“X-Men: Days of Future Past” features more mutants than have ever been on screen together before for a massive adventure launching us from an apocalyptic future back into the world of the First Class team. In Days of Future Past, a years-long world conflict between humans and mutants has taken its toll on their numbers, and now a scant few remain, including Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr (Ian McKellen), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Driven to near extinction by the technological terrors unleashed by Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the team forms a desperate plan: time travel.
Using Kitty Pryde’s powers, Wolverine’s consciousness will be sent back into his younger self in the 1970s, where he’ll have to track down and help the First Class versions of the characters in order to stop Trask. But that will be even harder than it sounds, as in this era, the X-Men team is just as disparate, with Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and the rest either at odds or in a low ebb. Can the younger versions of the mutants save their future?
Going back in time to prevent the mutants’ annihilation in the future, Logan aka Wolverine, Hank McCoy aka Beast and Charles Xavier/Prof. X employs the help of a young hiding mutant named as Peter Maximoff who later will be known as Quicksilver to bring Erik Lensherr aka Magneto out of the most secured prison built after being accused in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Faster than the speed of sound and light, this fast moving mercury marvel successfully led the young Magneto out of prison to help mutants stop the Sentinel program and save both human and mutantkind.
Quicksilver is another key mutant character in the 1970s scenes. Quicksilver’s power, as his name suggests, is his superhuman speed, which up until meeting the X-Men, he has employed for petty theft and teenage mischief. “Wolverine knows Quicksilver in the future,” says Singer. “But in the past, he’s a kleptomaniacal kid with an attitude. The only way they can enlist Quicksilver’s help is to appeal to his penchant for troublemaking, asking him if he’d like to break somebody out of the Pentagon.”
Singer and director of photography Newton Thomas Sigel used high-speed phantom cameras and photo-sonic technology to film the Pentagon break-in and escape sequence, one of the film’s most technically intricate and visually arresting scenes. The scene was shot at 3000 frames per second with Quicksilver running along the walls in the Pentagon kitchen, parallel to the ground. “We’ve never experienced this on film before,” says Singer.
The technology required the use of enormous lights rigged above the set, each powered by about 40,000 watts. “The set was so brightly lit, we had to wear sunglasses just to work on it,” Singer adds. “The actors had to close their eyes until the moment they started shooting.”
It was also important, according to screenwriter and producer Simon Kinberg, to continue the First Class story without needing a direct connection. “We didn’t want it to start or a month, or even a year after the last movie. We wanted to give it a big breadth of time so that you would meet these characters in some ways for the first time again, so we set the movie 10 years later than First Class ended and in doing that, part of my responsibility as the writer was creating a timeline so we can just give the actors a sense of who they’ve become and how they got there over the span of the 10 years we haven’t seen.”
Don’t blink – Quicksilver will speed up in Philippine cinemas when “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (3d) opensMay 21 nationwide from 20th Century Fox be distributed by Warner Bros.