What Went Horribly Wrong with the Resident Evil Movie Franchise?

BLT Communications, LLC

Megan Vaillancourt, Professional Procrastinator

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Anyone who follows the Resident Evil Franchise will know the unfortunate difference between the motion pictures and the video games.  Not to be mistaken, each has garnished a large fan base across the globe, but there still is considerable discontent throughout the video game community as to why they are so different. Unlike the movie storylines, the video game goes in depth and does not sacrifice background information for action scenes. Many have simply wondered, ‘when was it decided the two storylines would be in contrast to each other?’. That being said, it’s understandable that a ninety minute film will have to sacrifice some content in comparison to a twenty hour game, but it is what content is sacrificed that is important.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let us get familiar with what exactly Resident Evil is about. Originally a survival horror video game franchise created by Japanese developer Capcom in 1996 for the Sony PlayStation, Resident Evil basically chronicles the adventures of a world tainted by a deadly T-virus distributed by a corrupt pharmaceutical company, Umbrella Corp.  The characters range from government employees to specialized mercenaries carrying out personal agendas. With the outbreak of the T-virus, across the globe zombies, monsters, and deadly B.O.W.’s (Bio Organic Weapon) threaten to erase the human race. The general antagonist is Umbrella Corp and its affiliates, and the protagonist being government hired mercenaries and soldiers part of the S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics and Rescue Service) and B.S.A.A. (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) organizations that battle to rid the world of Umbrella, and its creations.

Due to the popular nature of the game franchise, a series of non-canonical films were created. It wasn’t at first thought the films would totally veer off course with the games, but was soon realized when many of the characters were left out of the movies, and major plot developments completely amended. The movies star the Ukrainian actress, Mila Jovovich, who takes on the identity of Alice, originally a highly trained security operative, who later becomes a bio weapon herself after being captured by Umbrella. The films are simply an adaptation of the RE video game realm, and hold very little similarity which brought much dismay to players.

Onto what makes the movies so ‘cringe-worthy’.  Before slicing and dicing the movie, it can be said it was a smart move of the directors of the franchise to make a female the lead protagonist, where in the games many of the female characters take a ‘sidekick’ role in the storyline, regardless if players can choose to play them in-game. The movies, as aforementioned, tend to sacrifice background information, dialogue and story development for big time action scenes. Although it’s understood in the movie industry that having an attractive female shoot up zombies draws in the crowds, it is unfortunate to see some of the storyline go by the wayside because of it. To make up for the small appearances made by the video game characters in the film series, separate CGI films were created that mirrored the video games much better.

In conclusion, if you are interested in investing many hours to experience an intriguing plot, try your hand at the video games. Alternatively, if you would like to just go along for the ride, and are more of a short-term, action-cut scene aficionado then perhaps the movie series is for you. Overall the movie series is a disappointing element of the Resident Evil franchise regardless of its success, and is just simply another avenue taken to expand the Resident Evil Universe.

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What Went Horribly Wrong with the Resident Evil Movie Franchise?