Who the hell is directing this movie?
That’s the first thought which occurred to me while watching The New Mutants trailer. What had previously been thought of as X-Men: The Next Generation has turned into a horror movie set in some kind of hospital/insane asylum for young mutants. It’s in keeping with both industry trends (horror is currently the most resilient, slump-proof genre the film industry has) as well as Fox’s creatively freeing decision to adopt a “fuck it” policy toward franchise continuity.
Make the best movie or TV show possible, not the best part of a larger puzzle, or so they seem to be saying.
For example: Give Deadpool the freedom to be an R-Rated meta-comedy? Holy chimichanga. Turn Logan into a superhero Unforgiven? Cool. Infuse a healthy dose of David Lynch into the minduck-prone Legion? Sure. Why not. Make Gifted a better version of Heroes while ultimately not really caring how it fits in with the movies? Have at it. Adapt New Mutants into not simply X-Men with a younger cast but instead as something deeply indebted to a plethora of horror movie tropes? You do you, Fox. You’re kind of killing it right now anyway.
But the question remains: who in the world is responsible for all that horror imagery in the New Mutants trailer? Did something change behind the scenes? Because last I looked Josh Boone, The Fault in Our Stars writer-director, was directing this. That can’t be true anymore. The dude with a knack for tragic teen romance has done this with The New Mutants? Nope. Not buying it. The Fault in our Stars guy didn’t suddenly turn into a Blumhouse director. Something clearly changed while I wasn’t looking.
[Leaves to check IMDB]
Okay. Turns out, nothing changed. Boone is still, indeed, the director.
Here’s the thing: just because he started his career as the writer-director of Stuck In Love (a 2012 family drama starring Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly and Lily Collins) and the aforementioned Fault In Our Stars doesn’t mean that’s all Boone is. After all, at the same time he was hired for New Mutants he was also being set up to write and direct a film/TV series hybrid adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand. That ultimately fell through, but it serves as a crystal clear indication of Boone’s aspiration to branch out. He was hot off of Fault’s huge success. Fox brought him to do something with the New Mutants property, an X-Men offshoot created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod in 1982, and what he came up with is something entirely unexpected.
In truth, I know very little about the comic book incarnation of The New Mutants. So, it was wrong of me to ever assume I knew what a film adaptation would look like. According to sweet lady Wikipedia, “In addition to very serious depictions of teenage angst and growing pains, the series featured themes of mysticism. The stories also relied on wilder, more far-fetched premises than were typical of X-Men at the time, shaping into more of a science fiction and fantasy series than the superhero coming-of-age comic it had been touted as in its early days.” Even this, though, seems to be straying from that decades-long identity. To be fair, I suppose this might still be a superhero coming-of-age film, just in a horror context.
As Charles Xavier would say, it’s the next evolution of the franchise, and it’s not at all what I expected. Instead, it has the look of something far more interesting than just another round of same ole, same ole. They’re pushing the horror angle so hard they barely even mention or highlight Maisie Williams role in the film. That’s confidence, right there, and I suspect it will pay off for them come April 13, 2018.
Hold on. April 13th? In addition to releasing the trailer today, Friday the 13th, they’re also releasing the film on a Friday the 13th?
[Leaves to check calendar to verify]
They are! Those wily sonsabitches.
What do you think of The New Mutants trailer? Let me know in the comments.