Recapping Comic Con

July 25, 2011 06:42:41 Posted at July 25, 2011 06:42:41
Lainey Posted by Lainey

Written by Sarah


In my Comic-Con preview, I made a number of predictions. Now that Comic-Con has ended for another year, it’s time to run down how those predictions turned out, as well as how the industry fared before the nerd herd.

I said it was “the year of TV” and that Game of Thrones would be a big winner with the crowd. True on both counts. Throughout the convention there was a lot of talk of Hall H, home of the film panels, being half to mostly empty, even for names like Francis Ford Coppola (Lainey: remind me to tell you the Francis Ford Coppola story), while Ballroom 20, where the top TV panels were held, was routinely stuffed to the gills. This has nothing to do with the types of films being presented, but on the overall state of film vs. television. Simply put, TV is better right now. More interesting things are happening on TV and you saw that reflected at Comic-Con.

I was wrong, though, about the TinTin panel tanking. Despite the horror of mocap, with Steven Spielberg and a surprise appearance by Peter Jackson, the nerd herd went nuts. I still think this movie looks like a nightmare, but the Hall H crowd ate it up. The panel that didn’t seem to take turned out to be Coppola’s Twixt, which my friends B and J described as “weird” and “f*cking nuts”, respectively. I was surprised to hear that Joe Cornish’s excellent Attack the Block didn’t land very well either, since it seems tailor-made for a Comic-Con crowd (aliens invade a housing project in London), but I wasn’t shocked at all that John Cusack’s Raven, an Edgar Allen Poe murder mystery, didn’t score a big win. It’s too much of a Sherlock Holmes knock off—audiences aren’t completely stupid and they know when they’re being pandered to.

In fact, almost all of Friday’s Hall H slate was met with a mediocre reception. True Blood and The Walking Dead both had their panels on Friday, and that line for The Walking Dead was CRAZY. Most people spent their day trying to get into Ballroom 20, not Hall H. Even Colin Farrell and Fright Night didn’t get a solid win out of their appearance, which solidifies my belief that the vampire thing is pretty well done for in movies, and that zombies were, in fact, the undead Kings of Comic-Con 2011.

Except for the Twihards, who were excited for Breaking Dawn on Thursday. No one else was, as Hall H wasn’t full, but the faithful who showed up were treated to two scenes (Jacob being a backstabber and Bella getting ready for her deflowering) which got everyone excited. What got me excited was the enthusiasm for the project. Twilight isn’t the best filmmaking around but I’ve long maintained that with the right (read: campy) attitude, it can be fun. Director Bill Condon seems to have hit that mark and his young cast (Taylor Lautner, Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart) was clearly excited about the final installment of the franchise.

My buddy B posited that Andrew Garfield and The Amazing Spider-Man would walk away winners and he was right. The entire Sony panel was well received, including Nicolas Cage’s useless Ghost Rider 2 (proves that people do go insane after being enclosed in a static space for too long), the comedy 30 Minutes or Less, and the Total Recall remake. But it was Spider-Man who stole the show, thanks largely to Andrew Garfield’s dorky, heartfelt love letter to Spidey and what the character means to him. The new footage caused huge buzz, though, which bodes well for the movie next summer. What doesn’t bode well was the contretemps Rhys Ifans had with a security guard backstage. It overshadowed the positive momentum the panel built up and that sucks.

We also got another volley in the “Snow White War”, thanks to the Hall H line-up on Saturday. Tarsem Singh, director of Relativity’s unnamed Snow White project, was on stage first to present his upcoming Immortals. This movie looks amazingly dumb, but of course footage of a fight scene went over well. Singh proceeded to talk about how he doesn’t care about scripts (which explains a lot about his movies), and Kellan Lutz kept calling Poseidon the “god of wetness” which is equal parts hilarious and gross. Following a capacity and enthusiastic crowd for The Knights of Badassdom, Universal took the stage with Snow White and the Huntsman. Since they haven’t started filming yet, director Rupert Sanders showed a sizzle reel of commercials he’s made for video games like Call of Duty, and a concept video for Snow White. Sanders talked about making a movie the scope of Lord of the Rings and he also showed character art featuring Kristen Stewart dressed in full armor as Snow White, and Charlize Theron wearing what will surely be a popular Halloween costume in 2012 as the Evil Queen. Huntsman was one of the most talked-about panels of the weekend, I think because the concept and character art ended up being so much grittier and darker than anyone expected, and Sanders really talks a good game. We’ll see if he can deliver.

Sunday saw the big TV action take over Hall H with Supernatural and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia throwing down in a major way. But the big Sunday headlines all went to the BBC’s Doctor Who which landed with a huge splash. I don’t watch this show, but I’m starting to feel like I should be getting caught up. (Lainey: the Dr Who crowd was intense, like massive, massive, massive with the fans, and the American media did not give a sh-t. Where’s that disconnect coming from?) Also appearing was Sons of Anarchy, which couldn’t retain the large crowd for Sunny. I wonder why they put Sons in Hall H at all. It’s never the biggest draw and the panels tend to be interesting but a bit flat in terms of energy. Nathan Fillion, on the other hand, who is a legitimate rockstar to these people, was stuffed in some other room with his panel and an overflow crowd. Next year, trying reversing that, Comic-Con planning people.

So that’s it for Comic-Con 2011. Remember though that last year Sucker Punch was a huge hit and it ended up blowing chunks. (Lainey: and Green Lantern too!) Comic-Con isn’t always an accurate gauge for success.

Attached – the Walking Dead panel at Comic-Con 2011.


Photos from Frazer Harrison/Gettyimages.com

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