Legion was not screened for critics, which is almost always a bad sign. For most of the critics who saw it this morning or late last night, it slightly exceeds those low expectations.
"Angels with guns! Wing-fu! God-zombies! When Legion tries to take these kinds of things too seriously, it falters, but mostly it embraces the inner cheese."
— Luke Y. Thompson, E!
"...a dramatically muddled but surprisingly involving Bible-themed fantasy thriller that imagines Armageddon in a dingy roadside diner..."
— Joe Leydon, Variety
"...after a brisk start, the script turns out to be a rough and humorless beast slouching its way towards utter ludicrousness. "The future has been unwritten!" intones Bettany at one point. But there are times when Legion barely seems to have been written at all."
— Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"God save us from this half-baked, Biblically-inspired zombie flick."
— Thomas Leupp, hollywood.com
"Profane, profanely silly and blasphemous to beat the band, Legion begins well before plunging into the abyss of tedium."
— Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
SEE ALSO: What the First Fans had to say. Posted 01.22.10 by reelz
In a bit of seriously underplayed irony, Vanity Fair accompanies a feature article on the Creation Museum in Kentucky with a photo shoot of some of its more curious exhibits by … none other than Paul Bettany. Yes, that Paul Bettany. While he may play an angelic defender of the human race in the well-advertised action flick Legion, he also plays what, from the point of view of the museum, must be pretty close to the devil, himself, in another somewhat lower-profile movie opening this week, Creation.
Creation is a humanizing, personal account of Darwin's struggles with his momentous discoveries about the origin of the species — struggles made more difficult by their potential impact on his deeply religious wife. Not a picture the people behind the Creation Museum could be expected to have a lot of sympathy for, since they're pretty clearly dedicated to the proposition that the Bible is literally true, that evolution is a fraud, and that Darwin is wrong, wrong, wrong.
So, what was Bettany, who not only plays Darwin, but views the scientist as a personal hero, doing there? He explains to New York magazine:
I went to the Creation Museum in Kentucky in a fit of openness, thinking, "God, I should really see the other side."
Let's just say he didn't come away convinced. Posted 01.21.10 by reelz
In Legion, Paul Bettany is a badass angel shorn of his wings and battling it out with, well, legions of other angels sent by God to exterminate the human race.
In Creation he takes a more cerebral turn, playing one of his own personal heros, Charles Darwin, who is struggling with the consequences of his discoveries about the origin of species. The conflict is made more intensely personal here because of how the scientist's findings clash with the faith of his deeply religious wife, played by Jennifer Connelly, who (just to make things even weirder) is also Bettany's actual wife.
His performance as Darwin won some rave reviews when it debuted last year in Britain, with the Guardian calling it his "career-best performance." In Legion, by contrast, there is a lot less talk and a whole lot more action. Changing pace like that was really no problem for him, though, he tells the Orlando Sentinel:
I do a movie like Legion because I want to see an audience's popcorn jump up in the air! I loved seeing those movies growing up. Dawn of the Dead sticks with me. What a thrill, this siege with just a handful of people, trapped in a shopping mall, battling an onslaught of zombies. Legion is just like that, without zombies. The CGI [computer-generated imagery] guys put wings on me, and once you've got wings, the rest is easy!
Besides, he says, reconciling such different roles provides a crazy kind of balance:
When I’m making a movie as Charles Darwin, I’m sitting in my trailer, hankering to run around shooting vampires. And when I’m battling vampires (as in Priest, which opens this fall) I think, "It would be awfully nice to be in something nice and quiet with a lot of talking in it." Posted 01.18.10 by reelz
A whole host of new clips from Legion have been unleashed. They offer a nice sampler of the horrors a disappointed God will visit upon humanity's defenders as they hole up at a small diner in the desert. Assaulted by unending swarms of bugs, people possessed and distorted, and yes even malevolent angels, the showdown doesn't look like it is going to turn out very well for the humans. It's no big surprise then that questions arise about just giving up one little baby to make it all stop, never mind that it is to be the savior of the species.
Visually, some of the stand-out sequences involve unexpected transformations from the blandly ordinary to the truly disturbing. In the accompanying featurette, Director Scott Stewart explains the method behind some of the mayhem:
Those things that are coming at them are for the most part things that represent comfort in suburban family life: the old lady, the mini-van family, the ice cream man, and they are being perverted and turned into things that don't make any sense.
There seems to be some kind of underlying arachnid theme here, too. Why exactly does the old lady do a spider walk on the ceiling after biting out someone's jugular? What's up with that ice cream man sprouting spider-like limbs? Who knows, but it sure is creepy.
Posted 01.10.10 by reelz
In Legion, we find that God has once again become disappointed with his creations, but this time instead of a flood, he has sent a host of angels to wipe us out. Our only hope is the renegade archangel Michael (Paul Bettany), who has ripped off his wings and taken up firearms in defense of the unborn child who promises salvation for the species.
In this new clip from the movie, we get a glimpse of just how tough an opponent God's angels can prove to be. In hand-to-hand combat, it turns out those wings aren't just decorations — not to mention the wicked-looking wrist spikes. A mere machine gun seems like a pretty poor defense.
The movie promises a whole lot more angel-fu along these lines. If you can't wait, check out the online video game on the movie's official website, where you can practice taking out a few of God's messengers yourself. Posted 01.06.10 by reelz
You may not recognize actor Doug Jones' name or even his face, but you've most likely seen his work as the "fish man" Abe Sapien in Hellboy or as the far-out surfer from beyond the stars in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Jones, who trained as a mime and a contortionist, got his start doing commercials, including the famous "Mac Tonight" McDonald's ads that ran from 1987 to 1991, and is now the go-to guy for any "bendy" characters. Jones portrayed the creepy Faun in Pan's Labyrinth, will appear as the Ice Cream Man in the upcoming Legion, and is rumored to have a role in The Hobbit.
But, what about the Silver Surfer movie that was supposed to spin off of the Fantastic Four? The latest news hasMichael Green, co-executive producer of Heroes and the co-writer of Green Lantern working on a script aimed to reboot the franchise. In an interview with It's Just Movies, Jones said:
There are still a couple of years left on their option for two more pictures with me, as a three-picture deal is quite standard when starting a franchise-potential character. But with all the "re-boot" talk of the Fantastic Four, I have no idea where that leaves the Silver Surfer-end of things. I would love to re-visit this character. I do love Norrin Radd. Posted 10.16.09 by BrentJS
Actor Dennis Quaid is riding a wave of genre movies that have led him right to ... the White House. (On film, that is.)
Quaid recently portrayed General Hawk in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the film adaptation of the popular toy line. He's currently starring in the sci-fi/horror flick Pandorum. And Quaid just wrapped filming on Legion, which Quaid called a "first-class drive-in zombie movie."
Next up, he will portray one of the most popular — and controversial — presidents in American history, Bill Clinton. Quaid said he spent all summer prepping for the role, which is now in production, including packing on a few pounds to get better into character.
Posted 09.28.09 by BrentJS
I've been eating everything that isn't nailed down. I think I'm ready for it. I've got the voice. Just got to keep working on it and see where we can go with it.
I had a relationship with Bill Clinton when he was in the White House. He was the smartest person I've ever met, and that's the key to him. He's just a really, really bright guy. A tough role, a challenging one. He's never really been done in a movie, except in parody [John Travolta in Primary Colors]. Travolta did a good job on him, but Clinton's from Arkansas, I'm from Texas. I think I've got him.
The script for the angels-versus-humans action flick Legion has gone through a lot of incarnations. Scriptwriter Peter Schink laid out the whole twisted evolution in a interview with Shock Till You Drop. It all started, he explains, back in the '90s when he got stuck with a madwoman at a Carl's Jr. in the desert:
I was out in the town of Mojave and in an unlikely event I got snowed in during a freak snow storm there. Mojave being a small town, all of the motels immediately got sold out. I was stuck spending the entire night in a Carl's Jr. restaurant. I was locked in with a lot of strange people and there was this old woman in there who was off her rocker. She was babbling through the whole night and when the sun came up and the snow cleared, I was happy to get out of there.
That experience gave birth to the idea for the character of Gladys (Jeanette Miller), the creepy attack grandma featured in the trailer. Add in a little of the apocalypse fever surrounding Y2K, and he had the beginnings of a script. At that point the plan was to go with demons not angels.
The original draft involved hell spilling over onto Earth and the diner was surrounded by demon characters. I was inspired by the imagery of demons and medieval art. The art of Gustave Dore, the work he did in Paradise Lost.
Eventually, the idea of angels won out. Not that that they turn out to be any less hell-bent on the destruction of humanity, though.
Posted 09.21.09 by reelz
Dread Central sat down with an archangel from Legion in the New Mexico desert where the biblical apocalypse feature is being shot. Paul Bettany plays the archangel Michael, who is fallen and wingless but sports an impressive array of tattoos. Bettany revealed their interesting back story.
In actual fact [the language] was developed by a man called John Dee, and you'll have to check this but he was a Necromancer and he was apparently in touch with angels and they gave him their language. This actually all says stuff, but you'll have to forgive me because I have about 60 tattoos or more, I think. So I don't know what each of them say, but they say stuff. This one I know says "If you're freeze-framing this film, you're really weird."
Bettany goes on to explain that when Michael decides to break with the other angels and sides with humanity against God, he loses his wings, his powers, and his ... dog collar?
I forgo all of my supernatural powers when get rid of my wings. I think they're referred to as the Dogs of Heaven and he also has, I guess, a collar around his neck that comes off as well.
At least he does manage to retain some kick-ass fighting prowess, which comes in pretty handy when God unleashes all the legions of heaven against him and the humans he is desperately trying to protect. Posted 08.19.09 by reelz
The red band trailer for the religious apocalypse movie Legion is out, and it is chock full of very entertaining angel-fu, grandma-fu, and all sorts of mayhem. There are definite echoes of the Prophesy series here, but updated with lots of up-to-the-minute visual effects and a stylishly noir landscape. Once again the angels are out to get us all, and humanity's only hope lies in a new messiah who is slouching toward nowheresville in the desert to be born. Here's a thumbnail of the plot from director Scott Stewart.
...the last time God lost faith in man, he sent a flood. This time he sent what you see outside. So, what if God decides that he's lost faith in man? We always talk about having to have faith in God, but what happens if it happens in reverse? God loses faith in man and says "do it over"?
Although this is Stewart's first feature movie, he has very extensive experience as a visual-effects artist, and it definitely shows in the trailer. Posted 08.13.09 by reelz