The Mortal Kombat red band trailer kicked the doors open on the much anticipated featured film and got the world talking. Now it's director Simon McQuoid's turn as he offers insights behind the decision making process in a breakdown of the trailer. Watch and learn here:
The commentary track comes via IGN, who hit pause on scenes so the Australian director can reveal more of what the thought process was beyond devising and creating various aspects of the film.
The director stresses that characters are introduced in very specific ways, citing the trailer's introduction of Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) with a close-up of the icy warrior's pale stare as one of the important scenes. Set during a Special Forces operation in Brazil, it's intended to show the villainous Bi-Han as sudden and scary.
The scene leads to Jax (Mehcad Brooks) losing his arms to a shattering frost necessitating robotic limbs. MK3 introduced the character's trademark cybernetic arms as voluntary "implants" received to prepare for future Outworld attacks. McQuoid expresses awarness of Ermac removing his arms in 2011's reboot timeline, and other multimedia adaptations, feeling it gave them license to invent a new version, despite a desire for fidelity to canon.
In addressing controversial new creation Cole Young (Lewis Tan), McQuoid again looks to perceived inconsistency in the games for affording license. This time, the addition of new characters in video game series sequels was seen as affording license for the creation of a new protagonist in the cinematic adaptation. Cole is intended to serve the conventional role of a point-of-view entry character who will learn about the world as the audience does.
The influence of past multimedia adaptations on the new film is apparent in both content and reference. McQuoid notes the film uses the "classic set" of characters, with the addition of Kung Lao (Max Huang), referring to the cast of the 1995 feature film directed by Paul WS Anderson.
He describes the balance of comedy and violence in the Mortal Kombat series, as well as its attention to world building, noting the challenges and importance of balancing the elements. The film will seek to have an "authentic, brutal, real quality" so fans and newcomers can believe in the world.
Kano (Josh Lawson) will inject humor into the film, utilizing improvisations by the comic actor known from Anchorman 2 and Australian improv show Thank God You're Here. His rivalry with Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) will also run through the course of the film.
The commentary confirms Mileena (Sisi Stringer) is approaching a wasteland of Outworld in the trailer. The sparse landscape is a disused coal mine in Australia that was largely left as-filmed for the sake of "realism and authenticity" [pictured below]. Although Outworld has typically been a fantastical reality in games, the director didn't want a "VFX feel", opting for less intrusive enhancements.
The director also described a sense of reality as being important to the rsearch and development of designs for the characters. Kung Lao's hat was intended to look like the well known game design, going through multiple iterations to account for how it sat on the actor, and comfort.
Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) will be "born" through the opening scenes in feudal Japan, which influenced his design and the infusing of samurai elements. The actor's role in infusing the character with Japanese historic reference was elaborated upon in a recent interview.
Creating Goro required more anatomical consideration for visual effects artists who had to create a practical design for the hulking four-armed warrior. McQuoid couldn't explain the klassic Champion's role in the movie, but expressed happiness with the finished product -- one of the most exciting reveals from the trailer.
R-rated violence and gore has been a much discussed element of a new live-action adaptation, and the director reveals that even the studio was behind the decision from inception. The challenge was navigating ratings restrictions, which was helped by narrative context and the experience of producer Bennett Walsh, who was also an executive producer on both volumes of Kill Bill.
The note about fatalities was inspired by Kano's heart ripping finisher seen towards the end of the trailer. There was no confirmation on the identity of the creature he defeated, which some have speculated could be Reptile. The director also did not comment on an earlier scene, which appears to show the lizard warrior in partial camouflage.
Did the director's commentary further enhance your understanding of what's to come? Mortal Kombat arrives in limited theatrical release and on HBO Max on April 16th. Download the MKO App via App Store or Google Play to subscribe to the release day event and receive notifications! Find more stories & discussion in the Media & Merchandise forum!