So I’m back from the most pop culture-laden five days I’ve ever had. From July 13 to July 17, I was in California for my first-ever San Diego Comic-Con, a literal haven for all things geek in pop culture (as reported
by CNN). In short: It was heaven. Throughout the course of the convention, Warner Brothers, Disney and DreamWorks (among others) held panels and extended, exclusive previews for the most anticipated films of the coming year, not to mention previews of upcoming TV shows, comics and video games. I’m here not to gloat, but to report that the future looks bright. Here’s the lowdown on the buzz I picked up at the Con:
-V for Vendetta
: The film
based on what might possibly be the best graphic novel ever looks pretty f-ing sweet. The story focuses on a future London under the control of a totalitarian government and the masked vigilante known only as V who single-handedly fights Big Brother and brings the populace a revolution. True to Alan Moore’s vision (you non-comic fans may know him as the guy behind “From Hell” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”) the film seemed to keep the mood appropriately 1984-esque. The insurgent themes and scenes of bombings likely will set off a bunch of PC alarms, but it honestly looks too cool to be taken literally as a pro-terrorism film. The Wachowski brothers (The Matrix
guys) seem to be a perfect fit for a movie that deals with themes of revolution, oppression and mass hysteria on a literary scale. (Oh, and as a side note, the V mask I got as a freebie is freakin’ sweet)
-Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
: Even if you aren’t a fan of Harry’s, this is the movie
that officially tips into more mature themes. Staying true to J.K. Rowling’s book, new director Mike Newell has set the darker tone and taken on the more complicated monsters and events of the fourth segment of the series. This movie follows Harry into both his teen years and a dangerous multinational tournament featuring no less than dragons, sea monsters, a killer maze and (finally) a face-to-face encounter with Lord Voldemort himself. Yes, they look to have kept all of the wizarding trials (and the deaths). And once again, casting looks to be dead-on with Ralph Fiennes as You Know Who and Miranda Richardson as the vile reporter Rita Skeeter. (And yes, I about hyperventilated by the end of this mini-screening)
: From the viewpoint of a film geek alone, this movie
has everything a fantasy fan could want: Multiple timelines, the fountain of youth, knights in armor, futuristic landscapes, Hugh Jackman and Darren Aronofsky. I don’t even know how to describe it, but then showed a full 10 minutes of the film and I was hooked.
: Though it is still in the early stages of production
, I daresay this was the best of the sneak peeks I saw (and it got the only standing ovation and encore viewing). Though I was skeptical early on about the new Superman outfit and the choice of such young actors, I was thoroughly won over by the end of Brian Singer’s discussion and the film clips. The movie has a classic hero plot (Superman returns from a long absence to find the world no longer needs him) and an Action comics-esque appearance made possible by the same technology as seen in Sky Captain
. And the final scene of the clip made the entire screening room go ballistic with fanboy froth: Lex Luthor smirking over a piece of kryptonite. That is, Lex Luthor as played by batshit crazy Kevin Spacey (who is the most brilliant casting choice I could have ever imagined). King Kong
: Really, all you needed to know was that Peter Jackson was directing a King Kong film
. And all I have to do is tell you is that: Yes, it takes place in the past, yes the ape looks real, yes it takes place in both the jungle and the city and yes…Kong fights a goddamn dinosaur. All this, and Jack Black. You know you want it, baby
-A Scanner Darkly
: I’ll admit my geeknorance by saying right off that I have never actually read Philip K. Dick’s novel, but I knew enough of it to go to this panel. From a purely movie nerd standpoint, it will be a tough one to market but a definite must-see. Brought to us by the creative team behind Waking Life
, the film
has rough, spectral animation laid over actual filmed performances, creating a dreamlike state. Featuring the same familiar Dick themes of existentialism, paranoia and free will, the movie, at the very least looks very sweet even if it may be hard to unravel. The animation is quite a bit better this time around, with stars Keanu Reeves (who was mercilessly ripped on by the panel audience), Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey, Jr. looking quite real.
: Set to debut in October on Adult Swim, Boondocks
may be the comic strip best designed for television. Though I am a fan of the strip itself, the animated show looks to be an even better fit for writer Aaron McGruder’s biting humor. Each show will be self-contained bits featuring the usual staple of characters and the usual racially observant humor. McGruder’s brought on a slew of great voices for his characters, including Regina King (Ray
, Jerry Maguire
) as Huey and Riley and Charlie Murphy, Mos Def and Ed Asner stepping is as guest stars. The first episode preview, about none other than R. Kelly, was absolutely hilarious and instantly quotable.
-Adult Swim’s new shows
: Though the producers previewed a number of 15-minute programs, a few in particular stand out. “Lucy: Daughter of the Devil” has, as you’d guess, the teenage daughter of the devil living on Earth as her worried dad keeps watch from below. “Morel Orel” is about an uber-Christian whose blind faith is going to be a constant source of jeering (and likely protests from the Religious Right). But my personal favorite was “The Minoriteam” which is a group of superheroes whose names and powers are based around stereotypes of their ethnicities (i.e. a smart Asian guy, an athletic black guy, etc.). Let the racial epithets flow this fall.
-Family Guy animated feature
: No, not to be shown at the movies. What I saw previewed was “Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story”, a DVD that will likely also be shown (toned down) as a three-part episode arc on Fox. In it, Stewie finds out/believes another man is his father and seeks to find him. From the looks of the short preview, it’s going to be, predictably, hilarious. (Hint: I was practically crying by the end of the preview from laughter)
: OK, only like two people that read this care, but I was excited to see a few new titles popping up on Marvel’s radar, including a second series of 1602
(with which I was obsessed), a blaxploitation-looking book about Misty Knight and Colleen Wing (Daughters of the Dragon
), FF: The End
, a Ghost Rider relaunch and…….the announcement that Stephen King will be writing for Marvel. Holy Jesus, I thought I was gonna melt right there. What a fantasy combination for King fans! (Here’s hoping it doesn’t suck)