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3D Blu-ray Reviews

THE HTF 3D ADDICT: Resident Evil: Afterlife



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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 05 2011 - 05:34 AM





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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.

 

 

 

 


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Resident Evil: Afterlife

 

 

Studio: Sony

Product Release: December 28, 2010

Ratio: 2.35:1

Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English; French & Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Running Time: 96 Minutes

Rating: R

 

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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

meal.

 

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

that show.

 

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.

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

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. 

 

 

 

Equipment

 

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


 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 5 OFFLINE   tbaio

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Posted January 06 2011 - 04:49 AM

I'm a little surprised by this review when it comes to the 3-D "in your face" quality.  I found this film to be very good at convincingly throwing things into the audience.  In fact, when watching the commentary, I was surprised at how much more in your face debris I saw after a second viewing!  Shotgun-blasted coins, pointed guns, spraying water, blood spatter , sparks & as mentioned, a flying hammer/axe are extremely well done here.  In fact, this is probably the best use of 3-D (for the current 3-D format) for a live action disc in my opinion.  I agree again that only Step-Up 3-D stands a chance next to this one.  Also in my opinion, I believe that the more movies like this that are made & so well transferred to 3-D disc, the better chance of winning more people on the fence about bringing 3-D equipment to their homes.  I hope more people are of the same opinion because I'd like to see much more of this type of thing being produced.


#3 of 5 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 06 2011 - 09:06 AM



I found this film to be very good at convincingly throwing things into the audience.



Hi Thomas!


I was hoping for all that, but found that most of it remained

within the screen instead of leaping out.


 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

 Click Here for the latest/hottest Blu-ray Preorders  Click Here for our complete Blu-ray review archive

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#4 of 5 OFFLINE   tbaio

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Posted January 06 2011 - 11:15 PM

Wow. It looks like we watched the same thing but were affected differently; which is nothing new among movie-watchers. 


#5 of 5 Guest_Hank_*

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Posted January 10 2011 - 10:15 AM

I may pick this up. At first I dismissed it, I'm no fan of the franchise but this one is intriguing to me for 3D and audio.