Thursday, October 17, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Resident Evil Movies - Enough Already by Beth V

Note: The views expressed in this work do not necessarily reflect those of Phantom Troublemaker, Needless Things, or its parent company Needless Troublemaker, Inc. We love the Resident Evil franchise, Paul WS Anderson, Milla Jovovich, and Michelle Rodriguez.
Especially Michelle Rodriguez.
I love Resident Evil. The games, the half-assed anime, and even the movies. Since my first (if somewhat late) exposure to the T-Virus I've been infected with zombie fever. And seemingly the only cure was more zombies.
I feel crazy saying this now, but I was deeply intimidated by the PlayStation controllers back then. Crazy because when I was ready to move on from my N64 to a “grown up” console I got a PS2. The decision was at least partially motivated by the fact that my husband was playing sports games at the time, and PlayStation had plenty of those. And it had a crap ton of buttons. I guess I got comfortable using them when I realized I needed all those buttons to kill the maximum number of zombies/people/whatever was moving. When it was my turn to choose the next console I went with the 360, and I don't regret it one bit. Sure I miss Kratos and I hear The Last of Us is amazing, but what's done is done. I'm far too used to the Xbox controller to go changing again now. So at the time I was content to just sit back and watch him play without much real desire to play myself. It was kind of like watching somebody play a zombie movie. By today's standards it would be a pretty bad looking movie, but it looked really good in 1998. It also seems very strange for me to admit that I just could not handle the stress of horror games then either. Given the large number of high stress games that I play now it sounds insane, but back then I was still playing Ocarina of Time. Stress to me was falling off a cliff and reappearing again back at the top minus one heart container. So yes, in those days I was fine just watching him get torn up by a giant mutant snake with no personal emotional investment myself. I really only started seriously playing Resident Evil games once Nintendo grew a pair and realized cute weren't going to keep them going forever, and did that exclusive deal. What changed it for me was mostly the controls. I always hated running (or lightly jogging) away from zombies only to have the camera flip and suddenly you're running into the very zombies you've just pissed off by cracking wise about their mamas. So when the first movie came out I was a fan, and a casual player, but not crazy hardcore insane about it. I know I went a long way to get to talking about the movies, but background is important people. I've already reviewed the first 2 movies for my friend Gnoll's website (RE1 and RE2 if you want to travel back in time with me) so I'm not going to go into too much depth for each movie (I honestly don't really remember what I wrote anymore so I apologize if I'm covering old ground here). I just want to make sure that you understand why I liked them, and why I now want them to stop. Just stop.

I really did like the first movie. It didn't have much to do with the games, but it was pretty good. Decent story, well done zombies, and I got to see Michelle Rodriguez get chomped (I just don't like her). Yeah, a lot of the dialogue was silly, the CGI was questionable, and Michelle Rodriguez lived way too long (I don't know why I dislike her so much). I enjoyed Milla Jovovich kicking zombie ass, and the supporting cast were all pretty good. Yeah, the whole Alice in Wonderland theme was out of place when you already had a bunch of games with a story you could have drawn from, and both of her love interests were a little heavy handed, but all in all I enjoyed it a lot. I guess the fanboys didn't like the movies ignoring the source material because 2 years later we got...

Resident Evil:Apocalypse. I love a good apocalypse, zombie or otherwise. This wasn't much of an apocalypse though. Raccoon City being destroyed is hardly the end of the world now is it? They did incorporate a bunch of game characters, but that wasn't enough to keep this thing together. I also really hate zombie movies where the dead rise out of their graves. I know it's fiction and all, but if someone is dead and buried how can a virus infect their body? You need a working circulatory system for that. Anyway, this is the beginning of the character of Alice going from simply a bad ass to becoming a super human zombie killing machine. I know that the main character isn't going to die, but I at least like a little vulnerability. If she's an unstoppable mega powered monster destroyer then there's not much tension is there? As dumb as this one was I do sometimes like to watch it on network TV due to the fact that they overdub the pimp character to say “bad motivator” in place of his saltier language. And hey, it had Jared Harris so that's pretty cool. I thought that this was bad enough that they would just stop, but lo and behold 3 years later we had...


Resident Evil:Extinction. Or maybe now it's an apocalypse. Maybe they thought that throwing in one or two more game characters would make up for the fact that this story is just pointless. Alice now has psionic powers or pyrokinesis or she's Jean Grey or something. Who knows, and who really cares? Her powers and her poor post-apocalyptic clothing choices are just ridiculous by this time. I guess dudes want to see Milla Jovovich riding a motorcycle through the dessert wearing thigh highs, but women know better than that. No woman is really going to dress like that for the end of the world. There's clones, and zombie crows, and just all manner of silliness. I mean yeah, there's Iain Glen, but that's it. The production value is still good (better than it deserves really), and the acting is pretty good for a zombie movie, but the dialogue is still terrible. So now, I thought, they really will call it quits. It was left open for another, but I really didn't think they would. How and why would they? Oh yeah, money. The desire to make more money brought us...

Resident Evil: Afterlife. I had hope for that they were trying to salvage something from this series when, early in the movie, all the clones get destroyed and Alice gets injected with a serum that takes away her super powers. I thought just maybe they were trying to make it believable again. Okay it's a zombie movie, but you know what I mean. They tossed in just one other game character so it wasn't like they were busy trying to distract the fanboys again or anything. Alice goes out looking for her buddies from Extinction, but ends up trapped in a prison instead. We've all read The Walking Dead, thanks Paul Anderson. It is in the prison though that the series makes its biggest mistake. It stops throwing out game characters, and starts throwing in game monsters. If you're not going to explain how we went from zombies to a giant guy with an axe that looks suspiciously like the Pyramid Head from Silent Hill 2, but is actually a monster from the game RE5 then why do it at all? Las Plagas parasite infected guys pop up from the ground looking nothing like the zombies or other creatures we've seen so far, and you're not going to talk about it. I think one character says something about the creatures changing or mutating, but not enough to go from this:

to this:

without something more than “they're mutating”. And can I just say that there is a shocking amount of amnesia used in this series? Two or three characters in this movie alone have it, but overall there's more amnesia in Resident Evil movies than in your average soap opera. Stupid as it was I knew from the ending that we'd soon be seeing...

Resident Evil: Retribution. The “just throw everything in” of the series. More game characters, more amnesia, more ridiculous story and dialogue. I liked the inclusion of Ada Wong and Leon Kennedy, but that's about it. And I'm sure they did it just for people like me, hoping to dupe us into liking it with the inclusion of characters we liked. But then they had to bring back Michelle Rodriguez. Bastards. But they don't just bring people back. They bring back good and evil clones of them, and play them against Alice in some Umbrella facility that has a holodeck I guess. Now they finally talk about the Las Plagas parasite (a little), but whatever happened to the good old fashioned T-Virus? Was that really not enough? Now we've got to throw in everything ever used in any Resident Evil game. I half expected someone to have to fight El Gigante at some point in this movie. There's way too many clones and versions of people to keep up with, and for some reason they tossed in a kid. I guess every Ripley needs a Newt. Sadly, at the end Alice is re-infected with the T-Virus so she gets all of her dumb powers back. So I know that means we're in for another one. Probably somewhere around 2015 we'll have...

Resident Evil: Just Whatever. Whatever they haven't used yet. Any character they haven't already put in will be there. I guess Hunk, Krauser, and Sherry Birkin are about all that's left to use. I vote Hunk. There's still plenty of virus mutated snakes, spiders, and sharks they could have Super Alice fight. And you do so rarely get to see a zombie shark. I'm sure I'll go see it no matter what, but that's simply because it's the best looking zombie series out there. They do use the enormous budgets well. And yeah I like fun and stupid movies, but they really have gone too far now. They're so committed to it all that there really isn't any way for them to pull back. Alice has to be a bad ass super hero, Wesker has to keep talking like he needs a Ricola, and they have to keep throwing in crap the fanboys will recognize. Because we're the ones that are keeping this shit going. And we're also the reason that the just need to start over. I'm not normally a fan of reboots, but in this case I think you can get what I'm talking about. We need, nay deserve, a fresh start. It's our payback for sitting through this gradually increasing level of silliness. And maybe with a reboot we can get some stuff that actually creeps me out a little bit. Stuff that is actually kind of cool and scary. Stuff like this:

-Beth

Phantom Troublemaker vs. 31 Days of Halloween
I’m changing the format a bit this year in order to more accurately portray SyFy’s schedule and also to preserve my sanity. I had the genius idea to cut and paste the schedule directly from SyFy’s page rather than typing it out in my own format. This has saved me an awful lot of time and also means that individual episodes are listed rather than blocks of programming like previous years. So what I’m going to do is provide commentary where I feel it is needed rather than posting next to every single entry. Don’t worry – you’re getting the same amount of hilarious, then kind of funny, then labored, then thoroughly disenchanted Phantom content. Just in a different way.
Like last year, I am covering the programming from the time this posts until the time of the next post. That means that on Fridays you are going to be treated to a shit-ton of this stuff.
Let’s do it!
Oct 17 11:00 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Dragonwasps
I’m not a fan of SyFy’s habit of showing bug movies during their Halloween schedule. I mean, bug movies are the second scariest kind of movies, but they’re just not all that Halloweeny. I want monsters and crazy people and demons. I’ll even go ahead and say that Gho
Okay, I can do this.
Ghos...
(Deep breath)
Ghost Hunters is better Halloween fare than bug movies.
Yeah – I said it.
Oct 17 01:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Camel Spiders
This one actually isn’t bad (by which I mean it is, but it’s fun). The ESW crew was at the Phantom Zone watching the awful The Power of Three and after it mercifully ended I switched to SyFy; my default channel. Camel Spiders was on and we couldn’t help but watch it. What I saw was enough to compel me to check it out, and Director Faber’s son even went out and bought it.
Oct 17 03:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Vipers
I don’t have snake fear. I don’t want a bunch of them crawling all over me or anything and I’m not going to try and pet a cobra, but they don’t freak me out. Not like bugs do. My point here is that this might as well be a nature documentary. Not very Halloweeny. If I was scoring this year, Vipers would get a 2.
Oct 17 05:00 PM Syfy Original Movie Anacondas: Trail Of Blood
I still love the original Anaconda. John Voight is weird, Jennifer Lopez is crazy hot, and it’s a true delight to hear Ice Cube call a gigantic snake a bitch while he punches it in the face. Everything that came after that first one might as well be one big wad of giant snake movie. I’ve seen them all, but I can’t remember what happens in which one. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. They’re all enjoyable to one degree or another depending on your tolerance for CGI that ranges from bad to unbelievably bad.
Oct 17 07:00 PM Syfy Original Movie Piranhaconda
I recorded this last year and never got around to watching it. As a matter of fact, it might still be on the upstairs DVR. I am totally down with this concept, provided they took it far enough. I don’t just want a giant anaconda with a piranha head. I want a giant anaconda that is made of piranhas. Every inch of its hide is covered with quivering piranha faces, making it a slithering, gobbling, murder machine.
Oct 17 09:00 PM Syfy Original Movie Arachnoquake
This has got to be a direct result of the “success” of Sharknado. I admit – I contributed to the Sharknado frenzy by posting about it. I posted that it was the most incompetently made, incoherent, insulting jumble of a movie I had ever seen. It defied everything I have ever learned about movie making and storytelling. Sharknado outright shit in the face of logic.
Sometimes at this point I do the hacky old swerve where I said, “And I LOVED it!”
I’m not doing that. Sharknado was a piece of shit that should never have happened. But I was fascinated by it. Wondering every second how that abortion became reality. As such I will be watching Arachnoquake. I can’t help it. Normally spiders freak me out something terrible, but these will be awful-looking CGI spiders and I can handle those.
Oct 17 11:00 PM Syfy Original Movie Ice Spiders
Oct 18 01:00 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Camel Spiders
Oct 18 03:00 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie In The Spiders Web
Despite my plans to watch Arachnoquake, I do not normally even bother watching spider movies. I seriously hate spiders. I do like Arachnophobia and Eight-Legged Freaks, though.
Oct 18 05:00 AM Ghost Whisperer Home But Not Alone
Just as a challenge, I am going to see if I can find a picture of Jennifer Love Hewitt looking like Kevin from Home Alone. I don’t want to sit around looking at pictures of her for what could end up being hours. I do this for you, the Phantomaniacs.
Oct 18 06:00 AM Paid Programming
Oct 18 08:00 AM Being Human (dead) Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Oct 18 09:00 AM Being Human The Teens They Are A Changin'
Oct 18 10:00 AM Being Human I'm So Lonesome I Could Die
The only way I’ll ever get into this show is if I end up sick in bed during a marathon. As much as I would like to be sick in bed tomorrow, I’ll be at work. And you’ll be reading an all-new Best Cartoon Ever (of the month) from Kalan!
-Phantom

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