Once a year Downtown San Diego undergoes an invasion by a nerd army. We occupy it, make it our temporary home, and should it treat us right we choose not to pillage it. We fuel it’s economy and tirelessly run up and down it’s streets donning costumes, star wars shirts, or apparel flaunting our favorite iconic heroes. We carry over sized bags collecting every last bit of free swag this coveted event has to offer. We are the nerds, the geeks, and the social oddities. This is our occasion which pulls us, and even some normal folk, together from all corners of the globe under one roof. This is Comic Con.
This is my 4th Comic Con and it never ceases to amaze me how much it grows every year. 125,000 attendees strong and it will not lose momentum anytime soon. For those of you who have never been, it is a 4 day (5 should you attend preview night) event with every imaginable form of entertainment available, except porn although it wouldn’t surprise me if that finds its way in too. Do not let its title fool you, Comic Con now features movies, television shows, anime, art, and video games. Hell, even TV guide has a booth here for some reason. This has been a source of controversy since many purists feel the comics are being pushed out by these new additions to the con.
Do not believe for a second this is your local comic book convention. You are tested physically and mentally on every imaginable level to get, or so much as see, the things you want. It requires strategic planning a year in advance just to attend. If you want that exclusive item you need to be faster, smarter, and better than the many others who would beat their own mothers with a broken lawn chair for it. No my readers this convention is not for the faint of heart. On that note I will share my experiences with you. I have broken this article up into the top 3 subjects I feel are worth reporting on, these being the panels, the costumes, and lastly the swag.
I had no place to sleep Wednesday night so I ended up camping out in line for the Disney Tron:Legacy presentation. This can be considered very hardcore or very sad depending on how you see it. By midnight it even started to rain but luckily the good folks at the nearby Hilton gave us free water, pillows, and blankets. Even then this was much better than last year’s Twilight fiasco, I still hear the endless screams of 6,000 tweens in my sleep. Well it all paid off since I got front row seats, unfortunately I had to sit through Dreamwork’s Megamind panel before I could see the epic Tron presentation. At least this was my attitude before it started. I was surprised to not only find that Megamind actually seems like a well animated and entertaining film, but the panel had me laughing so hard I was ready to cry.
The panel begins with director Tom McGrath being called on stage and explaining the movie. Suddenly, Will Ferrell walks on stage in a Megamind costume, to his surprise being the only one dressed up. He figured since it was Comic Con everyone would have a costume on. I could not tell you how funny this was, and it only got funnier as Tina Fey and Jonah Hill entered the stage. Lastly the director introduced the film’s final star, Bradd Pitt! The crowd goes nuts only to see Will Ferrell walk out on stage with a cardboard cut out of Pitt wearing a tuxedo. With Angelina at the con for Salt, Brad had to stay home to take care of the kids. This was too funny since we all felt like we fell for a really well played prank. The cardboard cutout stayed on stage the entire time, being molested by Tina Fey most of the time.
We get some brand new footage from Megamind which reveals more of the film’s plot. Megamind (Ferrell) actually defeats the city’s hero Metroman (Pitt). The city belongs to Megamind to do as he wishes but it doesn’t seem to make him happy. Tina Fey plays Roxanne Ritchi who is the strong love interest is always being kidnapped by Megamind to lure Metroman, as most villains do with the girlfriend of a superhero. The comedic twist here is that no matter how much danger Roxanne is in, she is never afraid and seems so used to Megamind’s routine that she knows everything he has to throw at her. The Q&A from fans was pretty bland as usual except for two questions, or I should say one question and one statement which you can see below. The stars were hilarious, the footage was great, and it certainly changed my original opinion on this film. Dreamwork’s villainous adventure Megamind hits theaters November 5th 2010.
In 2008 attendees of the Disney panel at the San Diego Comic Con were treated to special test footage for a brand new Tron sequel. Over 6,000 minds were blown, 12,000 eyes made love to, and one movie was sent on the fast track into production due to the overwhelming positive response. Tron: Legacy is the only movie to be featured at the con for three years in a row, and this was going to be the first year full footage from the film would be revealed to the fans that started it all. Disney has pulled all the stops with this movie, the $300 million budget along with a vigorous viral campaign (which I have been following religiously) and even going as far as to say that this year it will be known as Comic-TRON (whaa-whaa-whaaaa!). They have the up most confidence in this film.
Patton Oswalt hosted the panel and I love this guy, his jokes are witty, smart, and just fantastic. We were treated to a montage of different videos referring to Tron over the years. Everything from Honda commercials, to Robot Chicken, Family Guy, and even Tron on ice were featured with the appropriate Daft Punk song “Around the world” playing in the background. The Q&A between Peter Oswalt and the cast of the film was fairly generic, the Q&A from fans was mind numbing. After this we got to see 8 minutes of the film, and let me tell you, it is glorious.
The clip starts right after Sam Flynn, played by Garrett Hedlund, arrives in the Tron world. He cannot believe what he is seeing until he gets captured by a recognizer and taken to a compound of some kind. As the recognizer flies we are treated to some beautiful scene shots of the environments. Everything is so rich and vivid, I can honestly say it is unlike anything I have ever seen before. The recognizer lands and each prisoner is given an immediate sentence, Sam is given “games”. This, unknown to him, is gladiatorial combat in a packed stadium. The scenes that follow just blew my mind. The combat is action packed, the visuals are breath taking, and we get our first good look at Clu 2.0, the villain of the film. For those who don’t remember, Clu was Kevin Flynn’s, played by Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges, program in the first film who got de-rez’d. Clu 2.0 is a CGI 35 year old Jeff Bridges, and it is almost eerie how realistic he seems. He looks, sounds, and acts like Jeff Bridges did 30 years ago. Oh and by the way this footage was all in 3D, and it looks amazing. Also thanks to the new footage we were treated to even more of the soundtrack by Daft Punk. It sounds lucid and resembles a cyber-orchestra programed to make sweet love to your ears. It has been approximately 11 years since I have bought a cd, but I must own this soundtrack. Yeah, it is that good.
The next part came as a surprise, the director decided he wanted to cast Hall H into Tron: Legacy, all 6,000 of us. Basically a phrase was lit up on the screen and we had to yell it. The phrases were “DISK WARS!”, “DE-REZ!”, and “RINZ-LER!”, then we had to stomp on queue. This was all recorded by the sound crew from ILM and it will possibly be in the film. Make sure to keep an ear out for me! 😉 I must say this is the one movie I have been looking forward to all year and December 17th 2010 cannot get here soon enough.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES
Well that concluded the Tron: Legacy panel, but the presentation was far from over. A new video began to play and to our surprise it was Johnny Depp in his Jack Sparrow attire announcing the new Pirates of the Caribbean film, On Stranger Tides. Basically by the end of the hilarious skit we learn there will be zombies, Penelope Cruz, a bloody map and bloody Maries all around! I know this film has been pretty rocky but I look forward to a new Pirates of the Caribbean adventure which focuses on Jack Sparrow. You can actually watch the teaser below. The rum will continue to be gone and another Jack Sparrow adventure arrives May 20th 2011.
Then one final announcement from Disney regarding the Haunted Mansion franchise, we were given a teaser trailer and exclusively at comic con, Guillermo del Toro was announced to be the Director for the new Haunted Mansion film. He seemed very enthusiastic about the opportunity to make a creepy and dark film based on his favorite Disneyland experience.