With Resident Evil: The Final Chapter set to close out the film franchise – at least this continuity – in a matter of months, we can’t deny that Paul W.S. Anderson and company have managed to pull off a feat that few are able to: Not only adapt a video game franchise to film, but create a legacy that spanned fifteen years.
Although the Resident Evil series of movies have proven to be quite divisive among fans of the games, its success with mainstream moviegoers was arguably a key ingredient for igniting the zombie craze that’s lasted for the past decade, give or take. And, according to Anderson, it’s his love for the games that gives the big screen adaptations an extra boost (via Polygon):
“This movie is made by people who genuinely adored the video game. No one would ever dream of adapting War and Peace without reading the book, but somehow people have the hubris to adapt a video game without having ever played it or knowing what the fans like about it.”
But wait. That statement contradicts something his wife, Milla Jovovich (Alice), said a few years ago, admitting that Anderson doesn’t actually play the games that inspire the films (via Kotaku):
“Paul knows kids that are professional video game players. All they do is play the games until they master every level and unlock every code. They play the games for weeks and give Paul the footage. So he’s literally watching days of the most awesome Resident Evil players out there to get inspiration for the next installment of the franchise.”
Factoring in Jovovich’s statement allows matters to make much more sense. Yes, it’s good that Anderson does his homework in a sense and that shows when it comes to costume and prop accuracy, as well as the level of detail on the various creatures brought to life.
What the movies lack, however, is the proper “voice” to be found when writing for each character. Fan favorites such as Leon S. Kennedy behave in a way that is so far removed from how they do in the games that it can be a bit off-putting, to say the least. Had there been a little more hands on research, situations like this could have been rectified.
We’ll find out how Anderson’s swan song holds up when Resident Evil: The Final Chapter infects theaters on January 27, 2017.