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Beyond Raccoon City: Unearthing Resident Evil: Extinction is a making-of documentary for Resident Evil: Extinction. It appears as a featurette on DVD and Blu-ray copies of Resident Evil: Extinction, with the Blu-ray versions being in HD.
The film is made up of four chapters.
Resident Evil: Extinction was written to be a very different zombie film, recorded primarily outside and in the daytime to counter the usual trope of confined nighttime settings. Anderson wrote his films with great inspiration from George A. Romero and Lucio Fulci, lamenting that while in the 1970s and '80s there was always a new Zombie film out, there was no major zombie film for fifteen years before 2002's Resident Evil. The shift in trope was primarily to keep originality in a 21st-century market now flooded with new Zombie films.
Another inspiration for Extinction was the "Post-Apocalyptic" genre which Anderson grew up with, citing Mad Max and The Road Warrior as being the two more obvious examples. Having watched The Road Warrior with Milla Jovovich's teenage brother, Anderson chose to make Extinction in that style to reintroduce teenagers to that genre.
Russell Mulcahy, the director of the film, was a fan of the first two films and was excited to be part of the third. When first meeting with Producer Robert Kulzer to review the script he had been given, Mulcahy impressed him by showing a book full of storyboards he had completed. The actual decision to shift from a nighttime to a daytime setting was decided by Russel, who wanted to convince Producer Jeremy Bolt he could make it scary.
The Big Bang/Shooting Resident Evil: Extinction
The outside conditions were extremely hot, with constant complaints from the actors; Mike Epps jokes about having cooked bacon recently. Anderson didn't like the conditions either, but they had to shoot at that point to reach the release date; director Mulcahy made sure to finish scene as quickly as possible. He defends the setting because it shows just how a post-apocalyptic situation would look. The actors and Jeremy Bolt talk about how well they worked together, offering bottles of water to each other rather than drinking their own.
A few outside sets were built in Mexico, with CGI being used to make it look bigger. The inside sets were recorded in Mexico City. The laboratory sets were designed with concrete to give it a bunker look, but with shiny surfaces and glass added to give it a soulless feel.
The vehicles in Claire Redfield's convoy were customised significantly to show just how important they are to the characters. Anderson confirms that the flamethrower on one of the vehicles was real.
For storyboard changes, Anderson insisted on more overhead shots to mimic the style of pre-rendered backgrounds in the early games.
In Milla Jovovich's interview, she confirms she performed a lot of Alice's stunts, which meant she had to go through a training regimen for kicks. According to her stunt coordinator, she learnt fast. She liked her experience in the filming, describing it as a series of unexpected events. The director is said to have gone to hospital at one point for dehydration.
The actor for Chase was bored during much of the filming due to having to climb up the same scaffolding some thirty times for filming.
Bigger, Faster, Stronger/The Undead Evolve
According to special make-up artist Bruce Spaulding Fuller, the two kinds of Undead in the film were referred to as "Desert Undead" and "Super Undead" during production. The "Desert Undead" were given a very dark, rotten look to capture how they have been Undead for years.
A problem for the make-up department was that some scenes like the Umbrella facility exterior were recorded as outside sets in the desert. The department found it difficult to mass-apply and maintain the make-up of 100-300 Undead extras in hot temperatures. The "appliances" such as rotten teeth would take two to three and a half to apply.
Only some Undead have prostheses that let the extra open their mouth. The "State Trooper Zombie", the Undead which attacks L.J. at the motel, was designed in this way in order to film the bite scene. Fuller prefers such prostheses because more can be done to characterise them, such as by adding beards, which can't be done with the ordinary prostheses. Fuller adds that he wanted to add more variety with a "Showgirl Zombie", but it was rejected.
Anderson is interviewed about the "Super Undead". Previous depictions of the Undead were intended to be true to the standard Zombies shown in the game franchise. With the arrival of the Ganado in Resident Evil 4 changing from the traditional enemy styles of the franchise, Anderson feels a greater variety in the Undead can also be justified.
Vegas Visual Effects/Miniatures
A number of miniatures were used in the filming of the film. The Las Vegas Strip was recreated as a model city for shots taken at a distance. The tanker truck was also a miniature, with recording showing the miniature crash and explode.