Monday, July 16, 2012

Report from Comic Con: Day Two

First off, an apology for not getting these up sooner.  Turns out an eight to midnight conference schedule doesn't leave a whole lot of time for blogging.  Who knew?  Mea culpa and on to the report for Days Two!

Day Two started out with a line.  Of course.  I lined up at 9am, which I stupidly thought would be early enough for the 2:45pm panel on Game of Thrones. No such luck.  (Even the folks in front of me in full on Khal Drogo & Daenerys outfits were denied.)  Having already waited it out for six hours, I stuck with it until I made it into Hall H after GoT for the rest of the evening's panels and then hied myself on over to the playback (which they had to move to a bigger ballroom because there were so many people who'd missed out on seeing their preferred panels like me).  So, in the end, I got to see what I wanted (just not all of it in person), but what bothered me the most was that even as there were hundreds and even thousands of people waiting outside in line, there were empty seats in Hall H.  Never once while I was in there (finally!) was anyone asked to scoot down to make room for the people waiting outside.  In the smaller panels, it is common practice to fill every single seat and have standing room in the back until the fire marshal cuts them off.  But Hall H never felt full when I was in there - I saw dozens and dozens of empties just near me - which, when you consider how long people had to wait to get in there, kinda pissed me off and soured me on the idea of waiting in line to get in there again. 

But enough bitching.  Let's talk movies!

The first panel for me that day was Resident Evil: Retribution in 3D.  Director Paul Anderson, his wife/leading lady Mila Jovovich, and a deeply kickass supporting cast - two of whom are my FAVORITE actors who were killed off in previous films in the franchise!  Back from the dead and still kicking ass, it's Michelle Rodriguez (love love love love) and Oded Fehr!  Can I get a woohoo for resurrecting a dude who blew himself up and a chick who got shot in the head?  Bonus!  The footage they showed looked pretty sweet - very classic Resident Evil badassery -and then there was talk of the series drawing to a close after the next film (or at least Alice's part of it).  And I learned that Michelle Rodriguez will come back from the dead in the Fast & Furious franchise also (squee!) and that if you are a creepy stalker in her backyard, you should be warned that she will call the cops while holding a sword and the gun Samuel L. Jackson gave her, so... you know... perhaps not the best idea to bug her.

Continuing the trend of directors married to their ass-kicking leading ladies, next up was the new Total Recall, helmed by Kate Beckinsale's significant other, Len Wiseman. It looks well worth seeing - without any of the annoyingly cute Ahnold one liners and without the trip to Mars (but with the chick with three breasts as a nod to the original).  Much more actiony and who-am-I mystery-ish with some nice grit to the design.  And Kate Beckinsale kicking Colin Farrel's teeth in?  I'll watch that. 

But then... oh then... it was time for the ORIGINAL coolness.  Looper.  Time travel.  Joseph Gordon Levitt (in a part that was actually written for him) wearing a light facial mask to play a young Bruce Willis in an assassin vs. the older version of himself badass time-travel ride.  I gotta say, I really wanna see that one.  It's a major picture but with a more indie sensibility - focused on the ideas and characters rather than the special effects tricks - with an insanely awesome cast.

And the fun was just beginning folks.  Up next was footage from Elysium, the second film by Neil Blomquist who was the mind behind District 9.  I'd never heard anything about this one - just that it had Matt Damon and Jodie Foster in it (along with the star of District 9 & A Team, Sharlto Copley).  I wasn't sure what to expect, but when they showed us the footage, I actually got chills.  By the time it was over I just said Damn as several people near me muttered "Whoa" and "Wow" aloud.  The premise of the story is that the uber-rich have built a paradise in space called Elysium where they have the cures to all diseases and everything is perfect and utopian - but they've abandoned the rest of humanity to live in squalor on the heavily polluted planet Earth.  Matt Damon is our earthbound hero with a questionable past, who finds himself with only a few days to live unless he can hijack his way up to Elysium and get the cure.  A man with his life on the line, nothing to lose... you can imagine how it escalates in a hurry.  And from the sounds of things, the filming was flat out intense - on location in the second largest dump in the world at one point, with helicopters spraying a mist of you do not want to know what that is all over the place.  Crazy.  But it looks incredible.  It's out next March.  Go, you guys.  You will want to see this one.

After that, I made my way out to the Penguin Books panel where they flashed new covers for dozens of upcoming urban fantasy, sci-fi, and young adult books.  I really want to check out Matched by Ally Condie.  I'm intrigued by the idea of rebelling against a genetically perfect match.  Have any of you read that series yet?  Then I won an ARC of a new sci-fi book by Jean Johnson!  (And then felt guilty for winning, even though they were giving away tons of books... I don't know why I have this weird guilt when people give me stuff.  I need a couch and a few hours with Freud to figure it out.)

By then it was night, but Comic Con was still going strong, with playback of the earlier panels that we, the huddled masses, hadn't been able to get into.  Firefly, Game of Thrones, The Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead (though I admitted defeat at midnight and missed the Zombie-ness). 

The Firefly 10-year reunion panel was flat out amazing.  Nathan Fillion and Joss Wheadon were in rare form (and both teared up in very manly ways as they talked about what the short-lived series had meant to them).  Adam Baldwin gave away a replica of the hat he'd worn as Jayne, but to me the best part was learning that Baldwin had gone down to say hello to the fans camped out on the sidewalk for the Firefly panel around midnight and Joss Wheadon himself had woken them up at three a.m.  How kickass is that?  If I am ever lucky enough to write something that develops such a devoted fanbase that they will actually camp out (and I'm in the same city and I know about it) I am here and now vowing that I will visit the campers.  And bring donuts.  Because how amazing are they, to love something so much, and what better way to honor them than to show up for them when they are showing up for you?  I love that.  Love love love.

The Game of Thrones panel was, by comparison, somewhat less than awesome.  They introduced new cast members, which was cool, but my main takeaway was that George R. R. Martin, for all his brilliance as a writer, should probably avoid moderating panels as his talents apparently lie elsewhere.  The tone was... I dunno, awkward.  He asked the actors portraying Theon Greyjoy and Rob Stark about their sex scenes and questioned the actress playing Daenerys why the traditional dresses of Qarth were not the breast-baring ones in the books (though if I'm being accurate the word "boobies" may actually have come out of his mouth).  I know he's a genius, but a moderator needs to put the panelists at ease and make them feel comfortable talking and there was just no comfort there.  Overall, it was peculiar - but I loved hearing the actor playing Rob Stark (who was wearing a wolf T-shirt under his suit jacket) say he'd pick a wolf as his sigil in real life, and Emilia Clark got a big cheer when she said she would definitely keep her dragons as a sigil.

And last, but certainly not least, was the Big Bang Theory.  The panel was hosted by Adam from Mythbusters (amazing) and featured two of the writer/producers as well as Mayim Byalik (Amy), Jim Parsons by Skype from New York (Sheldon), Kaley Cuoco (Penny), Kunal Nayyar (Rajesh), Simon Helberg (Howard) and Melissa Rauch (Bernadette - who does an amazing impression of Howard's mother).  The writers waved their uber-geek flags with pride when the Higgs Boson particle came up as the actors willingly admitted to not understanding a word of the science stuff coming out of their mouths on the show.  The panel was charming, funny, and overall a delight... and then the conversation turned to space.  In what was (I think?) a prearranged schtick, Simon Helberg was asked if he would want to go into space like his character had and when he said "who wouldn't?" they brought out an astronaut from XCOR Aerospace and offered him a trip into space.  Helberg then said he hadn't known they were serious and he had a "thing" about altitude and it was quickly changed to giving one of the audience members the space flight.  The fans who had asked questions (who were over eighteen - a stunning number of the questions were asked by little kids, prompting Kunal to repeatedly wondering what was going on here and where everyone's parents were) were all brought up on stage and given shiny envelopes.  When they tore them open simultaneously, one contained a golden ticket for a flight into space.  How badly do I wish I were that chick right now?  (Though I know I wouldn't have been even had I managed to get in, since I never have the gumption to ask questions.)  Lots of panels gave away swag, but how do you top a trip into space?  SPACE, you guys!  I don't care if it's only lower orbit or upper atmosphere or whatever.  It's SPACE.  I have to think that within my lifetime it will be a popular tourist jaunt.  And I'll be there.  I'll definitely be there.

What about you?  If someone offered you a chance to see the earth from space, would you take it?  Would you strap yourself to a rocket? When do you think it will be as common as taking a cruise?  Oooh, is that the next step?  Carnival Space Cruises?  Does make one a bit more nervous about events like the Costa Concordia, doesn't it?  But it makes me think of the Fifth Element.  Would you got to paradise in orbit?

1 comment:

Vivant said...

Space cruises? Count me in...especially if Bruce Willis is along for the ride.