Let’s talk about why Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City bombed in cinemas, making only $5.3 million in its opening weekend and, as of this writing, accumulating just over $14.3 million total, making a sequel to the film highly unlikely. With bad reviews and a magnitude of fans upset over the short run time and disrespect to their favorite characters, here are the main reasons why we found Welcome to Raccoon City to be a disaster.
First and foremost, we have the issue that Johannes Roberts cramped two amazing games into a 107-minute film, and when fans found out, it was their first sign that things were going awry. Any true fan knows that the first two Resident Evil games are some of the most iconic of all time and deserve respect. Yet as a self-proclaimed fan of the game, Roberts committed the ultimate sin by combining the first two games, and while many fans give the Anderson films flack, it must be said that at least the director didn’t jam two great games into one⏤he just “borrowed” elements for his own films.
Second comes the characters. Fans have been outraged by the portrayal of Leon, Wesker, Claire, and Chris, four of the main characters in the franchise. The only one to come out somewhat respected was our favorite sandwich, Jill Valentine. Most notably, fans online have been in an uproar over the upheaval of Leon S. Kennedy, an underdog-turned-hero in the games. In the film, Leon is turned into a lazy alcoholic and given his job in the RPD by connections his father has⏤very different from his gaming counterpart.
After Leon comes Claire and Chris Redfield, both of whom have been turned into weaker versions of their game counterparts. In the film, the Redfield siblings are turned into orphans who grew up in Raccoon City, with Chris becoming an anxious down-on-his-luck cop and Claire a runaway who lets old men feel her up. Both of these characters are far from their game versions, with Chris switched on as the typical bad-boy-turned-good-cop and Claire as a badass, motorcycle-loving college student who would rather beat a man down for touching her than let anyone get away with any bull.
One cannot mention the Redfield siblings without mentioning Albert Wesker. In the games, Wesker is the villain everyone loves to hate, the ultimate bad guy who is behind things going wrong in both the Spencer Mansion and RPD. His film counterpart⏤who we must mention was superbly cast⏤just misses the mark in bringing the real Wesker to life, though this could be attributed to the writing and not the actor. Instead, Wesker is now a simple jock who flirts with Jill Valentine and only turns bad because of money, not his desire for control.
After the disrespect to some beloved characters, we come to the monsters. With so many iconic enemies to use, Roberts instead chose smaller monsters and still somehow tarnished them with a low budget and weak fight scenes. The Licker, for instance, is bested by Lisa Trevor (who we won’t even mention because of how she was treated in the film). Then you have the Dogs and monster Birkin, who were created with the lowest CGI budget ever and makes us shed a tear and light a candle for Anderson’s CGI monsters.
Location, location, location
Lastly, we come to Raccoon City and the Spencer Mansion, the former being a bustling city in the game that is a pharmaceutical leader with underground train lines, restaurants, cinemas, hotels, and much more. In the film, however, it has become a dying town-turned-wasteland. Spencer Mansion in the game is a great estate with underground laboratories, shark tanks, graveyards, helipads, and surrounding forests. Unfortunately, in the film it’s almost a sidelined character forgotten by the storyline after the alpha team escapes.
While it’s clear that Johannes has an admiration for the games, as evidenced by his habit of dropping Easter eggs and game references, it was done so out of place that it almost feels as if it was an afterthought. Though on a $25 million budget, there wasn’t much room for him to work with to create his ideal film. We hope that if a sequel is greenlit, then Johannes will return with a bigger budget to create the perfect film.
How could the remake have been better?
First of all, the filmmakers should have only turned one game into the first film, therefore leaving them more money to create an incredible movie. Secondly, respect needs to be shown to fan-favorite characters, as we know by now, since insulting a fanboy and his favorite character is perhaps the worst thing a filmmaker can do.
While there could be a range of ways to make this film better for every fan, some thanks must be given to Roberts for working a somewhat faithful and campy film into the Resident Evil Universe and his casting choices. Tell us in the comments what you thought of the reboot and whether or not you’re going to keep hoping for a more faithful adaptation in the future.