Saturday, August 1, 2009

Comic Con '09 Friday

Friday we showed up at around the same time we had the previous day to wait in the line, but we were able to get in easily despite the fact that the first panel on Friday started one hour earlier than it did on Thursday. It's amazing what a difference a lack of a Twilight panel made! This meant much less sun-burning from waiting in line, which is always a plus.

The first panel was Warner Brothers, which included a wide variety of films. The first one was Where the Wild Things Are. The clips that they showed us looked pretty good, and the kid that plays Max showed up. He was adorable! It was his first time at comic con, and the kid did pretty well-6500 people can be intimidating for Hollywood actors that aren't actually used to a live audience. Actually he handled it much better than many of the adult actors I saw. He read notes off his hand and told a couple of cute anecdotes. The first was about a phone conversation he had with Maurice Sendak on his birthday where Sendak told him that he thinks the movie turned out pretty well and that he hopes everyone likes it and if they don't they can "go to hell." The way this kid said it was pretty cute. The second was about how the director likes to try to get actors to show "real" emotion instead of acting (cough because Hollywood actors are spoiled and hired for their looks rather than acting abilities cough) and I guess in one of the scenes this kids was supposed to be surprised. So, without warning the kid the director arranged for a giant flame to shoot up during the shot to get a genuine reaction out of the kid. I'm not sure how I feel about these methods, but the story was amusing regardless.

The next movie was The Book of Eli. The movie didn't particularly interest me because I'm not a huge fan of the action genre, but Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman showed up for the panel and they were hilarious! At one point they made a joke involving role playing with each other, I'm just going to leave it at that. You could tell that they were both fairly intelligent and really believed in the movie and had fun working on it with each other. It was a huge contrast from the New Moon panel.

A Nightmare on Elm Street was next and the guy who played Rorschach is playing Freddy in this new version. The old Nightmare is actually one of my favorite horror movies along with Scream because I love the sense of humor that Wes Craven brings to these movies. They have enough scary points to make it fun to watch at a sleep over and scream with your friends, but there's comic relief in there as well and it creates a nice balance. Freddy scares you, but he can also make you laugh, and that's why I love him. Plus, the original has Johnny Depp, which can only be a plus as far as I'm concerned. I was disappointed to hear that this new movie is going to take out the comedy element, according to the panel, and make it more of a straight horror movie, although at least they said that there weren't going to make it another gore fest.

The Box was next, and it looks pretty good. It's directed by Richard Kelly, who directed Donnie Darko, and it stars Cameron Diaz and James Marsden. All three of them were there for the panel. The plot of it is what really piqued my interest. It's based on a short story by Richard Matheson and basically what happens is that a couple is presented with a box with a button on top. They are told that if they push the button, two things will happen: they will get a million dollars and someone, somewhere, who they don't know, will die. It's the simplicity of the premise that I love. There's so many ways to justify something like that, I mean there are billions of people on Earth and at any moment a lot of them will be dying anyway, you could easily convince yourself that one more won't matter and that you'll give part of the money to charity so that some good comes out of it to justify it. But in the end, you are responsible for a person's death and it seems to me that it would almost be worse if you didn't know who it was because then whenever you hear about a person dying that day you won't know if that was the one you were to blame for. I would imagine that a million dollars can disappear surprisingly quickly as well and with that button still there, would you do it again? All of this is just speculation based on the simple premise they gave us, but I love the fact that even without seeing the movie I already have this much to think of and debate!

Jonah Hex was next. I was not very impressed with it mostly due to the presence of Megan Fox. She broke the trend of most the actresses who had shown up to panels of not wearing much make up and dressing fairly casual. I almost felt sorry for her because some of the guys who asked her questions were pretty obnoxious, but she seemed to be eating it up. I guess it could have been an act, but she kept rubbing her arm and fixing her hair and stayed for photos longer than the rest of the cast, so if she was acting it was the best performance I've seen her give. I took this opportunity to use the restroom.

The last movie in the Warner Brothers panel was Sherlock Holmes. As much as I feel reticent about the amount of action this movie seems to have versus the amount of logical deduction based on the trailers let's face it: with Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. I'm going to see it anyway. Robert Downey Jr. actually showed up to the panel and he was wonderful! Rather than having some one from the studio come out and introduce the clips at the beginning and then bring the actors on one at a time afterwards Downey just walked onstage at the beginning of the panel without any introduction and set up the clips himself. Afterwards during the Q & A he seemed to take on the role of moderator and he definitely stole the show. He was able to turn even the most inane question and comments into something entertaining. His wife is one of the producers, and you could tell that they both really believed in the project and did a fair amount of research on it. Rachel McAdams showed up as well and I enjoyed her on the wonderful Canadian TV series "Slings and Arrows" (which you should watch if you haven't already) and I'm also excited about her upcoming role in Time Traveler's Wife because I loved that book. Overall I felt pretty jazzed about this movie by the end of the panel.

Next was the Disney Animation Panel. They showed us a teaser for Toy Story 3 and announced that they'll be coming out with Toy Story 1 &2 as a double feature in 3d and that sounds pretty good. I am a Toy Story fan. I was even more excited that they'll be coming out with Beauty in the Beast in 3D on valentine's day 2010. I realize that they're milking the 3D craze for all it's worth, but I don't care. Even though 3D doesn't do much for me because I am so not a visual person I'm excited just to get to see it in theatres again. The first time I was pretty young and inconsolable after the Beast turned into the Prince. To me the prince was a spoiled brat and at that age I didn't understand why Belle might prefer someone a bit more her species. I saw it at a mall with my family and my Aunt and Uncle from out of town and they tried everything to get me to calm down, even bringing me into the toy shop and I just could not be mollified. They showed us the entire first song at the panel in 3D and I was excited, although a bit sad that this wasn't a sing along panel as well.

The new movie announcement was for The Princess and the Frog. I wasn't excited about this movie before the panel, but I am now. Apparently this movie marks Disney's return to hand-drawn animation as opposed to computer as well as the return of the Disney musical! I love musicals! They showed us some clips from the movie including a song and it really did have an old Disney vibe and I'm very excited about that.

I have a lot of friends who hate Disney because it "ruined" whatever treasured fairy tale from their childhood, but these are often the same people who love Gregory Maguire. Hypocrites the lot of them. Robin McKinley or Maguire will put their own twist on a fairy tale and everyone says how wonderful and there's even a fairy tale retold genre out there, but for some reason Disney can't put their own style on it. These are fairy tales people even among the written versions there are huge differences between say Perrault and the Grimm brothers telling of a story, and thousand of more versions that weren't written down. They are fluid. There is no one "correct" version. That's why I love them so much, and I think that's why a lot of people love them, including the ones who hate Disney for "ruining" them. Let me tell you these stories have been used by so many authors they don't have any virtue left to protect. Yes, they do put happy endings on the end and cut out the part where Sleeping Beauty is raped, but these are made for kids, and kids should be able to believe in happy endings-they have plenty of time for cynicism when they grow up--trust me. In my opinion the mark of any great artist is that they do have their own distinctive style. You can say that you don't like that particular style and that's fine-it's personal preference, but Disney did not "ruin" these stories. If you want to hate Disney there are far better excuses that you can come up with.

The last movie on the Disney panel was Ponyo, which I am the most excited about because I love Miyazaki--and he was actually there! He spoke through a translator, so it took a bit of time to do the Q & A with him, but he made it worth the wait. My two favorite answers he gave were to the girl who asked him why he has so many female leads in his movies, to which he responded "Because women are strong and beautiful" Oh you silver-tongued devil! The other was his response to the obligatory "where do you get your inspiration from?" question to which he responded: "I'd tell you, but after each time I forget" He won the inkpot and was presented with it at the panel, and that was nice to be able to see. He asked if he could actually use the ink in it.

The next panel in Hall H was for the movie 9. Tim Burton showed up because he's producing it. Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly are doing voices for the movie, and they were there as well. During the con this movie had a cute promotional gimmick where they had girls (and one guy that I saw) pass out post cards containing pictures and bios of all 9 characters. Each girl only had cards for one character, and they had that number on their back, and they wandered the con passing them out so there was a bit of the collector's vibe to it, which is a smart way to go at comic con. The movie itself looked really good based on the clips because everyone loves a post-apocalyptic flick, and I love the idea of "stitch punk."

After the 9 panel we wandered the floor a bit, picked up the goodie bags that we got tickets for at the WB panel from their booth, and went home. We were pretty tired already and knew we had more long days ahead of us, and none of the remaining panels particularly interested us.

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