Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Director Bryan Singer returns to the X-Men franchise, and blends the original cast with the First Class crew for an audacious, time travelling adventure in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (3D) that will open in Philippine cinemas on May 21, 2014 nationwide.

For years, the X-Men have faced many threats from within and without their ranks, but in “Days of Future Past,” they’re dealing with one of the worst. The films have a history of mankind misunderstanding mutants, but in the upcoming film, scientist Bolivar Trask (played by Peter Dinklage) begins to rally the world against our heroes, and creates the monstrous, massive Sentinel robots to help tackle what he perceives as the mutant problem.

With Bryan Singer back at the helm, the movie continues his approach of grounded, understandable villains, whose issues come from a place of fear and arrogance. To portray Trask, he turned to respected actor Peter Dinklage, who has found fame on the worldwide hit TV’s “Game of Thrones” playing Tyrion Lannister, a man for whom life is an endless series of shades of grey. Singer figured Dinklage was the man to bring Trask – a well-known character from the comic books – to life on screen, and developed a nuanced role for him. Dinklage’s other notable movies include “The Station Agent,” “Death at a Funeral,” “Elf” and lent his vocal talent in the hit animation franchise films “Ice Age” as the voice of Gruff and “Chronicles of Narnia” as the voice of Trumpkin.

“Days Of Future Past” not only represent the first time that the “classic” X-Men actors including Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Ellen Page and more have shared the marquee with the First Class characters introduced in 2011, but the return of Singer to the franchise he helped launch. He’s back behind the camera for the adaptation of one of the best-loved X-Men stories, which found our heroes fighting for survival in a dark future where the hulking, robotic Sentinels created by Bolivar Trask have been slowly wiping them out. In a desperate final gambit, the mutants look to time travel to help their younger selves stop this awful timeline from coming to pass. And, thanks to his innate healing abilities, Wolverine (Jackman) is the one chosen to endure the strain of travelling back in time.

Based on Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin’s “Days Of Future Past” storyline from the “Uncanny X-Men” comic title, scribe Simon Kinberg adapted it into the movie which allows him and Singer to draw on their shared love of time travel films. Once Kinberg and Singer seized on the Future Past plot as a jumping-off point, the possibilities were endless. “Bryan and I spent months revising the script together,” Kinberg recalls.

The X-Men throng needs to be all ready for this time, they are facing their toughest challenge yet. “Game Of Thrones” fan favourite Peter Dinklage was hired to play a very different version of Bolivar Trask, a genius who views mutants as a mortal threat to mankind and decides to create the menacing, technologically advanced Sentinel robots to fight them. Singer chose Dinklage for several reasons. “I was very familiar with him and I'm a fan of his. He first and foremost, carries the screen, and there's not a second that you take him for granted.”

Kinberg admits that Trask’s creations were another big driving force behind the choice of storyline. “Once we all committed to “Days Of Future Past,” we knew the Sentinels would be a part of it, and Trask would be central to the story,” he says. “Bryan has done a lot of things to make the Sentinels feel loyal to the books but also distinct from all the things that are ripped off the Sentinels, like all the other robot movies that have come in the last 15 years or so, so they look and feel different. And Bryan spent a lot of time working on them to make them feel period specific but also cool and what a kid would fantasize about.”

In the film, the ‘70s Sentinels are the epitome of technology at the time, though obviously they seem dated now. The future robots, however, are complex fighting machines, able to adapt to mutants’ powers. “I really wanted to embrace the 70's,” says production design lead John Myhre about the first generation, one of which was physically built by Legacy Effects. “I love that 70's style of design of molded plastics and white plastics and smoked plastics and looked at a lot of car design and futuristic concepts from the 70's on a high end but also stereos. So I was the idiot going in there saying, ‘this is what the Sentinels look like!’ It was the very first thing we started designing for the 70's sentinels and the future sentinels. Bryan was immediately very excited for our concept of the future. The 70's was a bit more complicated in that you really want to be faithful for the fans in the books so there a lot of elements that needed to be a humanoid shape to have a head arms and needed to be purple. There were a lot of things we had to do to give them a different look.” So fans of the comic book will see some elements they recognize, even though the film’s take on the robots is unique.

“X-Men: Days Of Future Past” (3D) is the biggest X-Men film ever attempted, and indeed the biggest Fox has made since “Avatar.”

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