Like the undead hordes who populate it, the Resident Evil franchise refuses to die, no matter how many critical barbs are thrown its way.
Its fourth instalment, Afterlife, finds Paul WS Anderson back behind the camera for more of the same, with alice (Milla Jovovich – Anderson’s wife) reuniting with an old friend, fighting mutated zombies and looking for the safe haven known as Arcadia.
But this time around, Anderson has brought a major new trick to the party – 3D! And we’re not talking about a lazy, post-production
2D-to-3D conversion either.
This is the real deal, shot using the same Pace Fusion 3D camera rigs developed for Avatar.
Although image brightness takes a bit of a hit, the resulting hi-def visuals are rock-solid: sharp and detailed, with no trace of the ghosting that has affected some other 3D blu-ray releases.
Speaking on the commentary, Anderson agrees with James Cameron’s mantra of 3D being all about depth, and this stereoscopic Blu-ray delivers that in spades thanks to imaginative camera placement and set design.
Of course, as production designer Arv Grewel points out, “one of the things that has always been fun about 3D is that whole poking-your-eye thing.”
So, from ninja stars to blood, Anderson never misses an opportunity to toss something into your lap.
It works rather well, not only delivering a truly immersive sensation but also covering up some of the defects in the CG effects that become apparent when the film is watched in 2D (you can do that too) and aiding with the whole B-movie vibe.
The fight with the executioner, with water splashing all around you in slow-motion, is a highlight and shows just what the format is really capable of.
Also impressive is the way the disc manages to deliver this sort of quality experience while also packing in a hefty collection of bonus goodies.
Our only complaint here is that the window on the Picture-in-Picture track is a wee bit small, which doesn’t matter when it comes to interview material but makes looking at production art and behind-the-scenes footage a little tricky.
The film is only average but, as a showcase for the new 3D Blu-ray format, Afterlife is one of the best discs around.