So, this post is over a week late, but in no way should that be a reflection of the awesomeness that took place in Hall H this year. This year I had the joy of sitting in row 6, which is no easy feat. To make it happen it took sleeping outside on the lawn. Between 6 of us we were able to do it in 2 shifts, which allowed for every one to get a shower in before Saturday started. I’ll spare you the boring details of how it was way colder than anticipated, and without a friend’s sleeping bag we would have been fancicles by morning, but the short version is, into the wee hours I kept thinking, there’s no way that spending the night shivering on the grass would be worth the seats or the panels the next day semi-sleepless night. This is one of those times when I love being wrong.
The day began with the Legendary panels, hosted by perpetual fanboy, and ever awesome moderator Chris Hardwick. And let’s just say that on a couple of levels, the panel began with the stuff of legends. The first panel was for a upcoming film The Seventh Son, due out in January of 2014. Without giving too much away, the film is full of myth and magic, and the cast is awesome. The one and only Jeff Bridges was there, much to my non-nerdy mother’s jealousy (I think she’s finally beginning to see why SDCC draws 130,000 people each year), and so were a couple of the films other stars including Ben Barnes and Kit Harrington. You can see how awesome it looks in the trailer below, in my opinion it looks like what I had hoped the 2011 film “Season of the Witch” would have been, but while “Season of the Witch” kept feeling like it was missing something throughout the film, Seventh Son looks like it won’t let viewers down.
After that panel, things went from legendary to EPIC, and by EPIC I mean Godzilla. There’s no trailer of this to show, since Warner Brothers won’t let one stay online, even though this year con attendees actually got a trailer. Even with that there’s so much we don’t know and the poster for it sets the tone well:
Part of me is just fine with that, I make no apologies for enjoying the exclusivity of seeing something others have to wait for, when I feel like I’ve earned it camping outside Hall H, minor soapbox aside, what I will share is that the Godzilla panel was one of my top 5 moments of the con, for a few reasons, first because it was my only opportunity to see Bryan Cranston, second because Gareth Edwards is a great director, and third was the trailer itself. It made me feel like a helpless child, and I LOVED it! Godzilla, based on the trailer will be what movies should be. Movies should never just show things on screen, they should take a person and their imagination and humanity to a special place where anything, good, bad, and yes even terrifying is possible. All the 3D in the world can’t do that if you’re not telling a good story and if you’re not filming it with achieving a certain result before you ever get behind the camera. I have no clue what technical terms ought to be applied when describing the trailer, but there’s this one moment when the destruction going on seems awful, and then the audience gets an entirely new perspective, and you realize that everything can and will get worse. I cannot wait until May 16th, 2014 when it comes out.
So after Godzilla, while things stayed exciting, they didn’t feel quite as awe inspiring as they had for the first two panels. The next panel was for 300: Rise of an Empire. It looks as AB-solutely (yeah bad pun, but there it is) as bloody and violent as the first 300, if not more so. The panel guests included the directer Noam Murro, who explained when asked if this was meant to be a prequel or sequel to 300, that it will sort of expand the scope, and based on the footage they brought, I can see what he means. We see why Xerxes took the path he did, the events that lead to the battle at Thermopylae, and all of the aftermath. Part of why Xerxes took the path he did is due to Eva Green’s character, who is, to quote Green “badass”, and we can tell. I originally had no enthusiasm for this film, now I’m definitely intrigued.
Once the 300: Rise of an Empire panel wrapped, things got stellar! The next panel was for Gravity, and one of the panelists was Sandra Bullock! My sense that a film (despite having the star power of George Clooney and Sandra Bullock) wouldn’t be that amazing dropped quickly as we were shown footage, and Sandra and the other panelists described all of the work and technology that went into producing a film so simultaneously vast, claustrophobic and isolating, now it’s yet another film filling a square on my calendar (October 4th, 2013, in case you were wondering).
After Gravity, things definitely dropped in intensity, but in a fun way. The next panel was for The LEGO movie, and just like 300: Rise of an Empire, and Gravity, while I’d thought I wouldn’t be that interested… now it looks pretty good. The highlight of the panel was when some kid, who went to the mic to ask questions was asked by the panelists (love when panelists don’t just take questions but actually interact with the fans, even when it’s from a stage it’s incredibly validating for people who’ve looked up to the person they’re talking to actually have that person value what they have to say) what HE would want to see in The LEGO Movie, the kid responded that (and I’m paraphrasing here) he’d want to see as much real legos as possible, and not too much CGI because “that would be cheating” (kudos to him), but an even bigger kudos, after he was told, that he should be pretty happy with the movie then, because the kid got the last word, leaning into the mic and saying, with mild sarcasm and a little shrug, “I hope so.” before walking away. The crowd went wild laughing and cheering, as Chris Hardwick was openly astonished at how a kid just schooled a panel of 30 somethings
Finally the last panel also had a few surprises, in terms of new expectations, and even new perspectives. The final panel was for The Edge of Tomorrow, a film I hadn’t even heard of before SDCC this year, and shame on me. Now it’s possible that this film wasn’t really on my radar for a couple of reasons, one, in general unless someone has either a hammer, a shield, a suit of armor, or comes from another world, most action films don’t keep me entertained, the second reason is Tom Cruise, now I’ve got nothing against Tom Cruise personally, but most of the time I’d hear is name attached to something, and it would excite me like it would excite fans, again, nothing against Tom, I was just never a fan. Any way, not to give anything away about Edge of Tomorrow, because this is definitely one where going into the theater with less will bring a more exciting experience, what I can say is that it’s like Battle LA, meets Groundhog Day, meets 50 First Dates! And yes if you put all those together, you will get an awesome movie!
Now onto my shifting perspective on Tom Cruise, watch this video below of him doing an impromptu duet with Chris Hardwick, and just try to not think of him as much more fun and down to earth than you’ve ever expected!
WOW that was a lot, but Legendary and Warner Brothers wrapped their long block of panels with an announcement, that can best be summed up by what fans got to see when they were told that a sequel to Man of Steel was already in the works:
Thanks to anyone that read this brief attempt to get my thoughts on Saturday down, I promise more to come!