When it comes to making an impression at Cinema Con 2018, 20th Century Fox may have taken the crown. The presentation kicked off with a Vegas-inspired musical tribute to Deadpool 2, followed by a pre-recorded skit that featured the president of Fox, Deadpool, and Hugh Jackman. The intro ended with a montage of legacy footage showing Fox’s long history of great films. Let’s take a closer look at what Fox had to offer today.
Fox is working on what is essentially a create your own adventure movie. Details are limited but using an integrated cell phone app, the audience can dictate how a movie plays out. Does the protagonist get into a fight or run away. Does he kiss the girl or press forward on his mission? All of the sample footage shown indicated this would be a theatrical experience, so it’s a little confusing how this is going to work when multiple audience members select different paths for the movie. While the innovation is welcome, modern audiences may not want to put in the extra effort at the theater.
Alita: Battle Angel
Based on the manga and animated film from the 90s, Alita: Battle Angel looks exactly like you’d expect from a high budget live-action anime. Unfortunately, Ghost in the Shell similarly looked the part, and while the modern aesthetics of Battle Angel may or may not appeal to fans of the anime and manga, the dialogue and story seem to be a faith recreation based on the limited footage screened at CinemaCon. Some of the dialogue felt as though it was lifted straight from a mid-90s anime movie, which may not be a good thing in 2018, but James Cameron wrote the script himself (based on the anime), so there’s still hope for this one and WETA Digital has some impressive effects on display.
The Hate U Give
In the wake of Get Out and Black Panther comes The Hate U Give. It’s a powerful racial film that strikes directly and strategically at the problems facing Black people in America. A young Black man is gunned down by police for holding a hairbrush, sparking riots from the local Black community in the powerful footage shown earlier today. This is a film that America might not be ready for, but it’s certainly a movie people need to watch.
Bad Times at the El Royale
Every once in awhile a movie comes along that is slightly offbeat, but captures your attention and runs with it. Bad Times at the El Royale feels like that kind of movie. Seven strangers with a past converge on the El Royale hotel, a property that straddles the state line between Nevada and California. With a star-studded cast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, Jeff Bridges and more, the footage felt like Seven Psychopaths. The dialogue was sharp and the plot was mysterious. This will be a film to watch.
The Darkest Minds
In the long-running tradition of YA novels comes The Darkest Minds. It’s a film that essentially combines The Hunger Games with X-Men. Children are being taken from their families once they start showing signs of having powers. As you might expect, a group of children escape these confines and go on a journey to right the wrongs of their world. X-Men like powers with a Hunger Games-style message could propel this one to big numbers at the box office, but it’s difficult to tell from the trailer footage shown, which was the same trailer you can find online.
In a twist on traditional crime dramas, Widows features three women who have connected husbands that all go down in what seemed to be police action. However, there’s a lot of money on the line that these women seemingly have access to, and so the women take the job into their own hands and become the gangsters that no one expected. The cast and the footage looked like a win, so this could be one to watch out for.
Many classic films have been updated recently, so it was only a matter of time before The Predator was added to that list. Directed by Shane Black, this new Predator doesn’t quite look like the classic films that came before it. Instead it reminded me of how Alien: Covenant changed up the classic Alien formula, but still offered something that could still fit in the Alien franchise. For classic Predator fans, this may not be the movie you’ve been waiting for, but new audiences may enjoy this updated continuation of the series.
Fox ended the presentation with the trailer for the Freddy Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. There have been plenty of music biopics sprouting up over the last few years, but most come and go with little fanfare. However, Straight Outta Compton was a breakout film that focuses on story rather than hitting a few key moments in a career. Bohemian Rhapsody feels as though it follows that ideal and will be a proper representation of Freddy Mercury and Queen. The footage was powerful and Rami Malek looks, sounds and feels like Freddy.