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A special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident.
You voted for it, you got it! Well, this should be fun.
When “Resident Evil” the game was released in 1996 I was hooked, it was the first Horror game I got into and it was a life changing moment for me. So when it was announced that a film was being made about it I was ecstatic. Seriously, I know it may seem strange now but I was genuinely so excited for this film, so much so in fact that I had prebooked tickets at the cinema to see it for my birthday.
Two hours later I walked out of that cinema making groaning noises along with many other cinema goers, no we hadn’t turned into zombies, it was groans and sighs of disappointment. Once again here we had another game to film that the studio decided to change up and give us a cast of unknown characters and also decide to change up the story and add their own touches to it with just elements of the game left in.
Apparently Horror icon George A. Romero was originally attached to write and direct, but left the project in 1999 due to creative differences over the script. The project was dormant for over a year before Paul W.S. Anderson signed on. Romero’s unproduced script apparently featured the character ‘Jill Valentine’ as the female lead, we can only wonder how this would’ve turned out.
“Resident Evil” definitely had its fans and there are many of them, but I wasn’t one of them. For me it tried to hard to be a zombie/action/sci-fi hybrid and just couldn’t find a balance between them all. The dialogue is sub standard as were the action scenes and the direction of the film was lacking and this seriously surprised me as Paul W.S. Anderson did a heck of a job with another video game film, “Mortal Kombat”
“Resident Evil” was a huge disappointment for me but it made a bucket load of money so who am I to say it’s not any good…
Miscellaneous facts about the film:
After returning to the laser hallway they find the bodies have vanished. This is a direct reference to the games, in which the bodies will vanish if you leave and reenter an area. Kaplan’s lines draw attention to this.
All the minor cuts and bruises on Milla Jovovich’s character are real. No make-up was applied.
Michelle Rodriguez had informed her agent that if anyone ever wrote a script about Resident Evil that she wanted to be a part of it. Her agent duly put her in contact with Paul W.S. Anderson when his screenplay was bought.
The crew had a hard time dealing with the dogs who kept licking the blood and meat off themselves.
One of the most popular scenes in the film – when Alice runs up a wall and flings round to kick a zombie dog in the head – took 3 months of training for Milla Jovovich.
During the shooting of the sewer scenes, Milla Jovovich right-hooked Paul W.S. Anderson in the face, giving him a big black eye. By the end she hurt about three cast and crew members.
Milla Jovovich did all of her own stunts except the pipe jump in the sewer scene. She used a stunt double in that scene, because her agent thought she would get strangled by the hanging wires.
Milla Jovovich said the real reason she did this movie was because her brother Marko was a huge fan of the video games.
This film was originally titled ‘Resident Evil: Ground Zero’, but the title was changed to just ‘Resident Evil’ after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the USA.
Like in the games, after something is switched on/off, something else happens elsewhere. When the Red Queen is deactivated for the first time, all doors elsewhere are opened.
There is a shot of Alice’s eye close up near the end of the film. This is a direct reference to the first game in the series; Resident Evil (1996). The close-up eye shot is the logo/title screen of the game.
The main actors were told to prepare for the film by getting copies of the games and playing them through. Some of them didn’t know if they could complete them in time so they had to get video copies of other people beating the games and then watch it.
Director Paul W.S. Anderson and star Milla Jovovich became engaged the following year.
The White Queen was slated to appear in the film but was excised from the screenplay. She was supposed to be the main Artificial Intelligence in the Umbrella headquarters monitoring the Hive. After the incident in the beginning, the White Queen would jam the systems of the Red Queen providing an explanation as to why the soldiers entered easily, since the defenses of the Red Queen were dysfunctional.
The pass code for opening the door in dining hall B, the one Kaplan has trouble remembering, is 04031965. Writer/Director Paul W.S. Anderson was born on 04 March 1965.
According to Milla Jovovich on the DVD commentary, it was a crew member’s birthday on the last day of filming. Bottles of champagnes were brought on the set. Paul W.S. Anderson was worried that the cast and crew would drink too much, but they said they’ll just have a glass and no more. Sure enough, the whole cast and crew got drunk whilst waiting for filming the final scene in the film.
Milla Jovovich’s character’s name, Alice, is only revealed during the credits.
Paul W.S. Anderson wanted to change the usual disclaimer at the end of the film to read that it didn’t contain any resemblance to persons living or undead but he wasn’t allowed to for fear of legal action.
The presidents of Capcom Japan and America have cameos as zombies. Capcom created the Resident Evil series.
Even though they’re everywhere, the word “zombie” is never spoken in this film.
The studio had hoped at one time to make the film PG-13, but the director insisted that to be true to the game, the film must be rated R.
To prepare for their roles, the actors playing commandos and Milla Jovovich and Eric Mabius had a week of commando training (climbing, martial arts, weapons handling, etc.) with former Navy SEAL Jaymes Butler.
A newspaper in Racoon City reads “The Dead Walk!” This is a direct reference to Day of the Dead (1985), in which a newspaper at the beginning of the film reads the same.
The zombie guard who attacks Alice after the appearance of the first dog zombie is the film’s stunt coordinator and trainer, Jaymes Butler.
In December 2001, Sony gave fans a chance to design the film’s poster with the prize being an undisclosed amount of cash, a free screening of the film and the chosen design being used on all the advertising material. Nick des Barres, a 23 year old aspiring actor and ex-video game magazine designer, won the competition.
Originally set to star Sarah Michelle Gellar as Alice.
Much of it was filmed in unfinished stations of Berlin underground.
Connections to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: – Main character’s name is Alice. – Computer is named ‘Red Queen’. – ‘The Red Queen’ needs to kill someone who is infected, so she tries to get someone else to chop off their head. (Off with her head!) – Alice in Wonderland paperweight. – A white rabbit was use to test the T-virus. – To enter the hive they go through a mirrored door (through the looking glass). – The Red Queen also succeeds in cutting off “her” head – the medic in the laser hallway. – Kaplan worries about time, as the White Rabbit does. (Mentioned in commentary) – Matt is sitting on the ledge when Rain and JD hear the first zombie. This is mentioned in the commentary as a reference to the Caterpillar.
Anna Bolt learned how to scuba dive in order to portray the drowned research scientist who revives underwater.
Professional dancers were cast as zombies.
Jason Isaacs – a personal friend of director Anderson – took a day off from filming The Tuxedo (2002) for his cameo.
When the Red Queen is watching Dr. Green yelling at the camera when the room is filling with water (“There’s no fire!”), her face gets magnified in a yellow box with data under it, one of which lists her name not as Dr. Green but as Dr. Anna Bolt, which is the name of the actor who plays Dr. Green.
Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson, whom met on the set of “Resident Evil”, were married on 22nd August 2009 and (as of January 2017) have two children.
One of the smaller headlines on the newspaper at the end of the film references the S.T.A.R.S. from the first Resident Evil video game (Resident Evil (1996)).
Its successful opening weekend sparked a frenzy among US studios, eager to capitalize on the interest in video games. Titles like Doom (1993), Silent Hill (1999) and Max Payne (2001) were all snapped up.
The second movie based on a video game directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. The first was Mortal Kombat (1995).
David Boreanaz was originally going to play Matt Addison, but turned down the part to work on his TV series Angel (1999).
In the movie, Alice’s fake husband is named Spence. This is a reference to the first game which took place in a mansion named the Spencer Estate. Also, one of the three founders of Umbrella Corporation in the game series is named Ozwell Spencer.
Director Anderson hired composers Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson because he wanted an edgy score, similar to those that appeared in John Carpenter’s early films.
When Matt’s arm begins to mutate there are no digital effects until the very end.
Even though Colin Salmon’s character is referred to- and credited only as One, his real name is James Shade.
Near the end, when the underground tram pulls back to the Mansion station, the serial number on the front of the lead car reads “ALEXIA” followed by a string of digits. Alexia Ashford is the final antagonist of Resident Evil Code: Veronica. Also, Underground Trams are a recurring mode of transportation in the Resident Evil games.
Clashes with the studio – particularly after his experience with Event Horizon (1997) – prompted Anderson to seek financing in Europe. This came from Germany’s Constantin Film and the UK’s New Legacy. Sony Screen Gems picked the movie up for distribution halfway through pre-production.
A lot of the onscreen graphics provided by the London effects house AMX had to be redone as they weren’t spelled correctly.
Gwyneth Paltrow was offered the role of Alice.
The crows that Alice sees at the beginning of the film are digitized.
When this film debuted, it had the largest opening weekend for a European-financed film.
Two full-scale Lickers (the ‘Creature’) were made. One was more detailed than the other and was capable of many movements (the jaw and lips could part open, the tongue could extend). The other was for wider shots where the whole body was seen.
The banner on the bus in the end of the movie shows several toys on the right, among them a teddy bear. The text on the left reads: “At Umbrella Medical, we try to make teddy a little softer”. Along the bottom, it reads: “Umbrella Medical – Sheltering Your Family”.
The German version is infamous amongst fans for its incredibly bad dubbing, with some even referring to it as a “Pornosynchro.”
On the cover Alice is using a G-36 C with grenade launcher from Heckler & Koch, but she never uses it in the film. She only uses a handgun.
San Francisco is the cityscape shown near the elevators in the Hive.
To help him achieve the underground look of the film, set designer Richard Bridgland visited nuclear bunkers in the UK and in Europe.
Producer Jeremy Bolt shaved his hair to play one of the zombies.
The Licker’s nickname on set was Clint.
The final fate of the Matt character is known to fans of the games.
The wedding picture of Alice and Spencer looks similar to the pictures from Resident Evil (1996) and Resident Evil 2 (1998) (with the subjects up close and spliced onto the background image, and always in black and white).
Reference to Resident Evil: Survivor (2000): Some one loses their memory and at the end it returns to them.
In the script the soldiers arrived at the mansion by helicopter . They would even have communication via radio with the chopper pilot before they entered the Hive. Although this subplot was dropped there are still hints of the chopper’s presence. In the scene where they are debating if they should take Matt along and Rain makes a rude retort to Matt , you can still hear the chopper flying if you pay attention. The subplot would’ve also been a reference to Brad Wickers from the original Resident Evil game.
In the commentary it’s mentioned that actor James Purefoy (Spence) used his own blue jeans instead of the costume prop.
Opened with a $17.7 million dollar opening weekend. The second weekend’s haul was down to $6.7 million and at the third weekend, it had nosedived down to $2.9 million. It fell out of the Top Ten after only 2 weeks, dropping from appearing at over 2500 screens down to just 67. Still, with a production budget of $33 million and a domestic gross of $40 million ($102 million worldwide), it is seen as a success.
Shot on some of the same German sets as Enemy at the Gates (2001).
Reference to Resident Evil Code: Veronica X (2000): Matt runs into his sister that is now a zombie and has to watch her “die”. This is similar to Steve Burnside having to watch his zombie father die, but by his own hands.
The password into the Red Queen’s Chamber is “12177”.
All the visual effects were done by the Computer Film Company, an FX house based in London.
The film is included on the film critic Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.
This is the only Resident Evil movie to be released onto HD DVD, but after Blu-Ray became the official format for high definition movies, Resident Evil then switched from HD DVD to Blu-Ray.
The Red Queen’s presence is stated many times in the film mostly by dialogue or via the screen displays when the computer seals off the Hive in the beginning and when it identifies the soldiers who infiltrate the facility. The holographic representation however is visible in only one scene. For the rest of the scenes featuring the dialogue of the Artificial Intelligence, the voice comes from audio speakers without any visual appearance.
The Umbrella Corporation symbol looks remarkably like the symbol for the 8th Army, even the colors are the same, just rotated a little.
In the first draft of the script Kaplan was simply referred to as “Twelve”. His full name was Isiab Tagawa Mercurio.
Milla Jovovich reveled in a interview that she almost quit the film because she was unsatisfied with some significant script changes all revolving around Michelle Rodriguez’s character of Rain.
Jason Isaacs: The narrator at the opening of the film and the voice of the scientist who wants to re-open the hive.
Jeremy Bolt: The producer appears as a zombie several times throughout the movie.
Body Count: 88.
None of the main characters from the Resident Evil video games appear. However it is revealed that Matt is the Nemesis, whilst the games do not provide a back story for the character.
When Matt and Alice return to the mansion at the end of the movie the case Alice is carrying is just a box covered in foil. The actual case was locked inside a studio.
Although Rain dies, Michelle Rodriguez would return a decade later in Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) as clones of Rain Ocampo.
Another Alice Through the Looking Glass reference is the fact that when Alice wakes up in the bathroom she is lying next to a chess formed floor. This implies that Alice is right before the beginning of her journey in the Looking Glass land (like a pawn at the beginning of a chess game). In the final scenes Alice and Matt are on the hallway of the mansion’s entrance , which has the same chess formed floor with black and white squares . This means that their journey has ended.
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