Resident Evil: Degeneration
recommendation: Tier 1.5
The Resident Evil franchise made the leap to a purely CGI-rendered movie in this Sony Pictures' Blu-ray. Released on December 27, 2008, the 96-minute main feature is encoded in AVC on a BD-50. The video encode averages 23.73 Mbps for the entire movie. As opposed to the more flashy and cartoonish CGI of say a Pixar movie, the animation here seeks a degree of realism to the picture. In terms of camera angles, character models and colors, it does not look far removed from a live-action film.
I felt compelled to place it in tier 1.5 mostly because of the close visual similarities with another digitally-animated BD, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
, currently ranked there. Degeneration
is probably a notch better looking, but any higher placement felt undeserving for it. Without that pressure, a placement in tier 1.75 would not have been objectionable to me. Final Fantasy
might need to get downgraded in placement at some future date.
Sourced directly from the digital files of the animators, the picture is pristine in appearance with an excellent level of clarity. Above-black detail is of reference caliber and the finest of any animated movie on the Blu-ray format. Black levels are perfect, displaying some of the best shadow delineation and textured micro-detail in the dimly lit scenes as any disc. The color palette though lacks the vibrancy and tonality of the CGI movies in tier zero. Primary colors are decent but shown much closer to the standard fidelity of live-action film. The image does not exude great depth and perspective. The overall presentation is a little flatter than is commonly seen in CGI titles. While the picture could not not be characterized as soft, it is not quite razor-sharp.
Detail is solid and definitely a grade above many of the simpler animated films. Character models are appropriately styled and move fluidly enough to make one forget they are watching animation at times. The animators really nailed down the look of authentic hair, displaying individual strands of hair out of place. Faces look fine except in the case of one character, the Senator. He is supposed to look like an older, overweight male. But he comes off looking like a man in a fat suit. His wrinkles look entirely unconvincing and creepy, like melting flesh. Backgrounds are nicely realistic, though a few longer shots exhibit some slight softness and lack of detail in the animation. One problem in the animation is the infrequent but noticeable occurrence of aliasing at times. It is not pervasive, though on occasion it can be distracting.
The compression overall is very competent but not flawless. Infrequent and relatively minor banding does disturb the image on occasion. Upping the bitrate parameters might have helped out with the banding, because some of it did not look endemic to the original animation. Other than that Sony has done a top-notch job in transferring the digital files to Blu-ray. There are no signs of post-processing like edge enhancement or filtering to remove detail.
BDInfo Scan (courtesy of Lazarus Dark):http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...7#post15670917