Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Comic-Con Day 4 (Hall H Part 2)

I’m now sitting in a seat.  I was talking with a dude in the line about STAR WARS, and suddenly, an hour had passed.  The line started to move, and I was so caught up in our conversation that I hadn’t even gotten my badge out when I got to the door.  So I had to stop and let twenty or so people through ahead, and never saw that guy again. 

Ah well.

I got a fairly good seat, and am doing what I can to make myself comfortable.  I finally have a Wi-Fi signal, but I haven’t been able to get online yet.  I didn’t call this a "craptop" two Comic-Cons ago for nada. My cousin keeps telling me I need to get an I-phone, but I am hesitant.  Sure, I’ve seen the fun he’s had with it, but his work paid for his data plan, and even if it didn’t, he has a lot more money coming in than I do.

Still, it would be nice to just be able to look things up on the internet anywhere I go.  Instead, for example, of having to write or read when I go somewhere.  Who needs that?

To be honest, I’m not very excited about most of the panels today.  Last year, I was pretty disgusted with the schedule, and only stayed because I really wanted to see some late panel (I can’t even remember what it was for now).  Today, there’s not much I care about early on (DJANGO UNCHAINED doesn’t appeal to me, I loathe everything about END OF WATCH, and there are two hours of trailers to kill time in between studio panels (what, did SKYFALL cancel at the last minute?), but there is HOBBIT, MAN OF STEEL, and IRON MAN 3 to hope for.

So, the first panel I saw was for DJANGO UNCHAINED.  I realize I’m the only person in America who responded poorly to INGLORIOUS BASTARDS, so it might explain why I was wary of Quentin Tarantino’s new film.  But he’s so personable, and seems to have such a unique perspective and story he wants to tell that I couldn’t help but be sucked into it all.  I sort of want to see the movie now.
And Christoph Waltz is impressively cool, with an unplaceable accent (he's from Austria, but sounds more like James Spader than Schwarzenegger).

Afterward, there was a panel for END OF WATCH.

It’s a Los Angeles-set police drama that would normally appeal to me, except for it’s shot found-footage style.  Except for when it isn’t.  That pretty much guarantees I’m not ever going to see it, but the director came out and he talked about his vision for the movie, and that they shot it really cheaply in exchange for more creative freedom, and I had to respect that.  When somebody makes a movie responsibly, I feel they should be rewarded, even if the odd style they’ve chosen to make it in is repellent to me.

A couple of years ago, I thought ahead, and made myself sandwiches the night before Hall H, then had them in my backpack for when I got hungry (they ended up truly, horribly smashed, but I didn't care by that point).  Unfortunately, I hadn't thought to do so this trip.  I don't know if I mentioned it, but my sister decided to follow me to San Diego with her family, so she could take her boys to the beach, and we could all go to Sea World together.  They ended up staying at the same motel I got reservations for, and since I booked a double room when I made my plans, I ended up staying in their single room and they stayed in mine.  That's a round-about way of saying that I was even more distracted than usual this trip, trying to hang out with my nephews in the little time I wasn't at the convention, soaking my feet, or sleeping.

So, like I started to say, I hadn't thought to bring food with me, so I had the choice of either eating nothing, or eating what they were offering in the lobby (there was technically a third option, which was to give up my space, go grab lunch, then get back in line for Hall H again, and hope I made it back in somehow).  I took the opportunity, about halfway through END OF WATCH, to get up to grab food during the panel, and the food line was so long, that I missed the SILENT HILL 2 panel, or nearly all of it.  I quite liked the first SILENT HILL movie, even though I choose to blame it for the downfall of my horror movie review website.  Plus, it had Sean Bean in it, so that's a point in anything's favor.

Except for EQUILIBRIUM, that is. 

So, I got a pizza and a hot dog, choosing the latter over a soda.  One of the girls in front of me in our morning line brought me a Pepsi from their Starbucks run at 6:00am, and I might have had difficulty justifying four dollars for a Coke anyway.  The food is legitimately awful, but it’s the only show in town.  It was either that, or starvation, but I’m not sure I made the right choice.

Somebody in the SILENT HILL asked about elements from the game ported over into the movie.  That's got to be one of the hardest things about adapting a game for a film, and there's got to be pressure from the fans to include as much as possible, which seems like it would hamper your storytelling ability.  Of course, somebody who doesn't care about comic books but was writing a comic book movie might feel the same way about supporting characters or colorful costumes. 

That panel ended, and the girl sitting next to me had to take off.  They told the audience to let the ushers know if there was an empty seat next to us, so that one of the people in the line outside could come forward.  I‘ve been that guy in the line not getting into panels before, so I keep trying to get the attention of the usher nearest me.  This guy, however, is a huge jagoff, and actually looked at me waving my hand, then turned to look the other way.  I wonder how much I need to beat myself up to fill this seat.  I will try one more time.

A different usher gave me a thumbs up, and I wonder what he thought I was trying to say.  I pointed at the seat and smiled.  He shook his head at me.  Sigh.

So, the next panels were supposed to be us watching trailers, but they were running so late, they just went ahead with the Warner Bros. panels.  First up was PACIFIC RIM, which Guillermo Del Toro directs, that is a giant piloted robots versus giant monster flick.  I like Del Toro a lot, but it was strange to hear him talk without referring to ejaculate or vaginas.  Maybe next time. 

Then they showed some GODZILLA teases, for an upcoming feature directed by Gareth Edwards, who did the low-budget monster flick MONSTERS.  I’m not a fan, so I can’t say how that will go. 

There was also a panel for THE CAMPAIGN, with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifinakas.  It was interesting to see the two of them try to be funny in answering their questions, since they have different comic styles and timing.  A fan asked them to give a campaign speech in character, which totally flummoxed Zach.  He did it, after some hemming and hawing, and then Ferrell did his, building on what Zach had said.  My buddy Big hates Will Ferrell, so I was impressed by his improv skills.

After that, I was excited to see the MAN OF STEEL presentation.  They showed the teaser (they claimed it had extra stuff in it for us, so I’ll see next week**), and the audience seemed to eat it up, but I couldn’t tell for sure.  I was just reeling from how cold it left me.  There was pretty much nothing I responded to, whereas the SUPERMAN RETURNS footage I saw years ago left me weeping.  Everybody loves Nolan’s Batman films, and I understand that, but to take that sensibility and put Superman through it totally doesn’t work for me.  I guess that makes me a douche, but the only thing I liked about the trailer was the really phony-looking computer-generated flying effects.

No, wait, not that either.  What I responded to was seeing Amy Adams as Lois kissing Superman.  And I’m no Amy Adams fan.

Zack Snyder, the director, came out, and talked for a minute.  Then Henry Cavill, who plays Superman, came out.  I was impressed by him, since he was so darn handsome--I mean, he looked like Superman--so I guess I’m willing to give him a chance, but my guess is, I feel about MAN OF STEEL the way most people will feel about the next, post-Nolan iteration of Batman.
The highlight of that panel for me was when a guy stood up to ask a question, but just started crying.  It wasn't just a bit of emotion, but some kind of flood of tears and gibberish that had me looking away uncomfortably.  Finally, the moderator came down and hugged him, and though he was sort of laughing at him and not with him, he helped him get his question out.  We at least clapped for the guy.

Superman means a great deal to people (though the weeping fan may represent the extreme), and he means a lot to me.  By my count, he has one fewer bad movies under his belt than does Batman, so I hope I end up wrong about MAN OF STEEL, and the numbers don't even out.

Even though I typed up some of this on the day, it has taken me a long time to get it posted, so I think I'll quit here, and work on getting the rest out later.  That way, at least one of my posts makes it up before August.

Rish Outfield
*That reminds me, when I saw all the sleeping forms on the sidewalk as I got out of my car, I thought, "Oh no, how can the line possibly stretch all the way out here?"  It didn't occur to me that there might be that many homeless people on the street, and that they'd choose to sleep in such close proximity to one another.  A community, I suppose.

**Turns out the teaser before DARK KNIGHT had almost nothing in it.  Just a couple of seemingly-unrelated images, voice-over, and then a reveal of Superman and his new logo at the end.

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