Here’s the 140-word version: WB still has a ways to go to catch up with Marvel where the superhero movies are concerned.
Longer: After making a sacrifice to the ancient con gods, I was able to get into this morning’s WB movie panel in Hall H without camping out since 6 pm the previous night, like so many did. It was my first time in Hall H since Scott Pilgrim back in 2010. In the intervening time the camping process got more and more elaborate and difficult. The room was filled to the back with folks carrying Ikea and giant con bags full of pillows and blankets, provisions, and hopefully some deodorant.
What did they get for their efforts? CCI Programming guy Eddie Ibrahim came out to a chant of “Eddie! Eddie!” which was bizarre and yet fitting as he read off the rules. Then a giant nearly 180-degree screen for WB was revealed…dunno if this was old or new, but it was pretty effective. The footage would roll from one side to the other across the width of Hall H. Each film had it’s own cinema roll in and then a static montage for the presentation. I had a less than optimal seat near a light-leaky door so perhaps didn’t get the full effect.
After Ibrahim left, Chris Hardwick came out—really the perfect person to run a show such as this. Right off the Bat (man) they teased Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Lovably inarticulate Zack Snyder came out and said they were in the middle of filming and this was all he could show. Then there was a brief teaser that consisted of a stormy day and Batman glowering, lighting the bat signal and looking grim with glowing white eyes, and then Superman (Henry Cavill) in full on Frank Quitely mode appeared from a dark and stormy sky with glowing RED eyes and then they glowered at one another as dark tumultuous music played.
The effect was somewhere between Real Housewives of Orange County, the entrance to any main event on Raw, and Pacific Rim with Batman a mecha and Superman a kaiju. I like Snyder’s filmmaking more than most, and he definitely gets the sense of power and wonder in these icons, but it also looked like something that would be cool to a nine-year-old boy, and since that’s the target audience, it’s all good.
Then Batfleck, Cavill and Gal Gadot traipsed out and looked a bit awkward posing for a selfie with Hardwick. Gadot looks…okay. She also looks like the female lead in most WB movies — a tall thin model. Snyder then tweeted the first look at her in costume and it’s okay, more dark stormy grim people who escaped from the background of Batman Begins.
And then they left and we moved on to Channing Tatum.
I haven’t had time to go online and see what else has been announced here, but if this was DC’s movie announcement it was…okay. But Marvel’s gonna make it look like an awkward 10 minute plug. I couldn’t stay for the Marvel presentation since I have a panel opposite it but after talking to a lot of the line waiters, that’s what they were most excited for.
After the BvS:DOJ footage, Channing Tatum came out and plugged the Wachowski’s Jupiter Ascending which has a no-confdence release slot in February. The movie appears to be about Mila Kunis as a secret princess who discovers her heritage as a space alien ruler, a theme tailor made for the Wachowskis. The footage looked technically great and the story more complicated than a log line. I’m also a bigger Wachowski fan than most (SPEED RACER!!!!!) and hope this gets them back on the track to making hits.
THen George Miller came out to talk about Mad Max. They showed a compilation clip of the first trilogy and mate it was my bad spot, but it seemed a bit underwhelming given how great the first three are. Miller came out and I totally fell in love with him because he is when you get down to it, a great filmmaker (Babe Pig In the City) and he was so calm and insightful. Hardwick made a joke about Mel Gibson becoming Mad Max in real life and Miller observed that many people have a conflict within them and that is what makes them compelling performers. He said Tom Hardy has the same quality. “Paradox creates charisma.” He was also genuinely thrilled to be at Comic-Con for the first time, after a childhood spent reading comics and sketching.
The film itself will be one long chase scene with Hardy as Max and Charlize Theron as the leader of a caravan. He literally sketched out the whole movie before he wrote it because he wanted it to be about action, and then Brendan McCarthy sketched out the whole thing. There is very little dialog.
Then they showed a LONG trailer and….again I had a bad spot, but the CGI’d chase scenes looked less compelling than the practical ones back in the day. Maybe it’s me. STILL, I’m totally on board for this and can’t wait to see it.
The next hour or so was given over to the final Hobbit movie with Stephen Colbert in his costume as the Laketown Spy quizzing Peter Jackson, PHillipa Boyens, The ‘Batch, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace (Thranduil), Luke Evans (Bard), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis. I had no idea Andy Serkis was tiny! The same height as Wood. The next hour passed in merry chatter and some footage, a HILARIOUS blooper reel, Lily and Blanchett stealing the show with talk of shiny elf poo, Colbert name checking Fëanor (my heart,) Pace revealing himself to talk like a SoCal surfer dude and proving that he’s a hell of an actor because Thranduil is about as far from a SoCal surfer dude as it gets, and so on. I was glad I was there.
And then I left. I was a little sad I couldn’t stay all day to see Sin City 2 and so on, but too much else to do, and it was a little stinky in there with the camping and long toilet lines and what not. Also a little magic goes a long way.
I talked to a few of the campers and they were all battle hardened vets of the vigil. Some said it was crazier than ever this year, with what many feel is the beginning of a gradual campaign to discourage the excessive camping out that has developed. There is no question that Comic-Con has shrunk a bit the year—Satudray is nuts like it has always been rumored to be, but other weights cabbies literally said “Where is everyone?”
I can tell you they were using Uber, but other than that things have calmed down.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.