The first official images for the upcoming Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City have been released, and they’re mostly as underwhelming as the movie’s title. Do bear in mind that this is not an indictment of the Resident Evil reboot’s potential (I’ve learned my lesson from Free Guy). Instead, this is a knock against the first three stock images released, which officially commences the movie’s conspicuously late marketing campaign. Take a look below.
The first image, which reveals Vancouver actor Avan Jogia as Leon S. Kennedy and Kaya Scodelario as Claire Redfield, two iconic characters in Resident Evil lore. However, the shot comes off as more of an awkward, poorly lit promo from pre-production, though Jogia and Scodelario certainly capture the essence of their respective characters with clothing and postures that are wholly recognisable to those familiar with the franchise. Love the actors, hate the shot.
The second picture, then, is oddly grainy at parts, which on the one hand is understandable given the dim lighting, but on the other this is a studio production that can surely deliver sharper stills than this, or at least one that doesn’t look like a pirated copy stuck on pause. Still, much like the first image, it’s great to see Hannah John-Kamen, Tom Hopper and Toronto’s Robbie Amell (who could be in for a career year) in character as Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker and Chris Redfield, respectively, and writer/director Johannes Roberts looks to have captured the unsettling atmosphere of the source material; something the previous adaptations sorely lacked.
The final image, despite lacking any of the core characters, is the best of the lot. Depicting Lisa Trevor (Marina Mazepa), a victim of the Umbrella Corporation’s human experimentation, the image features great lighting and framing, while the unsettling character design is so spot-on it could have been ripped directly from the video games. It’s just a shame the same attention to detail was not afforded to the other images.
While the quality of each image varies, the one consistent element is Roberts’ loyalty to the source material, conveying as much in a recent interview with IGN (who also released the images), where he described his approach as being “all about returning to the games and creating a movie that was much more a horror movie than the sort of sci-fi action of the previous films.” Reading his entire response makes it abundantly clear that Roberts has an intimate understanding of the source material, and his reverence for what makes a Resident Evil property tick is enough to get excited about, albeit cautiously so. The deliciously subtle shade thrown at Paul W. S. Anderson’s “sci-fi action” approach to his adaptations only boosts my confidence in Roberts’ handling of the reboot.
Still, we must wait until November 24th to see the final product, but with the marketing campaign finally underway, we won’t have to wait long for a trailer.