Resident Evil: Apocalypse appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 and in a fullscreen version on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Not too many problems developed during this mostly positive presentation.
Sharpness was solid. Most of the movie looked nicely crisp and distinct. At times, some wide shots were slightly soft, but those occasions didn’t happen with great frequency; the majority of the flick came across as well defined and accurate. A bit of shimmering occurred, and I also noticed a little light edge enhancement on occasion.
In regard to print flaws, I saw almost no problems. Some scenes showed a minor amount of grain, all of which seemed to come about for style reasons. The grain likely always existed in the film and it didn’t become particularly distracting.
As with most edgy movies of this sort, Apocalypse featured a very stylized palette and tended toward fairly cool colors. A dark film, it kept the hues pretty subdued most of the time. The colors seemed well reproduced and appropriately saturated, without any problems on display. Black levels also came across as deep and dense, while shadow detail was appropriately heavy but not overly thick. Ultimately, Apocalypse looked quite good.
Even better the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Resident Evil: Apocalypse really cranked to action to another level. The soundfield presented a very lively and involving affair that really helped make the movie creepier and more effective. All five channels worked actively through the whole film. The elements blended together well and panned efficiently across the speakers, and the surrounds contributed lots of unique audio. Not many quiet moments occurred, but the ones that did offered a good sense of ambience. The myriad of action scenes created a lively setting that wonderfully accentuated the action.
Audio quality seemed positive as well. Speech sounded natural and warm, and I noticed no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Music seemed clear and lively, as the score presented the right levels of brightness and depth. Effects appeared distinct and accurate and packed a solid punch as well. The movie presented very solid dynamics, with clean highs and some powerful but tight bass. The soundtrack of Resident Evil: Apocalypse provided a fine complement for the action that accentuated the material.
Quite a large roster of extras fills out the movie. On DVD One, we find three separate audio commentaries. The first presents director Alexander Witt, producer Jeremy Bolt, and executive producer Robert Kulzer, all three of whom sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They go over a mix of general subjects. We hear about the film’s videogame connections, its cast, locations, effects and stunts, and music.
Things mostly remain general, which makes this a pretty lackluster chat. The participants give us a decent overview of things but they never get up a head of steam. Occasional dead air occurs, and the pace seems a little draggy at times. I can’t find conjure many significant complaints about the commentary; it just comes across as decidedly average.
Next we hear from actors Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory and Oded Fehr. Jovovich and Fehr watch the movie together for their running, screen-specific chat, while Guillory’s remarks come from a separate session. Guillory appears infrequently but she presents the best level of concrete information. She talks about her research and her take on the role. On the other hand, Jovovich and Fehr go with a looser approach. They occasionally toss out some notes from the set and a few decent details, but mostly they joke around and have fun. This makes the commentary moderately entertaining but not very informative.
For the final track, we find writer/producer Paul WS Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt. They sit together for a running, screen-specific piece. Not surprisingly, story issues become the main focus here, as we learn elements of the flick’s emphasis. A lot of references to the videogames pops up during this track. We hear about how the story reflected those games and how the elements tie together. We also discover general production issues as well as an overview of Anderson’s work. He definitely takes the lead in this track; Bolt chimes in with reasonable frequency but lets Anderson do the hard work. The commentary drags at times, but it usually proves involving and useful.
At the start of the disc, we find ads for Boogeyman and Steamboy. These also appear in the DVD’s Previews area.
Next we move to DVD Two and its components. This platter opens with a documentary called Game Over: Resident Evil Reanimated. As with many DVD programs, this one splits into a number of small pieces; altogether, they fill 49 minutes and 38 seconds. It mixes movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We hear from Witt, Bolt, Jovovich, Guillory, Fehr, Kulzer, producer Don Carmody, stunt coordinator Steve Lucescu, assistant choreographer Derek Aasland, undead choreographer Sharon Moore, gun wrangler Charles Taylor, visual effects supervisor Alison O’Brien, Core’s Kyle Menzes, Mr. X’s Eric Robertson, production designer Paul Austerberry, and actors Raz Adoti, Sophie Vavasseur, Matt Taylor, Sandrine Holt, Zack Ward and Mike Epps. The first segment is little more than a glossy overview of the production; it rushes through a number of topics related the basic story and the cast and doesn’t give us much detail.
The tone remains fizzy for parts of the remaining components, but they provide a lot more substantial information. They cover stunts, training, the Nemesis suit, zombie choreography, sets, locations and visual design, weapons, visual effects and creating the creatures. All of these pieces present useful elements, but the one that deals with the zombie movement easily stands out as the strongest. It delves into the subject with zest and delivers a great take on the topic. Except for the first chapter, the others work well too, and this becomes a good overview of the production.
Inside the “Featurettes” domain we find three pieces. Game Babes runs 11 minutes, three seconds as it focuses on the female combatants. We get notes from Jovovich, Epps, Guillory, Witt, Fehr, Ward, Bolt, Adoti, Lucescu, and Taylor. The show goes over the nature of the characters and the ways that Jovovich and Guillory take on the parts. Some of their stories about their experiences add to our appreciation of the flick, but mostly this is a puffy piece that just tells us how bitchin’ the women are.
For Symphony of Evil, we get a weird form of music video. The featurette fills seven minutes, 41 seconds. It pairs score elements with a collection of rough effects shots, test footage, storyboards, conceptual art, and other behind the scenes elements. We’ve already seen some of these elsewhere, but this is still a fairly cool gathering of images and pieces.
Lastly, Corporate Malfeasance takes two minutes, 52 seconds to discuss the company behind the movie’s story. We get notes from Carmody, Witt, Bolt, Fehr, and Jovovich. Not much substance appears here, as it’s just a glossy piece of background you’ll already comprehend if you’ve seen the film.
20 deleted scenes last a total of 11 minutes, 50 seconds. As you can surmise from the running time, most of these are short snippets, so don’t expect much from them. There’s a lot more background with Terri Morales, as she’s easily the character who benefits most from the added material. Mostly we see small extensions to existing scenes. None of this is revelatory, but it’s fun to see.
More unused footage appears in the two-minute and 52-second collection of Outtakes. It’s the usual slate of goofiness and mistakes.
Within the Poster Gallery we see five stillframe images. These present “winning submissions created by the finalists of the online poster design contest”. They’re fun to examine.
Another Previews domain shows up on DVD Two. It presents both the teaser and theatrical trailers for Apocalypse along with ads for the original flick, Underworld, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, The Grudge, The Forgotten, House of Flying Daggers, and The Fifth Element.
If you want to see a movie with a strong plot and a lot of thought-provoking material, stay far away from Resident Evil: Apocalypse. If you want to see a movie with flashy, visceral action and a lively videogame feel, Apocalypse should be up your alley. It’s not Citizen Kane but it’s often a blast. The DVD presents good picture plus stellar audio and a broad set of extras. Give Apocalypse a look if you want to see some mindless videogame-oriented fun.