The Resident Evil: Retribution panel began with a new teaser trailer. While intensely short, it is also intensely amusing. It begins as a fake commercial for a technology company, with a cheerful international cohort of folks touting how their mobile devices will bring them into the future. With a beautiful little verbal transition, we find ourselves in the chaotic infected world of the Resident Evil franchise. It’s fun but action-packed – a perfect way to begin their WonderCon presentation.
Both director Paul Anderson and star Milla Jovovich were on hand to talk about the latest installment in the long-running film and video game franchise – the first female-led action franchise to reach five films. Jovovich chalked this up to the fans, who proved that the movies based on video games can be good, successful films and that a female lead can carry them successfully.
Anderson explained the set up of the new film for the audience. The begins as a direct continuation of the last film, delivering the pay-off that ending promised. It then “goes to a very unusual and unexpected place.” The audience will get to see the world before the infection (which is hinted at in the teaser trailer) and the film also brings back people from both the video game and film that were or were presumed to be dead.
One of the people coming back is Michelle Rodriguez, which Anderson and Jovovich both seemed sincerely excited about. Anderson told a brief story from the filming of Resident Evil, where Rodriguez announced (with her fatal bullet wound make-up already applied), “You know, Paul, you’re going to regret this.” He and Jovovich also joked about how difficult it was to get Rodriguez off Call of Duty and on-set with a real gun in her hand.
The panel also featured the premiere of actual footage from Resident Evil: Retribution – the first time anything more extensive than Resident Evil trailers has been shown at a convention. The clip showed Alice battling a mass of zombies in a sterile, white hallway. Alice fights them off with a mace and gun, even taking out a handful of them in the time it takes for a clip that has been knocked up into their air to fall back down into her hand. As should be expected for the third film in the franchise filmed with the technology, the 3D in the clip is pretty good. One particularly effective visual comes when a zombie gets its brains blown out and they splatter across the camera lens and the viewers.
The love that Anderson and Jovovich have for the franchise was evident throughout the panel. Jovovich spoke about weeping while watching an early rough cut trailer, because it was so emotional to see these characters and actors from early in the franchise return and to think about the decade-long history of the franchise. These are not people who are churning out flims for the money – these are people invested in the property.