Monday, April 23, 2012

"Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope" review: spot-on love letter to the passionate faithful who attend

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock has created a wondrous love letter to our beloved Comic-Con with all the yearning, excitement, anticipation and passion that everyone who attends feels at one time or another!

Following seven individuals during the 2010 event as they traverse the cavernous Exhibit Hall trying to break into the comic book industry, desperately hunting for that collectable figure they've waited months to possess and even proposing to their significant other before Kevin Smith and 6,000 other people in the gi-normous Hall H.

We get an intimate look at people whose direction at the event is also different from ours and a side of the convention we may have never realized. Connecting perfectly with what makes Comic-Con a 'mecca' for fanboys and fangirls, we ride along with these always familiar participants while Spurlock's cameras catch all the action...even though for the first time he never appears on screen to guide us. Certainly not a drawback, we do hear from the likes of Kevin Smith, Joss Whedon, Harry Knowles and the master himself, Stan Lee who provide kind of an above the convention overview of why this event has grown, expanded and practically pushed down the walls with it's love of all things comics, sci-fi, movies, TV, video games and the extremely popular and crazily creative cosplay.

Today's cosplay has completely blown out the concept of donning a character costume or uniform and inhabiting that character to such lofty heights, it makes what we did back in the 80's look so incredibly amateurish by comparison. This is never more on display than when we follow an up and coming costume designer / performer who hopes to gain the attention of the film and gaming industry with her crew's incredible presentation of the main characters from the video game "Mass Effect 3" at the masquerade.

My only note regarding the film would be that there are a few moments when, for those of us who've been there, you don't quite realize the true size of what's happening around the camera. It's certainly far from lost on the viewer, but I think just one or two wider shots to encompass everything inside and out might have helped....but these are only minor quibbles.

Wisely shying away from obvious problems Comic-Con continues to develop regarding issues like the size of crowds waiting in hours-long lines and seriously over-priced hotels, Spurlock lets loose only the positive side of this annual event and certainly a side I prefer to concentrate on and appreciate most of all! Lovingly produced, directed and shot, if you attend regularly or even if you have it on your calendar to go at least once in your life, see this movie!

Oh and BTW, we were there in Hall H during Kevin Smith's talk when the young fan we follow in the documentary proposes to his girlfriend in front of the masses! It was truly a very sweet moment to be there in person, appreciated just that much more by seeing the trials and tribulations he went through to make it happen.


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