Resident Evil: Afterlife-3D (Blu-ray 3D) (2010)
|Year Of Production||2010|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Paul W.S. Anderson|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Resident Evil: Afterlife, is the latest installment in this zombie-sci-fi action franchise. (The original film based on Capcom's Resident Evil video games was released in 2002). There is a fun and visceral element to the Resident Evil films that is hard to ignore. The perfectly designed and executed Matrix-inspired action set pieces manage to keep the wafer-thin story lines moving along. With the over the top sets, costumes, and characters, and plenty of loud gun-play and exciting stunts, there are certainly enough lavish distractions to prevent most viewers from questioning some of the gaping plot holes, or other elements of the films that simply just don’t make any sense. As with any movie based on a video game, don't expect much subtlety, or explorations of delicate human emotions.
Paul W.S. Anderson has made a career bringing video games to the big screen. Anderson directed Mortal Kombat, and wrote and directed both Resident Evil and AVP: Alien v Predator. He also wrote and produced DOA: Dead or Alive, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Resident Evil: Extinction, and Death Race 1 & 2. Interestingly, with this latest installment, Anderson chose to return to the director’s chair, in addition to writing and co-producing Resident Evil: Afterlife.
As with the earlier sequels, Anderson seems to have decided that character development was not required in a movie aimed squarely at a target market of young men, who (like me) have spent a large portion of their adult life happily blasting away on first-person-shooter video games, such as Doom, Unreal, Halo, Call of Duty and . . . Resident Evil. That noted, don’t expect any female nudity or even partial-nudity, which previously was offered as moments of beauty and relief from all the ugliness and carnage. As Anderson's wife and mother of his child, Milla Jovovich is keeping her clothing firmly on this time around.
The story opens with an outstanding, visually sumptuous sequence set in the rain, on the famous Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo. This is perhaps my favourite opening of any of the Resident Evil films, and sadly after setting the bar so high, the remainder of Afterlife struggles to reach this level again.
Umbrella Corporation’s T-Virus has been unleashed on the public, globally creating a world of flesh-eating zombies. Alice (Milla Jovovich) leads an invasion of the Umbrella Tokyo Plant, run by Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), who like Alice, also carries the T-virus and who also has super-human abilities. I’m sure it’s explained in one of the previous films why some people get super-human powers and others turn into zombies, but I can’t recall. From here, the remainder of the film focus on Alice’s search for Arcadia – a fabled Nirvana of infection-free humans, living and loving in a community far from this urban decay. Alice’s quest, in turn, leads her to find a group of (really annoying) one-dimensional survivors trapped in a Los Angeles Prison, surrounded by an army of really hungry LA zombies.
Okay so the movie’s a 'lava lamp' – attractive to look at but not that bright, but with a running time of under 100 minutes, Afterlife doesn’t outlast its welcome. Enjoy it for what it is.
3D Blu-ray for both movies and games is the latest stage in the evolution of movie home entertainment. In the beginning of the modern era of movie home cinema there was VHS and LaserDisc. Those lucky enough, had expensive, large CRT screens (which were almost as deep as they were wide) or pricey home projectors with line-doublers. In the late 1990s, VHS and LaserDisc gave way to DVD, and the home stereo speakers were replaced with receivers and dedicated surround speakers. After a decade-long reign, DVD started sharing shelf space with high definition Blu-ray discs (after the brief HD format war was lost by Toshiba/Microsoft to the Sony-led consortium). When I started reviewing for this site about ten years ago, it was common to review single-layer or ‘flipper’ (single-layer, double-sided) DVDs with non-16x9 enhanced transfers and Dolby Stereo audio. As widescreen televisions and dual-layer discs became more common, these releases gave way to 16x9 enhanced transfers with Dolby 5.1 audio, and with the release of the Gladiator DVD, dts 5.1 arrived in Australian homes.
Ten years ago I was reviewing films on a 76cm CRT screen, and most people who saw it described it as the biggest television they had ever seen! Now I review on a 3D capable, 148cm HD plasma screen with a 6.1 surround system that would not turn anyone’s head. It’s not even the latest generation of 3D TV technology! 3D TVs and 3D Blu-ray players are now becoming more common, and 3D blu-ray (if not television) content is quickly growing in Australia.
As an early adopter, at the end of last year I owned every 3D Blu-ray title available in Australia, and even some additional titles imported from overseas – these were all mostly family-oriented, animated titles such as Monsters v Aliens and Open Season. Now, just a few months later, there are a range of film and documentary titles available in 3D that I’m not even aware of. Also, with films like Afterlife, we are finally seeing genuine adult, live-action 3D blu-ray titles locally. Without question, the outstanding box-office and critical success of Avatar has been a milestone in the development of 3D entertainment, and just what was needed to take the format seriously. Previously, who could have believed a 3D film could have been nominated as Best Picture at the Oscars, or would be the top grossing film in history?
Until recently I always treated 3D as a fad. I grew up watching 3D films such as the abysmal Jaws 3D with those silly-looking cardboard glasses. These films were often nothing more than a marketing fad, with a few ‘coming at ya’ scenes thrown in to wow audiences and justify the 3D tag. Now we still have silly-looking 3D glasses, but they are much cooler, and polarised. The first 3D film I saw at the cinemas that impressed me was Beowulf in 2007. For the first time a 3D film wasn’t blurry and dark - the colours were rich and vibrant. Most importantly, the image on the screen had a genuine depth – 3D finally worked! The arrival of RealD and active shutter glasses, instead of the old coloured, anaglyph approach was a dramatic step forward. More importantly, the other dramatic step forward was in the content itself – finally there were 3D films such as Monster House and Polar Express, which were as enjoyable in 2D – films that didn’t rely on a string of gimmick scenes. Of course sub-par 3D content is still made, such as the disappointing Journey to the Centre of the Earth and the strangely enjoyably B-Grade, Piranha. There are also those films released in 3D that seem to be really 2D films converted to 3D to cash in on the current popularity of the format, such as Clash of the Titans and Alice in Wonderland. And then there are 3D live-action films that are conceived, designed, and genuinely produced in 3D - films such as Avatar and Afterlife.
Sony has genuinely impressed me with this 3D Blu-ray transfer! The 3D assault starts the moment the film begins - the opening credits float out from the screen toward the viewer. They are so perfectly delineated I felt I could reach out and touch them. Then as viewers we find ourselves in the middle of the busy Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo - it's raining. The bustle of people around us is almost claustrophobic - I feel I need to step out of their way. As if to show off, the credits now appear in front or behind people passing in the crowd. A lady passes close to us with a transparent umbrella - we not only have her umbrella in front of us, but we can see through it and into a crowd scene with genuine depth. Afterlife is undoubtedly one of the best 3D BD transfers available. If you are 3D blu-ray capable, then this film makes a great demo disc to show the technology off. Not solely relying on the odd gimmick scene found in most 3D films, but filmed with the same process as Avatar, the entire experience of this film is designed to be immersive and genuinely 3D. While the story is at times absurd and the plot wafer thin, as an action film, Afterlife is the perfect vehicle for 3D, and for re-watching again and again.
Released with a theatrical ratio of 2.39:1, the 1080p AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is beautifully presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 in a native 16x9 frame. The outstanding feature is that despite being presented in 3D, the colours are still rich and deep, and boast a well-saturated palette. The skin tones of the (human) actors are accurate. As mentioned above, the image has genuine depth, with only the odd fleeting moment of ghosting or blurriness. I often felt as if I could almost walk into the scenes in front of me. The sharpness of the 3D BD's transfer is of the same quality as the very best 2D high definition transfers. For example, consider the detailed shot of the plane landing in the grassy field at 19:25, or the amazing texture of the close-up of the face at 30:10. As with the other films in this series, some of the CGI scenes can appear a little soft in comparison to the live-action scenes, but the black level and shadow detail of the live action content is excellent throughout. For example look at the inky black depths of the background at 25:27. This transfer seems to find new levels of black!
This is an expertly-authored disc, and there are no problems with MPEG artefacts. There are also no problems with Film-To-Video Artefacts, such as Aliasing.html"> aliasing or telecine wobble. A pristine print was used for the transfer and I never spotted any film artefacts.
Nine subtitle streams are provided including English and English SDH. The English subtitles are accurate. This is a BD-50 (50 GB) disc. The feature is divided into 16 chapters.
The quality of the sound is also outstanding, and just as immersive as the wonderful 3D picture. Originally released theatrically with dts, SDDS, and Dolby Digital audio, the main audio option on the BD is English dts-HD Master Audio 5.1. There is also the options of an English Audio Descriptive Service, French 5.1 audio, and Spanish 5.1 audio. The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent on the default English audio track.
The musical score is credited to Tonyandandy. The heavy bass and techno-flavoured music really suits the grungy and gritty mood of the film.
The surround mix is one of the most aggressive surround sound experiences on blu-ray that I have ever heard – both both 3D and 2D films. As with previous Resident Evil films, the surround activity is as unrelenting as the action, and the rear speakers are used effectively to help carry the score and to provide ambience. There is also a great deal of panning between the speakers, which helps create a very immersive listening experience, a good example of this is the circling helicopter at 14:23.
The subwoofer is also hammered hard throughout, with the film's bass-heavy score, roaring engines, and many explosions.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are plenty of genuine extras, especially if one considers the 2D version of the film to be an extra.
There is a themed, animated menu with audio. This menu can be viewed in 3D or 2D.
Trailer -Sony 3D
A 55 second commercial for Sony 3D "the future of home entertainment" automatically plays when the disc is inserted. This can be skipped.
This Picture-in-Picture extra includes screen-specific interviews with cast and crew (especially Milla Jovovich). There are also a number of computer animations, design sketches, and story-board layouts throughout.
A screen-specific commentary provided by Writer/Director, Paul W.S. Anderson, and Producers, Jeremy Bolt, and Robert Kulzer. This is a chatty commentary which alternates between being a very interesting collection of behind-the-scenes facts and trivia, such as identifying locations and actors, and equipment used for shooting, to the occasional extended drivel about nonsense.
Deleted/Extended Scenes (6:48)
There are eight deleted/extended scenes presented in 2D HD. Some of these scenes are unfinished and have a green-screen background.
There are a collection of boring outtakes, most of which are the cast (usually Milla Jovovich) cracking up with laughter during their scenes. Some of these have no audio.
Presented in 2D HD, there are a collection of seven relatively short featurettes that look at various aspects of the production, ranging from Anderson's original vision through to the writing, directing, designing, and casting of the film. There is a brief look at the costumes, sets, and stunts as well. These featurettes include plenty of interviews with cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage, including footage taken during the post-production/editing stage. There is even some footage taken from the original Resident Evil video games:
Sneak Peek of Resident Evil: Damnation (1:10)
A trailer for the next Resident Evil CGI animated film.
Presented in 2D HD, there are trailers for:
The 2D version can be viewed with Movie IQ, which connects to the Internet.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Afterlife 3D Blu-ray appears to be identical in all regions, except for the trailers.
As with the previous Resident Evil films, this is not a film for Academy Voters or Pseudo-Intellectuals - enjoy it for the mindless zombie-action-romp that it is. Also, if you’re 3D capable, this film makes an excellent demo disc for both video and audio.
The 3D video quality of the high definition transfer is excellent.
The audio quality is also excellent and also very immersive.
The extras are genuine, and if one counts the 2D version of the film as an extra, then very generous.
|DVD||Samsung 3D Blu-ray (HDMI 1.4), using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung 3D HD (58 inches). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Samsung Pure Digital 6.1 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3)|