Monday, January 14, 2013

Resident Evil Retribution & Loss Of Identity

Granted, Milla Jovovich isn't Meryl Streep.
But then again, Meryl Streep isn't Milla Jovovich.
Resident Evil: Retribution managed to get into Redbox before I got my review of it up, so this is just a quickie, but if you like action films, this is full-tilt, pro-American, pro-capitalism, pro-World War II production great for just kicking back and enjoying a movie night. There are two scenes, in particular, I would like to take time to draw your attention to after the discussion of the little girl in the film, Becky.
What is the part of "retribution" in the film? Some fans of the franchise might say it was Alice getting her powers back from Umbrella to defeat the socialist take-over, but I think it has a far more sinister angle than that. Trust me, the film is literally crawling with socialist zombies! (which is important because of Brad Pitt's upcoming zombie-invasion film World War Z) and the film--which largely takes place in abandoned Soviet submarine graveyard--never lets you forget who the enemy was and still is. The retribution of the film is probably coming from socialists themselves (the "Red Queen" in the film) for defeating socialism in both World War II and at the fall of the Soviet Union, and the newest invasions into the US is "retribution" for the previous two times we defeated socialism; don't think this is too strange because this is what Boris the Animal is all about in Men In Black III.
In the trailer above, there is a little girl that is supposedly Alice's (Jovovich) daughter; it doesn't come across in the trailer, but Becky is deaf. After the family is attacked by zombies, Alice puts Becky in a closet and to keep her safe then the simulation they were in ends; Alice, like the audience, assumes that Becky died because she is only a mindless robot but when Alice unexpectedly returns she finds Becky has been waiting for her; further, Alice still knows the sign language necessary to communicate with Becky suggesting Becky is not a mindless robot after all; so who is Becky?
The film does not open with this, rather, with a surprisingly sophisticated reversal of the events of a ship blowing up; why? The ship is the "ship of state" and Alice being knocked of of it demonstrates the "loss of control" on the ship of state, i.e., the government (this is obvious towards the end of the film when Alice walks into the White House). Why do they show it in reverse order though? Because it's as if World War II and the fall of the Soviet Union never happened.  In the image we see above, the devastation of the neighborhood should remind us of the images of destruction in Project X while Rain's (Michelle Rodriguez) need to sacrifice herself with the virus injection reminds us of the government control in The Bourne Legacy (please see All Points Of Convergence: The Bourne Legacy & Programmable Behavior for more). Far from being just an action flick, Resident Evil--while not letting bad business off the hook, which it should not do--is squarely against the spread of socialism.
Because little Becky is deaf, and Alice has to make a decision about whether or not Becky is "real," I would like to suggest that--as usual--the young child symbolizes the "future." Because the world will be left to Becky and her generation, it's easy to see how she would symbolize that causing the film to question her very identity (is there a future and one worth fighting for?). Becky's communication skills are impaired because the future cannot communicate with us except through signs (the sign language), specifically, the way things are going and the resulting consequences it will have on the future. This act of free will validates Alice's identity because she validates her free will and that she has a direct influence on the future (Becky) and the future belongs to her,  important doctrinal disagreements with socialism, which brings us to our next point.
These Soviet and Nazi zombie-soldiers are everywhere in the film; why? That's exactly what Alice would become if she didn't make her own choices. The zombies are a graphic reminder of the atrocities committed by the socialist governments against its own citizens and the world in the very name of its citizens and Resident Evil isn't afraid to remind us of that. The scene discussed below, about Alice seeing the factory producing endless multiple robot images of herself, was also used in Cloud Atlas (which came out after RE) and this intersection demonstrates how this debate really is taking place and both sides are scrambling in finding unique images with which to make their arguments even as they use nearly identical terms for their arguments. One of the reasons why The Hunger Games has confused so many people is because of how Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) dresses when she is at home in District 12. The colors and depressing scenery is exactly what Americans think of in socialist regimes not allowing their citizens anything (because the government keeps everything for the government) and we clearly see how citizens lived in The Chernobyl Diaries which Resident Evil echoes on many levels. RE makes it clear, however, that our individuality comes from the expression and exercise of our own free will and socialism absolutely prohibits that because it doesn't want individuals.
 In validating her free will, Alice demonstrates the most important attribute of individuality: choice. Alice isn't being told what to do and Becky isn't being forced on her (Alice thinks she is probably a robot) so Alice does what Alice wants to do which isn't what is permitted in socialism, the sate denies your fee will and your right to choose, hence, the state denies your individuality, i.e., you are a zombie, just like all the zombies in the film (and the one pictured above dressed in communist Soviet soldier gear so we don't miss the point). The most startling image the film presents us, however, is after Alice has risked her life to save Becky from the "Brain Monster" (discussed below) they enter a factory where Alice sees rows and rows of manufactured "Alices" being produced; why? That's how a socialist state sees people, commodities, (please recall the millions and millions of Russian citizens killed by the Soviet state) but Alice has avoided becoming one of those zombies because she saved Becky (the future) from the "Brain Monster" which leads us to our next point.
If this were the only point for making the film, I would still be pleased with it. The reading of the monster in these terms is verified by the Red Queen being a hologram, nothing real except a projection of an artificially intelligent computer. How does Alice come to the decision that Becky is real? If Becky had been generated, like the Red Queen herself, Becky would have been created perfect, without flaw; her deafness signifies that she's a real person because she's not perfect, no one is, but a socialist state tries to get everyone to be perfect (think of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany). This exact same issue came up in The Collector with Elena: because she wears a hearing aid, she was accused of "not being strong enough to survive," even though that is exactly what she did (Elena being wealthy symbolizes the future of the upper-class in America).
 The monster with the exposed brain (pictured above) and the exceedingly long tongue (pictured below) can symbolize only one thing: socialism taking over in America. Because of Obama's rhetoric (the monster's tongue) promoting the "brain child" of socialist programs from Karl Marx, the future of America has been jeopardized. What is the connection between the exposed brain and Karl Marx? Socialism didn't exist until Marx invented it so the economic model is his "brain child," existing only in his works and the failures in history, unlike capitalism which developed naturally so more and more people could accumulate monetary wealth. Alice deciding Becky (the future) is real, and she is responsible for saving it from the monster that has kidnapped her protects Alice from becoming a mindless zombie because Alice realizes what and how much she is capable of doing in shaping the future.
One more point: water.
When Resident Evil opens, Alice goes under water, which we have seen in The House At the End of the Street and The Bourne Legacy (both films opening with those images) and the ship under water ("the ship of state") opening Les Miserables, and when Resident Evil ends, Rain (Michelle Rodriguez) goes under water, held down by an army of zombies (an image we have all ready seen in the World War Z trailer) because the American economy has gone "under water" and hasn't been able to get out. In Rain being held down by her own army of zombies that don't know her, Resident Evil seems to predict the "retribution" of socialism in America being brought down by the forces it unleashed.
After she has been captured, Alice is tormented with loud shrieking sounds to interrupt her thought processes like a nightmare from 1984. While Alice is not happy about bad business decisions that have been made, she realizes the Red Queen is going to take over everything for herself and the only way to stop her is to fight.
Okay, and one more last point: Godzilla.
Well, not exactly Godzilla by name, but close enough. When Alice wakes up and escapes (from picture above) she enters into a Tokyo simulator wherein everyone is a zombie. Why? We have discussed this before, The Cold Light Of Day and The Amazing Spider Man, originating in our discussion on Jaws and Godzilla: if America had not protected Japan from the spread of communism after World War II, Japan would have fallen to communism because there would have not been anything to stop it taking over, and Alice walking into a zombie-fied Tokyo (she also goes to Moscow and Berlin, where socialism reigned) is a wake-up call for Americans of why the sacrifices were made to stop the spread of socialism throughout the world during the Cold War, so Resident Evil: Retribution is the opposite of The Hunger Games (please see Jaws & the Cleansing Of America for more). This is the reason why, in the trailer above at 0:34 Alice hits the zombie with a baseball bat, because competitive sports (there is no competition in part socialism) brings out the best in us which is part of our individuality (The Hunger Games was a refutation of Moneyball; please see The Hunger Games: Hitler & America's Anti-Socialism for more).
Alice in Tokyo. The zombies typify a person who is unable to think for themselves and has no freedom to interact with the world around them. A further dimension of this, explored by the film and sure to come up this summer in GI Joe Retaliation, is that of duplicity. Rain (Rodriguez) has a good side and a bad side, as does all Alice's former colleagues, (they have been turned to the Red Queen) and we see deliberately how one set of decisions Rain makes makes her a good person--helping Becky and Alice--whereas the other set of decisions--serving the Red Queen--makes her a bad person who will suffer the same fate as what she serves.
While the acting does leave quite a bit to be desired, I could easily write a significantly longer explication of the film and all the symbols and references being made, but there isn't time. It's full of action and would make a great movie-night rental as well as giving you the chance to see some of the important images the film contributes in 2012's debate between socialism and capitalism.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
When the film opened, we saw Alice fighting on the "ship of state" and when the film closes we see her fighting at the ship of state, the White House (pictured above). When Alice walks in, there is a bold shot of the Seal of the United States and the motto, "E pluribus unum," which stands for, "The one is made up of all things, and all things issue from the one." Alice's willingness to fight to save the human race is literally a fight to save humanity from socialism because of how it corrodes the individual and corrupts society.