An "X-Force" To Be Reckoned With - Marvel's Mutant Militia Turns 25
Fox opened its presentation at CinemaCon 2014 in Las Vegas with an entourage of samba dancers streaming down the aisles to Ester Dean and B.O.B. singing “Rio Rio” from the Rio 2 soundtrack.
Amid the festivities, Chris Aronson, the studio’s president of domestic distribution, sneaked onstage adorned with a rather stylish fruit hat to welcome the crowd before going on to introduce CEO and Chairman Jim Gianopulos. He took his time at the lectern to applaud the theater experience – needless to say, a message well-received by the crowd of primarily theater owners – before seguing into the main event.
The presentation continued with The Other Woman stars Leslie Mann and Cameron Diaz; unfortunately, the other other woman, Kate Upton, was nowhere to be found. The pair joked about her still being in space – a nod to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit photo shoot – before transitioning into a series of sexual innuendos.
They introduced an extended clip that highlighted footage from the previously released trailer interspersed with the scene of Mann and Diaz initially meeting Upton’s character on the beach. For anyone with an interest in rom-coms or Upton, this certainly appears to be the movie for you.
The audience was excited for the next clip, the opening scene of director Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, which revealed a dystopian-future landscape, with ships flying across the sky dropping three pods from their cargo bays. In an underground bunker, a group of people is alerted to the incoming pods: familiar faces Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Sunspot and Iceman, stand alongside cinematic newcomers Warpath, Blink and Bishop.
As the bunker walls are penetrated by the pods, Kitty scatters with Bishop while the remaining warriors power up. It’s as this point we get our first glimpse of the super-powered new Sentinels, malleable shapeshifters not unlike T-100 from Terminator 2.
As Kitty and Bishop phase through falling objects with an unknown destination ahead of them, the remaining mutants battle the trio of Sentinels. The heroes fight the robots toe-to-toe, until the tide of the battle shifts as the Sentinels develop immunities to their powers; the one battling Sunspot becomes ice cold while Iceman’s foe becomes red hot. The Sentinels manage to breach the containment just as Kitty and Bishop teleport away.
Days of Future Past transitioned into a scene from DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 showing what appears to a pseudo-game of Quidditch with dragons substituting for broomsticks and sheep – yes, sheep – standing in for the Quaffle. It then transitions to Hiccup and Toothless skimming across the ocean and diving from great heights while immensely enjoying one another’s company.
Next was the trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which establishes the sequel taking place a decade after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Gary Oldham’s voiceover discusses the plight of the human race since the virus was unleashed at the end of the 2011 film. As both sides arm for war, it’s apparent that an onslaught is about to occur.
Following the montage, the audience was shown an extended scene in which a chimpanzee comes across two armed guards. He playfully approaches the men, who question whether they should shoot him; however, by tumbling around, he gains their confidence. The chimp eventually ends up alongside them – even taking swigs from their liquor bottle – before grabbing a machine gun and shooting one of the men. As he leers toward the remaining man, the scene ends.
The mood substantially changed as the clips transitioned from action movies to The Fault in Our Stars, in which Shailene Woodley (Divergent takes on a substantially different role as Hazel Grace Lancaster.
Woodley appeared onstage, where she applauded Fox for making a movie with such a strong female protagonist in such a different role as a teenage girl dealing with both relationships and cancer. The extended clip highlighted interactions between Wooldey and Ansel Elgort, who plays her love interest Augustus Waters.
Gianopulos returned to discuss the studio’s fall slate, which includes Guillermo del Toro’s animated adventure Book of Life, and Home, with The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons providing the voice for the lead alien.
The clips then began again with the introduction of the sci-fi adaptation The Maze Runner, followed by David Fincher’s Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. If you’ve read the book, then you can practically picture the trailer, as it consisted of scenes practically directly from Gillian Flynn’s popular novel. If not, then you what you need know is that Pike goes missing and Affleck appears to be the main culprit behind her disappearance. The trailer didn’t give an inkling of the new ending scripted specifically for the film, however.
After noting that Exodus: Gods and Kings and Night at the Museum 3 will be released in December, Gianopulos introduced a surprise extended clip from Matthew Vaughn’s The Secret Service. Based on the miniseries by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, the spy film stars Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson.
In the sneak preview scene, Firth is in the process of attempting to recruit his street urchin-esque nephew Eggsy, played by Taron Egerton, into the service over drinks. When ne’er-do-wells arrive to harass Eggsy, Firth finds it necessary to show them the errors of their ways – asking where they understood the phrase “manners maketh man” before dispatching with them.
The ensuing fight scene invokes Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, as unlikely champion Firth fends off each of the ruffians with the help of his high-tech umbrella: Shooting out an electrified bolo, serving as armor and dispatching the bar’s proprietor with a tranquilizer dart, it’s an accessory no crime-fighter should be without. After the scuffle, Firth returns to his booth to finish his Guinness as Egerton looks on in amazement. This screening was the surprise moment of the presentation and almost elicited as much excitement as the X-Men footage.