Director Paul W.S. Anderson and actresses Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter were on-hand in San Francisco at the Metreon for the World Premiere of the teaser trailer for Resident Evil: Afterlife, the first chance for anyone to see it before their WonderCon panel on Saturday.
The packed house was full of excited fans who answered trivia questions for prizes from Capcom before Anderson came out to introduce the footage, the lights dimmed and away we went:
The trailer starts with an airplane flying over a beach, and then we cut to seemingly the same plane flying over snow-covered mountains (most likely in Alaska), and then it flies over an unidentified city that’s in ruins, smoke pouring up from the destroyed buildings. In the next shot we see what’s left of the “Hollywood” sign making it more obvious what city we were seeing in the previous shots.
Then we see a long shot of Alice walking along a beach away from a helicopter, and there’s another shot of someone else jumping off an airplane in an airfield full of planes, plus a quick shot of a guy ducking as an airplane flies over him, one of the wings just brushing the top of his head.
Alice’s voice-over, the only talking in the trailer, gave the opening a bit of an I Am Legend vibe, and it went something like this:
“Five years ago, a virus escaped and everybody died. If you’re out there, there is hope. My name is Alice…”
At that last bit, we see the first frontal shot of Milla from the upper torso up. Alice is no longer wearing the trademark red dress, now dressed much sleeker than we’ve seen her, all in black leather with her hair cut much closer to the head. It’s a very different look Alice for sure, and it cuts to an action shot of her throwing knives directly towards the camera, something which really popped in 3D.
The titles, which went by quickly, mainly hyped up the fact that the movie was filmed in 3D using James Cameron and Vince Pace’s patented 3D camera system that they used for Avatar, something Anderson would discuss afterwards.
We then get our first look at Shawn Roberts as the film’s main baddie Albert Wesker, wearing dark glasses sitting on a throne-like dias in an all-white room surrounded by guards, and in the next scene he throws the glasses towards the camera–the recent photo of the glasses with Claire and her brother Chris, played by Wentworth Miller from “Prison Break,” in the reflection was taken from that sequence. It didn’t seem like we saw much of Chris as the footage whizzed by though that may have been him ducking under the plane.
For the most part, the trailer is made up of a lot of shots of Alice and/or Claire in action, Alice either wielding her dual revolvers or her two katana swords. In one shot, she is running towards a group of armed guards, unsheathing her swords and slicing through them. The first scene we see of Alice and Ali Larter’s Claire together, they look almost like twin sisters, and Alice is holding one of the revolvers pointed towards something off-camera. (This was in one of the photos that premiered last week.) Much of the footage seemed to be in whatever location that was with lots of white backgrounds, which really made the ladies in black stand out.
We don’t see that many of the actual infected “zombies” in the trailer, but we do see one shot of Alice jumping over a wall followed by dozens of the creatures. We also see a close-up shot of one of the infected, which looks similar to the Majini in “Resident Evil 5,” with the bottom half of its jaw replaced by a four-way mandible, similar to the Predator or the Reavers from Blade 2.
We did get a few more clips from what looks like one of the big “boss fights” of the movie, what seemed to be Claire–her and Alice REALLY look a lot alike now–fighting a creature that looks a lot like the Executioner Majini from “RE5,” a giant hooded creature with a huge axe that is using the hammer-end of it to smash through walls as she ducks to avoid being struck.
The big money shot began with Wesker and his guards shooting at Alice and Claire as they crash through a window backwards while shooting and falling in slow motion–very similar to the Trinity shot in The Matrix Reloaded in fact–but then we see what looks like the two of them plummeting, almost in freefall through the area between buildings. After the title flashes on screen, the trailer ends with a quick shot of Alice throwing or shooting something.
The footage looked great, really focusing on the action and the creatures and not wasting a lot of time with talking or laying out the story, although there was a lot of shots in there for fans of the games. Needless to say, the 3D looked fantastic, really smooth and not at all forced or belabored, especially impressive in the opening shots and some of the action scenes. Couldn’t tell what the rock music playing was, but it sounded like Filter or Linkin Park, though what band doesn’t sound like one of those two these days?
After the footage, the trio answered questions about the movie, Milla really being at her rowdiest having just got off the plane from Los Angeles. When asked by the moderator, some local radio DJ, why she kept coming back to do “Resident Evil,” she said that it was her brother’s favorite video game, and she compared doing the movies to going on a wild Disneyland ride. When asked what made the series so popular, Anderson answered facetiously, “hot girls with big guns.”
He also talked about how he told Sony about wanting to make the fourth movie more epic, trekking around to shoot it in locations like Los Angeles, Tokyo and Alaska, and the studio seemed game to spend more money rather than hacking out the fourth installment, which is often the case. The decision to make the movie in 3D came about after Anderson was shown early footage of Avatar from James Cameron that blew him away, and he compared shooting in 3D to the conversion process like comparing “Don Perignon to paint thinner” being that “both get you wasted” but one is clearly superior. Milla made an inadvertently raunchy joke about the process they used being “a lot harder and a lot longer” which got a lot of guffaws.
Ali added that the movie is the closest to the video games, the influence of the recent “Resident Evil 5″ clearly inspiring Anderson on his return to directing, and she said that Anderson brought in a lot of direct shots from the games, including one scene Ali does that is directly from the game. Milla “accidentally” let slip out that she has a fight sequence with Ali Larter as well, but are they fighting each other? Or just fighting something else together? Larter also talked about how the introduction of Claire’s brother Chris also brings another dimension to her character.
The teaser trailer will be online at 2:15pm Pacific Time on Saturday. Resident Evil: Afterlife opens everywhere in 3D (and 2D) on September 10.