Resident Evil V

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It is should be the right thing to say in this redundant flashback – that Resident Evil, in both its forms, as the movie and as the game, have been an integral part of my alternate reality. Thus this flashback to a few months ago is clearly justified. There are so many things that this one prepares us for, and the most important thing is to be prepared for a zombie apocalypse, and that a virus is the most evil and the powerful thing which could be created and manipulated by man in a zombie fiction, and proving it with a series of arrows from its quiver which is the game and movie collection. The addiction with this movie made my download even another movie The Resident by mistake, which was pretty good too, and being such a master in action-horror genre, our series makes such an impact on everyone who is not faint-hearted in an anti-gore manner, that the need for more of it arises. It is from this need that the game series has reached its peak, and the movie series has reached what is called Resident Evil: Retribution, and is going to reach that stage which is called Resident Evil: Armageddon which should be the last movie of this series unless they change their mind or do a reboot. In this world of pseudo-experts growing dislike for this movie, what you need to do though, is accept this movie with its flaws which are not really “the flaw” considering its origin.

As a continuation of the story, Alice (Milla Jovovich) and he friends are attacked by a group of airships led by Alice’s former ally and friend, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), who has been brainwashed by the Umbrella Corporation through a red scarab device attached to her chest, a battle which results in an explosion which knocks her out and throws her into the water. Alice awakens as a prisoner in an Umbrella jail. Jill tortures Alice, but she escapes and fights through another world, the Tokyo simulation of the original outbreak and encounters Ada Wong (Li Bingbing) who has changed sides leaving the Umbrella Corporation behind. They go on a mission to save whatever is left of mankind, but before that they have to get out. They have to go through a number of artificial worlds though, the different virus outbreak simulations which are meant to test her clones and may be she can even encounter a few other faces of herself. As there are many simulations and recreations of outbreaks, with so many basic models in such testing environments with different roles assigned to the same Alice, as she might be a businesswoman in one, a housewife in another or even a soldier working for Umbrella Corporation in the next. It is another centre of pure scientific evil through which they have to go through to get out into the real world.

Resident Evil series can never be included in the list of pure action nor pure horror movies. It is a clear mixture of both, and what is has produced is a group of powerful female protagonists who are also incredibly good-looking in their attires, and comes up with breath-taking stunts. There are a few male characters who supports, but still fails to create the much needed impact. To add to it, the human villains remain the men, and zombies have to be considered beyond them. There are basically five female characters who have created a huge impact within the series, and among them, one is the main protagonist and two of them can be considered as her perfect partners in action. The other two also make a powerful impact upon presence. This is more of an improvement from both Underworld and Kill Bill series, which had such protagonists, but just one female in all cases, and so is the case of Alien series. What Resident Evil has done is that there are so many characters who have filled this apocalyptic future with their own style and characteristics, and they all have their significance in the future.

Milla Jovovich as Alice Alice, is the main protagonist of the Resident Evil film series. The story of each film is mostly about her own struggle with the Umbrella Corporation. She starts as lady wearing nothing other than two pieces of paper supported by a small thread, which is more like a superior fashion design which Umbrella seem to be interested in giving to their captives and research items from the number of movies she wears it – in the first movie, she starts under the shower with amnesia. This repetition of paper-clothing and her words about her name being Alice are the two things which seems to reiterate itself without any sense. But what is to be noticed is that she evolves into a highly efficient killing machine and more of a bio-weapon which is stopped from unleashing itself only by her conscience. Alice would seem to become more and more efficient throughout the series. It is even seen in her clothing, as she seems more like Underworld‘s Selene (Kate Beckinsale) in this movie, close to being the best female action protagonist. Alice’s superhuman abilities which she has achieved with the successful bonding with the T-virus which has negatively affected others, makes her more of a superhero character – she even has psychic abilities. Considering the number of clones of her which the Umbrella Corporation produces, one might even end up doubting if she who is depicted in the movie might be really that Alice of the first movie.

In the last movie, we saw that her superhuman abilities have been taken away by the disabling of her T-virus affected cells. Still, we can see that she is still strong enough in this movie as she comes up with those breath-taking stunts. But, at the end of this one, her powers are back with another injection as it is needed as the last hope for humanity. She is referred to as “Alice in Wasteland” in the posters of this movie, more of a combination of Alice in Wonderland and The Wasteland, thus combining the feelings of being in a different world of strange characters as well as feeling the disaster of the world. Li Bingbing as Ada Wong has run away from Umbrella to save the remnants of mankind in this movie, and she serves as support for Alice in Resident Evil: Retribution. She could be seen as another version of Alice itself, without the T-virus and involving in all the action and adventure with what seems to be her highly trained abilities. She could be another perfect clone of Alice with all that she seemed to be doing in the movie. Even in her first appearance in the movie series, she has created an impact which is on par with her character in the video game, and that is perfect.

Alison Elizabeth “Ali” Larter as Claire Redfield is first seen as the leader of a convoy of zombie apocalypse survivors in Resident Evil: Extinction. In Resident Evil: Afterlife, she is captured by the Umbrella Corporation and manipulated by a device that controls her mind before reuniting with Alice and her brother Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller). Claire did not return in this movie despite of the popularity of her character. Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine, is back in this movie after being a major character in Resident Evil: Apocalypse. This time, she no longer is with Alice due to the mind-controlling device placed on her. It is upto Alice to bring her back to her side. These two characters would be needed as the main protagonists of a possible reeboot as they might be able to surpass Alice in creating a better impact on the viewers as they did in the game series. Michelle Rodriguez as Rain Ocampo is introduced in the first Resident Evil movie, where she works for the Umbrella Corporation’s commando division. In this movie, there are many of her, as good and bad clones are used as test subjects in the simulated environment, but they are all killed. So there is doubt if there would be any more of her in the next installment unless another return occurs for Michelle Rodriguez in the Fast & Furious 6 style.

I have believed in Resident Evil just like I believed in Silent Hill, as a computer game, and it is the same with the movies too, and I have never really tried to separate one experience from the other. The former had been with me till Resident Evil 4 and has been my favourite video game adaptation so far along with Hitman and Tomb Raider, and the latter is more of memories, mostly of Silent Hill 3. For me, this genre of fear was mostly about Undying, the first graphically good enough horror game which I had played. Well, these three games together make such an impact which nothing else can; the horror is possibly better than most of the horror movies around. The world of gaming has almost ended for me, even as there is a little dose of Age of Empires, Age of Wonders and Unreal Tournament at times – No true gamer with faith in computer gaming can forget the classics, right? I would wait for the release of the games based on Need For Speed, Deus Ex, Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed though, for they have more and more memories of another world, of that reality where I spent a good amount of my life. Here, the movie is strong in its action sequences and moments of horror and surprise supported by great 3D effects and awesome CGI with all the needed special effects. You can try to be pseudo-intellectual and dislike this movie, but it has continued to do what is expected of an action-horror video game adaptation.

Release date: 14th September 2012
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Li Bingbing, Kevin Durand, Aryana Engineer, Shawn Roberts, Colin Salmon, Johann Urb, Boris Kodjoe

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Epic

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Epic is said to be based on William Joyce’s book for children, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs. It is produced by Blue Sky Studios, the makers of the Ice Age series, Robots, Horton Hears a Who! and Rio. It is directed by Chris Wedge who was the director of Ice Age and Robots. The movie shows the battle in the woods between the forces of good and evil, to know if life or decay, whichever overcomes the other. The most interesting thing is that as their world is saved, ours is saved too. As the will premiere in the United States only on May 24th 2013, we know that this has come here early. It should be because it might collide with Fast & Furious 6 otherwise, but there is also another thing about it. It is not of logic, but of impulse, that is the pollution of the natural environment which is a serious challenge in this part of the world. Remember these lines from The Matrix – they are not to be forgotten as the movie ends; “Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with their surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area, You move to an area and you multiply, and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague, and we are the cure”. The truth in these words are not to be considered unseen before we move into this movie.

When Epic begins, we understand that there is a battle between good and evil, life and decay, green woods and the dark woods, the right and wrong going on in the forest. The two sides are always inter-locked in a never-ending battle for supremacy, one for keeping the balance of nature and the other to extend their borders and make their side weigh more. But they exist invisible to the normal human eye. The forest world is actually preparing for a great moment, the selection of the successor to the queen of the woods, which is looked at with anger and hatred by the forces of evil who wishes or a dark prince instead, who can change the green woods into dark woods, with darkness all around. In the middle of all these, young girl named Mary Katherine (preferring to be called M.K), visits her father Professor Bomba who lives in an old house near some thick woods with his dog, Ozzie and never ending hope of finding a group of little elf-like warriors who live in the woods and protect their world as well as that of humans as the guardians of the good – represented by leaves. He has cameras set everywhere in the woods and also wanders around a lot, hoping to find them some day. It is evident that it has been a long time since he had any contact with the outside world. He is too busy with his job and neglects his daughter just like he had done to his wife years earlier, leading to Mary putting a note for him to see and leaving the place as she feels she will never get her father back to normal life.

As she is leaving, Ozzie finds a chance to go out of the monotonous world which is the house, and runs into the woods. Mary goes into the woods to look out for him, but as she catches one of the glowing leaves which seemed to fall from the sky, she suddenly shrinks in size. Then she discovers the group of warriors her father was looking out for, and find them as the Leafmen. To her surprise, she is soon forced to assist them in a war against the forces of evil known as the Boggans and their powerful leader Mandrake, along with trying to find a way to become big again as well as to return home. The situation is such that the queen of the woods has been murdered and to find the successor who planned by her before death, Mary and her friends, who include a slug, a snail, and two leafmen – one being the leader of the leafmen and the other being the aggressive and arrogant rookie, have to see the keeper of the scrolls, and with his advice, go on to find the new queen from among the flowers and leaves of the woods. But Mandrake is filled with anger and vengeance due to the death of his son by the leaf-men commander Ronin, and would stop at nothing other than a forest without life. He has already transformed a good part of the woods into his world of death and decay. The team has to fight an almost impossible battle in an enchanted world which seems to belong to the dark forces now.

The movie is a journey, just like The Croods, just four minutes longer and surely intellectually superior, still trailing in the 3D effects and the funny side. But emotionally, this one is as strong as the Colossus. Its social message of saving the trees and forest works for sure. This also another Alice in Wonderland, as the girl is thrown into another mysterious world, a land of magic; but this time, it is too connected with the external world. In that case, Arthur and the Minimoys a.k.a Arthur and the Invisibles might come into the picture in pictures of connected worlds, one a miniature place and the other, what we all live in. It is quite surprising that it was a movie which didn’t get that much an attention here. But, we know that little elf-like warriors, magical woods, fairy queens and a young girl or boy changing fate and destiny of two worlds are not exactly new concepts and with the high predictability might be a little let down. A background story on the good and evil might have given a little more support in the matter, but the two sides have already been painted black and white, evil and good; as this is more a fairy tale thing, there will be no questions asked either. But the world we live in has turned into more of the world of the grey, which is slightly more interested in evil, and it could affect the progress of this movie.

The alignment here is too obvious, unlike Age of Wonders, the game in which I first realized the importance of being aligned more or less to one side or being equi-distant from all. Highmen and Archons were pure good out there, Dwarves, Elves, Halflings and Syrons were good, Frostlings, Humans, Azracs, Lizardmen, Draconians, Tigrans and Nomads were the neutral ones, evil had Orcs, Goblins, Dark Elves and Shadow Demons and those of pure evil were called the Undead. Such was the division in that game series, and what we see is more of pure good and pure evil in this movie, and there is no further division. All these fairy tale characters seem to be good enough to make a powerful comeback these days, as the animated movies seems to be working better than the live-action usual thing, even as it is limited to Hollywood. Our movie here is strong enough to pave the way for the next animated ones which are to come, but there are times when some of these supposed to be pure good characters do nothing good; they can’t even preach well enough – at least that might have been expected of them. But the lost fun is recaptured by the main characters who make up for the less important ones. The 3D looks a little unnecessary, and here it was just another reason to take twenty five Rupees extra and increase the total time spent in the theatre.

Well, who doesn’t like a fairy tale though? One has to think that the kids would surely love it, even as the new generation has moved more to the video games and other stuff than books. Still, understanding them as movies is just a bonus for them. Here, the punch is solid and striking deep enough both on the brain and the heart. Its loyality to the genre can never be questioned, but a certain signs of evolution in the fantasy world is not to be ignored at any moment. Despite its loss in the 3D, it still has great visuals and wonderful CGI. The fairy tale of the girl who becomes lost in the forest and shortened by magic, uncovers a mysterious world of little people with its base on the enchanted woods. But other than being another Alice in a different wonderland of inferior quality, considering the way in which the movie progresses, supported by its stunning imagery & the “save environment” message, this becomes much better. It is surely going to appeal not only to kids, but also the adults. This is kind of a vacation season around, and this summer, this might be the right movie to watch as a family. Well, the woods grow over many years, but can be destroyed in a day – a message to the future generation. As the leafman says “We are individuals, but we are all connected”. There is a message for our selfish world; the world of humans who interrupt and cause devastation on nature. FernGully: The Last Rainforest might have already taught a few lessons though, and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax surely succeeded in inspiring more than one person.

We have the major issues with water pollution, mostly due to untreated and illegal sewage disposal; we have another big issue as air pollution with vehicle emission and traffic congestion, and not to forget the disposal of garbage on land. The disasters should be much more than these, and the deterioration of the environment the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife, something which starts basically from deforestation. There is no solution to greed for sure, and Agent Smith was partially right, and we are still trying to prove him completely correct. Well, that dialogue was a point when he had the sure upperhand in a world of reason. Extinction is not a limited thing for sure. Looking into Avatar, there is one particular dialogue “There’s no green there. They killed their Mother, and they’re gonna do the same here”. It doesn’t imply anything other than the destruction of the world of green by using their so called advanced technology. As most of the new discoveries have made life easier for man, they have surely made decay easier for nature. This predicament has another nemesis in Epic, as the movie comes against it strongly; it might be a little ordinary and quite predictable in its plot, but is still an inspiring story with a powerful message against the exploitation of nature and deforestation. There is the need for such movies with strong environmental theme.

Release date: 17th May 2013
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Chris Wedge
Starring (voice): Amanda Seyfried, Colin Farrell, Beyoncé Knowles, Josh Hutcherson, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Chris O’Dowd

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.