by Camela Thompson
My podcast co-host, Z.D. Gladstone, had a brilliant idea: Ask our listeners whether they preferred the Resident Evil movies or video games (we're recording the episode soon and there's still time to contribute). I cringed when she read off her call to action. It wasn't because I thought we'd have a hard time sorting through the responses. It wasn't because I thought we'd have a close argument. It was because I anticipated shouty, all caps rants.
Nailed it. Pro Tip: I can tell how rational a fellow geek's argument will be by how loud the yelling gets. The more passionate and spittle fueled the rage, the fewer facts and science.
As expected, I've heard and read the following variations:
I haven't heard much of an argument from those who prefer the movies. Personally, I didn't have a problem with the movies, but I hadn't played the video games when I watched them. I know, I know. You may now revoke my geek card. We'll just ignore that I grew up in the 80s heyday of linear game playing and loved it. I'll burn my Star Wars fan fiction and pretend I don't know things.
Now that we've gotten that dirty piece of business out of the way, I can tell you I was glad I hadn't played the games first. It allowed me to view the two things as separate and unrelated. I realize that I can't tell people who did play the video games first to pretend they hadn't happened or to take the two things as separate products. The problem is: They bear the same name. If they had been branded separately with no attempt at crossover, there would have been less rage.
The other reason I understand why I can't ask people to separate the two? The book vs. movie phenomenon. I've lived it. So much disappointment.
Those of us who cherish something built up in our minds have a really hard time coping with different interpretations (and heaven forbid they diverge from the original plot). When someone gets stabby about Resident Evil, I take a deep breath and remember how I feel about The Shining. Taken as a separate thing, the movie is a classic. Compared to the book, it's a heap of trash. Jack Torrance's character arc flat-lined before his first appearance on the big screen. The thing I loved about the book was absent.
Here's what has been missing from the arguments I've heard about the Resident Evil debate: WHY. Was it the plot line? The directing? The acting? The story? The casting? If you do not like the movies, I would love to hear why. I would also love to hear from those of you who appreciated both or even preferred the movie. If you're in that last group, I would suggest emailing me or posting anonymously to avoid caps lock tirades in your direction. You have been warned...
Freelance writer and Dark urban fantasy author featuring vampires with bite.