20 July 2005

What Went On At ComicCon

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Okay, promises were made and so I now bring you a big old round up of ComicCon news and revelations. I'm gonna go through movie by movie and basically sum up everything that I thought to be of note.

X3: CASTING CONFIRMATION: The last few weeks have seen a flurry of Angel casting rumors. Well the verdict is in and Boston native BEN FOSTER of Hostage, Punisher and Liberty Heights fame has snagged the role of the troubled young winged mutant. Still no word on his father Warren Worthington or on Kitty Pryde. Rumors continue to swirl that Ratner wants his former flame and tennis superstar Serena Williams to play Stacy-X, the mutant prostitute. Personally, I've never found either of the Williams sisters to be all that attractive, but apparantly I'm in the minority on that one...

Serenity: So there was a panel with Joss and most of the cast of the film. Not alot of new info came out, but that's not surprising as the flick is only about two months away. But they did show some sort of extended trailer. I'm not sure if this is what was shown at the Con or not, but today I found this listed as the "international trailer" and it certainly has plenty of new content and a much different tone from the first trailer. Either way, I like it and I'm still totally psyched for this to get here in September.

V For Vendetta: The panel included Natalie Portman, producer Joel Silver, and David Lloyd (co-creator on the original comic). Portman was totally adorable and the entire audience absolutely loved her. When asked why Alan Moore wouldn't sign off on the film, Lloyd said that Moore will only be happy with a direct, Sin City-esque adaptation of his work to the screen, whereas Lloyd was more interested in capturing the tone of the original books in a dynamic story. Lloyd also spoke to making a movie set in Britain in which the audience has to sympathize with a terrorist, especially in the wake of the recent London subway bombings. Lloyd admitted that it's obviously not easy, but the whole point is to portray a terrorist who has his own reasons for his actions, and then drew the obvious parallel to understanding real life terrorists instead of simply regarding them as faceless evil. A TRAILER WAS SHOWN and I heard it was fantastic, so once it hits online, I'll definitely be sending it your way.

Transformers: Not much in the way of news on the Transformers front, and I wouldn't expect much in the near future considering that the writers are currently in Asia on the set of M:I3 which just started filming. The Transformers release date has been pushed back to July 4th 2007, however they did launch the website at transformerslive.com. There you can find a nice little video message from producer Steven Spielberg as well as some stills of the big honkin Optimus Prime 18 Wheeler covered with stylish dropcloth they had on the floor of the Con. However, apparantly all weekend people were stealing the Optimus Prime license plate off the back of the truck, which, while kinda sucky, is also really kinda funny.

Doom: There are three things worth reporting from the Doom panel. First: The Rock is not the main character, Karl Urban, which I think is a good thing. Second: Despite the rumors to the contrary, YES the movie takes place on Mars, YES there are imps and pink demons and YES the movie will be rated R and full of some hardcore scary-ass blood and guts. Third: A TRAILER AND A CLIP WERE SHOWN. The trailer was a teaser and not too detailed. However, the clip was apparantly impressive as all hell, and showed about half of a 6 minute "FPS sequence." What does that mean you ask? Well I'll tell you. Karl Urban gets knocked unconscious and wakes up a short while later. When he wakes up, we see everything through his eyes. He exits a room and then makes his way though a series of rooms, shooting at demons and imps and whatnot, gun in the lower right portion of the screen. It's a live action recreation of the First Person Shooter perspective. Id Software has been in on the development of the film from the beginning, and replicating the feel, look and tone of the game has always been of the highest importance. Personally I can't think of a better way to do that than an extended sequence that looks like you're playing the game itself. A long POV sequence like that usually either really works or really doesn't, so here's hoping that they can pull it off.

The Fountain: Aronofsky and Rachel Weisz appeared to answer questions, and then SHOW A TRAILER AND THE FIRST 10 MINUTES OF THE FILM. Aronofsky describes it as a $90 million film shot for $35 million. (Does it bother anyone else that Uwe Boll's newest project has a budget of almost twice that?) There will be a graphic novel adaptation of the story that was made in the time between when the Brad Pitt/Cate Blanchette version shut down and when the Hugh Jackman/Rachel Weisz version started up. So it will be a sort of seperate entity that will exist outside the film, instead of a more traditional straight adaptation. Clint Mansell will be doing the score, which is neither surprising nor disappointing. I won't go into descriptions of the clips, because I expect that we'll see the trailer and possibly the 10 minute clip go online in the next few weeks. They were both very well received and the popular response, especially to the 10 minute clip, was that it was dense, complex, visually stunning, and more than a little bit confusing, but, as Aronofsky said, "That's why there's 90 more minutes of film." I can't wait to see some of this stuff.

Chronicles of Narnia: CASTING CONFIRMATION - Aslan will indeed be voiced by Liam Neeson, and I'm really pretty happy about that. The panel consisted mostly of effects guys from KNB and Weta, as well as director Andrew Adamson and the four kids via satellite from the set. Apparantly at one point the studio wanted to update the story and set it in LA after an earthquake and replace turkish delight with hot dogs. Gah...that makes me shudder to even think about. They still have about 1300 effects shots to finish before the December release. As far as the heavy religious overtones of the book, Adamson says that he's taking an approach that I really like. He's trying to make a film that recreates the feeling of reading the story as a kid instead of an adult critique. So the religious overtones will certainly be there, but he's not trying to focus on them intensely, so you'll sort of take what you want from the movie, whether it be a story of spirituality or simply a good old fashioned adventure story, which is how I always took it. Considering my history with religion and Christianity in particular, that's pretty much the only way I could have enjoyed the book. I'm really hoping that they nail this thing down.


Superman Returns: Bryan Singer flew up from Sydney to answer questions and SHOW FOOTAGE!! He listed the Alex Ross artwork, Max Fleischer cartoons, early Action comics, and the 1978 Richard Donner films as a springboard and inspiration for the look of the film. The flick will definitely be over 2 hours long and will have the look of a 1940s love story. The film is based primarily on Donner's Superman film with some vague references to Superman 2. Jor El will appear in the film and it will be Brando. Some slight CG alterations had to be made to his face for reasons which Singer said will be clear when we see it onscreen, but it's not some big CGI character walking around with a Brando face pasted on. Kevin Spacey did shave his head bald, and while there will be a good amount of humor, this will be a much more serious Luthor than Gene Hackman's portrayal. While Singer's composer of choice, John Ottman, will be orchestrating the film, the John Williams theme will be prominently featured as well. A NICE BIG MONTAGE OF FOOTAGE was shown and it totally blew the audience away. As I said yesterday, Singer showed it, got a standing ovation, and was forced to show it again. Everyone was buzzing about it for the rest of the Con and most people agreed that it looked absolutely outstanding from most every standpoint. If there is any justice in the world, we'll see it online in big beautiful Quicktime sometime in the newst two weeks or so, as was the case with Bryan's X2 presentation a few years ago. I knew this was gonna be the panel to be at and I totally wish I could been there, if only to see Singer speak and get a taste of that footage.

There were a few other bits and pieces worth mentioning. Apparantly Kevin Smith had a great panel about nothing in particular in which Richard Kelly showed some storyboards for a Robocop-esque commercial from Southland Tales. Tim Burton showed 7 minutes of Corpse Bride. Bruce Campbell had a number of different appearances and everyone loved him, (go figure) and Tenacious D played a 40 minute set in which they played some new tunes from their upcoming movie The Pick Of Destiny. Harry Potter showed some footage, but I don't really care. I'll probably go to see it when it hits theaters, but for whatever reason I have a really hard time getting excited for these movies before they come out.

So that about wraps it up. As some of these clips and trailers start to make their way online, I'll definitely be posting them and putting in my own two cents, but in the mean time, I guess I'll just have to sit and wait. I hope BlueTights gets on the ball and posts that footage soon...


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