Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is a new Resident Evil animated series that was released yesterday on Netflix. It’s a series, but it’s kind of short because it only has four episodes under thirty minutes with a total of about two hours. If you’re still hesitant to start it, here’s what I thought after listening for the first time, without the spoilers.
(Image credit: Netflix)
Visually, the series decides to choose a hyperrealistic look. For the most part, the graphics are very nice, giving an almost impression of being on the field with the characters. Sunsets, misty cities and other landscapes are impressively real and can deceive the eye at times.
But things get a little tricky when you look at the characters (which you usually do while listening to a series). The realism imposed on the characters gives a rather strange impression that can be defined as a “uncanny valley” (Strange Valley in French). This phenomenon occurs when an object or image looks very human-like without actually being one. Small details that our brain notices, but we can’t point a finger at, give the characters a strange look that sometimes shatters their realism.
Kinesiology or chain?
So the visual would have been less realistic so as not to fall into this valley of the stranger. I was surprised myself when I saw that the Japanese game series does not offer us a Japanese anime-style TV series, but rather an American animated series. An odd option that works for some scenes (especially those where we see landscapes) and not for others (close-ups of talking characters are sometimes a bit painful to watch).
The whole thing feels like listening to a very long movie scene from Resident Evil or a video where someone pieced together all the scenes in an RE. When a character opens a door or completes a scene, you can almost expect to be able to start controlling the character on the screen. A really strange feeling arose, I think, due to the great similarity between the animation style of the series and the footage of recent games.
Series or movie?
Since the review is spoiler-free, I won’t go into any details regarding the story. However, I think it may still be relevant before we start the series to see how to build it.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness claims to be a series, but it’s more than a movie divided into four small episodes. The story that started in episode one ends with the end of episode four. But the story could have easily been developed over more episodes, and some clips seem to be rushed and force the characters to become supernatural detectives who discover everything without having concrete proof. The story has to move quickly if we want to finish it and show it.
Despite this, the story of the soldiers in Banamastam (the one that you will begin to reveal once the first episode is released) is well thought out and develops slowly enough to be intriguing. This is my favorite side story in the series.
Leon and Claire
The character of Leon in the series is very similar to what he is in the games. I’m not talking about appearance here, but the small replicas that look a bit “awkward”, but remind us that the original is a video game. I’ve noticed at least three times this kind of strange aftershock. At one point, while being attacked by zombie rats, he replied: I wish I had cheese. Unfortunately, we can’t help but laugh at such a line when the tension is at its peak in the episode and the story is rather exciting.
Besides, Leon occupies a very important place in the series, but what about Claire Redfield?
The series also follows Claire’s story, but her role is smaller. It investigates and uncovers mysteries in parallel with Leon’s adventure, but the two stories are poorly connected in the end. They end up in the same place, but purely by chance and Claire’s investigation doesn’t help much with the end result. It allows us to learn more about the events of the past, but concretely Claire is useless. Sorry fans of Claire Redfield, but Leon is the real star of this series.
Ultimately, the series is still a Resident Evil product, so it’s fitting that the story is a little crazy, and at times speeded up. My review may sound like I didn’t like it, but I had a great time watching all four episodes again last night. Sure, the hyper-realistic graphics of the characters and the rushed ending in the last episode are the elements I didn’t like the most, but I’d still recommend listening to Resident Evil fans because the series keeps the core of its sound well. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a lot more faithful than Paul W.S. Anderson’s early 2000s action movies.