Clint Morris, live from San Diego
So here we are, the only day of the year when browncoats, trekkies, star wars fans, rainbow brite buffs and dudes in hired ‘Batman’ costumes, get together. Now, you’ll have to excuse the tardiness and (probably) the grammar- I’ve just returned, a few beers later, from a New Line Party with my fellow webmasters. But I’ll try my best to run down the day’s activities… um, that’s give a ‘run down’ not ‘run down’, as such. Oh, you know what I mean…even if I don’t.
After a brief stroll around the massive exhibition hall (talking to folks like “Futurama” legend Billy West, and a dozen cartoonists whose names I’ve never heard of), I headed to the first panel (well, mine anyway) of the day : “Flyboys”. Fortunately, it was the weakest of the lot, so the day didn’t go out like an unfizzy Pepsi.
Mightn’t be a bad movie, but the panel left didn’t exactly leave one salivating for an advance screening weekend. We were treated to some clips from the film (a couple of good aerial dogfight scenes), a trailer (not bad), and some Q&A and Question Time with those involved, including director Tony Bill and Dean Devlin. A lot of techno gabble basically (full interview coming soon), but one interesting off-topic titbit from Devlin (producer) : He’s now in talks to do two more “Stargate” movies. James Franco recorded a video introduction to the footage.
A trio of films featured, including “Open Season” (the major) and “Surf’s Up”. The latter looks fantastic. Its a CGI documentary chronicling the life of a surfing penguin, voiced by Sheia LeBeouf. It looks to be one of the best family films in quite some time – and the most imaginative too. Can’t say I’m sold on “Open Season” – though the clips we were shown were mildly humorous – if only because the studio seems intent on letting everyone know that it’s a toon buddy film for Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher – two of the most unappealing actors around.
Though everyone (and I mean, everyone – the place was packed!) was essentially there to see the teaser for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (or “TMNT” as it will be called), Warner Bros showed us some footage and trailers from other films like “Happy Feet”, which looked reasonably funny (but nowhere near as good as “Surf’s Up”) mostly thanks to the comedic brilliance of Robin Williams, and “The Ant Bully”, a CGI film based on a book of the same name, which looked entertaining, though a little old-hat since it resembled no more than a profusion of “Antz” and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”. But yes, as I mumbled before, the big one was definitely “TMNT”, and thankfully, Kevin Munroe’s retelling of the classic cartoon caper got a rousing reception. The brief trailer got a round of applause, but the footage that was shown from the film – 5 minutes of near-finished scenes, mostly mug shots and fighting – got a better reception. Apparently the full voice cast for the film will be announced within the next month (he confirmed that Corey Feldman will not be back), but Monroe says the legendary Mako (“Conan the Barbarian”) is voicing Splinter (some narration of his was heard over the footage – and it sounded great). Apparently the plan is to do a trilogy of “Nina Turtles” movie, with Shredder – who isn’t the villain of this first movie – possibly featured as more of a central villain down the track.
The Horror Panel. Well, mostly. There was Stan Winston and Jim Isaac talking up the new werewolf movie “Skinwalkers”. The footage did nothing for me. Didn’t look very exciting at all. Thankfully, it was a brief component of this session. Much more entertaining was a clip from the new Jason Statham actioner “Crank” – with Statham and others (Amy Smart was supposed to be there, but for some reason, was a no show) participating in the panel that followed the scene. Statham got a huge round of applause, and anyone allowed near the mic insisted on telling him how “fucking awesome” he is. The only interesting thing that came out of the panel though, was that Statham starrer “Revolver”, the big floperoo he did with Jason Statham, will get a release in the states soon (or rather there are “negotiations” happening, says Statham). As I had to rush off for a screening of “Accepted” – because I’m interviewing the stars, including Justin Long, tomorrow – I didn’t get to see what was shown of “Saw 3”, or hear from the panel participants, but I’m sure someone else on this big stout web universe did.
Tomorrow : The day starts off with a chat with Samuel L.Jackson, a meet-up with Hilary Swank, a post-“Superman Returns” yab with Bryan Singer, some more panels, a couple of parties, David Boreanaz, Holly Valance and the cast of “D.O.A”, and a couple of other surprises. More soon.