Starting Wednesday, fanboys and fangirls from around the country will descend on the cozy town of San Diego for the annual geek extravaganza officially known as Comic-Con: International (it'll always be San Diego Comic-Con to us). As always, the line-up is jam-packed with movie, television and even the occasional comic-book company promoting their products and properties at panels and presentations. The big news this year though, is that fewer major Hollywood studios are making a stop at SDCC -- Marvel Studios (which introduced the cast of The Avengers there last year) is taking a pass, as is Warner Bros. and Disney. (The Mouse House is instead organizing its own fan gathering, the D23 Expo, which will be held in Anaheim on August 19-21.) Still, movie buffs shouldn't worry too much; there are still plenty of panels and premieres to consume during your four days in San Diego. Here's a look at some of this year's most prominent film-related programming, along with recommendations for how to preserve your most valuable commodity at Comic-Con: time.
I get that Thor is a classic Marvel character, going back to the 1960s, but how many people do you know who love Thor? I'm not talking that one friend who's a mythology nerd, I'm talking fans of the comic book Thor. I have a ton of friends who grew up reading comics, and still read them -- many of them do it for a living -- and most of them (myself included) can count the number of Thor issues they've read on one hand. But now that the first footage from the upcoming Thor movie has been shown at Comic-Con -- and leaked online -- expect a lot more people to get Thor tattoos, because it looks pretty damn cool. Here's a guide to the trailer's awesomeness.
Okay, maybe "tackles" is a slight exaggeration. Here was the situation: In a massive auditorium at the Jacob Javits Center, a really idiotic woman got up to ask a question. While everyone else had somewhat interesting queries for Jared Padalecki (presumably the hero), Derek Mears (Jason) and producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, one woman was clearly there only because of the dreaminess that is Padalecki (and no... it wasn't me. I swear). She stood in front of a crowd of fans who had just enthusiastically cheered for the very brutal and somewhat impressively disgusting first five minutes of Friday the 13th that were screened and admitted she wasn't a horror fan. This caused Mears to faux-storm off the panel and Padalecki to chase after him, physically stop him from running off and calm him down. It was much more hysterical than it sounds.
So I mostly went to the Warner Brothers screening (which consisted of Watchmen, Friday the 13th and Terminator: Salvation) to see Terminator footage (okay, and to stare at Jared Padalecki for a while). And when we were told they were showing the Watchmen intro footage that they'd shown to the press, I sighed -- not because it wasn't awesome (it was), but because I'd already seen it and was hoping I'd at least get a little something else. I'm greedy like that. And very impatient. But then the teeming masses were informed that we'd get a little bit extra... that no one had seen before. Then, all of a sudden, I was on the edge of my seat.
Actually, there are like 9 million reasons to trek to Comic-Con, but in this case we were making a pun. Because as they have at the last two SDCCs, Paramount will be releasing a new Star Trek movie teaser poster -- four of them, to be exact, featuring the new Kirk, Spock, Uhura and...Bruce Banner with facial tattoos?
Have you ever seen those "WWJD?" bracelets or bumper stickers and wondered, "What would Jesus really do?" Well, at long last, I've found the answer to the question that has weighed on the minds of philosophers, theologians and crafty religious merchandisers alike. As it turns out, Jesus would go to Comic-Con. Jesus Christ, like many other superstars in "the biz", will be out promoting his movie at the multimedia convention in San Diego later this month.
Last summer, a teaser trailer for Tron 2, spelled "TR2N," was shown at the San Diego Comic-Con. Shaky footage leaked onto the Web, showing an older, bearded Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) watching a deadly lightcycle race from his monklike home inside a mountain in cyberspace. (A fictional Website searching for the missing Flynn may be closer to his location than it realizes.) At this year's SDCC, an expanded version of that same clip was shown, and this time, the title was revealed as Tron Legacy. While the footage is certainly impressive, thanks to famed commercial director Joseph Kosinski, the new title, Tron Legacy, is not.
Perhaps hoping that the Christian subset of the movie-going public will confuse "The Spirit" as a holiday and/or Christian movie, Lionsgate has moved the release date of the comic-strip adaptation from January 16, 2009 to Christmas of this year. And while the more observant of us -- or at least those of us stuck in traffic in L.A. -- who have seen the billboards for the film with giant, noir-ish looking text reading "My City Screams" probably aren't mistaking it for a Christmas story, maybe the rest of the city really is screaming for Jesus. You never know.
According to Variety, the movie got a vote of confidence after Lionsgate brass presented the project to fans at New York Comic-Con. I hate to channel my 10 year-old self but, no duh, Lionsgate. Of course they were receptive to a comic-strip adaptation; it's Comic-Con. It's up against other Christmas releases like Marley & Me, The Time Traveler's Wife and Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories, and only time will tell whether or not the greater public will be quite as enthusiastic as the comic book nerds.
"The Spirit," which was created by writer-artist Will Eisner in 1940, tells the story of Denny Colt, a masked vigilante who fights crime with the blessing of the city's police commissioner. Written and directed by Frank Miller (whose work also includes "Sin City," and "300") and starring Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson and Eva Mendes, the film will be an action-adventure romance that revolves around a slain rookie cop who returns from the dead to fight crime and track a cold-blooded killer. Which when you think about it, actually does kind of have Christ parallels. Perhaps the move wasn't so dumb after all.
Geeks everywhere are freaking out because director Sam Raimi, who has somehow not lost a drop of geek cred after the musical dance extravaganza that was Spider-Man 3, mentioned Burn Notice darling Bruce Campbell and "another Evil Dead" in the same sentence at Comic-Con. Now, as a result, geeks are reporting that Evil Dead 4 is in the works. Well, let's take a step back now.
It's been a little while since I've talked about the Watchmen movie, but I thought it would be a good idea to take another look at it, since I'm feeling depressed. The next Harry Potter movie has been pushed back until summer, which means my wife and I won't get to see it before our baby is born -- and which means Watchmen will actually come out first! March doesn't seem quite so far away anymore! And since I'm pretty excited about it (perhaps more excited than I am about Harry Potter -- blasphemy!), I thought I'd share a few links to recent multi-media elements from the film.