It’s that special time of year again, for fanboys, joystick addicts and comic-book enthusiasts to emerge in their gloried, creative ensembles, and congregate at the 4th annual New York Comic Con.
What began as a mini-me version of the original San Diego Comic Con, has undoubtedly ballooned into a full-blown NY comic extravaganza within the last few years. The fascinating comic cult simply took over the overwhelmingly large Jacob Javits Center.
Divided by numerous exhibitors, every booth was overcrowded and adorned by eager fans donning unconventional suits and intriguing costumes. After all, aside from Halloween, this is a great occasion for fanboys to play dress up and illustrate their undying devotion and penchant for their favorite comic-book heroes and characters.
But the best part are the panels. Kicking off the day, WB held a special presentation of their highly anticipated films, Watchmen, Friday the 13th and Terminator Salvation. First, artist Dave Gibbons walked on stage and enthusiastically introduced the premiere of the first 18 minutes of the Watchmen, adapted from his critically acclaimed graphic novel.
The audience was pleasantly surprised and blown away by the spectacular never-seen-before opening adrenaline-driven footage. It began with a vivid, historic montage, followed by an exhilarating fight scene, leading to The Comedian’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) death (we’re not giving anything away). The exclusive footage, which culminated in a chilling scene of an unmasked Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) in prison, kept us clamoring for more. Comparable to his cinematic vision in 300, director Zack Snyder intensified, emphasized and captured all the action in these clips by using breath-taking action sequences, extreme close-ups, and frame by frame shots. Check back in few days for a more in-depth coverage of the NYCC’s Watchmen coverage with Q&A’s with artist Gibbons and director Synder, as we await anxiously for the movie’s release in theaters Mar. 6.
The second WB presentation was for their forthcoming reboot of Friday the 13th. Sitting on the panel were the producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, and stars Derek Mears (as the hockey-masked psychopath Jason) and Jared Padalecki. Fuller introduced the terrifying footage of the masked murdered on a killing spree in Camp Crystal. It’s clear that with this version, the film will finally redeem itself as the spine-chilling, horror film it once was. Following the sneak, the cast and crew wrapped up the panel by answering a few questions about the film, which opens this Friday, the 13th. Natch.
The final WB panel was for Terminator Salvation, presented by its director McG, who approached the audience with great humor, in light of Terminator star Christian Bale’s recent on-set tirade. He managed to do damage control by joking with the audience about the fight, and conveyed Bale’s apology once again.
The chatty director also talked about: the plot, the origins of the Terminator, creator James Cameron, the film’s composer Danny Elfman, the wonderful cast, and possible cameos by Schwarzenegger and Hamilton, before introducing the latest footage from film. We were shown a montage of different scenes, elucidating John Connor’s rise in the post-apocalyptic resistance. Each scene was equally electrifying, action-driven and visually enticing. Filled with anticipation, the audience had their Q & A period with McG before heading back to the comic craze.
Then it was off to the Disney panel for their upcoming flicks Up and Surrogates. Up’s director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera introduced Disney-Pixar’s sweetest animated creation. The comedy-adventure is based on a 78-year-old balloon salesman Carl, who fulfills a lifelong dream by tying thousands of balloons to his house and flying away to South America. He embarks on a great adventure along with a spirited 9-year-old Wilderness Explorer scout named Russell. Doctor and Rivera introduced the film’s footage with great pride and joy. Following a few different clips and a 50-minute screening of the film later in the day, I shared the same enthusiasm and affection for Up. Anyone familiar with Pixar’s films will understand how incredibly genuine, visceral and endearingly realistic it all is. Another winner.
Disney’s second presentation was a trailer for the futuristic thriller Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis. The action-thriller is based on a graphic novel about humans who live in isolation through identical replicas of themselves, in the form of robotic surrogates. The chase and action begins when someone finds a way to kill a person by killing their surrogate. The screening ended with a long line of beautiful people, walking around like robots and handing out Surrogate business cards. Clever.
The final panel was for Summit Entertainment’s upcoming films Knowing, The Hurt Locker and Astro Boy. We began with an exclusive footage of Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage. The action-thriller is based on a professor (Cage) who stumbles on a piece of paper filled with numbers, which helps him predict the future. As he begins decoding the numbers and signs, he sets out to prevent every terrifying prediction from taking place. The use of spectacular special effects, translated the footage into a thrilling, powerful and entertaining film.
Moving on to The Hurt Locker, which garnered lots of attention and acclaim during its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Slated for a 2009 release, the film is based on a real life journalist’s experiences following bomb squads in Iraq. It’s directed by Kathryn Bigelow and stars Jeremy Renner, who portrays a bomb technician named James. We were presented with a scene from the movie, where James finds a trashed car filled with ticking bombs, ready to explode. Driven by the rush and high of dismantling the bomb, he is determined to do what it takes to complete his tense mission. Following the footage, Renner stepped on stage to answer a few questions, stressing that this was not a political or war film.
The final Summit Entertainment panel for the day concluded with a peek at the new images and short footage from Astro Boy. Based on a Japanese manga series, Astro Boy is a powerful robot created by a scientist to replace the son he lost. Although he looks and feels like a human, he eventually discovers his superior powers and uses them to fight crime. Using breathtaking CGI animation, the footage showed Astro Boy falling down and discovering his powers for the first time, as the rocket boots activate.