Justin Goes to Comic-Con
Comments and Photos by Justin Bowler
This past weekend The Movie Guys attended the single greatest pop culture event of the year at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con (just in case you have been living under a rock and don’t know what Comic-Con is, here is the run down in one sentence: For four-and-a-half sweet days, the center of the entertainment universe comes together to celebrate what we love about pop culture and hate about pop culture). Now, every blog out there will tell you about the breaking news that took place there. And IF you are really in the know, then you were getting the real-time updates with The Movie Guys Twitter feed. So, I won’t regurgitate the same old manure you could get EVERYWHERE else. Instead, I will inform you of my own personal journey. It is so much sweeter (and it has funnier (and hotter, I might add) pictures). While there, I attended panels, checked out the convention floor, and sought out pictures with my fictional idols: the world’s greatest adventurer, Indiana Jones, and the world’s hottest super-heroine, Wonder Woman. Let me tell you about the things I found.
I went to the “Twilight” panel. After seeing eleven minutes of footage from the upcoming movie, I can say that I’ve seen more of “Breaking Dawn: Part 2” than ALL OF THE OTHER TWILIGHT MOVIES COMBINED! The panel consisted of Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Mackenzie Foy, writer Stephenie Meyer, and a bunch of other people who I truly don’t know about (except Maggie Grace came out at the end to make an appearance (she is hot)). Now, for those that think I am just ripping on “Twilight” because I’m a hater, understand this: I’ve never seen a “Twilight” movie, I didn’t really have an opinion of them as actors or people until this panel. Now, sadly, I must say it is obscenely low. Outside of Pattinson (who I think is talented as an actor AT TIMES), I’ve never seen a panel so vapid, so uninteresting, or so vacant of any kind of critical thinking skills. It was something akin to watching sophomore high school drama kids answer questions about their school play. I realized the depths of how much they are disliked by the average comic-con-ee when the moderator announced this will be the last year there will be a “Twilight” panel at Comic Con, most of the audience (approximately 5000 people) in attendance cheered uproariously. I think this scene explains it best. After enduring forty-five minutes of this (I’m not sure if I can really call it a) “panel”, a man was rushing out with his screaming baby. I thought, I feel your pain kid, I just lack the cajones to vocalize it so succinctly.
On the other side of things…the convention floor was amazing. Monster booths from all of the major players (Marvel, Warner Bros., G4, Mattel, Hasbro, Sony (oddly enough there wasn’t any Disney booth (This came as a shock to me because they had an incredible year with their blockbuster cross-platform hit “Where’s My Water?” (Personally, I would have thought there would be a signing with the voice of the lead character, Swampy the Alligator, but hey, I guess they just dropped the ball) Or maybe, the actor wasn’t available)). Marvel, BTW, had a booth that showcased all of the Iron Man suits as a backdrop, worthy of a Tony Stark production.
Now, I had a personal goal to get as many pictures with Indiana Jones as possible. Some of the costumes looked pretty standard. Others took some personal liberties that stray from the traditional look. Here are a few examples.
I also attended the Tim Burton/”Frankenweenie” panel, hosted by The Nerdist founder Chris Hardwick. This was a fantastic Q & A with some truly wonderful moments from characters (asking the questions) to the awesome footage shown (of “Frankenweenie”). There were two standout moments. First, a young fellow (with an incredibly unkempt shaggy haircut and overgrown beard to match, dressed as Obi Wan) stepped up to the microphone to ask a question. His mere appearance inspired moderator Chris Hardwick to blurt out “Jesus H Jedi”. Second, an early-twenties female, not in costume, told Burton that he was her hero and mentor, and when Burton thanked her and engaged her in conversation complimenting her insightful question, she began to cry in joy. A collective “Awwwww” emminated from the entire Hall H audience (and I personally felt a sudden urge to hug her).
That panel was followed by Sam Raimi with a sneak peak of “Oz, The Great & Powerful”. I can only describe the footage he brought as “Pants-crappingly good.” However, as this panel increased in size, with the addition of Michelle Williams (as Galenda) and Mila Kunis (as Feadora), there was a stark contrast that emergered. When asked about being on the film, Mila discussed the intricate sets and went in-depth about how they made her feel when she was getting into character. When Kristen Stewart was asked about being in all of the “Twilight” films, she slumped her head into her hand and paused, then finally completed the thought by saying “it was neat.” (Sigh)
Back on the convention floor, there were characters (not in the forefront of the comic or pop culture universe) such as…
He is the lead character from Disney’s blockbuster cross-platform hit “Where’s My Water?” Perhaps, it was just too obvious of a choice and that’s why I didn’t see anyone dressed as him.
That night, I did enjoy some Super Hero food, that I bet was much more popular this year than ever before.
Back in Hall H, at the “Wreck-it-Ralph” panel with John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman, we were treated to ten minutes of footage from the film. It looks fantastic and makes you wonder if Pixar has lost it’s touch (with a princess movie called “Brave”) and Disney Animation is stepping back up to the top (with a brilliant new inventive idea called “Wreck-It-Ralph”). One highlight came when a man dressed in military fatigues with a bluetooth in his ear asked Reilly “What is it like to balance split personalities?”. After the moderater asked back “Is that your question or the question of the alien on the other end of your bluetooth?”. Reilly, confused, like the rest of the 6000 people in attendance, responded “It’s easy, I’m a gemini.”
The Jackie Chan held a panel all by himself to introduce his new film “Chinese Zodiac 12”. It has been a while since Jackie has done press in the United States so his English and his English accent have deteriorated a bit. This would be fine unless of course you wanted to understand anything he said at the question and answer panel. I know at one point he said he wanted to be taken seriously as an actor and not just as a fighter, which I personally would like to see. I would love to see him in a serious role that requires no fighting at all. He might want to get back into English classes before then, but I’m all for it. I’m not sure of anything else he said during the entire panel. However, whatever he said, he was very excited about, because Jackie Chan excitement is an international language all its own.
On the convention floor, I began my search for the perfect Wonder Woman. Now, the standard has been set pretty high by Lynda Carter (and even by Adrianne Palicki)
I found a few that were impressive.
And I still didn’t see a Swampy the Alligator costume.
Back in Hall H, “The Expendables 2” panel was the single most entertaining panel that I have ever seen: Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, and Dolph Lundgren. After showing some really fun footage from the upcoming film featuring all of the above, plus Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bruce Willis, the panel held court for over an hour. Arnold said “the entire cast was just a bunch of muscleheads”. Then Sly responded with “We should have a spelling bee.” One attendee asked Sly what his favorite Arnold movie was and then asked the same of Arnold about Sly. Stallone responded “Junior.” Arnold responded “Stop, or My Mom Will Shoot.” This awesome band of brothers talked about how they compliment each other on screen, their decades long friendly competition, and how they “are all just misunderstood emotional artists.”
As a huge fan of “Spartacus” the TV series, I have attended their panel for the past three years. While I have always found it engaging, entertaining, informative, and fun, this year outdid itself (this was, in part, due to an incident that took place directly behind me the audience before the show). Now, for this show, one must understand, it has a lot of violence, and a lot of sexual situations. So, it attracts a rather ecclectic audience. Three large guys (I would not go as far as to say muscleheads, but certainly, heavy-and-dumb heads) were seated close to the aisle, next to a fellow in a fantastic Spider-Man outfit and his girlfriend. One of the large men asked Spider-Man to move down so his wife could sit next to him. Spider-Man, responded with “I don’t really want to move over because it is a worse seat.” The large man then started to get angry at Spider-Man because he just wanted to sit next to his wife. Spider-Man then asked “How about this? Why don’t we all switch seats, I’ll move closer to the aisle and you can sit next to your wife.” The large man responded with “I’m not giving up these great seats.” At this point, any sympathy the large man had about sitting next to his wife was gone. So, Spider-Man asked “So, it’s important to you to sit next to your wife if I HAVE TO MOVE, but, it’s not important to you to sit next to your wife if YOU HAVE TO MOVE?” At this point, the large, stupid man, simply got angry (when dumb people are outwitted, they frequently turn to violence).
Spider-Man moved over for the man’s wife, to make the dickhead happy, but even after he moved over, the large man started to insult Spider-Man. “You are a grown man in a super hero costume.” At this point, the crowd around them started to tell the heavy-and-dumb heads to quiet down and shut up. Even people as stupid as these guys quickly realized that they were in the wrong convention to insult people in costumes (I would go even futher to say they were at the wrong convention period) (It reminded me of a recent article The Onion ran that said Comic-Con was overthrown this year by poorly timed Bully-Con). After those idiots got their comeuppance, the rest of the panel was great. Sure, Steven DeKnight was there, with Manu Bennet, and Liam McIntyre was there at the beginning. Then, ten minutes into it, they introduced Lucy Lawless (all four of them were there last year). Then, ten minutes after that they introduced Dan Feuerriegel, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Ellen Hollman, Peter Mensah, Nick Tarabay, and Viva Bianca (none of them had attended in the past. If you watch the show, then you know how exciting it was to have all of these cast members there to talk about their experience on the show, working with Andy Whitfield (who got an extended standing ovation just at the mention of his name) and what they are going to be working on next. Then they showed a trailer for the upcoming season and, once again, the phrase “Pants-Crappingly Good” came to mind.
There were also really interesting costumes that took some creative license, such as The Penguin, which went from this…
Or Indiana Jones, which went from this…
Were going as these guys…
When all three are compared next to each other, the Megan Fox version is the least like the actual costumed character.
After waiting six hours to get into Hall H Saturday morning, we were about forty-five people shy of making it in, yet denied. However, a friend of ours was able to get us into the Legendary Pictures Wrap Party. At the party, we got to see the footage that Legendary had shown in Hall H earlier that day. Approximately sixty of us got to see it in a private room. We saw footage for “Pacific Rim” (it looks amazing and different than anything else Guillermo del Toro has done before. In the past we have seen his incredible creative vision in the fantasy world but now it is applied to the technology world. It will blow your mind.). We also got to see the teaser footage from “Godzilla”. It didn’t reveal too much about the actual monster but from what I could tell it is a cross between the 1998 version of Godzilla and the Godzilla from the 50s/60s. It is raptor-like, yet, incredibly spiky. Yeah, finishing off this year’s Con with one of the most creative Hollywood directors of our time is a pretty nice way to end it. And so, I did.
From the 2012 Con, this has been Justin T. Bowler (voice of Swampy the Alligator).