WonderCon 2012: RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION Panel Recap; Milla Jovovich and Writer/Director Paul W.S. Anderson Host a Preview and a Q&A

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Resident Evil Retribution slice

Today at WonderCon 2012, Sony Screen Gems presented footage from their big fall release, Resident Evil: Retribution. Good move on their part as there was a huge burst of crowd support when the panel was announced. The fifth film in the series by director Paul W. S. Anderson and star Milla Jovovich features Alice’s return to the fight against the Umbrella Corporation. Also returning are some fan-favorites from Resident Evils past. Anderson and Jovovich were on hand to screen the trailer and an action sequence from the film, which promises to be the biggest yet as Resident Evil goes global. You can get caught up on all of our previous coverage of Resident Evil: Retribution here.

Resident Evil: Retribution, also starring Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Oded Fehr, Boris Kodjoe, Johann Urb, Kevin Durand and Bingbing Li opens on September 14th. Hit the jump to see our coverage from the event.

milla-jovovich-resident-evil-imageI’ll be honest up front, I was a huge fan of the first Resident Evil film but the movie franchise quickly lost favor with me with the atrocious handling of the Nemesis character in the sequel, Resident Evil: Apocalypse. That being said, it’s still impressive what the filmmakers have been able to do with the property, making Jovovich the first female action hero to star in give installments of the same franchise and maintaining (even growing) a huge fan base over the years. But I digress.

Anderson was on hand first to introduce the film and his lovely wife, Jovovich. Per Anderson, Retribution is a direct continuation of Resident Evil: Afterlife, in which an epic battle was promised from aboard the ship, Arcadia. Soon after, the film goes in an unusual and unexpected direction as audiences are taken back in time to see the world before the T-virus outbreak and get to revisit some favorite characters. Anderson also stressed the global scale of the fifth film, as they shot in Tokyo, Moscow, New York, Washington, D.C. and even the Arctic Circle. With that introduction finished, Jovovich took the stage to great enthusiasm from the masses. Soon after she took the stage, the duo debuted an action sequence from the movie as follows.

Without context, the clip played out as a simple demonstration of Alice’s (Jovovich) zombie-killing skills. She was donned from head to toe in tight black leather with an Umbrella Corporation symbol clearly evident. It looked like a training sequence from a Resident Evil videogame, as Alice runs down a brightly lit hallway that is almost completely white, contrasting against her all-black outfit and the colorful attire of a hoard of individually attacking zombies. Armed with a chain whip, a handgun and her kick-ass boots, Alice takes out all comers in a variety of ways in order to highlight her martial arts skills and Anderson’s 3D shooting. The 3D gimmicks are obvious and are to be expected.

Resident-Evil-Retribution-posterAfter the clip, Anderson and Jovovich led into a panel discussion. Their comments follow below:

  • Anderson commented on the number of returning cast members (Rodriguez, Fehr, Guillory) and was especially happy to be bringing Rodriguez back. In hindsight, he regrets killing her off in the first film as he would have liked to keep her and her character around for the series.
  • Jovovich remarked on the difficulty in filming fighting scenes in 3D, as the margin for error is much smaller and the point of contact must be much closer or the believability will be lost.
  • Anderson talked about the symbiotic relationship between the Resident Evil video games and movies, saying they “feed off one another.” He also says that that this movie will set up a spectacular finale with “lots of blood and death.” When asked which video game franchise he’d like to direct next, Anderson joked “Donkey Kong,” with Jovovich throwing the barrels. Jovovich suggested Zelda and Halo, both of which got a good crowd response.
  • Jovovich commented on tearing up while watching a trailer that pieced together scenes from past films; she got caught up in the nostalgia of the moment, especially due to working with Rodriguez again.
  • Anderson believes that their crew is best at shooting a movie in 3D as they’ve done it for three movies now. Because of it, they’re able to concentrate on pushing the boundaries of 3D rather than getting caught up in the the difficulties of it. His director of photography built a custom rig to allow Anderson more freedom in 3D shooting. Anderson guarantees that Retribution will be above and beyond any other 3D film this summer.
  • Jovovich talked about the freedom of making the Resident Evil movies organically rather than on a studio’s forced schedule.
  • Anderson quipped that the most difficult part of the shoot was pulling Rodriguez away from her “Call of Duty” game.

As I said above, I’m a huge fan of the games but have more of a luke-warm attraction to the films. However, for fans of the rest of the series, Retribution is a must see.

Follow along with our continuing WonderCon coverage here.

Here’s the official synopsis for Resident Evil: Retribution:

The wildly successful film franchise adaptation that has grossed nearly $700 million worldwide to the popular video game series, “Resident Evil,” returns in its highly anticipated fifth installment, “Re5ident Evil: Retribution” in state-of-the art 3D.

The Umbrella Corporation’s deadly T-virus continues to ravage the Earth, transforming the global population into legions of the flesh eating Undead. The human race’s last and only hope, Alice (Milla Jovovich), awakens in the heart of Umbrella’s most clandestine operations facility and unveils more of her mysterious past as she delves further into the complex. Without a safe haven, Alice continues to hunt those responsible for the outbreak; a chase that takes her from Tokyo to New York, Washington, D.C. and Moscow, culminating in a mind-blowing revelation that will force her to rethink everything that she once thought to be true. Aided by newfound allies and familiar friends, Alice must fight to survive long enough to escape a hostile world on the brink of oblivion. The countdown has begun.

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