Harry here with another wonderful Comic Con wrap up, this one from Right Bastard! He covers more uncovered material yet! So let's hop to it shall we? Here ya go...
Random Comic-Con notes in no particular order.
Right Bastard Here with another rare appearance.
To start off, I'll go over the Star Wars Panel. Last year I sent you scathing reaction to the P.O.S. Phantom Menace Panel. Lucasfilm got a bit of my faith back this year with the Clones. A damn fine film, that. The Lucasfilm rep announced that the DVD for Ep 2 would out in only 2 months with deleted scenes, commentary, etc. Then he showed one of the scenes, which portrayed OB1 analyzing the dart before he went to visit his buddy at the diner. It had pretty neat FX, but it wasn't necessary. Not much more than: A robot grabs the dart, analyzes it, says "I don't know what this is", and gives it back (only it looks really neat). They cut it because the film was running long, and it was a bit redundant. Even though I liked clones, the panel annoyed me a little. I got the same feeling as last year, that I was being marketed to. He showed several clips telling us how much the world loves Star Wars, and a decent (but not complete) self deprecating comedy clip. Of course I know that most of the talent at the con are, indeed, there to pimp their wares; but many of them do it with an excitement of simply wanting to share the work they're proud of with the fans. Rather than simply trying to drain our wallets...which is the vibe I got from Lucas rep again this year. Unctuous character. As I said, Ep 2 was pretty damn good, so they have me for one more.
To continue with the Star Wars theme, there's "Comic Book: The Movie". This is the working title for Mark Hamill's new movie (unless that was a joke that I didn't catch, a lot were flying that night). This was an incredibly fun evening, with a wonderful energy in the room There was a true spark there. This movie is Mark's love letter to Comic Books and Comic Culture. As he said several times that night "I am one of you. Before I ever was in sci-fi films...I was...and still am one of you." He was keeping the story fairly secret. The film started out as a mockumentory, but Mark stated very emphatically that he did not was to make a "Trekkies" style exploitation of the fans, because he is a fan. I was getting a Christopher Guest vibe from what Mark was trying to do, and I hope he pulls it off. I really do, because he had a passion for this project. Anyway, Mark said that more than anything else, he wanted to film the finale to his movie at the Comic Con. So, all of us in the audience became extra's in the film. I won't go into the details from the scene or the movie, for two reasons. First, I'll be typing here all night. Second, he didn't really want to reveal much about the film. Basically, a classic golden age comic character is announced that it's being re-made for a new era. Mark's character (a comic loving director) bursts in to put a stop to this. I hope that's not too spoilerific...I tried to keep it general.
I forgot to mention the best part of that evening. It was an animation fan's wet dream. Mark didn't want us to get bored while they set up shots, so we were entertained by Gary Owens (Laugh-In, Roger Ramjet, O.G. Space Ghost, Blue Falcon, and about 1,000,000 other voices), Billy West (Stimpy, Futurama's Fry & Zap Branegan, Howard Stern), Jess Harnell (Wakko on animaniacs), Rob Paulsen (Yakko, Pinkey), Maurice LaMarche (The Brain), Tom Kinny (Spongebob, Mr.Show), Jim Cummings (+1988 Winnie The Pooh, Tigger, and Taz), as well as Taylor Donahue (I forgot what he did...VH1 or something). This group of incredible voice talent had a Q&A and kept the audience in stitches the entire shoot. They were very friendly and appreciative people, and happy to be able to see the audience's faces...and have the audience see their faces. Voice actors are truly the using talent of the entertainment industry.
It was a much better night than the previous evening. I had a choice to get passes and watch a preview of either Shaolin Soccer, xXx, or Bubba Hotep. I, of course, went with the Bruce Campbell film directed by the fellow who directed Phantasm. The beginning of the movie was great and the audience was excited, but as the movie dragged on, the audience got quieter and quieter. I can't put my finger on it, but something was missing from that film. I really enjoyed the Elvis asides and flashbacks at the beginning of the movie, but they began to distract towards the end and slow the film down. The soundtrack was extremely repetitive. I really wanted to like this movie. I didn't hate it, but I was disappointed that I didn't love it. The environment was a little off, as well. They let us in late, and the ventilation was terrible. On top of that, the guy next to me had such rank B.O. that I almost walked out of the last 30 minutes. When I mentioned this to my friend as we left, she told me that 90% of the audience had B.O., and she was suffering as well. I brought a friend who said "who?" when I mentioned Bruce Campbell and "what?" when I mentioned Phantasm. She was slightly less amused by the movie than I was.
Short wrap up:
: This movie looks like a great ride. I've never read the comic, but the preview brought memories of "Remo Williams" to me while watching the preview. I can't wait to watch this film, and I hope it's as good or better than my expectations. Promoting it at the Con were Jamie King and Sean William Scott. Both were fantastic panelist. James is beautiful in person; and Sean may play the Jock/Asshole in many of his movies, but was one of the most grounded and nicest actor I've seen in my 10 years of going to the Con.
: Ang Lee showed up at the con to promote the film. We've all seen that wonderful preview before Spiderman. He showed several stills from the set, but no sight of the big green guy yet. They've been working on the film over a year, and it will be another year until the effects and CG will be finished. Ang said that he had to pay his dues (certainly that is what Sense and Sensibility was!) before he was able to have the clout to do what he wanted (Crouching Tiger and The Hulk.). He told a story of how when he boy was growing up, he used to have to hide his comics and read them in secret. I'm telling you this is a work of passion. I think Hulk is in safe hands.
: Oh My Fucking God! The Wachowski Brothers hiring animators from America, Japan, and Korea to produce (I think it was) 12 animated short stories based on supporting characters from the future Matrix movie. This will be a supplemental, much like the web site was for the first film. They showed a clip and I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THIS. Even if the next two movies suck (which I doubt they will), this animation will be woth it! Each story takes on a different animation style (traditional, CG, anime/manga, and various mixtures within). Once again...WOW!
: Contrary to popular rumor (and in spite of Fox's hatred for it) Matt says one more season is in the can. They'll go as long as they can, and American DVD's with commentary are in the future. Panel: Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Billy West, Phil LaMarr, John DiMaggio, and several writers. I left early due to annoying nit picky repetitive fan boy questions (I can only take so much..ATTENTION FANBOYS: Con etiquette: 1) don't repeat the same question that was asked two people ago, 2) don't word your question in a way that insults the rich/famous/busy/kind guest who was nice enough to actually come to a stupid comic con when they have several thousand better things they could be doing EVEN if you think their movie sucks, 3) don't pester the guest for an autograph in a room or 2000+ people, 4) don't ask a question that is either a) a spoiler for the crowed or b) asks the film makers to give away a spoiler...you know they's not going to tell you and maybe the rest of us don't want to know...asshole, and 5) shower and use deodorant...follow these rules and you'll make more friends...sorry, I digress)
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
: Panel: Lucy Lui, Ray Parks, and Kaos. We saw a brief clip from this film staring Lucy and Antonio Bandares. Lucy plays an Assassin who was raised specifically to be a killing machine. She's on a personal mission after a bad guy, and Antonio is a spy who has to protect the bad guy. Violence ensues. Might be a fun pop corn movie. In the panel Ray (who will not be in X-Men:2) was asked meek questions about Darth Maul and Toad; and Lucy made some wonderful statements about the difficulty of being an Asian (women) in the film industry.
: Panel: Emma Caulfield (Anya on Buffy) and the director. This film is trying for an M.Night atmosphere, and looks interesting. Personally, I think the title will keep people away. It’s a stupid name for a movie. Anyway, Emma's got at least one more season on Buffy. The panel was kind of boring so I went to get a hot dog.
: I went to this panel for only one reason. Asia Argento. I was one of the three people in the crowd who knew who she was. She talked about growing up in her dad's house being more normal than people think. She watched his movies at the age of five. She will not collaborate with Dario any time soon because she's trying really hard to make a big break into U.S. films (and xXx may be the movie that pushes her over the top). She didn't really talk about the movie much, and only showed the same preview that we've all seen.
: I was shocked to see Arnold Schwarzenegger show up to the con. A crowd of probably well over 3000 people (I think the new hall holds more than 4000) gave him a standing ovation. Unfortunately, thanks to Will Sasso's brilliant MadTV portrayal, it was hard for me to see Arnold without laughing. The showed us a very rough effect-less T3 cut. Quint went over this already. Arnold gave a quick Q&A and left with a hearty "Asta la vista, Fanboys!"
: O.k., even more unexpected was James Cameron coming out to give mad support to Solaris. We saw a very creepy scene with George Clooney walking through a space station following a trail of blood. This scene took it's time. Very 2001. I really wanted to have that great spaceman breathing sound in the scene, like when David Bowman went to shut off HAL. James stressed that this film will be a completely psychological movie. There will not be (hardly?) any planet shots. This movie is focusing on the exploration of what lies inside our minds. "It will be a very intelligent movie," according to Mr. Cameron. All I know is after hearing him talk about this project, I can't wait to go read the book...and see the 70's film!
: The loudest and longest cheer of the whole Con was the appearance of Brian Singer for the X-Men panel. Wow! 2 looks good. Really good. The second film will focus more on the Human vs. Mutant aspect of the story that was in the background of the first movie. The movie also begins a set-up for a possible third film. Brian said that since the stories in X-men are so thick and complicated, it is hard to make one film about some of the favorite stories from the comic. Also, due to the nature of the films, he is forced to follow only one or two of the characters for better story telling (Wolverine and Rogue in the first movie); rather than give everyone equal time...but now that Halle has "slammed the little gold statue on my desk", Brian is definitely going to be expanding Storm's character. When asked about the possibility of perusing the Dark Phoenix or the Sentinels storyline, Brian simply gave a mirthful smile and said that he wasn't going to say anything. (my hero! Stick It to the spoiler seekers!)
: This will be good. I've rarely seen a director with this much passion and love attack a project with such vigor. He is a HUGE fan who fought for this. The scene they showed of Mat Murdoch arriving home and popping pills. The thing my friend and I both noticed were the obvious little details that a less caring director may forget. For example: they had no lights in his flat. Beautiful. The director was smart enough to realize that a blind hero would not need/want any lights or color in his hide out. This project is in good hands. Besides...Afflect ruled in Phantoms, yo!
Sound like fun? Next year get your ass to San Diego!
I'm off to fall asleep (I’m tired, so sorry ‘bout the typos) while watching the massive amount of Italian Horror and Anime I scored at the show.