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Tidman scene analysis

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  • 1. Scene Analysis of Resident Evil: The Game and the Animation Mae Tidman mtidman@gmail.comABSTRACTThe Resident Evil (RE) series is an important one to horror and This is the first Resident Evil movie done in CGI (computeraction game and film enthusiasts. With each new release, whether generated images) and is the first to be based directly off theit be videogame or movie, the series grows in design and games (the live-action movies are original plots that are related topresentation both technologically and stylistically. Resident Evil the games but are not continuations of the plots in the games). It4, the sixth installation in the game series released in 2005, is takes place between the events of Resident Evil 4 and Residentconsidered a milestone in game development for its time. It is the Evil 5. It should be noted that this is also the only Resident Evilgame that took the series in a bold, new direction. The animated movie created by its video game creator, Capcom (the live-actionfilm Resident Evil: Degeneration, which was released in 2008, is movies were created by Screen Gems and Sony Pictures).the first feature-length film of the series that is in the ResidentEvil game universe. Most reviewers say that this film feels more Unlike the Resident Evil live action films, Resident Evil:like a game than a movie, especially compared to the RE movies Degeneration is set within the same "universe" that thereleased previously. Degeneration captures the essence of the videogames are. The main characters are Leon S. Kennedy andgames in multiple ways; it has even cast the lead voice talent from Claire Redfield, who appear together for the first time sinceits interactive predecessors. My argument is that the Degeneration Resident Evil 2. Ingrid Hunnigan is also from the RE series butmovie is a very interesting direction that the Resident Evil series she has only a brief appearance in the movie. The voice actors foris taking and deserves more credit for trying something new in a these three characters in the games also do the voices in theseries that has yet to get old. I will use comparisons and contrasts animation.with the other installments of the series to support my argument.Of the other installments, I will discuss Resident Evil 4 the most 2. PLOTsince it is the only one I have played through entirely and Aspects of each plot in the Resident Evil series can be expected inrecently. I will consider the comparisons in the areas of plot, any additions; these include suspenseful, lengthy storylines thatcinematography, sounds, enemy characters, and arsenal. keep you guessing, battles with plenty of zombies and mutations, and mysteries that reveal themselves over the course of the plot orKeywords in a sequel. Government and corporation involvement withResident Evil series, Degeneration, videogame, CGI, biochemical testing usually sets the stage for conspiracy and bio-cinematography, zombie. terrorism. The terrorist event induces a response from the United States government, and they send someone tough and good at killing to figure out what is going on and to fix the problem and1. INTRODUCTION save the region and possibly a particular person. The ending orSince its debut on the PlayStation in 1996, the genre-defining conclusion gives rise to notions of a continuation of the series,Resident Evil series has remained at the forefront of survival leaving the door open for another chapter in the series. Thehorror games [2]. The latest film installment in the series, resulting plot continually building up the sense of danger andResident Evil: Degeneration (see Figure 1), is the first film to tense excitement felt instantly upon start. In games, the storycontinue the story from the games. I will be comparing and unfolds through cut scenes and notes or papers found duringcontrasting Degeneration to its prequel, the game Resident Evil 4. gameplay. Other more specific details can be found throughoutI chose RE 4 (see Figure 2) because it is the only game in the the series, such as the T- and G-Viruses developed by Umbrellaseries that I have played entirely through. Corporation and land in the hands of Umbrella’s successors, WilPharma and later Tricell. All of these relations can be found in every segment of the Resident Evil series, and tie Resident Evil: Degeneration closely to Resident Evil 4. Commonalities can be found throughout the RE series and are therefore included in Degeneration, but what is important is how this animation has many differences from the live-action films. Degeneration is the first Resident Evil film that is in the game universe (following the timeline of the series, Degeneration occurs seven years after the Raccoon City incident, between the events in Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5). It is also the first RE movie that involves characters from the games: it stars Claire Redfield from RE 2, Code: Veronica and Veronica X and Leon S. Kennedy from RE 2 and 4. Leon and Claire are also the main characters for Resident Evil 2, and the movie’s scene in whichFigure 1 and Figure 2. Claire and Leon meet is a reenactment of how they met in that game. In the game: Leon sees Claire being faced off with a
  • 2. zombie. He says "Get down!" and shoots the zombie. Claire then boss battles, where quick response times become a matter oflooks at his face as he offers her his hand. In the movie, Claire ‘survival’. These moments help instill boss battles with realgoes off to look for a survivor that she hears running around, she dramatic flair.looks out the corner of a wall to hear Leon say, "Get down!" Heshoots the zombies and offers Claire his hand as she says, "Leon!" The CG animation of Degeneration is of a higher quality thanThe animation allows these characters to look exactly like the those found in the games’ cinematic moments, but that is to beones from the videogames; this is not currently possible with live- expected of a animated film which depends on its visualaction even with good casting. representation more wholly than games do. Degeneration certainly embraces its gaming roots with its cinematography, as can be seen in Figure 4 where the camera is behind Leon’s3. CINEMATOGRAPHY shoulder like in the game – though in this frame fails to showWhat makes Resident Evil: Degeneration so captivating is not its what he is aiming at.story alone but in the way that it is told: its cinematography isoutstanding and succeeds in making the viewer feel a part of theaction. Most reviewers say the movie is as much of a game as thegames are movies. It looks and feels like a “90-minute cut scene –from the scripting to the character models – with a scene structurethat leads from environment-to-environment, like stages in any ofthe numerous videogames” [4]. Some scenes end just like the cutscenes end, leaving the viewer ready to pick up the controller andstart shooting at the masses of zombies. Since cinematography isnot as easily accessible in games, it makes sense that the games donot focus on cinematography. They have evolved over time withadvances in computing and game design, but compared to cinemathe cinematography is very limited. Figure 4. A game-like point of view of Leon in Degeneration. Since animation is more concerned with cinematography than games, it is expected that Degeneration would surpass the RE games in quality, but the movie goes beyond expectation. Each scene is filled with very particular details that aid its story and enhance the game-like feel of watching it. The kind of quality in this movie is possibly a goal for game designers, though games have their own reasons not to journey in a direction towardFigure 3. Aiming point of view in RE 4. cinema.Resident Evil 4 is in third-person point of view and uses a 4. SOUNDS In the horror genre, audio is one of the most important factorsfollowing camera for the gameplay, entering first person for involved in evoking a sense of dread and suspense. The Residentsniper and scope shots. The camera is focused behind Leon, and it Evil series knows this and implements it well; the games wouldzooms in for an over-the-shoulder view when aiming a weapon. not be so successful in the horror genre without good audio(See Figure 3.) This zoomed view while aiming works great, but decisions. In addition, voice acting quality is important in anynaturally the player loses some situational awareness in the game or animation. The script, sounds, and musical score inprocess (peripheral vision is partially lost), which can intensify Resident Evil: Degeneration can be tied to the games in the series.gameplay. This game is a great example of when the controls andthe perspective work very well together, creating a more As in the Resident Evil tradition, shooting, exploding, roaring,enjoyable player-experience. The Gamespot review said this about growling, moaning, screaming, crying, and dying sounds areit: “The game expertly makes you feel that youre both watching a prevalent in Degeneration and 4. Even more specific sounds canfreaky, nail-biting movie about Leon and actually walking in his be linked to the series, such as in Degeneration the scene whereshoes. In fact, despite the high quality of the action, some of the Fredric Downing left his office with Claire inside, the soundbest moments are the purely suspenseful ones when youre effect of the door closing is the exact same one used for doorsexploring while knowing full well that things arent going to closing in the earliest RE games [8].remain this quiet for long”. The cut scenes are able to add morespecific camera angles and special action sequences sometimes The movie was made in English to preserve the air of the games,with quick timer events. The dynamic, or interactive, cut scenes in which in Japan are English audio with Japanese subtitleswhich the player must press buttons indicated on-screen to (according to multiple online sources). Some criticisms have beenexecute actions such as dodge. These are often incorporated into made of Degeneration about poorly synchronized voices and “uncharacteristically goofy dialogue” [2], but these criticisms are
  • 3. also found in reviews of RE games including RE 4 and thus are movie complain that there are not enough zombies and mutations.consistent with this comparison. The voice actors for Leon and The fact that they are left out is not an inconsistency nor aClaire in the games also did the voices for the animation: Alyson demeaning quality, instead it makes sense – the situation inCourte for Claire’s character worked on Resident Evil 2, Code: Degeneration is much smaller in scale than the complexVeronica and Veronica X, while voice actor Paul Mercier did conspiracies going on in the games. The zombies in the animationLeon’s voice in Resident Evil 4. The familiarity is rewarding to are the result of only two singular outbreaks of the virus, one onfans of the series. an airplane and the other is by self-injection of the G-Virus, which is dangerous but does not spread.All other aspects of the audio, from the chilling ambient noisesfrequently heard, to the booms of various weapons, to theoccasional and perfectly placed musical cues are terrific in boththe animation and the game.5. ZOMBIES Figure 6: RE: 4’s new “zombies”: Los Ganados The G-Virus creature is a specially mutated monster that is found in multiple RE games and movies (see Figure 7). It is so tough,Figure 5. Zombies at the airport in Degeneration. huge, extreme, and aggressive that it is usually a boss fight or epic fight scene; in Degeneration it is both. To emphasize the horror ofZombies are obviously a key aspect since they are what the games the G-Virus, the scene is scary, action-packed, and even emotionaland films are all about; anything without zombies is obviously not due to the fact that the host – before mutation – is the brotherResident Evil. The zombies throughout the entire RE series have (Curtis Miller) of the third main character Angela Miller who lostcommon characteristics, but in certain games there are vital his family in the Raccoon City tragedy. His mutated form is adifferences. The undead in Degeneration are very similar to the direct resemblance of the G-Virus monster in the Resident Evil 2undead in the early games: slow-moving dead people that attack game.when close enough (see Figure 5). Leon tries to make clear toeveryone that the easiest way to kill these enemies is by shootingthem in the head.Such ease for Leon was not so simple in RE 4, which makes somedeviations from the original idea of a zombie. This game hasenemies that are not normal alive humans and still are not theusual zombified remains walking around. The main difference isthat RE 4 zombies show basic signs of intelligence, which isexplained in the game to be the result of an infestation of LasPlagas (“The Plague” in Spanish). They are parasiticallycontrolled humans referred to as “Los Ganados” (see Figure 6),which means “cattle”. They are a different sort of foe compared tothose in previous games in the series because they can dodge,wield melee and projectile weapons, and are capable of working Figure 7. RE: Degeneration’s G-virus monster attacking Leoncollectively and communicating with each other. and Angela.Los Ganados and other Las Plagas infected creatures are specialfor another reason: the do not necessarily die when shot in the 6. WEAPONRYhead. In fact, often when shot in the head a much more dangerous, When dealing with regions exposed to viruses that cause undeadsharp bug-like creature pops out and begins attacking at a greater killers to roam the area slowly but in masses, a good arsenal isrange. Though RE 4 occurs before Degeneration, these intense important. Like in the games, the animation comes with a goodenemies are not in the animation; they are, however, in an even variety of familiar weapons. According to IMDb’s page onmore advanced form in Resident Evil 5. Most reviews of the Degeneration, “Leon uses the same USP .45 with laser and
  • 4. tactical illumination as the one he used in Resident Evil 4, along [2] Kasavin, Greg. "Resident Evil 4 Review for PS2."with a Glock 26 for backup.” Other weapons are seen in this GameSpot. N.p., 24 Oct. 2005. Web. June 2009.movie and the games including grenade launchers and machine <http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/adventure/residentevil4/reviguns. While watching a movie, ammunition conservation is not a ew.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summaconcern; this can be compared to Resident Evil 4 where ry;read-review>.ammunition is more plentiful than in other games in the series so [3] Kasch, Andrew. "Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008)."the concern is reduced. Overall, the action and fighting in the Dread Central. N.p., 19 Nov. 2008. Web. June 2009.animation are directly related to the Resident Evil 4 gameplay, <http://www.dreadcentral.com/reviews/resident-evil-both focus on action, horror, and shootouts involving crowds of degeneration-2008>.enemies in large open areas. For RE 4, this is a departure from theprevious games in the series, which focused on exploration and [4] Monfette, Christopher. "Resident Evil: Degeneration Blu-rayconservation of ammunition. Being heavily armed and yet faced Review." IGN.com. N.p., 3 Dec. 2008. Web. June 2009.with an unnatural enemy is often what makes RE 4 seem so <http://bluray.ign.com/articles/935/935403p1.html>.intense, which makes moments of desperation and helplessness [5] Plante, Chris. "Resident Evil: Degeneration Review." UGOseem that much more poignant when they occur. Movie Blog. N.p., 28 Oct. 2008. Web. June 2009. <http://movieblog.ugo.com/movies/resident-evil-7. CONCLUSION degeneration-review>.Resident Evil: Degeneration is more comparable to the game [6] Resident Evil 4. 2005. Capcom Production Studio 4.series, which happens to be the main attraction of the overall Nintendo Wii. Videogame.Resident Evil series, than any of the movies prior. As a movie that [7] Resident Evil: Degeneration. Dir. Makoto Kamiya.was seen on DVD rather than in theaters, Degeneration does not Screenplay by Shotaro Suga. Perf. Alyson Court and Paulreceive much critical or public attention – but it certainly deserves Mercier. Sony Pictures, 2008. DVD.to. I have related the animation to what I feel are the importantfacets of the series and compared it with the games, concluding [8] "Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008)." The Internet Moviethat it is a well-done movie deeply submerged in the increasingly Database (IMDb). N.p., n.d. Web. June 2009.popular series. My scene analysis shows that this is in fact an <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1174954/>.important installment in the series. [9] "Resident Evil: Degeneration (Film Review)." FANGORIA - The #1 Name in HORROR since 1979. N.p., 19 Nov. 2008.8. REFERENCES Web. June 2009. <http://www.fangoriaonline.com/reviews/2-[1] Cukier, Jérôme. "Some thoughts on Resident Evil 4 - film/599-resident-evil-degeneration-film-review.html>. Revolution or Evolution?" Gamethink: Articles and [10] "Resident Evil: DEGENERATION." Sony Pictures. N.p., discussion on game production. N.p., 26 Apr. 2006. Web. n.d. Web. June 2009. <http://www.sonypictures.com June 2009. <http://www.gamethink.net/Some-thoughts-on- /homevideo/residentevildegeneration/ >. Resident-Evil-4.html>.