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Resident Evil is one of gamings biggest franchises. Certainly, its influence is felt in almost every horror game to come out post-2000 and it has earned that influence through high-quality horror experiences. Given how successful a franchise it is, it’s understandable that Capcom would want to attempt to carry that into a film and in the early 2000s they did, with Paul W.S. Anderson and Mila Jovovich and whilst it was certainly a financial success starting a series that lasted over 6 movies it is a series that is widely considered by the fanbase as failing to live up to fan expectations. Fortunately and possibly spurred on by the series recent success of its two remakes, along with the introduction of the 7th and 8th mainline entries into the franchise, there are several new cinematic adaptions of the series in the works, with a new movie titled Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon city, as well as a live-action Netflix series. Unfortunately, video game movies have a history of leaving fans unsatisfied, with the past Resident Evil films often being cited as part of that problem, although recent successes such as the Sonic movie or Detective Pikachu show that these properties can create very enjoyable cinematic experiences when handled with care.

New direction

2 weeks ago the first trailer dropped for the new feature film Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City, and with this, it’ll look to reboot the film franchise under the direction of Johannes Roberts with an aim to tell a more faithful adaption of the games. Roberts appears to be a lifelong fan of the franchise and we’ll hopefully get to see that passion shine through in this new film, in an interview with IGN he stated that “every character and creature is from the game.” He also stated that when putting the film together they would often go back to the games when designing elements for the film. Previously Roberts has directed the 47 Metres Down franchise and has a background firmly rooted in horror. He has described his inspiration as coming from the likes of John Carpenter and has talked at length about the details this adaptation is trying to nail such as using original blueprints of the Spencer Mansion and RPD (Raccoon Police Department) station in order to create screen accurate locations.

 

Source: Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Trailer #1 (2021) | Movieclips Trailers

 

This is certainly a departure from the previous cinematic adaptations of this universe that is often criticized for being too action-heavy or focusing too much on the films new character “Alice” that took away from fan favourite characters. Hopefully Roberts can use the common criticisms and mistakes of the previous entries to help craft a more faithful and well-received adaptation this time. The film is aiming to be a retelling of the events of Raccoon City by including the plots of both Resident Evil 1 and 2 in the same movie, by having Claire be the driving force behind the stars investigation into the Arklay mountains, and from there the film will be juggling these two plotlines

 

The trailer gives us a first look at some classic characters. Source: Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Trailer #1 (2021) | Movieclips Trailers

 

Fan response

Since the trailer’s release, the response online has been interesting, to say the least. It is certainly an incredibly mixed reaction with some fans having a very negative perception of this first trailer and the overall film

Some fans have also questioned how the film will handle these two-game’s plotlines by putting them into one film

Some have embraced the presentation of the film and have a very positive response to what the film is doing.

The discourse around the film is unfortunately very mixed possibly due to much of the film being kept under wraps until recently giving fans less time to process and get an idea of what to expect with the project. Currently looking at the trailers across YouTube it’s clear that a line has been drawn with fans who like the trailer and fans who don’t.

My thoughts

As a Resident Evil fan myself I have some thoughts on the trailer and the overall look of the film, my initial reaction to the trailer was overly negative primarily due to the incredibly bizarre choice of What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes for the trailer song, which goes against the horror tone they have claimed they want to establish. Additionally whilst some of the creature designs are fantastic (Lisa Trevor looks perfect) the overuse of frankly appalling CGI really takes me out of it. However, on rewatch, there is a lot to like in this trailer. The set design and locations are pretty much perfect and some of the casting is really great (Neal McDonough as Birkin is great) although Leon looks far too small and skinny for the character we know. I also love the effort to expand the lore within this one film by including things like The Ashford Twins of Code Veronica or how the character designs are borrowed more closely from the remake. Overall I’m cautiously optimistic for this film and only hope the best for it, regardless of its flaws it looks to be far more faithful of an adaption than anything before it.

 

The creature designs are good but the CG is undeniably poor Source: Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Trailer #1 (2021) | Movieclips Trailers

 

This film so far is looking to be a very contentious adaptation, despite my issues stated I’m personally looking forward to the film and hope that fans can finally see a true adaptation of the Resident Evil franchise.

I’m curious to hear what you all think, are you excited to see a faithful adaptation? Or do you have any concerns about how it may be executed, be sure to let us know!

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