Comic-Con 2011 : Total Recall, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, 30 Minutes


Ghost Rider : Spirit of Vengeance

One of the more anticipated offerings at Comic-Con, the Sony sequel/reboot looks positively… rockin’. Imagine “Crank” by way of Ang Lee’s “Hulk”. We see some clips of how Neveldine & Taylor shoot… and it’s crazy; it’s a wonder these guys aren’t dead yet. Johnny Whitworth, Idris Elba and Nicolas Cage (a regular here at Comic-Con) turn up to plug the flick.

The footage looks great – completely redeems that original movie; the flaming skull, the action-scenes, the dialogue, the pacing.. it all seems right this time. The 3D even looked good.In one scene, Blaze is shot in the head, numerous times, he then spits the bullets back out and into the shooter’s face. Priceless!

“Spirit of Vengeance” looks like a totally different film than the original – more hardcore, if you will.

Lots of good tidbits dropped by cast and crew, including :

  • Idris Elba crashed his bike in one scene. They used that take.
  • Elba also said he wants to play another Marvel character, Luke Cage
  • Neveldine and Taylor hinted that they might get involved in a “Ghost Rider 3” if this one is popular
  • Cage says that this one isn’t an origin story,  Ghost Rider has been around for years.

30 Minutes or Less

This is the new Ruben Fleischer/Jesse Eisenberg comedy; might just be the sleeper hit of the year.

Fleischer is here, but of the cast only Nick Swardson, Aziz Ansari and Michael Peña are on stage. A few chuckles before diving into the footage – bank heist scene (looks very funny).

The fan Q&A was amusing (Aziz pranked the audience into believing he’d just watched “Dark Knight Rises” in the AM). Fleischer fielded “Zombieland 2” questions; hinted that it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon due to how busy the cast is; said the “30 Minutes or Less” Blu-ray will have lots of deleted scenes; Eisenberg did all of his own stunt-driving in the film; there were some jabs at Fleischer for doing a big-time serious drama next, “Gangster Squad”. And tonight, they screen the film for us!

Total Recall

One of the more dubious offerings on offer over the next twelve months or so, “Total Recall” is a reboot of the Paul Verhoeven flick only sans the Dutch maestro and superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger; Instead, we’ve Len Wiseman directing and Colin Farrell filling Schwarzenegger’s slot.

In their Hall H panel, Sony ushered out cast and crew (Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and John Cho) of the new “Total Recall” at Comic-Con earlier today who spoke about the movie.

Revelations? None really…

  • They’re half-way through filming
  • Farrell, explaining the backstory of his character, jokingly tells the backstory of Arnold Schwarzenegger instead
  • Cranston says he was convinced the movie would be good after reading the script and speaking to Wiseman
  • “T.J Hooker” and other American TV shows helped Farrell perfect his American accent as an actor

Later, they previewed some footage and… we wish they hadn’t. It looks as generic as home-brand milk.

I just have nothing to say.

So I’ll let others…

Collider say, “We see Quaid (Farrell) going into Recall to have fun memories implanted. Rather than a sleek futuristic setting, Recall looks like an opium den. McClane (John Cho) sets up Quaid into the Recall seat (and the framing resembles the shot of Schwarzenegger from the original). The Recall goes haywire, McClane realizes that Quaid is a spy but Quaid doesn’t understand. He hits the alarm but suddenly a bunch of military guys storm the room, kill everyone except for Quaid and hold him at gun point. A switch flips in Quaid’s brain and in one long shot he takes down every soldier in the room. It looks a lot like a video game and that runs throughout the rest of the footage. It’s not just because we saw some of the scene as pre-viz (and Farrell’s pre-viz figure has stubble because that was key). Running from jets (is that going to be Wiseman’s signature from now on?), gun fights, and none of what could make Total Recall interesting.

I understand that action can help sell the movie, but in the original, when Quaid goes to Recall and it goes wrong, it’s not that he snaps. It’s that reality snaps and that’s what keeps the movie interesting in the first half (and then when Quaid gets to Mars it goes campy and insane). Here, it’s an intro to an action scene and I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to care about. Maybe they haven’t shot any character stuff or emotional moments and again, action sells, but I’m not really feeling any thoughtful or inventive sci-fi from what we saw.”

Bleeding Cool says, “Though Total Recall has a long way to go, and is estimated to be just half way through production, Len Wiseman and Sony have brought a sequence along to Comic-Con. Apparently comprised of the first footage shot, the scene shows what happens when our protagonist Douglas Quaid, as played by Colin Farrell, goes to Recall for his “brain vacation.” The basic plot beats are the same as in the Verhoeven film, at least to start off with, but the details are very different.

For example, Farrell’s Quaid is an altogether more “normal” fellow and he doesn’t seem so obviously a nut-buster as Schwarzenegger.

As a result, when Quaid suddenly finds he’s very, very good at killing people, it’s something of a surprise for us. Well, apart from the very many factors that make it obvious from context, knowledge of cinematic convention and the original film.

The fight sequence we saw, which featured Quaid taking down a small platoon of camo-suited cop-soldier-men-things, was all staged as though in a single shot, the camera swinging around. Think Blade 2.

At the end of that shot, when Quaid is taken back with a shock at what he’s just accomplished, Farrell nails the surprise perfectly.

After this point there was a lot more pre-Vis showing Quaid’s daring escape.The stunts get bigger, the frame gets busier with sci-fi trappings and, by the time the sequence was done, the stench of popcorn was overwhelming. This is supposed to be a big, loud crowd pleaser. I think they’d balk at the word “dumb” but they’ve certainly got those impulses at work, in between all of the lip service to Philip K. Dick.

The production and costume design at Recall mask it look something like an expensive brothel, imbued with Eastern influences. They’re certainly trying to sell it as sexy.”

The Amazing Spider-Man

The big one. Or is it?

Feels like yesterday we were here in Hall H waiting for the “Spider-Man 3” panel to begin… and even that looked good at the time so won’t be hard for Sony to impress with this one.

We watch the trailer again – in 3D!

Here, if you haven’t watched it yet, hit the play button below :


  • Andrew Garfield turns up, dressed as a Spidey-fan! Asks a question of the panel!
  • Garfield read a nice note from Stan Lee about the character and how he feels about him
  • Garfield, nervous but warm, wins over the audience
  • Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, Marc Webb, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone sit on the panel.
  • Garfield admits to being a big fan of the Sam Raimi trilogy
  • Spidey’s web-shooters are created out of science, not magic
  • Tobey Maguire called Andrew Garfield to give him his blessing. Nice.
  • Garfield had to train for four months after getting the part

Footage : An amazing (heh) scene where Parker gets bullied by some kids at school; later asks out Gwen Stacy. We also see a few shots of Parker learning of his Spidey skills. There’s some funny moments in these clips – seems Garfield’s Peter Parker is more of a smart-ass dork type than Maguire’s Spidey.

Footage #2 : The Lizard! Looks different than he did in the comics, but still cool.  Two girls in a toilet encounter The Lizard as he climbs out of a hole!

Nice job Sony!

Previous articleComic-Con 2011 : The Adventures of Tintin
Next articleComic-Con 2011 : The Raven, Haywire
Alicia Malone is a Film Reporter, TV Host, Producer, Writer, Editor, and all around movie geek. She developed her taste for film at a young age, spending many a heady Friday night pajama-clad at the video store, picking out her 7 films for 7 days for $7. Bargain! While at school she created a Film Club, electing herself President. Eventually the School Principal asked her not to get up in assembly to talk about movies anymore.