I’m a horror kind of guy. So, you just know that I was looking forward to the new Netflix series (miniseries?) Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness. As a huge fan of the video games (and not a huge fan of the previous live-action movies), I was super pumped when I saw the first trailer for Infinite Darkness since I always felt that Resident Evil should just remain animated.
And now that I saw all four episodes, I can say that I liked it. For the most part, anyway. Because unlike the recent Godzilla: Singular Point, which I was much more lukewarm over, I think that Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness did a lot more good than bad. Would I call it one of the best video game movies ever (Altogether, it really is just a segmented version of a movie)? Probably not. But what I saw, I enjoyed enough. So, here are 3 things I liked, and 2 things I thought could have been better for the new Netflix animated series.
Oh, and spoilers up ahead.
Liked: It Definitely Felt Like The Resident Evil Video Game Series
The first thing I thought from the very beginning when I saw this show was that it felt like Resident Evil. Part of it is the visuals, as a lot of it looks like cutscenes from the game (I’ll get to that later), but another part is just the plot and, might I say, ridiculousness of the overall story, as that feels like Resident Evil, too. The story concerns series mainstays Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, both from Resident Evil 2. And like Resident Evil 2, their stories (or campaigns) are separated.
Leon’s story concerns political intrigue, as zombies have invaded the White House. I’m serious. And Claire’s story involves trying to uncover the mystery of a child’s drawing. Granted, Claire doesn’t really have much to do in this story, but it also involves bio-weaponry and a giant, hulking genetically mutated monster at the end reminiscent of a Hunter mixed with Tyrant, so yeah, definitely Resident Evil. Nobody’s going to mistake this for Stranger Things or Silent Hill. No, sirree.
Didn’t Like: It May Have Felt A Little TOO Much Like The Resident Evil Video Game Series
Okay, so there were honestly some parts in this series where Leon would turn the corner with his gun, or Claire would open a door, and I genuinely grabbed for my controller since I watch Netflix using my Playstation. It really, truly felt like a cutscene was ending and the actual gameplay was beginning. Now, I get that these shots are supposed to remind fans of the series of the games themselves, but the film sometimes veered too much into feeling like an interactive movie, which it isn’t, by the way. There aren’t any scenes where you need to press X or R3, but it certainly does feel like you’re going to have to at times.
And I kind of view that as a problem, since in a lot of ways, it feels too much like a video game. The action is big and bombastic, but it’s also pretty ridiculous. You know how some people will watch big budget action movies like Transformers and say that, “It’s like watching a video game”? Well, that’s what Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness feels like most of the time. And not in a good way. I mean, does anybody who says that something is like watching a video game ever mean it in a good way?
Liked: The Four Episodes Were Short And Sweet
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is four episodes long, around 28 minutes each, and it goes by quickly. That’s important, because some shows have a tendency of wearing out their welcome (Cough Godzilla: Singular Point! Cough). But this little series doesn’t really have that problem. Granted, some of it is kind of boring for its short runtime, and some of the action made my eyes glaze over since it didn’t really feel like much was at stake—even though the plot concerns possible war with China—but overall, it goes really fast. So, at least it’s not offensive to the viewer.
In fact, I really love how quickly this show moved. I’m a big fan of the Castlevania animated series on Netflix, but I find the writing and storytelling super rich and detailed for that show. I could watch a 20 episode season of that. But not so with Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness. It’s fine, but if it went on any longer, I probably would have gotten frustrated with its clumsy storytelling and one dimensional characters. So, four episodes was good. In and out, and you can watch the whole season in one relatively short sitting. No complaints there.
Didn’t Like: The Visuals Were Inconsistent
When the series first started and the characters were in the helicopter, I actually had to pause and get up to go closer to the screen, because I thought, “Wait, this is animated, right?” It seriously looked that good, and I honestly thought I was watching something live-action rather than animated. But I’ll tell you, there are some other scenes in here that legit look like they came right from a Playstation 3. This overall dip in quality when it comes to the animation is perplexing to me. Some of the characters, up close, looked photorealistic. While other shots were absolutely horrible.
This definitely took me out of the movie a few times. I would have preferred if it was just all kind of janky rather than sometimes great, and sometimes terrible. This inconsistency really ruined the experience for me, and I kind of hated that, since I would sometimes get into it, and then be like, “Whoa. What the hell happened here?” And that’s never a good experience. Consistency matters.
Liked: It’s Canon
Lastly, I love that Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is technically canon. I say technically since it definitely works on its own, and it doesn’t feel essential like, say, Better Call Saul does to Breaking Bad. But it does occur within the Resident Evil timeline, taking place between the fourth and the fifth game.
There are little Easter eggs dropped throughout, like people talking about Leon rescuing the President’s daughter, which happened in Resident Evil 4. We also hear about Tricell, which connects the series to Resident Evil 5. And there are a few references to what happened in Raccoon City, which connects the show back to the second game. So, this movie doesn’t feel like a complete waste of time since it does fit within the timeline, making it an essential watch for any true blue Resident Evil fan.