This film will be released on Blu-Ray on December 27. Degeneration is a fully CG film in the vein of the Final Fantasy:Advent Children. Taking place 7 years after the events of RE2, it is set in the ingame year of 2005, shortly after Resident Evil 4's events. Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield have both gone through many more traumatic events, Leon having just returned from Spain and the events of Resident Evil 4.
Anyway, after the events of Code Veronica, Claire joined a group called Terrasave, which deals with the victims of biological outbreaks. She arrives at Harvardville Airport to meet a friend. This same friend is a victim of an atrocity in India supposedly involving a new pharmaceutical company called WilPharma, the same WilPharma who is also building a new state of the art research facility in Harvardville (this city is somewhere in the United States, much like Raccoon City was)
Anyway, US Senator Ron Davis, who is a strong vocal proponent of WilPharma, is also present at the airport to meet the company's representatives and try to avoid the protestors. The inciting incident with the zombies in shot in a clever way involving masks, you'll have to see for yourself...
The rest of the movie concerns efforts to contain the developing situation as Leon S. Kennedy is called in to assist, due to his well known experience with these types of situations. Claire also uses her familiarity to protect a young girl related to the friend she was to meet at the airport. Resident Evil Degeneration also uses its strong visuals as a way to reference the video game series, clearly designed for the fans. The way in which he meets Claire is a great visual homage to Resident Evil 2. If one goes from watching the original scene from the game to its recreation in high def visuals, you might do a double take. I had to rewind it, it was so cool!
There is also a great audio reference to Resident Evil 4 when Leon elbows someone in the stomach, sounds like it hurts. The movie's score is pretty unobtrusive, which Resident Evil scores have been like since Resident Evil 4. The previous games' scores used to have low emotional cues, high action cues, some Ramboish pieces for action scenes, a little bit of everything. The score for Resident Evil Degeneration isn't quite ambient, but it sure sounds like it in its effectiveness.
Bonus Materials are the standard lot, but still some good stuff, especially for the upcoming Resident Evil 5 game. We have:
1. Generation of Degeneration (30 Minutes) - A Making of, unique in that it is all in Japanese, hmm, makes sense. As with many things Japanese, the filmmakers seem to have an uncanny ability to transform the mundane into the interesting. Even in describing the standard making of aspects such as inception, filming, casting et cetera, they are able to keep me involved. Perhaps this is the gamer side of me that is so mysteriously interested in such routine information.
2. Voice Bloopers (9:06) This is a reel of the voice actors deliberately misreading their lines for comedic effect. I've seen quite a few of these reels, and this is the only one that was genuinely funny, even hilarious at times! This is worth checking, especially for the game fans, due to many jokes working best if you know the characters. A lot of blooper reels simply use pop culture references and you are supposed to laugh on cue. Many of the VA are friends in real life, (they have to stick together for support, as no one else will give it to them) so playfulness with the lines feels very natural.
3. Faux Leon Interview (4:47) - This is obviously not an interview with a CG Leon or Paul Mercier, his VA. It is rather an interview with his unnamed motion capture actor, think Andy Serkis as Gollum or Doug Jones as Pan if you need a visual hint. This is not meant to be a serious interview in any way, thus making it a lot of fun. My favorite comment: "I traveled to Japan, nice country, I went to Shiatsu, where they have massages." Heh...
4. Resident Evil Degeneration Trailers (4 Minutes) Standard Teaser and Tokyo Game Show Trailer. This film did receive a limited run in Japanese theaters, so it is appropriate. The other two trailers are from Comic Con and are more used to RE fans, with 3 pieces of music from Resident Evil 2. A nice reference.
5. Resident Evil 5 Special Footage (4 Minutes) There is the 3 Minutes of footage from The Tokyo Game Show earlier this year of 2008, including the first reveal of Wesker. The Blu-Ray packaging makes mention of exclusive footage, which this kind of is, as it "may" be in high definition. If you are an assiduous gamer, you should expect new to mean something rather different, as I initially did. The other 50 seconds depicted the footage of the Jujun man with the loudspeaker ordering the Axeman in Black to chop a white man's head off. This was defined as a special trailer, but I have seen it online before.
6. Character Profiles for Leon S. Kennedy, Claire Redfield, Angela Miller, Curtis Miller, Senator Ron Davis and others - This is very basic information, almost all of it can discovered from watching the movie also, so as a supplement, it fails to serve a true purpose. This should have been the section where they described the entire history of Leon and Claire and others, including all the events of RE2, RE4 and other minutiae. A Wasted Opportunity.
7. Trivia Track (The Whole Movie) This is much in the vein of other info tracks, except there is fewer bits of information, and some of it is quite mundane, like pointing out the fate of humans we meet for 5 seconds. There are some highlights, like 18:36, in which the Leon was originally supposed to flip Greg over his shoulder to halt his advance. This was determined by the director to be too showy. Guess Leon is more reserved these days.
The Following is A List of Resident Evil References in Degeneration (If anyone can think of more, please feel free to email us about them. It is we, the fastidious fans, that Capcom knows will appreciate this stuff!
1. Claire Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy are the main characters, both voiced by their game voice actors.
2. The destruction of Raccoon City is depicted in the opening scene, with RE3's established date of Oct 1, 1998.
3. The dissolution of Umbrella mentioned in Resident Evil 4 and covered by a scenario in Resident Evil:Umbrella Chronicles is mentioned as occurring around 2003.
4. When Claire leaves the dark room that the airport survivors are hiding in, she grabs a red and white umbrella to use as a weapon, i.e the Umbrella Corporation.
5. Moments later, she meets Leon once again, in a recreation of their first meeting in Resident Evil 2. Though Leon aims more like a professional, given his advanced combat training.
6. Leon recalls the events of RE2 to Angela and a redone cutscene plays from RE2 with Leon and Claire in their in-game outfits.
7. Frederick Downing reveals to Claire that WilPharma has samples of the G Virus - a major plot point of several RE games, with Resident Evil 2 at the forefront.
8. G-Curtis 1st form is basically the same as William Birkin, right down to the huge eye on the arm. The 2nd form is quite similar as well.
9. After the floor falls, leaving Angela hanging from Leon's arms, Curtis' appendage tries to drag her down. This is much like Osmund Saddler in RE4, his appendage is revealed to be from beneath his robe, whereas Curtis' is his tail. Because we don't see Curtis at first in this scene, the intent of the creators seems to be a homage to Saddler's "tail" in Resident Evil 4.
10. We see Frederick talking to the virus buyer shortly before Leon, Claire, and Angela arrive. It was more than likely to be Wesker, Ada, or Tricell.
11. Angela and Leon are said to have a "romance" kindling. I disagree because he gives Angela a casual blow off at the end. I think Leon is still enamored with Ada Wong despite the fact that she left him on the island at the end of RE4 with a bomb set off to explode shortly thereafter. Yet Leon seems to shrug off Ada's umpteenth betrayal of him. Love makes us do crazy things. Like turn down a free offer from the President's pneumatic 21-year-old daughter...
12. Lastly, we see men in HAZMAT suits collecting the remains of G-Curtis. We see their logo, Tricell. Between their purchasing of WilPharma and their suspected large role in Resident Evil 5, we seem to have a rather powerful company. Anyone think that they somehow have their own army like Umbrella did?