop-Up Trivia Track. Next is The Generation Of Degeneration, which offers a fairly standard thirty-minute making of program. Character Profiles offers text bios. Voice Bloopers offers goofs, gaffs and attempts at comedy. Faux Leon Interview offers comments from a motion capture performer. Trailers and a game promo close out the standard extras. The Bonus View mode offers additional picture-in-picture video streams that contain animatics, motion capture footage and storyboards. (requires a Profile 1.1 player).

As I stated above, RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION takes the franchise back to its video game roots. The Blu-ray presentation is very solid, even if this isnít animated hi-def reference material. RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION is definitely something for video game fans.



Resident Evil: Degeneration [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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