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DVD Review- RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE

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PHOTOGRAPHY

RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE (Special Edition)

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 94 minutes, 3 commentaries, outtakes, deleted scenes, previews, featurettes, poster gallery

STUDIO: Screen Gems

RELEASE DATE: 12-28-2004

ANALYSIS: RESIDENT EVIL was first a video game, then it became a movie that did good at the box office and even better on DVD. RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE is the action driven sequel to the movie. It isn't as good as the first movie, but the sequel does have great action and a stand-out performance from Sienna Guillroy as Jill Valentine. I know the movie focuses on Alice (Milla Jovovich) as the big hero and brings in characters from the game (Jill, Carlos, and Nemesis), but RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE is lop-sided at times when you have any scene with Alice. Plenty of video game action, beautiful chicks with guns, one nuclear bomb, one ugly mother of a Nemesis, zombie dogs, evil corporation guys, zombies, and the main event fight between Alice and Nemesis. I wonder if the big Umbrella Corporate Guy was looking for a love doll who could kick anyone's butt.

MOVIE REVIEW:  http://enterline2.tripod.com/re_apocalypse.html

VIDEO/AUDIO: Two versions of the movie are on disc one: 2.40 Anamorphic Widescreen and a Pan-and-Scan 1.33:1 version to fit the Full Screen. Colors and blacks are good while image detail is OK (but soft at times). There is a little loss of image detail when you pause during movement (but it is just a blur during some fast movement). Some picture grain is present (very visible in the Full Frame version). The transfer is average, but I think they could have done a better job if they just put the widescreen version on the disc (and the action sequences do lose a little impact in the Pan-and-Scan version). The transfer could have sparkled and been as good as the ones seen on the UNDERWORLD and HELLBOY DVDs.

Sadly, English 5.1 Dolby Digital is the only language track on the movie (and previews are in 5.1) and only English subtitles. The sound mix is loud and sometimes aggressive, but dialogue can always be clearly heard.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The majority of deleted scenes are on disc two except for three commentary tracks for the movie and trailers for STEAMBOY and BOOGEYMAN.

GAME OVER: RESIDENT EVIL Reanimated in a 50 minute six part making of RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE featurette you can play as separate parts or as one long featurette. The featurette has interviews with cast and crew, behind the scenes footage, clips from the movie, and green screen shots:

GAME PLAN- You see how things came together for the sequel and a screen test of Sienna Guillroy as Jill valentine.

RUNNING, JUMPING, and FIGHTING- This part basically covers the stunts and fights in the movie. the highlights are seeing video of Milla Jovovich training for the fights in the sequel and the actor they chose to especially build the Nemesis costume based on his frame.

ZOMBIE CHOREOGRAPHY- This part is all about how the actors and dancers were put through four day zombie boot camp to learn how to move for the movie (with video from the boot camp and zombie screen tests). There is also mention about the undead bible (for the sequel) and the zombie choreographers are way out there (one even demonstrates a zombie move on the other).

BUILDING RACCOON CITY- The makers of this movie basically had the control of Toronto for most locations they filmed at (including a bridge they shut down for two days and dressed up City hall to look a little different). Footage of the set pieces they constructed are shown in this part and the church set they had to build since they weren't allowed to film in a real church. Also you see some production designs.

BIG GUNS- The Gun Wrangler and actors talk about the guns their characters use. Sienna and Milla loved shooting the guns.

SMOKE AND MIRRORS- The sequel used a combination of digital effects, models, zombie dog dummies, and make-up effects during the movie. They even brought back at least one of the dogs who played the zombie dogs in the first RESIDENT EVIL. You see how they did Alice's walking down the side of the building and tests of an animatronic creature for the church scenes (but it didn't quite work out which led them to do the creatures in CGI).

In addition to the six part featurette, there are 3 more featurettes:

GAME BABES- It focuses on how women are beginning to dominate as action heroes while Milla and Sienna talk about how cool (and sexy) their characters are (how much shape they had to get in and Milla talks about the bruises she got in in addition to footage of her falling down while doing an action scene).

SYMPHONY OF EVIL- You get treated to before and after digital effect shots, in process CGI of the creatures in the church, storyboards, zombie screen tests, and the final tests to nail down the costumes and looks of the main characters.

CORPORATE MALFEASANCE- Basically this one is about the Umbrella Corporation and how it is like a real corporation in some aspects. Umbrella is like a combination of Microsoft and the U.S. military.

Twenty deleted scenes are on disc two (for a total of almost 12 minutes) and they're in Full Screen (with Time Codes at the bottom of the screen and VHS quality) that includes extra bits in the church, extra scenes with Terry Morales (the weather girl), and some alternate takes and extended scenes plus an unfinished alternate ending.

Outtakes are three minutes long and show lost of line flubs, mishaps while filming, and Milla (and Mike Epps) playing around during their respective takes. The Poster Gallery has images of five posters for the RE:A.

COMMENTARY TRACKS: The first commentary track is with director Alexander Witt, producer Jeremy Bolt, and Executive Producer Robert Kulzer. They go on about details about the production, a story about the creator of the Resident Evil game, how Sienna Guillroy studied how Jill Valentine moved in the video game, Milla had good input on her costumes for the movie, the creepiness of a SARS outbreak during filming in Toronto, and how they got the rights to do the movies.

The second commentary is a cast commentary with Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, and Sienna Guillroy. It sounds like they edited in a separate commentary with Sienna in with the one that features Milla and Oded. Sienna is the best on this track while Milla got on my nerves.

The third (and best) commentary track with writer/producer Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt has Paul talking about the influences of movies (John carpenter movies and Omega Man) on the sequel, how he wishes he filmed the first movie in 2.35:1, the use of digital grading in pumping up some colors and taking color out, comparing Milla's character to Clint Eastwood, and the music score. Jeremy even mentions one of the deleted scenes in the graveyard. Paul reveals that Mike Epps was cast after Snoop Dog couldn't do the role. They go on to talk about the previous movies they did.

PREVIEWS: disc one- BOOGEYMAN, STEAMBOY

disc two- RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE (theatrical trailer and teaser), Resident Evil, 12 second spot for UNDERWORLD Unrated Extended Edition, THE FORGOTTEN (30 seconds), HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, 30 sec trailer for THE GRUDGE, trailer for THE FIFTH ELEMENT (2 disc) Deluxe Edition, and ANACONDAS: HUNT FOR THE BLOOD ORCHID

PACKAGE DESIGN: The clear slipcase with art and details on the DVD slips off to reveal the sleeve case art it is overlapping. very cool indeed.

MENUS: Using images from the movie and making the disc one menu look like an Umbrella Corporation computer screen is pure genius.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Whether you like the sequel or not, RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE has a great assortment of extras. Too bad they couldn't have released seperate Widescreen and Full Screen versions to give the movie the best bit rate possible for a transfer that matches the ones seen on the UNDERWORLD and HELLBOY DVDs.

this DVD Review is (c)12-21-2004 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content (and site updates) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia