connor’s review published on Letterboxd:
Oh my god this second viewing was even more necessary and cathartic than I ever would've expected. The simulacra transcends the original, a certified copy that goes far beyond its source. Alice therein functions as a parallel to the films themselves: an adaptation of a video game series that she was never a part of to begin with, a copy of a series that develops into so much more than that. It's then all the more fitting that with The Final Chapter, Anderson effectively breaks from the polished planes and colorful geometric frames of his two previous efforts, ditching the video game structure as well for a more hybridized form. Whereas in those films the action was overtly cinematic, all slo-mo grandeur and clean choreography, White's editing here serves to reduce the action to its component parts, a montage of movement and velocity that actually brings everything closer, tangible. The Final Chapter presents an evolution from Anderson's previous visual syntax--though that's not to say that I don't still appreciate the look of those films, because god knows I do--that mirrors Alice's own evolution into something more than just the means of her own creation; theme and form are just as perfectly complementary here as they were before, but the most important difference is this: Anderson is finally personalizing the narrative. Alice isn't just Alice, but Milla as well, a mother, a wife, a fully-formed person. And then the ending brings everything together in the most affecting way possible, with Milla and Paul's real-life home videos of their daughter serving as the memories finally given to this hero, a childhood lost but then regained through filmic intervention, a series reinvented after each iteration, ultimately becoming something entirely different and entirely more human than ever before.
I'm sure most of this makes very little sense and is far too rambly, and oh well, but all I want to really say is how thankful I am to Paul and Milla for giving us this incredible series of films, and how absolutely beautiful it is to end it this way. I certainly wouldn't have believed it if I was told only a few years ago that the final Resident Evil film would make me fully sob by the time it was over. And so it just goes to show that a few years ago, I was a fucking idiot and didn't know what I was talking about.
Every issue I might've had with this the first time I watched it has since faded away, as this is so much more interesting--both aesthetically and thematically--and so much more powerful than I initially thought it to be. It is the perfect sendoff to a wonderful collection of films.
Alice is the only superhero I will ever care about, and even though capitalism may never be actually defeated, she serves as a beacon of hope nonetheless
<3 to Milla and Paul and all the effort that went into these incredible works of art <3