A fucking incredible flick. I mean it. It kicked major, major ass. Sure, there were a few things changed, but they weren't blatantly changed to something else, merely glossed over enough to not have to go into lengthy explanations. As such, I bought into them; I didn't find myself thinking that it was wrong, merely that there was more detail that wasn't necessary, and that this worked fine. Only a couple times did I feel they did something dumb, and they were minor points. The characters were well played, and done with a good amount of feeling, for the most part. A couple felt a little flat, but they didn't detract from the others.
On the plus side...well, visually, it was spot on. Things looked they way they should look, felt they way they should feel. They weren't made into something more shocking for jaded American audiences, they were true. Anything that was updated was made to feel right. The transitions were excellent, and the CGI fit perfectly. The film also didn't go for the 'cheap shock.' No cats rummaging in garbage cans, no sudden falling beam to make a crash to scare the audience. The things that got to you were more subtle, more creepy. Not that there weren't moments of "Whoa, shit!", it's just that they were done right.
As far as being an adaptation of the games, I gave it many points. I was constantly thinking "hey, I know that place, I've seen that scene, I've been through this moment." In fact, I was mildly disappointed that a few other locations never made it into the film, simply because I'd figured out how it made sense in the movie's storyline for them to appear, and was looking forward to them (wasn't a bad thing that they didn't appear, just noting). A lot of the monsters from the game were not represented, but this made for a more believable film...you would have wondered what the fuck that THING was doing there, if they'd kept them in. Just enough of the serious creep factor baddies were sprinkled in to keep things interesting. And, of course, it bears mentioning that the music in the film was done by the same man who did it for the games, so it sounded the way it should sound...Hell, many of the tracks were lifted directly from the game.
In the end, I loved it, and yet, I see why it may not be remembered fondly by a lot of film-goers. As an action flick, there wasn't enough action. A fight and a couple chases (and that wonderful climactic sequence!), that's about it for action. As a horror flick, it wasn't gory or scary enough for the average viewer, who wants to be shocked and adrenalized, whereas this was more atmospheric, more creepy, in a way that you couldn't always put your finger on but you could always feel. Personally, I thought this made it much better, as it was more intelligent, more real...and, let's face it, most of the public doesn't want intelligence in their entertainment. If they did, "American Idol" and all "reality TV" would have died in the cradle.
So, there's my thoughts. I'll buy it, you can bet on that. Probably have it pre-ordered from the beginning. If there's a multi-disc collector's edition, yep, I'll own it.
That fucking RULED.