PictureResident Evil : Extinction comes to Blu ray in the UK in a 1080p transfer, presented in a theatrical correct 2.40:1 ratio. The transfer, like the film, is much better than the second instalment.
The first thing to note is that this is shot in a very stylised way. The director has gone for a “washed out” look to better invoke the desert environment. Whilst this is a technique that is not immediately going to show off hi def to it's greatest, eye popping intensity - it is going to present a challenge to the format.
And this is a challenge that Blu ray rises to easily. The image presented is naturally flat, with not much sense of depth, and the colours are necessarily muted - but the level of sharpness and detail that the transfer brings out of the image is superb. Detail on the Zombies desiccated flesh is fine, and make their faces far more shocking that in the second instalment.
The sharpness is also excellent with no haloing or blooming present. Artefacting is also non-existent. There is some grain present at points, but this is not excessive - and may even be deliberate as it seems to enhance the atmosphere.
SoundThe sound on this mix is presented in a Dolby TrueHD track which I listened to being processed by the player before being sent to the amp as a multi channel signal. And what an impressive mix this is.
In the second instalment, all five speakers were being constantly used and the effect was rather disorientating - so it is a pleasure to note that things are much more subtly mixed in this film.
All five speakers are used to great effect to create a scary atmosphere, and are home to some very eerie effects. The front sound stage is pleasingly expansive, and dialogue and music is always well balanced.
When needed, the sub packs a hell of a punch, underscoring the action with some floor-shaking action.
This is certainly another plus point for this disc.
ExtrasThank God that Jovovich has been dropped from the Filmmakers commentary leaving Mulcahy, Anderson and the producer Jeremy Bolt to carry proceedings. The result is a marginally interesting look at the making of the film, and its place within the “trilogy” (come on, are they really telling us there won't be any more?). Far less self congratulatory than the commentary on the second instalment this is a solid if unspectacular addition to the disc.
Sneak Peak at Resident Evil : Degeneration is actually just a very short teaser trailer that looks like a cut scene from one of the games. It tells us very little, which is obviously the point of a teaser trailer. We then get some deleted scenes which would have added very little to the film had they been included. Finally, we get a collection of ”Making of” featurettes that actually forego the back slapping in order to provide a coherent and interesting look at the making of the film and how it tries to do things differently.
As mentioned before, this is one of the first discs to be profile 1.1 compliant and this gives us Under the Umbrella a PiP commentary similar to what has previously been offered by Warners on their HD DVD discs. Now, it would definitely be fair to say that this feature offers very little in the way of extra analysis. Mainly because it tends to rely on Jovovich too much - but the vast majority of the material here is not duplicated with the rest of the extra features. It is a pleasure to report that this feature worked fine on my PS3 with the latest firmware and I experienced no problems.
Finally, we do have a Blu Wizard feature and it is as pointless as every other Blu wizard feature I have yet seen.
VerdictWhen I heard this was on its way I inwardly groaned - but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Mulcahy's vision of the Resident Evil world. Whilst this lacks scares or gore, within the constraints that is placed on him, Mulcahy has produced an entertaining movie that actually dares to do things differently. At the end of the day it is just a film about a half naked chick kicking zombie ass - but when it is done with just a little style and panache as it is here, then it does become an enjoyable popcorn movie.
The surprisingly good film is presented with an excellent transfer and sound mix that enhances the value even more. The extras are much better than previous instalments too, although are still a little on the insubstantial side.
For fans of the series this is an absolute no brainer, and even for those who have avoided the series, this is worth checking out for ninety minutes of brain numbing action. A surprising thumbs up from me.
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