Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I wrapped up today with a tour around the floor, picking up some last minute geek essentials, including the new Scott Pilgrim book for the plane ride back home tomorrow, the massive hardbound Art of Ralph McQuarrie book, a couple of decks of horror playing cards and some original art from Eisner Award Winner Chuck BB from his BLACK METAL comic put out by Oni press. Successful haul. I had to miss the majority of both these panels yesterday due to interviews. I couldn't write up 9 due to conflict of interest reasons, but I can say that I loved Shane Acker's original short and I'm really psyched to see the movie. And UP just looks awesome. I'll have my interview with Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera up sometime next week. Until then, here's LetTheWookieWin with a report on the animation panels!
Hi Quint, I'm sure you've gotten a few of these, but I wanted to shoot you an email as I attended both the 9 and Up panels. First, 9. The panel consisted of Elijah Wood, voice of the titular 9 character along with an animator whose name I wasn't able to pick up. They started off with the trailer that is available online and then went into some background about director Shane Ackers original short film in his time in film school and how it was noticed by Tim Burton and got off the ground to become a full-length film. They then took several questions from the crowd and then showed another clip, a couple minute scene depicting a battle of the rag-doll characters battling some type of bizzare flying creature/machine. We got to hear the character voices from most of the main cast (I believe Wood, Christopher Plummer, John C. Reilly and Jennifer Connelly were all featured in the scene). It was an action packed clip well put together, and I'm just loving the general look and atmosphere of the film. There was also a nice inclusion of humor at the end of a big action scene which shows a hint of some levity put into a post-apocalyptic world. Following a question I asked about what draws such a great cast to an animated film, Wood talked about how much he likes animation in general as well the look of this specific film. He said that a lot of the animation out there is "talking lions and zoo animals" and loved the fact that this was something new and dark and different. Both panel guests said it will be a dark film, but "with hope." The non-Elijah panel member spoke highly of the cast, which truth be told is really solid. This looks like something that might have trouble in the beginning but could pick up a pretty big following in the end. The Up panel featured director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera. They had a well put together panel where they set up 5 different scenes from the film that really showed a lot of what the film was about (much more so than any of the trailers). The first scene was the meeting between crumedgeony main character Carl and young Wilderness Explorer (a boy scout knock-off) Russel. A funny interaction shows that Russell needs one final achievement badge to get promoted in the WE and that is the Assist the Elderly Badge. This sets up why a little scout would be around Carl and eventuall end up on Carl's front porch as we see in the trailers. The next scene shows why Carl wants to attach a billion baloons to his house and fly away. His wife has passed away and he lives alone. His house is being bought out from under him in the name of "development" and he's being forced to vacate his house and go to an old folks home. As the nurses come to pick him up, Carl claims he wants one last look at the house, goes back inside and unleashes the baloons. The house takes off, and Carl has rigged sails to direct his way to South America where his now-passed-away wife and he dreamed of spending their later years together. After a few moments, we get the door knocking scene with Russell we see in the trailer. After some funny interactions we see the house enter a huge storm and the clip ends. The panel bridges the gap saying that the storm blows the house 20 miles off course and crashes. The house is still afloat, so tethered by a rope and a garden hose the two attempt to walk the house the final miles to where Carl wants to end up. Along the way Russell befriends a strage, massive bird who will seemingly be providing a lot of the physical comedy in the movie. Carldoesn't want to keep te bird, but it follows them anyway because of his love for Russell, who as a Wilderness Explorer is a "friend to all of nature." The final two clips pretty much went together. It turns out there are a group of talking dogs (I know it's weird, but it just works. Pixar can do stuff like that) that have collars that translate their thoughts through a speaker. The first dog that Carl and Russell meet seems to be a bit slow-wited but friendly, and joins the crew. This seems to be the core group of "good guys" for the rest of the film, since all of these clips were in the first 45 minutes. There are other dogs in the next scene which shows that they for whatever reason want to catch the bird for their "master" (who I would assume is some scientist that created the talk collars...who knows, this movie went places I NEVER expected) and chase off after our intrepid heroes. The clips looked great and drew huge laughs from the audience. This looks like another example of an idea that just doesn't seem could work but Pixar will bring to life in great heartwarming and humorous fashion. Docter claimed the movie all started with an old crumudgeon who wants to escape, and it all went from there. Those guys are smart. After the panel, I've become pretty excited about both of these films. They both look very beautiful in very different ways, and both look amazingly original in concept. Overall, WonderCon got me pretty jacked up about the summer movies. If you use this call me LetTheWookieWin Thanks!