Resident Evil appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. A fairly early Blu-ray, this one showed its age.
Sharpness turned into the major issue here, as the movie often felt mushy and ill-defined. Close-ups tended to look fairly good, but anything wider came across as dull and soft.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, but edge haloes cropped up through the film. In terms of print flaws, I saw a few small specks but nothing much.
The movie’s palette usually opted for a chilly teal tint, though a few other tones emerged as well. The hues seemed adequate, but like sharpness, they lacked much range or impact.
Blacks appeared inky and crushed, while shadows looked a little dense and thick. This wasn’t the worst transfer I’ve seen, but it came with too many issues to merit a grade above a “D+”. A fairly modern movie shouldn’t look this bad.
On the other hand, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Resident Evil suffered from virtually no flaws. 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 most of the film. The elements blended together well and panned efficiently across the speakers, and the surrounds contributed lots of unique audio. The Red Queen’s voice panned neatly across all five channels, and the rear speakers added some very useful spooky effects.
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 rough-edged score presented the right level of crunch and fuzz. 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 provided a fine complement for the action that accentuated the material.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the Deluxe Edition DVD? The lossless audio felt broader and more dynamic, and visuals came across as a bit tighter and more natural.
But only a tiny bit, as the Blu-ray didn’t turn into a significant upgrade. Honestly, I occasionally felt like I watched a DVD as I viewed the BD, so don’t expect much from this bland visual presentation.
Most of the Deluxe DVD’s extras repeat here, and the set includes two audio commentaries. These start with a chat from director Paul W.S. Anderson, producer Jeremy Bolt, and actors Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez.
All four sit together for this running, screen-specific track. If you’re looking for scads of specific information about the making of the movie, you’ll probably feel disappointed. If you’re looking for a rollicking and amusing piece, then this is the commentary for you.
The women dominate the track, as they offer sassy and uncensored comments. They talk about the movie, their commentary companions, their co-workers, and pretty much whatever else comes to mind.
This occasionally possesses the potential to become annoying, but it never quite does. Instead, their attitude makes the program a nice change of pace.
As for the men, it’s very tough to tell which Brit is which, and they definitely take a backseat to the women. Nonetheless, they add a fair amount of useful information, and they help ground the track.
They get into the impertinent spirit of the women, but they do so in a more restrained English manner; they seem content to act as straight men for the women’s wild musings. A few moderate gaps appear during the piece, but these don’t become too onerous. You won’t get much insight into the creation of Evil during this track, but you probably won’t care.
For the second commentary, we get remarks from director Paul WS Anderson and visual effects supervisor Richard Yuricich, both of whom sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. They taped this around the same time as the preceding commentary, a fact I figured since Anderson mentioned it in the 2002 chat.
Not surprisingly, this track offers a much heavier emphasis on technical elements than its loose predecessor. One also should not feel flabbergasted to learn that visual effects dominate the discussion.
We hear a lot about the various techniques they used and also learn a bit about stunts and different working methods to bring the film to life. Sometimes when the screen offers little effects work on which they can comment, Anderson prods Yuricich to chat about past efforts on flicks like 2001 and Close Encounters.
The commentary can be dry and probably won’t offer much for those without an interest in the nuts and bolts side of filmmaking, but it’s a good exploration of the appropriate topics.
Fans will flock to the alternate ending. It fills three minutes, 20 seconds, and starts with an introduction from Anderson.
He explains why he considered a different conclusion and why he didn’t use it. The clip is unfinished, so we don’t see all that much, but it’s interesting to take a peek at a possible finish to the flick.
Within the “Featurettes” domain, we discover 12 different programs, some old and some new. *Playing Dead: Resident Evil from Game to Screen runs 15 minutes, four seconds and explores the world of the original games.
We see clips from them and the movie as well as hear interviews with Anderson, Jovovich, Rodriguez, Bolt, composer Marilyn Manson, video game designers Ryan Lockhart and George Collins, Scifi.com news editor Patrick Lee, and Chud.com writer Mark Wheaton.
We hear a little about videogames in general, their growth over the years, the Evil series, and other videogame-movie adaptations. However, most of the information comes from Anderson as he discusses the ways he attempted to incorporate Evil elements into the movie and stay true to the franchise while he created a new story.
I’d have liked a richer look at the games, but this still offers a nice glimpse of the thought processes Anderson used to adapt the material.
Scoring Resident Evil lasts 11 minutes, three seconds. Unsurprisingly, it concentrates on the music of the film, as we get comments from director Anderson plus composers Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson.
Overall, they provide a solid little chat about the score. Manson particularly offers some good information about what he wanted to do with the music, and the program seems generally compelling.
For Storyboarding Resident Evil, we need six minutes, 26 seconds to examine that topic. Anderson gives us a quick intro to his use of boards, and then we watch splitscreen comparisons of the art and the final movie. It’s a good presentation of the material.
In Costumes, we get a quick look at the garb seen in the movie. The three-minute, 26-second piece mixes visuals from the film and interviews with production designer Richard Bridgland, director Anderson and actors Jovovich and Rodriguez.
The program provides a little useful insight about the rationale behind the outfits, but overall it seems too brief and superficial. The program presents some good comments but includes little depth.
The piece that examines Set Design follows the same formula. The four-minute, seven-second featurette shows movie bits, design plans and interviews with Bridgland.
I feel exactly the same way toward “Set Design” as I do “Costumes”. The show includes some decent tidbits but remains too superficial to be worth much.
Within The Creature, we take five minutes, 18 seconds to learn about the design and implementation of the movie’s main monster. This includes lots of good behind the scenes footage plus comments from special effects makeup supervisor Pauline Fowler and Michelle Rodriguez.
*The Elevator fills a mere one minute, eight seconds as Yuricich details the shooting of that early scene. It’s decent but too short to tell us much.
In The Laser, we get a five-minute, five-second featurette with remarks from Anderson, Yuricich, and actors Colin Salmon and Liz May Brice. More behind the scenes footage helps us learn how they virtually diced Salmon and mutilated other actors.
The Train goes for two minutes, 20 seconds as we look at the design and execution of that vehicle. We hear from Yuricich and Bridgland as they discuss the melding of practical and miniature trains.
*Zombie Dogs spans three minutes, 54 seconds as we learn about how they brought those critters to life. We get notes from Anderson, Fowler, Jovovich, and producer Samuel Hadida, as they discuss making up and working with the poochies.
In a similar vein, Zombies presents a four-minute, 30-second glimpse into that subject. Anderson, producer Bernd Eichinger and Fowler chat about the makeup designs for the zombies as well as motion training for those actors.
All told, these various featurettes seem consistently informative and enjoyable. They mix comments with behind the scenes clips to give us nice explorations of the subjects.
“Featurettes” ends with a piece on the original DVD but not the DE: The Making of Resident Evil. It runs 27 minutes, 20 seconds and brings notes from director Paul W.S. Anderson, producers Bernd Eichinger, Samuel Hadida, and Jeremy Bolt, Capcom Head of Production Yoshiki Okamoto, fight coordinator Jaymes Butler, production designer Richard Bridgland, visual effects supervisor Richard Yuricich, special effects makeup supervisor Pauline Fowler, and actors Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes, Eric Mabius and Colin Salmon.
”Making” generally offers a fairly standard promotional piece, but it seems better than average. While it tells us of the plot and the characters, it also delves into various technical realms pretty nicely.
In the best parts, we see some shots of the actors’ training and also effects and makeup images; I especially like the bits where they turn the Dobermans into zombies. “Making” isn’t a great documentary, but it includes enough worthwhile material to merit a look.
We also get a music video for “My Plague” by Slipknot. The video uses the timeworn combination of movie clips and lip-synched performance footage.
it cuts between these with frightening rapidity and seems even more hyper and vapid than most videos. Slipknot do little for me as well. I like some aggressive music, but their stuff feels very generic, and their silly stage act makes them come across as nothing more than a 21st century rip-off of KISS.
Lastly, we get a selection of Previews. We locate ads for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 30 Days of Night, The Company, Resident Evil: Extinction, Dragon Wars, Blood and Chocolate, Ultraviolet and Underworld. No trailer for Evil shows up here.
If you desire an original and totally creative experience, Resident Evil probably won’t do much for you. If you think you’d enjoy a lively video game come to life, then Resident Evil should prove to offer a lot of fun. Though not a great flick, it offered enough spark and life to make it enjoyable and entertaining. The Blu-ray provides excellent audio and a broad roster of extras highlighted by a wild audio commentary, but visuals looked dull and soft. Action fans should get a kick out of Resident Evil, but they might want to hope for an eventual remaster, as this Blu-ray offers surprisingly poor visuals.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of RESIDENT EVIL