Sunday, August 1, 2010

Comic-Con 2010 Rundown - SATURDAY: Green Lantern, Harry Potter, Jon Favreau, Marvel, and the attack of the fan!

This day would be a full-on love-in at Hall H! Once again, Rebecca and I got up WAY early (O.K. so 5:30am is way early to me!), got ourselves together with appropriate T-shirts and snack items, proceeding to head down to get in line before the hords descended. Just about every single day I praised our newfound hotel with it's spectacular view. Once again keeping a stern lookout down on the tented area outside of Hall H where people were gathering, we pulled ourselves together and headed out the door. Chris and his son Justice would soon meet us once again, as would our friend Scott. I'd mentioned to them previously the opportunity to jump in line with Rebecca and I, and they found us about two hours from doors opening.

First up was the cast of "Green Lantern" including Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, and Mark Strong. The main thing all of us were on the edge of our seats for was actual footage from the movie. We'd all seen the cover of Entertainment Weekly, coming away a little concerned over the look of the movie version of GL's suit. As the lights dimmed, the Warner Bros and DC Comics logos came up and we were treated to a short trailer showing Hal Jordan fighting a bunch of guys in a dark parking lot. To his surprise, when he threw a punch the ring on his finger extended that punch in to a giant green hued fist taking out several guys at once. It looked just like in the comics and we all cheered with approval!

We never did get a shot of Reynolds as Hal Jordan in the actual CG suit, but we were treated to a look at some of the characters and worlds this movie would inhabit. Some quick shots at one or two of the other Lantern corps members as well as flashes of the planet IO where the Guardians live. My hope is that they'll be able to balance the reality-based world of Earth with the fantastical universe that the Green Lantern Corps resides. The brief trailer only revealed a hint of this, and we all hoped they'd run it a second time, which never came.

During the Q&A afterward a small boy came to the microphone and asked if Ryan Reynolds would recite the Green Lantern oath which is the following: 'In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil's might, Beware my power...Green Lantern's light!' With great passion and a loving delivery, Reynolds had everyone in his hand as the little boy listened to that oath spoken by the man who would embody Hal Jordan on screen next summer. By the end of it, I think everyone was smiling broadly at this special moment. The little boy seemed really impressed and raised his hand to reveal a Green Lantern ring. Reynolds did the same, showing off his version from the movie. He then signed a Green Lantern comic to give to the boy. It was just so cool and so sweet at the same time.

Here is a clip of that moment, although the first line is cut off slightly.

Absolutely looking forward to more footage, even though what little they did show looked awesome!

Next up was the panel for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows". Rebecca and I were a bit surprised when only actor Tom Felton came up on stage to speak to the fans. I would have expected almost the entire cast since this is the last story in the franchise to be told on screen. Let's have a giant send off panel, shall we?…..I guess not. Turned out it was Daniel Radcliff’s birthday the day before and he was in Europe. A day after Comic-Con was over he publicly apologized to the fans for not being in San Diego for the highly anticipated preview.

Even though I've never really been a Harry Potter fan, I have to say the footage looked amazing, and I even found myself swept up a bit in the scope of this final intense set of movies. Even though there certainly was a huge contingent for Green Lantern in line that morning, it was obvious that numbers had grown quite large even by the time we headed down very early because of the Potter panel.

Now it was time to kick back and pretty much wait for the afternoon's previews of Jon Favreau's "Cowboys and Aliens" and the climax of the day, the hugely anticipated panels for Marvel's "Thor" and "Captain America". An hour-long presentation of trailers from upcoming movies drew some groans from many in Hall H. Most notably a cheap CG film about wolves with no one special doing the voice work (I can't even remember the name of it) and Jack Black's "Gulliver's Travels" which looks pretty bland. We also got a look at the new trailer for "Machete" which strayed from the girndhouse version that came out first. This was more of a modern take and was completely wrong for the movie. It was still good to see new footage though. One night as we were walking to have dinner we saw an outdoor promotion for the movie complete with the stars and a parking lot full of cool low riders.

"Resident Evil: Afterlife" was up next with Director Paul W.S. Anderson, actors Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, and Wentworth Miller. A new trailer was on hand as well as a cool action sequence, all in 3D. Oh yes BTW, they'd handed out 3D glasses when we entered the hall first thing in the morning. Several of the trailers and clips were in 3D and we finally had a chance to see something that had been converted...but more about that in a little bit.

During the "Afterlife" Q&A" someone asked Milla Jovovich if she'd say 'mul - ti - pass!', one of her iconic lines in "The Fifth Element". The crowd responded so excitedly that I somehow missed her delivery right after that. The panel finished and the lights came up.

And then it happened.

Something was going down two sections over from where we were sitting. Wasn't sure if someone had been injured, fainted, fell, or had been in some kind of scuffle. I was just about to head to the men's room so I decided to start asking people who were in the vicinity where many were standing on seats and rubbernecking. One woman said that someone had fainted, another that they'd had some type of heart attack or fainting spell. As I moved down the aisle closer to ground zero, a couple of people told me that someone had gotten stabbed. What?! Huh?! That never happens here, I said. People around me echoed that thought with shock and disbelief. This was not the crowd to perpetrate such an act. At a sporting event here or in Europe, Comic-Con, never!

Shortly it became apparent what the facts were. Some guy tried to stab another guy near his eye over the issue of whose seat they were in or wanted to be in. There's always a bit of a scuffle with people trying to get better seats as some of the crowd leaves Hall H after an event, but never at the expense of safety. A voice came over the loudspeaker asking people to please move back and take their seats. Soon an official from the convention took the stage to say that they were going to run some more trailers while the situation was being handled. As the same trailers we'd seen an hour ago began to run again (with boos from the audience), the cops arrived and took a young black man out by the back wall of the auditorium. Everyone booed, and one guy nearby shouted out 'you ruined my Comic-Con!!!'.

What I didn't know was that they'd shut down Hall H and weren't letting anyone else in until things had settled. Later reports said that scheduled events were delayed about a half hour. In fact there was about an hour delay before programming started up again. But soon it would all be moot to the crowd because Jon Favreau was about to come out and woo everyone with "Cowboys and Aliens". And when I say woo, I mean WOOOO!!!

Favreau has this amazing ability to get out there, grab the audience, put up the most incredible, straight to the point footage, intro the stars with a few surprises, and get out. This was absolutely the pinnacle of his appearance on stage this day. Meeting with a standing ovation from fans, he immediately began the roll call of actors from the upcoming film. Daniel Craig took the stage to screams from female fans, followed by the ever-cool Sam Rockwell, plus Paul Dano and Olivia Wilde, who had just been present two days before for the "Tron Legacy" panel. With this rollout the anticipation meter began to rise. Favreau was bringing out just about the entire cast. And the final individual’s name that everyone was leaning forward in his or her chairs hoping to hear was someone who we all thought would probably never attend.

Favreau suddenly said there was one member of the cast who had never been to Comic-Con and this was to be his first time...and Harrison Ford was promptly led out onstage in handcuffs by two police officers! We all jumped out of our seats and screamed!!! Even though I’d seen Ford up close two months before, it was pretty thrilling to see him finally attending this sacred event! And just like Johnny Depp when he surprised the audience a year ago by joining Tim Burton on stage for the "Alice in Wonderland" panel, so too did Ford utter only one or two sentences about how overwhelmed he was at the size of the crowd and how he only ever wanted to be a working actor.

Then it was time for the footage, something no one expected with any great length. Incredibly, after only a few weeks of shooting in New Mexico, Jon Favreau rolled out three fully cut scenes! Two involving Daniel Craig's character trying to find shelter in a small western town, the reveal of the strange alien bracelet around his wrist, and his being taunted by a fellow jail cell prisoner played by Paul Dano. The third scene was the one that blew everyone out the back wall of Hall H!! Craig's character is being loaded in handcuffs onto a special secured stagecoach for transfer out of town. Harrison Ford's character, a local land baron, comes riding in to say he wants his son (Dano) released from the same stage Craig is in. Suddenly off in the distance comes a strip of lights in the sky. The townspeople look on in amazement as those lights separate and begin firing down on the little town. We're talking full-on complete special effects during this scene! It was IN...SANE!!! Favreau had earlier described the look of this movie like John Ford meets "Close Encounters" and it really showed! I wasn't surprised to learn that Steven Spielberg is also the executive producer on the film.

When the lights went up, Favreau said thanks to all the fans who supported the release of "Iron Man 2" and to come back next year for a full-on look at "Cowboys and Aliens". The film has the distinction of not being released until August of 2011 so next year's CC will be the perfect jumping off point for the much-anticipated flick. And with no further adieu, Jon Favreau and company posed for a few photos and headed off stage. Incredible! Like I said before, he came in, he mopped up, and left everyone with a true thrill! Oh, and along the way he mentioned that this movie would be in good old-fashioned 2D, to the wild applause of a 3D weary crowd.

Hey, maybe this is a time to go grab a sandwich because I ain't done yet! You want a rundown, I GOT A RUNDOWN!!

Because now we're about to reach the awe inspiring climax, the main panel of the day that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was counting the minutes an seconds until; the Marvel presentation.

As news of the stabbing began to exit everyone's minds, Marvel's Kevin Fiege was the first to take the stage, leaping right into "Captain America" and the introduction of Chris Evans as the 'first avenger' and Hugo Weaving who is playing the Red Skull. Once they'd taken a seat the lights went down and we were treated to a brief teaser for the movie. Since they'd only been filming for a little over a week, there really wasn't anything to show. The teaser had historical clips from WWII over a tracking shot of Captain America's shield. The final reveal was a brief glimpse of Evans in his Cap outfit but mostly in shadow, throwing that mighty shield which slammed into the movie's logo. The crowd probably felt like it had seen everything and was very impressed. But then a full scene was rolled out which had just been completed mere days earlier.

The clip showed Weaving's character before his transformation into Captain America's nemesis, the Red Skull, when he was a Nazi commander in WWII. I'll let the folks over at describe the scene properly.

It was a lot more than I could have imagined they'd show. But being that this would be the only Comic-Con preview for the movie, I knew they wanted to give as much as they could this early in the game. By the time Wondercon comes around early next year they're sure to have a more full-on eye-popping presentation.

We moved over to the first footage of "Thor" with an extended trailer that I know a lot of you have seen in the last day or so online. It's apparent that someone at the post house that put this together grabbed the clip and illegally posted it. The studio cops moved quickly…it's already been removed from a number of movie sites across the web.

Director Kenneth Branagh, the God of Thunder himself, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Clark Gregg were all introduced before the footage (presented in a 3D conversion) was rolled before a very excited crowd. This movie has had a good portion of its principle photography completed so there was plenty to be excited about. Once again I'll let someone else do the description of the actual trailer, this time from

Definitely looks exciting and very faithful to the comic. Plus, I was very glad to hear that they're going the Donald Blake route. For the uninitiated, when Thor was banished to Earth he assumed the identity of a human doctor that used a walking stick. When he needed to become Thor he would slam the tip of that walking stick to the ground, instantly transforming into the God of Thunder. How this will be presented in the movie is anyone's guess because they showed nothing that alluded to that aspect. Yet Kenneth Branagh (pronounced 'Braah-naah' and not 'Bre-neh' the way LA Times Hero Complex blogster Geoff Boucher, who was the MC for the Marvel panel, pronounced it) definitely made that connection while responding to a fan's question. He was probably the most unluckiest of Comic-Con guests, but still extremely welcome nonetheless.

This was the first time I’d seen a 3D conversion, and it was pretty disappointing. A few people commented previously that the conversion processing looks like you’re seeing a View Master image; flat images that are layered to give the simulation of 3D. The “Thor” footage looked exactly like this and I know right now that we’ll be differing to the 2D version when it’s released.

Speaking of questions, one perturbed fan asked producer Kevin Fiege what was on just about everyone's mind; why the hell wasn't Edward Norton secured as The Hulk for future projects! Fiege just responded with what everyone knew already, echoing Norton's comments that The Hulk was bigger than everyone and would move forward with even greater adventures. Fiege than added that the panel was far from over. This was only a ramp up to what would become the ultimate reveal of the entire event. The lights dimmed as a special teaser trailer for the upcoming "Avengers" movie was shown. The crowd once again rose to its feet with insane applause and cheering. Samuel L. Jackson's voice called out the oath of the team that wouldn't hit movie screens until 2012. But the minute that 'A' appeared on the giant screens over everyone's heads, we all knew this was THE moment.

With that flair we've all seen at Comic-Con’s past, Robert Downey, Jr. surprisingly took the stage to announce that a few friends were in the wings about to join him. Along with Rebecca, Chris and his son, plus Scott, I'd also bonded with a fan sitting next to me by the name of Jose. We had a lot of fun throwing comments around during our time (he was an all-dayer as well) about how we wanted to see that "Green Lantern" trailer again and quips about how some of the movies we were seeing trailers for were pretty lame. We both practically stood up on our seats as Downey began what became the Avengers roll call, the two of us shouting 'they are not fucking going to do it, they are not fucking going to do it....THEY'RE GOING TO DO IT!!!!' What we were so excited about was the fact that all the members of the Avengers were assembling, right through the introduction of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk! One by one, the entire team, which included Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), plus Renner and Ruffalo, took to the stage as crazed applause rose the roof of Hall H. Finally, Joss Weadon (the director of the project) was introduced to overwhelming cheers. And yes, even though I have not been the staunchest supporter of this team-up and movie, I was blown away by the event within THE event!!! Or, to refer to a recent movie everyone save for Rebecca and I think is the second coming, a dream within a dream.

Here is video of this historic Comic-Con / Marvel moment...

As the lights finally went up, we took stock of some of the most exciting panels we'd ever seen at Comic-Con. Jose was packing up to make his exit and I turned to say how great it was to share the day's events. We shook hands as he echoed that exact sentiment. Once again, another cool connection with a fellow fan. But wait...the most incredible moment this side of the "Tron Legacy" panel had not ended our time in Hall H. There was still Kevin Smith's annual hose-fest to attend. Quickly Rebecca and I gathered up our belongings and hunted for a seat closer to the stage. At about the twentieth row we found a great spot to watch Tons of Fun do his thing. Of course at this point everything was still running about an hour late due to the stabbing. Looked like we weren't going to make it to Chianti's Restaurant for our annual steak dinner, but there was still Sunday night.

It was great at this point to just hang out and listen to Kevin Smith spin those always-funny stories about his life and the people he encounters. Fan questions turned into entire volumes of adventures he had on movie sets and just trying to watch "From Dusk 'Till Dawn" at home on a 52-inch television. When 9pm came it was time to head back to the hotel and find Bill. Sandwiches and room service became dinner due to the late hour. There was just one more day left, and it'd be another early wake-up call. The "Tron" vintage figure and "Tron Legacy" Light Cycle were calling, and I HAD to get in line really early Sunday morning to make sure and get one of each!


Post a Comment

<< Home