WonderCon 2012: Sony's 'Resident Evil: Retribution' & 'Looper' Panels and Presentations

Tuesday, 20 March 2012 13:03 Written by  Rocio Anica
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WonderCon 2012: Sony's 'Resident Evil: Retribution' & 'Looper' Panels and Presentations

Resident Evil: Retribution opened the Sony Panel at WonderCon 2012 in Anaheim this past weekend. “This time it’s global” boasted the film’s promotional push; it’s on the Resident Evil trailer and posters, and certainly evokes the sense that, though this is the fifth of the Resident Evil variations, there is more to witness.

Before Sony had Paul W.S. Anderson (The Three Musketeers) and Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) step onstage, the panel’s host rolled the first of the program’s footage: a 3D version of the teaser, which has been available in less-dynamic form on the Internet for a couple of weeks. But 3D is always better than the Internet, and in short order, the trailer moved from shots of tech-savvy youths speaking brightly into the camera over the clinquant opening of The Who’s "Baba O’Riley"… before a baritone narrator asks us to imagine the world of tomorrow. Faced with a decaying earth, a somber, defiant Alice, wielding weapons, says, “This is my world.” Drones fly overhead, explosions from helicopters send people in lab coats flying through the air, and zombies chase Alice as blood spews from their mouths. Somewhere in between all that is a shot of Milla, in softer clothes and hair, looking around fearfully at a barrage of police, as she pulls a small girl close to her; a hint of life right before Umbrella Corp majorly screws the planet, perhaps.

Afterwards, Anderson came on stage and spoke a little bit about the franchise’s expansion. “We wanted to take this thing global… it’s really exciting to have been doing the franchise for so long.” For this particular feature, they trekked all over the globe, from Tokyo, New York, London, Moscow, Washington D.C., and “the wastelands of Northern Russia”. Some of these places, Anderson says, were put on lockdown. “Completely abandoned, devastated in a way you’ve never seen before… It’s really an epic movie.”

Then Milla Jovovich came out to talk a little bit about shooting the fifth installment. “There was this innocence in the first movie, that even though she changes a lot, there’s still this innocence in the last movie, except she’s much more used to what she has to do. I think that juxtaposition of this hard chick with a gun but she’s still completely horrified and can’t get used to this world, and that reaction is important... No matter how many times you see a zombie, you’re still going to be, like, ugh! This is insane.” Jovovich prided the installments for having a continuity while still maintaining growth. “That’s what’s exciting about making these movies, to see how much farther we can take it, character-wise, story-wise, visual-effects, action. I mean, it’s all just getting bigger and bigger.” About the clips Anderson has shown her so far, she says, “It’s crazy. It’s beautiful.”

Jovovich then introduced the following footage, which was an actual clip from the movie. “I’ve never been to a Con, and I’ve been to quite a few Cons, this is the first time we’ve actually shown a clip from a film. We usually show trailers.” Jovovich then sang a little song to show how excited she is about this.

The succeeding clip was of Alice, in tight black boots and leather bustier, being chased down a luminous corridor by lots of undead. She uses a long metal chain as a whip to draw undead blood, and maneuvers two or three backflips, to elegantly hit some of them with her boot in the face. All of which made quite a vision in such a white space with steel lines that evokes a clinical heartlessness of a corporation like Umbrella Corp.

After the clip, the duo took audience questions. One of the more interesting things that were said was about how 3D has changed combat scenes. “It’s horrible!” said Jovovich, because she is a nice person. “When we started this franchise ten years ago, as an actor you were training to miss, so that you wouldn’t hurt some people and you were safe. But now in 3D you have to get closer and closer and closer until everybody just gets beat up because to sell it you must. You see the space between a fist and a person’s face. So that was the hardest part, was actually making contact and hitting them!”

Some things about Resident Evil: Retribution are that Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar) reanimates the character of Rain Ocampo, having been in only the first one back in 2002. Michelle Rodriguez is a HUGE Call of Duty gamer. The beginning of Resident Evil: Retribution is also a direct continuation of Resident Evil: Afterlife (the last one, released in 2010), literally lifting off from where it ended, and then encompassing a wider scope of storyline. More significantly, Resident Evil: Retribution will also be the first time a female action-hero will have five films in a franchise.

Go milestones! Go Milla!

Looper was the next movie to be presented by Sony. This movie is special because it brings Brick director, Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom), and Brick star Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception) back together for another feature that yields hit-men, time travel and Bruce Willis at once. Looper also stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis (Die Hard), Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada), Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine), and Piper Perabo (TV's Covert Affairs). This movie is gradually, steadily becoming one of the most anticipated movies of the year, and it was a real pleasure to hear Rian Johnson discuss how the movie came about.

“It’s a time travel movie, and I’ve actually been working on it for a long, long time.” Johnson had first mentioned the idea to Gordon-Levitt while actually filming Brick together back in 2005. About any commonalities between Brick and Looper Johnson says that only they’re both genre movies.

Next, the program proceeded to show the Looper trailer for the first time ever. The trailer was pleasingly lengthy, spanning two and a half minutes. It opens with Gordon-Levitt’s character, Joe, saying “Time travel has not yet been invented. Thirty years from now, it will have been.” This voiceover over shots of Joe, looking sleek and composed as he casually throws his weapons in makeshift boxes, hand-scribbled and designated “Loopers Only”. Joe goes on to say that he is one of the many specialized assassins in our present, called Loopers, whose targets are zapped back to them from the future, for quick, easy elimination. Loopers get paid really well. Loopers get the best ladies around to drive with them in the best cars. The only rule, Joe says: “Never let your target escape.”

But what if you get yourself zapped back to yourself? What if you choke and your self runs away from yourself?! When this happens to Looper Joe, who is awaiting his target in a cornfield, aiming his gun at the place where his target is to arrive, he immediately recognizes himself in Bruce Willis who is badass and instinctual enough to book it the second Joe hesitates. Lots of screaming and action takes place here in the trailer, as Joe must deal with the moral implications of what his job requires him to do. Joe’s assassin heart and Joe’s Darwinian instincts are at odds, and are also occurring at the same time elsewhere on the same physical plane in space, in Joe!

Who’s going to live? Joe or Joe?!

When the trailer ended, we were all kind of dazed and sad that we have to wait until Fall (Sept. 28, exactly) to see this movie.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stepped out after that. The first question was about working with Bruce Willis, to which he exclaimed, “He’s Bruce Fucking Willis, what else you gonna say!” He admitted that, in preparing for this role and preparing to be like Bruce Willis, the one Bruce Willis movie he was fixated on the most was Sin City. “I wanted something current. He’s done so many movies over the years… But I wanted to match what he is now.”

Johnson then spoke a little bit about working with Gordon-Levitt, saying he was dying for the chance to work with him again, and wrote Looper with the actor in mind.

“That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me,” Gordon-Levitt said. “That was a real honor.”

Shooting Looper took the crew to New Orleans and China, and Johnson says that the entire shoot was really different than shooting Brick. “It felt like I knew what I was doing, a little bit more.”

Gordon-Levitt, “We just knew each other better… Just, a vibe on the set. A lot of fun…. And I think you’ll see that.”

Resident Evil: Retribution begins infecting audiences on September, 14th. 

Looper time-travels into theaters on September,  28th.

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