What can I say? I love 3D! From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content. I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite. That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT. I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky. However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation. These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves. I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum. My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released. As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.
Resident Evil: Afterlife
Product Release: December 28, 2010
Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English; French & Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 96 Minutes
ON A SCALE 0-5
Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5
3D Separation: 5
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 3
Right out of the gate I have to say that I am no
fan of the Resident Evil franchise. I have only
watched one of the films, Resident Evil: Degeneration,
and it wasn't by choice. It actually was screened for
us at Sony Studios a few years back and as much
as we were appreciative of the screening, I think most
felt that perhaps its subject matter wasn't appropriate
for the diverse audience in attendance.
So, you can imagine the apprehension I had going
into this review. Fortunately, within the first few
minutes of the film, my fears greatly resided.
Thank God! Here was a live action film instead
of one that was animated. Furthermore, there
seemed to be some encouragement early on that
this might actually turn out to be somewhat entertaining.
From the film's opening moments we quickly learn
that a worldwide epidemic has turned everyone into
zombies thanks to a virus unleashed by the Umbrella
Corporation. There are few untouched survivors left
on the Earth who spend their days running from the
mobs of undead who are waiting for their next human
Enter our hero Alice (Milla Jovovich), who has been
hunting down those at the Umbrella Corporation, the
same company responsible for inoculating her with a
virus that provides elevated levels of strength and agility.
In the first few minutes of the film, Alice is able to infiltrate
and destroy Umbrella, but not before losing all her super
powers in the process.
As Alice treks up the northwestern coast she comes upon
a survivor named Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) whose memory
has been completely erased but is slowly revealing the events
leading up to the present. Now, on their own, Alice and
Claire seek to find the last survivors holding out in the ruins
of Los Angeles against hordes of flesh-eaters who are becoming
more impatient by the minute.
It seems that Resident Evil: Afterlife falls somewhere
between a horror and action movie though it never really
exceeds as either. As a horror film, there's certainly not
a lot of scare factor here other than a few "gotcha" zombie
scares. The effects are very reminiscent of John Carpenter's
The Thing, so really nothing groundbreaking almost 30 years
later. And if that's not bad enough, it seems the filmmakers
felt the need to rip-off The Matrix with a lot of the stop-motion
action sequences. What I also found offsetting was the inclusion
of Wentworth Miller of Prison Break who's character here is
no stretch from that of what he played on the television series.
So, for me, sometimes this film seemed like an episode of
All this being said, I felt somewhat entertained throughout.
The film essentially works as a B-rated action flick with the
usual assortment of clichéd characters and action sequences.
You have seen it all before and if not for the 3D, there would
be nothing inspiring about it.
Speaking of the 3D, I had heard a lot of fans praising the
quality of this disc when it came to donning the glasses.
I have to agree that this is assuredly one of the best live
action 3D titles on the market as of this date -- though that's
not saying much when you consider there are probably just
two others (Avatar and Step Up 3D). There is a well defined
sense of depth perception here though sometimes the process
gets lost in the darker indoor sequences that include basement
rooms and underground tunnels.
Thanks to its remarkably crisp, unflawed and stable image
quality the 3D really comes across most effectively. Since
the same camera equipment developed for shooting Avatar
was used here, it should come as no surprise that the level
of detail and separation is as good as it gets.
19 minutes into the film there are breathtaking shots of a plane
flying over ice-covered peaks of Alaskan landscape. There's
a couple of these type of aerial shots that are simply brilliant
to look at. Many of the computer generated effect shots of
a burning Los Angeles or a shot looking down beyond clouds
into a mob of zombies also provide some of the best 3D footage
in the film.
I was surprised that most of the 3D action stays within the
confines of the display screen. Sure, there are guns, swords
and even an Executioner's hammer that barrels down, edging
slightly out beyond the screen. However, it's the more subtle
effects within the film which stand out more than the gimmicks.
Check out the shots involving raining water or even explosive
debris that have an unbelievable amount of realistic depth to them.
While day scenes look stunning in 3D, the film loses its effect
somewhat in the darker sequences. These sequences tend
to look more flat, that is, until some object is thrown towards
the screen. Images remain sharp and detailed except for the
very rare instance of blur caused by excessively fast camera
movement such as when Alice is making an escape on rope,
scaling across a skyscraper towards the city street below.
As far as ghosting issues are concerned, you'll be relieved to
know that this is a very well authored disc and such issues
are minimal. If you have been reading my reviews you may
have seen me warn about scenes that are dimly lit by candles.
Here we have sequences lit by torches of fire and as expected,
you can see a small amount of ghosting.
The real highlight of this disc's film presentation lies in its audio.
Herein lies one of the most over-hyped, loud and obnoxious
soundtracks ever to accompany a 3D presentation -- and that's
a good thing. I look down at the sheet I use to take notes
during the film and find dozens of references to individual sounds
that I heard from start to finish. Everything including the kitchen
sink is thrown into the mix including gunshot fire, helicopter
flyovers, wall creaks, explosions and ominous zombie growls.
All of this is punctuated with one of the most unmemorable
film soundtracks comprising of drums and electronica that never
seem to let up across the front and rear channels. Truly a
highly aggressive sonic experience accented with a good amount
of LFE activity.
The Blu-ray comes with Special Features that include multiple
Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes, Filmmaker Commentary and
deleted scenes and outtakes.
If not for the fact that there are so few live-action 3D films
available as of this date, I probably wouldn't rate Resident
Evil: Afterlife as highly as I am here. I would suspect the
real appeal of this film will lie with younger audiences. At its
core, it's a film is based on a video game that never really
rises above being B-movie fare. However, astonishingly, I
found myself comfortably entertained throughout and the 3D
presentation was remarkably good.
For now, it will go on a highly recommended list but something
tells me a year or two from now when there are grander
live-action 3D films available to buy, Resident Evil: Afterlife
will be a title quickly forgotten.
LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display
LG BX580 3D Blu-ray Player
Denon 3311CI Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers
SV Sound Subwoofer