Comic-Con 2011 : Various Items


Cowboys and Aliens

The film premiered at Comic-Con on Saturday night. While no “X-Men : First Class”, or even “Iron Man”, Jon Favreau’s sci-fi western managed to entertain and then some. The only faults, as most critics saw it, was that there wasn’t enough two-hander stuff between Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig (instead, Ford kicked it with a bunch of supporting characters most of the time; Craig with Olivia Wilde). Most of the praise was aimed at Favreau, who managed to combine a great character story with some terrifically-staged special-effects sequences.

Here’s some of the initial reactions from our colleagues :

”Beneath all the state-of-the-art special effects beats an old-fashioned heart, one that prizes both of the genres in play. Echoes of “Rio Bravo” and “3:10 to Yuma” resonate through the first act, while the finale uses neato dragonfly-shaped UFOs and truly menacing monster design to update tropes from corny 1950s alien-invasion movies. In between, the script cobbles together a bumpy second act, tossing off serial-style cliffhangers — cut off by bandits! surrounded by Indians! — en route to the big showdown promised by the film’s title.” – Variety

“…this one devotes a gratifying amount of time to character and achieves most of its success because Favreau has intelligently cast his film and let his actors do their thing” – The Hollywood Reporter

”It’s easy to like the cast—thanks as much to their previous work as anything on screen here—but with such a convoluted, illogical and dull story, no one fares particularly well. As counterparts, Craig and Ford’s chief difference is the proportion between good and bad in their souls, but the script’s ham-fisted revelations makes them less—not more—complex as the film goes on.” – Box Office Magazine

“Two movies (and two genres) for the price of one, this ultimate popcorn movie of the summer is a mishmash by design, in which Bond meets Han Solo, 007 encounters Indiana Jones, though more effective as Western than sci-fi thriller.” – Emanuel Levy

“Terra Nova”

Stephen Lang, among others, turned up to stump the series. Nothing huge mentioned on the panel, only that we’ll definitely be seeing “the money” on screen.

Word is generally positive on the Spielberg produced pilot, the series of which is currently shooting in Australia, which premiered at SDCC on Saturday.

Collider says : “All of this is an interesting start to a show like this, and the multiple mysteries and point of views should help keep the show out of deep ruts. Where they go from here is a definite question. Overall, the inclusion of O’Mara and Lang are going to win people over because they bring charisma and charm to their characters and that can go a long way in getting people hooked. While there are some cheesy moments in which there was a collective “awww” from the crowd, they seem to be playing up the danger and I’m willing to stick around to see what comes of the show when it lands September 26th. As for the questions, they seemed to revolve around what would come about as the series progressed.”

/Film says : ”As you might expect from the first episode of such an ambitious, high-concept series, Terra Nova starts off with a lot of exposition and world-building. As such, it’s tough in some ways to say whether Terra Nova will work in the long run. Based on what I saw, the premise seems very interesting and the visuals look great, but I didn’t get a good sense of who the main characters were.”

TV Overmind says : “The first part of the pilot is very well written and, most importantly, it is engaging and very exciting. I have to say I am completely hooked on this show and can’t wait to find out what happens next.”

The Darkest Hour

The Emile Hirsch/Rachael Taylor Alien Invasion movie, filmed and set in Russia, might be the one to beat in 2011 – it looks as if it could be this year’s “District 9”.

Director Chris Gorak explains that, “It kind of flips the genre on its head where daytime is scarier than night because during the day you can’t see [the aliens]. But at night, their electro-alien energy illuminates light bulbs and turns on stereos and sirens or something. It’s kind of their tactical mistake of the aliens so it’s easier to track them at night.”

The aliens fall from the sky like beautiful falling stars but.. “they’re made up of such intense lethal wave energy that just by touching them we get shredded, basically like a wood chipper. Instantly bodies pulverized into ash and they’re destroyed. Another great weapon is that they can reach out with their energy, grab things and pull them in to a shred as well.”

The trailer that was screened was great – they kill a dog, the filmmakers have made awesome use of Moscow, and there’s a shopping trolley sequence that’s going to be rad – and the concept art that was shown was even better :

Charlie’s Angels

The ABC produced reboot had quite the impressive panel, and convinced many that the show might be worth tuning into after all…  not that anyone much seemed to care, the room was near empty. Still, cast members Annie Honzeh, Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor, Ramon Rodriguez and executive producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar did a great job of selling the series to those that did turn up.

The trailer looked quite impressive (better than the previous one) and Gough and Millar had some interesting things to say regarding the tone of the show.

“One is a dirty cop, the other a car thief and another cat burglar,” Gough explained, when asked how the ‘Angels’ differ to the previous TV and film versions. “It gave them a skill set in the show and it gave them something to overcome. And we made Bosley young and hot. In the TV show and movies, he was like the weird pervy uncle. And we wanted Bosley to be the fourth angel. And the final piece was moving the show from LA to Miami. LA — probably because we live there — didn’t seem exciting or fun … [reboots] have a big target on their backs which we’re acutely aware of.”

The producers are confident that we will like what we see when we tune in.

Joss Whedon’s Dark Horse Panel

An hour with the geek king.

Here’s what you want to know, fans :

  • He’s tried to get a “Serenity” sequel up but nobody was interested
  • He’s tried to get an animated “Buffy” movie going but.. nobody was interested
  • He’s currently working on a sequel to “Doctor Horrible”
  • He said the cast of the “Avengers” might even make a better team than the superheroes in the film do
  • Whedon said it’s no different working on “The Avengers”, with it’s pre-existing characters, than working on something that’s choca-bloc with his own creations – like “Buffy”. ”It’s not actually that different. You establish a good relationship with the actors and then work within the parameters of whatever the project is.”
  • Or you can just watch the panel here :