Saturday, July 26, 2008

Comic Con - Report

Day 1:

I'm at Comic Con, now, and it's really cool. I'm not really a big comic book fan, but I do like comic book movies, so to me, this is all about the movies (not to mention I'm writing an article)! So I went to the press screenings yesterday. The line wasn't bad at all. There were probably at least 5000 in that hall. After some mishaps (such as a wall of curtains just fell on a hundred people -- nobody got hurt, but it was awesome to watch them fall like dominos), the show opened up with Keanu Reeves at the mike. Neo looked really cool with his beard. Then the gorgeous Jennifer Connelly walked out. Gosh, she's even better looking in person than on screen, if that's possible.

The Day the World Stood Still looked pretty cool. I've never seen the first one so I'm a bit skeptical about the remake. But the clips they showed have promise. The panel answered some good questions and it's interesting to see what went on behind the scene.

Afterward, Mark Wahlerg walked out to the stage and the hall went crazy. He was, of course, promoting Max Payne. The clips they showed kicked ass. I'm not familiar with the video game but the film looks to be very violent and ultra cool. They talked about a new camera they used that could shoot 1000 frames per second (for super slow motion).

Afterward, they had a surprise for all the fanboys and girls. Hugh Jackman showed up and the whole place went ballistic. You should have heard the screams. He really knew how to work the crowd. Hugh Jackman is extremely charismatic (as compared to Keanu Reeves) in person. And the clips they showed of Wolverine.... man, I can't wait to see that film. As he said, it's BAD ASS. Gosh, the clips were AWESOME with an A.

After that, we had an intemission.... people left and more people came in... suddenly I was aware that there were a lot of teenage girls in the audience... something's up.

Later, we had Chris Evan... Dakota Fanning was stuck in traffic so she couldn't be there (there was a 5-hour delay on the I-5 due to an accident). They showed a new movie called PUSH, and my friend Ming Na's in that one, too. But to me, it's just MEH. It's like X-Men but set in the real world...

Then the Twilight thing came on, and the females -- thousands of them -- started to scream. Dude, I've never seen anything like this and I felt like I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I'm not familiar with the books or the film, but judging from the reaction from the audience, I think this is going to be the Titanic for vampire fans. Don't mess with 5000 screaming female fans, man!

Later, I went to a few writing related panels and they were very interesting.

Will report later.

TTFN





Day 2:

Started off the day a bit late, attended the Big Bang Theory panel with the whole cast there. I like the show (smart, funny, and relevant, to me) and it was fun to see a packed room (about 500) of fans.

But I got to the Watchmen panel a little late so couldn't get in. It was a real bummer because I heard that it was really good and they showed multiple "never seen before" clips. But I made up for that later (will explain).

I did get in eventually for the Wolfman panel with make-up master Rick Baker, Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro. The clips of the remake look excellent, reminding me of Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow. I'm very interested in seeing this take on the classic. Rick talked about the late Stan Winton and it was a very touching tribute. It's great to hear that they're doing a lot of old school things with the Wolfman without a lot of CGIs.

Next up: Frank Miller and the cast of The Spirit, including the incomparable Samuel L. Jackson. When Sam came out, the hall shook with thunderous applause. He was, of course, funny as hell and very articulate with lots of anecdotes. It was a pleasure to listen to him. Frank, on the other hand, didn't seem like he wanted to be there. I had a feeling he didn't much care for crowds. The Spirit is Frank Miller's first directorial debut, and it just has a great graphic novel look. Lots of green screen (as opposed to Wolfman). They showed a clip of underwater scene with Eva Mendes and SLJ -- it was shot with the Phantom camera, and without a single drop of water. It's pretty amazing.

After that, I stayed for the Star Wars panel, which was kind of meh for me -- mostly about the Clone Wars TV series and the upcoming movie (August 15). The animation looks really cool, but at the same time, I think, it's geared toward teens. It's still Star Wars, but I think I still prefer live action to computer animal. Plus the panelists were kind of boring...

Which led us to the next set of panelists -- four "hot" directors working in Hollywood these days: Kevin Smith, Judd Apatow (Knocked up, 40 Year Old Virgin), Zack Snyder (Watchmen), and Frank Miller (Spirit). They were very dynamic and funny, especially Kevin Smith and Judd Apatow, throwing out off-color jokes time and again even when reminded that there were minors in the audience. They didn't really tell us too much, but it was nice to listen to them talk and see how they got to where they're now.

Later in the day I also went to the 24 panel with the producer and Kieffer Sutherland, who was very funny as well. I didn't stay long though so I had to get out of there and met up with some folks in the exhibition hall, where I saw a few actors wandering including John Barrowman of Torchwood. I also found a replica of a robot from an anime I used to watch as a child -- that was quite a treat (I didn't buy it, though -- it costs like $600).

So it's been a fun day. Tomorrow, my first priority would be the LOST panel, as well as Pushing Daisies (the whole cast will be there). I'm looking forward to them. Then I'd like to spend some time at the exhibition hall and take as many pictures as I can.


Day 3:


It proved to be a pretty good day. Well, it started out very annoying. I was there more than an hour before the Heroes panel started, but the line was already wrapping around to the back of the convention center. I thought, well, maybe there was still a chance. So I walked and walked and walked and walked and I thought some STAFF member said the line was at "C" -- but I'd passed section "C" already and there was no end in sight for the line. Then I asked again and she said, "The end of the line is all the way to Seaport Village." * GASP * That's like a mile or so from the convention center. So I said, "Fuck it" and walked back to the exhibition hall. Spent about an hour there before heading up to the Sarah Conner Chronicles panel.

So I missed that panel and the LOST panel. I was a bit bummed, but then I heard that the LOST panel was kind of boring. Only Matthew Fox showed up, representing the cast, and then they did a "game" thing with the Dharma Initiative. I guess it sounded like fun but I wanted to hear more about the show and what was in store next season.

So in a way, it was a blessing in disguise because I had enough time to get a good seat. The whole cast of the show was there, in addition to the producers and writers. It was really good to listen to the writers talk about the writing while the actors talked about what it was like on the set. I knew what the actors looked like but still was taken aback by how beautiful Summer Glau and Lena Headey were. Two very different women, but WOW.

Then I stayed for the Writers panel. Five writers included David Goyer, who wrote Batman Begins and The Dark Knight -- so in a way, he's like a rock star. Brad Meltzer (author of the Book of Lies and The Last Council) was also there, plus the book designer Chip Kidd (author, who's best known for his book covers such as Jurassic Park). It was such as great panel as they discussed how comic books and the underground culture influenced their work. It's one great thing about Comic Con -- writers really do get equal time and respect from the audience. It's not just about big movies and big movie stars.

Still, I was star struck by Rainn Wilson during The Office panel. I was sitting right in front of the podium so I was THIS close to him. That's really cool. Wilson was extremely funny, articulate and polite -- there was a hint of Dwight in him but mostly, it's just his comedic genius at play. It was mostly a writer panel but as we know, many writers do perform on the show. BJ Novak and Mindy Kaling were in the panel as well. It's really cool to see how the writers are so important and integrated in the show. The producer also explained how in the beginning they wanted writer-performers (BJ Novak was the first person who got hired) but later they just wanted writers.

(I also won a The Office Trivia Game -- W00t!)

By far, my favorite panel of the day was Pushing Daisies (arguably one of my few favorite shows). Again, the whole cast was there, in addition to creator-writer Bryan Fuller and producer Barry Sonnenfeld. I'm in awe of Fuller -- not only does that guy have a vivid imagination and can write, he's also very articulate, thoughtful, and funny in person. The cast is adorable, to say the least. Chi McBride is AWESOME. And then Kristin Chenoweth did an impromptu rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow (I have it captured on tape). It was great.

Oh, yeah, when the cast came out, I touched hands with them (since I was in the front row). They also showed a 2-minute promote clip of the next season, and it was sweet. Some of the scenes cracked me up (like when Olive dressed up like a nun and sang on the hilltop -- such a nod to the Sound of Music -- made me laugh). It's gonna be a great season, I think (oh, yeah, they'll be adding a PIG to the cast). They seemed to have a genuine love for the show and have a great time making it -- I'm envious.

Then I spent the rest of the afternoon roaming the Exhibition Hall, and took some neat pictures. I'm not really into the comic books and toys but I like to watch the costumes and people having fun. It was a madhouse, though. So many people at one place. It was crazy!

2 comments:

Joe Iriarte said...

I wish I could go to ComicCon. I'm really out of touch with television and movie culture, and it sounds a bit too crowded for me, but I know there are a lot of written-word sci-fi people there I would love to meet. How awesome for you that you get to be there--especially because you appreciate a lot of the stuff that would either sail right over my head or make me feel dumb.

Ray Wong said...

Nobody would feel dumb at Comic Con. They have everything from Manga to Ninja to Conan the Barbarian and Star Wars and Cartoon Network. There is something for everyone. I did enjoy the movie and TV panels very much but the writing panels are very interesting to me. Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz, David Goyer, etc. It's really cool to see these writers talk. The crowds on Saturday was impossible. But it was not so bad on Thursday and Friday.