Resident Evil fans have had a good few weeks. Netflix unveiled the in-canon CG show Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness and the reboot of the live-action movie franchise announced its cast. Director Johannes Roberts also went out of his way to assure us that his plan is to closely adapt the plot of the games. That’s nice to know, as the last Resident Evil film series diverged so far from the source material that by the end, it had very little in common with the story we were all familiar with.
Now, director Paul W.S. Anderson – who helmed several entries in the franchise – has spoken about some of those differences in a panel at New York Comic Con. According to him, the primary reason for the huge changes to the story was to keep longtime fans interested in what was going on. He argues that if his movies followed the same plot as the games, there’d be no surprises and we’d know which characters would die and which would live. And his argument for focusing on Milla Jovovich’s Alice rather than the iconic Jill Valentine or Claire Redfield?
“If you look at the game, while the Alice character is not in the game, the archetype certainly is,” he said. “There’s a lot of very strong female characters that you get to play as in the game. By having a completely fresh character and telling a prequel story to the world of the video games, it gave us some more dramatic license that we wouldn’t have had if we had just done a straight adaptation of any one of the games.”
Personally, I don’t buy it. While the Resident Evil movies are something of a guilty pleasure (and made an impressive $1.2 billion in total), I suspect that Anderson wanted to tell his own story with little regard for anything established in the games. This tactic seems to be on full display in his upcoming take on Monster Hunter, in which the light-hearted fantasy trappings of Capcom’s series have been replaced by a bizarre-looking tale of real-world special ops soldiers transported to another reality.
Let’s just be glad that we’re finally getting a faithful adaptation of the source material in the form of the new Resident Evil reboot. Here’s hoping production begins soon and we can see Leon, Chris, Claire and Jill in the flesh.