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30 September 2009 @ 04:46 pm
three indeterminate lines  
Yes I'm quite late. No, it's not likely to get read. But here you go anyway.
Read-along photos at Flickr, click to begin (first photo is boring, starting with this one lol):



Because Flickr Uploadr was having some kind of issue, the photos are NOT in order in the photostream; you must use the Set navigation.

WEDNESDAY
Preview Night
Did the whole checking in thing, got my badge, hung out on the deck overlooking the bridge for a while with friends; had dinner at Dick's Last Resort and got back just as Preview Night was starting. I didn't go to the screenings, I didn't want to give up all three hours to that. But I didn't accomplish too much in the Exhibitor's Hall anyway; it was NUTS this year, which I heard from other people I talked to as well so it wasn't my imagination. Probably due to the badge limitation more people had Preview Night access this year, so it wasn't the quiet experience it usually is ("quiet" in SDCC terms). Wandered, took photos, picked up some freebies, spent about 20 minutes in the Paramount line until they told us they were out of stuff. D:

I did talk to some other fans during the weekend who confirmed that Preview Night was much more crowded than usual. Probably more people pre-regged; I also heard a lot of people with non-Preview Night passes still got in.

THURSDAY
=Disney: 3D FAILED=
Got out later than I planned; underestimated the walking time from the Manchester Grand Hyatt down to Hall H with crowds. So it was about 8:20 when I got to the end of the line. At that point the lawn was already full, the line was across the street, down the length of Hall H, and doubling back on itself along the water. The Twilight fans around me told me that people had been in line at 2PM the day before (so over 24 hours in line); but later I heard some had been there since Tuesday. Security told me the lawn capacity is about 4,000. That seems too high to me, but it's hard to tell. They told us when they were moving the line, but didn't; I started getting worried about making my other panels if H was running behind and our chances of not getting in were still better than getting in, so I left it to the Twihards.

Turns out it was just as well we did. 0bscurity had been in the dealer's room earlier and found out that there were these postcards for 9; if you could get all of them, you got guaranteed access to a signing. By complete dumb, spastic luck, we caught the giveaway people coming out of the con center headed for the Gaslamp District and got five of the ten cards in a few minutes. But then I'm not sure how long we were charging like headless chickens looking for the rest! Especially the stupid final card, the Machine Card, that was the hard one. When we finally found the guy I think we scared him XD; At that point one of the staffers told us only a handful of the 100 wristbands for the signing had been given out (one per complete card set).

=Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey=
Missed the beginning of this panel but was still able to walk in. Basically, it's a movie that's a "hero's journey" narrative about quantum physics, using actual space images for some of the visuals. Also, the voice cast includes Chris Pine, Neil Armstrong, Doug Jones, William Shatner, James Earl Jones, ton of other people . . . XD It was sort of . . . Silver Surfer with photons looking. It's certainly novel.

=EW Female Power Icons=
I actually thought I wouldn't be able to get into this panel! I was reasonably close and could have done slightly better if I'd really worked. The idea of the panel was to get some actresses in who had been successful in "genre" roles (what a vague term, since it really means specific genres). Then they were supposed to talk about how they got the roles, the future of female characters, etc. Boy, did this discussion show what people were made of. I'm pretty sure Eliza Dushku only said anything because the moderator seemed to have a soft spot for her (a lot of guys do) and he prompted her. Honestly, I have no recollection of what she said besides that it was giggly. For her part, Elizabeth Mitchell seemed quite intimidated; while her answers were . . . graceful?, she too wound up getting a bit giggly and finally said she should just have Zoe Saldana talk for her. It's not that I blame them much necessarily - Sigourney Weaver is some company, and otherwise it might as well have been the Zoe Saldana show! She was incredibly well-spoken and intelligent, and pretty well dominated the panel. Sigourney Weaver was great, as well, but Zoe Saldana really surprised me. I am not a fan of the new Star Trek film; I'd never heard her speak as herself. She did make one mention while talking about men writing female characters regarding having to tell someone "she's not going to sleep with him just because she thinks he's hot" - kind of suspicious that had to do with Star Trek . . . well, I would certainly define them both as formidable women, and not in the horrible stereotypical way either. Sigourney Weaver told us that we're the ones who can change Hollywood; we'll see. There was certainly a lot of cheering.

=Burn Notice=
Meanwhile, this panel might as well have been called "Bruce Campbell's Burn Notice". ROFL. Lots of people in the Church of Bruce, I think. (It was the same way at Chuck in 2008, because of the Adam Baldwin fans.) I'm not saying I really have a problem with it, it was just kind of odd with that many people on a panel. It often happens, if there's one "famous" person there it's "This question is for Bruce . . ." They did stay on topic some, but it was definitely overshadowed by his stunts. Whenever people would compliment him, he'd get up and give them money, lol. Big theatrics of course when the same guy did it twice. I did find out that they DO have an ex-CIA operative who helps the show stay on track with its details. Matt Nix also said that the restaurants and such tend to be named after crew children, and baddies after directors. If you like the show or are a fan of Bruce Campbell's, USA should have the video posted.

=Psych=
Aaaaand Psych. I think the Psych intros might have actually gotten more hollering than Burn Notice, which was interesting. Burn Notice has higher numbers, but I guess Psych is the more nerd-friendly hahah. Dule Hill and James Roday were occasionally slipping into character, which was funny; it was even funnier when Tim Omundson did it. Corbin Bernsen seemed very laidback, rather quiet, but with vicious comedic timing. Steve Franks sounds like his writing, which is always great; he did admit that the actors are often too young to get some of the references they're making, which made me feel better about sometimes having to Google things. Basically, you could tell where the vibe of the show was coming from; it looked like a tight-knit group of people who were really loving what they were doing and laughing a lot. Even if the "Psych-Outs" are now frequently scripted. XD; Of course, all the biggest respect for the panel probably has to go to Dule Hill for his DANCE ROUTINE. You do not get THAT often at a panel. The TV writers who couldn't understand why the man would leave "serious television" for a weird cable show, I think, can't imagine the pleasure of choosing to work with people you click with, instead of always just worrying about your career . . .

=Green Lantern: First Flight=
Well, 0bscurity was going and I was ready to watch something on a screen lol. It wasn't too bad, I think it was mainly for fans; though if you didn't know the source material well, you were less likely to go "NO that's not right!!" Anyhow the animation had some nice moments. We also learned that when all else fails, you might as well smash some moons together. Green Lantern interests me as a character, I should try some comics about him . . .

I remember NOTHING ELSE about Thursday @_@;


FRIDAY
I don't remember how early I was for the day's first panel - maybe 3 hours? I do remember storming to the con center because I got out later than expected. As I was walking this guy comes up behind me and says "now here's someone walking with purpose" . . . lol. And that's how I got one of my line buddies for the morning, lol, press guy who was mainly catching up on back issues of Variety, and said he knew the director of programming's father. I also met the guy in front of me, and his friend who came later, both of whom work for an RPG company and were exhibiting inside (which, sadly, I can't seem to recall the name of). We talked about movies and were fortunate to dislike the same things that everyone else I knew thought were awesome :X They also told me interesting stories about the early days of GenCon.

Unlike in most of the smaller rooms, in Hall H, security kind of figures the odds are there will be a free-for-all to get seated, and generally give up on the idea of persuading people to fill from one side to the other. Instead, you get to play what I imagine from above would look like Human Pachinko - pick an aisle, bounce around between them when the opportunity appears, and slip into the slot that presents itself furthest down. You must know which seats are reserved and you must ask "is that seat taken?"; the especially shy need not apply. Most of all, you must do it as quickly as possible. If you get overly ambitious and move too far forward, chances are you will not get a seat and will have to backtrack while the chairs fill in behind you, landing you a worse spot than you would have had by stopping further back. This happens every time a panel ends, but is most frantic and exciting first panel of the day. The only thing they will stop you for is running (I didn't get stopped for speedwalking this year) - and oddly I only got stopped for that with some other dudes when we were walking up an escalator. That escalator would have to be really trucking for that to be equivalent to running . . .

Anyhow, I continue my case for SDCC being less like a convention and more like an extreme sport.

=Warner Brothers (Where the Wild Things Are, Book of Eli, Jonah Hex, Sherlock Holmes)=
Warner Brothers, to my knowledge, is a special case in the panel world at SDCC; they're the only ones who bring in their own security team to patrol the floor for taping. Black-suited guys straight out of central casting for (not so) secret agents, with curly earpieces and night vision monoculars (how badass is THAT). WB takes leaking their trailers veeeery seriously.

But after some dire announcements about the consequences of filming any footage, we had a much more auspicious start to the panel: young, conveniently named Max Records coming on stage to introduce the film in which he stars, Where the Wild Things Are. Even for a kid who wasn't an unknown - even for an adult celebrity - that audience would be intimidating. So Max loses no points for looking like a baby deer in the headlights and hesitating a bit, with a comment about never having been in front of so many people, before doing his script. The audience clearly adored him and that bodes well for the box-office fate of Where the Wild Things Are. So did the footage, with a much extended trailer (probably not intended for theaters) and several scenes. I can see where Maurice Sendak was coming from in commenting that it was like nothing he had ever seen before; this film looks to have an incredibly unique sense of pacing and unique visual sensibility. Having been very familiar with the book as a child, I'd say that it looks like the story beyond the book; the one that, with many books, we remember afterwards instead of the one that we read. The small world that we can contain in a book's words or pictures can expand so much with our imaginations, and somehow . . . somehow this movie looks like it contains that as well (or instead). Possibly because it doesn't intend to be more than what it is, and leaves that part up to the viewer. People fed on a diet of cut-and-dried popcorn fare will either find that immensely frustrating, or immensely freeing and beautiful.

Well. I can't say much for Book of Eli and Jonah Hex except that they were unfortunate successors to the Where the Wild Things Are footage. I know virtually nothing about Book of Eli, and didn't learn much from the panel, except that it's post-apocalyptic world and involves Denzel Washington as Eli protecting - no, really? - a book. Action ensued. Obviously they have a stellar cast, but whether that a stellar movie makes . . . well, I'm not sure they showed me anything particularly interesting. I felt a bit like I saw this movie already but it had Rutger Hauer in it. I came away mainly with the sense that Gary Oldman and Denzel Washington wouldn't be a bad comedy team, if their humor runs a bit towards the blue side (which was a surprise!) . . .

And then of course you have Jonah Hex the zombie-voodoo-Western, which can at least say it's the first in its genre (outside of a very strange tabletop RPG a friend ran once, which was admittedly pretty awesome). And again a reputable cast (mostly), with Michael Fassbender cast in a second project with "Hex" in the title, and Josh Brolin lending some impressive dramatic weight as the title character. I'm not interested in speaking of Megan Fox, who did little but grin, giggle, and prove that she dearly needs a thesaurus containing alternatives to the adjective "badass". We shall also not speak of her entourage of petite Asian fangirls (I could not make this up), who had signs and were standing on their chairs and screaming piercingly. It's "possible" they had an impact on my experience of this portion of the panel. :P (I can't make any aspersions on their sexual preferences since they were clinging to respective boyfriends.) Um . . . Josh Brolin told the audience they were being naughty, and seemed quietly amused by this; though I simultaneously got the impression that if said audience members had met him outside a bar they would have gone home with a broken nose. Could have been my imagination.

And of course, cue a proper bout of the audience going wild when Robert Downey Jr. came out to introduce Sherlock Holmes footage. (I would point out that the Megan Fox Fanclub LEFT when he arrived, and that it's possible Max Records got a slightly bigger reaction before his footage.) Most of the panel discussion was about how they were approaching the reboot. I'm not certain if I agree with Robert Downey Jr.'s assessment of the previous television and filmic versions creating an idea of Holmes not true to the original books. Certainly some of the very old versions feel a bit staid by modern standards, even in comparison to the older stories. But I feel like the Jeremy Brett series did depict the more complex elements of Holmes and Watson's relationship, as well as the darker and more intense side of Holmes. It just wasn't in your face. Subtlety is underrated lately (how appropriately ironic). I suppose it's as well if the role doesn't land another actor in a hospital, but I have a lot of respect for Brett's portrayal that I'm not likely to toss aside on account of it being - well, very British, I suppose. However, even if they're going to expand some brief mentions in Conan Doyle's work into entire subplots, Holmes has always been a pulp character and I don't fundamentally have a problem with him getting some proper pulp action after all this time. I think it's in good hands and hope I won't be let down. I was pretty amused that they mentioned they'd considered doing a young Holmes, which would have been stupid for one (they'd probably have cast Robert Pattinson!) and has been done already for another. Young Sherlock Holmes is fun enough, but fundamentally Holmes is like James Bond; the attractiveness of his character has a lot to do with his experience.

At any rate in response to a question about his own fighting skills, Robert Downey informed us that he could - I believe this was his wording - "jujitsu all (y)our asses". So I guess we better not call it "Tony Stark Time Detective" to his face, 0bscurity :X

=Disney/Pixar: Animation (Miyazaki)=
Speaking of films that lend little importance to explaining themselves . . . John Lasseter is a bit of a tease and didn't start with Miyazaki. XD Well, who knows how they choose the order of these studio panels . . . first up was Toy Story 3, which we saw the trailer for (is now in theaters). They distributed 3D glasses; as far as I know only Disney had brought them, and used them for their panel the day before as well; a bit too much fuss was made over the need to return them or Disney would think we were naughty children and not do it again. The trailer was funny, lol. If I was asked to write Toy Story 3, I'd be like "maaaaaaan..." I don't know how they're doing it. But apparently the storyline relates to the day the toys have been worried about since the first film: when their boy grows up and moves out. (Perhaps they'll do a yard sale?) They also brought out the guys who did the original Beauty and the Beast, to talk about its rerelease in 3D. The technology behind that must be pretty phenomenal; I can understand how it would extrapolate a left- and right-eye version of an image, but how do they assign relative depth to foreground, midground, and background objects - while they're in motion? Anyway, they showed us the opening musical sequence in 3D. It was fairly impressive, but I'm not sure how much; I have trouble with the new 3D tech, it often looks as if it has a strange jitter to it, almost like dropping frames (something about my eyesight).

And then The Princess and the Frog, which is a long time coming in many ways; first "traditional" animation from Disney in quite a while and their first African-American princess. Lots of reasons to be excited about it . . . but you won't be hearing much in that way from me. We saw one musical sequence, which I thought had very weak music; and a second, unfinished scene that in spite of being funny . . . well, it just fell back too much on old Disney. Maybe they've been burned too much when attempting to update the style, but I had the weird feeling I'd already SEEN some of the characters before - look, personality, and sound. The bayou characters are very closely skirting some very old racist stereotypes - perhaps too closely. Minority groups sometimes choose to ignore that kind of thing in supporting characters because they're being thrown a bone with the lead(s). Don't suppose anyone remembers the lyrics to the opening song in Aladdin BEFORE it was changed? :| (Case of the opposite.) I don't think paranoia serves anyone well, but if your first reaction is, "o_o", it's hard to see that as "being too sensitive". If it's not a question of being racist, it's at least a question of being derivative. And setting a film in jazz era New Orleans and not nailing the music . . . that's a serious issue. I guess we'll see.

And at last the screen turned blue with the Ponyo logo and you could almost hear the room change when it did. Lasseter did do an intro, in which his fanboy colors were showing a bit. Out came Hayao Miyazaki, a trim, tidy man in a summer suit who was received with the kind of standing ovation that only masters warrant: a single-minded motion of the entire crowd, not rowdy or unruly but long and loud. When the audience had seated themselves, Lasseter began a chat with him; I'm not certain I can separate the questions he was asked then from ones he was asked later by the audience, but somewhere there has to be video. I do remember that Lasseter said that as an animator, the opening sequence in Ponyo has more things that he'd never even thought of before - let alone animated, let alone by hand - than he can count. (Earlier this year at the Ghibli Museum, I saw a short about a romance between a spider and a water skate that I think might have been a proof of concept for Ponyo, also stunningingly animated.)

Miyazaki's been referred to as "reclusive"; but he didn't come across as someone who dislikes being interviewed, or felt uncomfortable about it. He was just very to-the-point, and one could certainly surmise that he prefers to let his work speak for itself. My animation teacher who worked with Walt Disney said that he always sought out people's opinions and listened to them; but once he had made up his mind, that was that, no fuss or fireworks. I think working with Miyazaki might be like that. It was kind of hilarious really, but in an endearing way, that he was so direct in his answers. If mastering economy of line is the heart of cartooning, then economy of speech appears to follow. (Probably why I'm still terrible at the first :P)
L: Can you talk about your process of story development?
M: Well, first I think about it for a long time.
And later, when an audience member (who I think was cosplaying?) asked if he could talk about why he so often has strong female protagonists:
M: Because I think women are strong and beautiful and I like them a lot. (this one got some cheers)

Again, I'm sorry I can't remember it better, but I saw a higher-than-average number of people taking video. After Lasseter had been talking to him for a bit, the director of programming (who I believe I've confirmed to be Eddie Ibrahim) came out to present both Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter the Inkpot Award. (I also saw Tite Kubo receive his in 2008. It's an honorary award from the con, I'm not sure how they decide it; but they don't fling the things around either, and the people who get them have had a real impact on comics, directly or sometimes indirectly.) They both seemed quite pleased about it, maybe Lasseter a bit more (he strikes me as especially gregarious in general though); perhaps making his pragmatism a bit of a joke, Miyazaki asked if he could use the ink. rofl.

Ah, hmm. That's it really, it was more of the experience of being in the room with someone and the kind of vibe that people have in person than precisely what they said. I think he's exactly the person people would like to believe he is based on the kind of work he's been involved in. I feel quite fortunate to have been at one of his incredibly rare public appearances, and it was certainly worth the waiting. (I didn't try for the Ponyo screening they announced he was introducing; I haven't heard but I have no doubt there was a huge line.) Since I know no one else could make it, including some who really wanted to, if you ever make it to the Ghibli Museum in Japan I can assure you that I'm quite certain all that man is has been built into every wall in the place. And if you can't make it there, just watch one of his movies.

=Focus Features: 9=
So, embarrassingly, I don't remember the 9 panel very well. It may be partially because there was a fair amount of filler. I know they ran the trailer twice, and we also had to be told about the 9 posters around town - I'm sure you've seen those weird square dot-picture barcode things on Japanese goods for years. We finally have some phones in the US that can scan that data and use it to access websites. Almost all of the questions were for Tim Burton; I get that he had an important role to push the film through the system, but he was a producer. :| I was probably fading at that point though so maybe that's why I don't recall much.

=9 signing=
I seriously booked it from Hall H, which is a real challenge in the crowds, and met up with 0bscurity who had already been there quite a while. She was second in line - which became third in line, because two teenage girls had strapped their hands together with one band. Then that became fourth in line, because their aunt or something - who was walking with a cane - came up and asked if she could stay with them in line. Which was all well and good, whatever, we each had one of the 100 guaranteed bands . . . they brought everyone in (Shane Acker, Timur Bekmambetov, Jennifer Connelly, and Elijah Wood), and up to the second floor of the booth, and suddenly there were lots of guys in dark suits. (I don't know if they actually HAD dark glasses, or I just felt like it. @_@;) They were only taking four people up the stairs at a time, so I got cut off from the first group; therefore I didn't see it, but apparently there was a bit of a scene. :\ Look, I've met a fair amount of celebs in my time, and while I got over shaking like a small terrified mammal cornered by a hawk, it still gives me a serious head rush. But I know how to continue acting like a sane human being while that's happening. Apparently a lot of people never bother normally, so how could they at a signing? x_x

I didn't know anything had happened when I went up, but thought the security was awfully jumpy. Shane Acker was exceptionally friendly, and when I said I was an animator (okay I was KIND OF LYING but I HAVE dropped out of animation school twice due to health, that counts! ;_;) he clearly was interested in continuing to talk and still was but security was right behind me. I'm pretty sure they were packing and I don't mess with that for anybody. Timur Bekmambetov didn't acknowledge that I was there or had said anything to him; but he did seem awfully shy at NYCC. Jennifer Connelly was SUPER sweet, friendly, and normal. She is really lovely in person as well but I wouldn't have told her that, rofl. I said something like thanks for coming out to the con and she said it looked really interesting, but they wouldn't let her walk around (sort of looking over the con a bit wistfully). Honestly if anyone had f*cked with Jennifer Connelly on the show floor she would have found herself with an army of volunteer bodyguards in an eye blink anyway, but I guess that's how it is if you have handlers. Must be frustrating. Elijah Wood sort of acknowledged that I said something to him (nothing clever, I'm afraid, sense of security breathing down my neck again), but seemed a bit distant and like he was freaked out.

Found out why right afterwards. :( I know that separating the intensity of your fandom from your knowledge that someone is a real person isn't easy, but . . . seriously. (I mean, I watched Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth and the Rocketeer and wanted to be her when I was a kid! That was surreal, to talk to this image from my memory! But we understand "pretend" from when we're three. :P) They should not have let both those girls go up, and we should not have let that woman cut because she was older and handicapped, because they didn't pass along the respect to the guests. I know there will always be people who can't "get it", but a lot of fans out there are giving all fandom a bad name because they don't even try.

=Heroes Carnival/Flynn's Arcade=
We were chilling outside the con center after the signing and suddenly noticed there was this big setup across the street that had not been there in the morning. "Is that a carnival?" Not only that - but a HEROES carnival. The studios were going nuts with the offsite advertising this year, and not just screenings like normal; Heroes, Tron Legacy, Syfy (Cafe Diem from Eureka, also man that still looks stupid written out), EA . . . the crazy invite-only Alice in Wonderland thing . . . anyway, apparently Heroes has carnies as major characters this season, so they set up the fictional carnival. Whoever did it, it was done to the nines; very OCD detailed, down to all the signs and flyers posted around. They had free popcorn and cotton candy, carnival games and one ride. The games were free, and if you won you got tickets; if not, you got a giveaway. You could use your tickets to enter a raffle for signed goods. I did hear there was a tent with footage in it but I didn't go that far in. Crazy.

Thursday night we had been seeing people with "Flynn Lives" t-shirts walking around; thought maybe it was some kind of tribute band, finally asked someone and they told us about the arcade. So Friday was the night. We got there early, it was opening at 9. The first night we didn't get the tickets and/or tokens they were giving out earlier to let people in (there was a whole scavenger hunt thing the first night, but it was for highly observant bloggers). But they weren't requiring them. I think the first night we had to wait for them to let some VIP/press people in first . . . then we were let in. It was a big warehouse type space, with a lot of classic arcade games, a vintage Tron cabinet, and three or four Space Paranoids games. They did it up properly, with neon signs for all of Flynn's games. I think everyone was too excited about playing free arcade games to wonder if there was more to it. Maybe 10-15 minutes in, the music cuts out and the lights start flickering. Special spinny lights turn on over the back wall, and it opens up with a puff of dramatic smoke to reveal a hallway and some very dramatic thumping techno music (found out later it was Daft Punk). We get fed into this narrow hallway, with LCD screens showing design sketches for the new lightcycles. You can tell there's something on the other side of this curtain that you're being led towards . . . and, naturally, it was a spinning auto-show style dias with a fullsize lightcycle. Everyone was clearly in love with it (the dramatic presentation didn't hurt). On the way out, you had your choice of a "Flynn Lives" t-shirt or a "Flynn's Arcade" one. Being anal retentive, I took the Flynn Lives one (the Flynn's shirt in the movie only said Flynn's; though now I wonder if in Legacy it's different :P). We couldn't resist and went back on Saturday; the number of people who showed up just about doubled, but I'm not sure that many people went; at least some of the people we talked to were repeat visitors. It was fairly well "hidden" on a side street. Anyway it was one heck of a stunt, I loved it.

Though I've learned that side street is a good spot - walking there and waiting, we saw John Cho (nearly bumped into him, actually), Claudia Black, and John Noble (LotR+Fringe).


SATURDAY
Aaaaaand another early morning to head to Hall H @_@ Yes, I am aware I was the person the old congoers hate, but my passion for other media is older than for comics. I had about the same spot in the Lost line as in WB. The Lost line, however, didn't go nearly as well. I hit the wall really hard - or it hit me and then hit me repeatedly for a while for good measure - took all the extra medication I had on me, realized I'd forgotten my backup bottle, and couldn't reach anyone in the hotel room at first . . . if G. and J. had not brought it to me I'm not sure what would have happened but I came very close to telling security they'd have to call the EMS and that was very scary.

=Lost=
But once I'd taken like triple my medication dose, three Excedrin migraine (which is a lot of caffeine), and had two bottles of water I felt okay. XP It would have been so embarrassing if I'd had to go to the hospital. Fortunately, I think the Lost panel qualifies as having been "worth it" roflmao. x_X;;; Oh man it would be impossible to recap the Lost panel because the WHOLE THING was a skit, basically. The outline is in my notes for Flickr, which is much easier, and I believe it was supposed to be posted online? Anyway it was utterly hilarious and I am going to be so sad when this show is no longer on. Also I got to sit next to three Dharma scientists.

=Solomon Kane=
When I moved up after Lost, Okay, I didn't know anything about this to start, and had to hear from another attendee that it was based off a series by the guy who did Conan. (Barbarian, not O'brien.) I actually did see the Conan movie ages ago, but I liked Beastmaster better . . . (I guess I liked a sensitive man? Like Ladyhawke :P) Anyhow, any movie that involves demon fighting, I'm up for; though I'm not sure there's a sizable "medieval demon-hunting action heroes" genre? I haven't seen James Purefoy in Rome (though I did see him in "A Knight's Tale", lol), but he's definitely got a good brooding-but-I-can-kick-ass look going on. They all seemed totally psyched about the film, especially the producer, which is generally a good sign. I have to say, the clips they showed us were very unique - and honestly pretty scary. If you can get an SDCC audience to jump at a clip out of context, you must be doing something right. I also know from James Purefoy's story that, if nothing else, we get a swordfight with one of the participants on fire (which has to be a first). He said that the Czech stuntmen were seriously hardcore; and he has a fight with one of them, who has to do all the choreography whilst doing a full-body burn. Apparently they were alone in the room with an overhead camera during filming, and he had one of those "$%*& what am I doing" moments where it feels real . . . he also blew a move in a take, went right instead of left - and this hand emerges from the flames, waggles a finger, and points to the proper side. XD I'm looking forward to it now, it doesn't look or feel like a mainstream film; the color palette and the effects (mainly physical) are a different shade of horror. It's NOT Van Helsing with a different cast; it looks more like Van Helsing would have been if it had been Alien instead.

=Miramax: Extract=
Um . . . okay, I admit it. I'm not a Mike Judge fan, I haven't seen this movie and don't particularly plan to . . . I'm a bad person. Well, I do like Jason Bateman. I do think Mike Judge is a figure of some importance in the history of comedy, particularly television animation (um, I liked Daria?). If you think he's funny, though, he's one of those funny guys who's dead serious to the point of being kind of uninteresting in person. I've heard that comedy people can be like that, because it's very intellectual . . . I don't have enough of an opinion of Judge to say. Jason Bateman seemed like a interesting enough guy. This is the second panel I saw Mila Kunis on, and she still barely said anything. I'm not sure when she became a big deal (or why), I've only seen her in Krippendorf's Tribe and Max Payne (which is probably the most boring movie I've ever tried to finish watching, in spite of good cinematography).

=Sony: 2012, Zombieland=
2012 is the only panel I was attending for other reasons that I really did not want to be at. Partially because I've totally lost interest in epic blockbusters about the end of the world, but largely for strong personal reasons. Not related to the film itself, the trailer continues to make me physically ill. I believe the coded term is "hitting close to home". It feels silly but it's also involuntary, and I don't think the movie is worth it. Roland Emmerich of course maintained that he doesn't have anything against the Earth, and that it's really about the story. From his POV that may be true, but the Hollywood Blockbuster execution of the clip we were shown . . . well, its Peril (with capital P) was intense either to the point of absurdity, or to the point of tastelessness, or maybe both. You know the scene in Titanic everyone was all O_O over where the ship is going down and all the tiny digitized people are falling to their doom? Imagine that, only for about five minutes; and the lead family somehow manages to continue driving their SUV and then their plane while all of Los Angeles falls into a giant gashes in the earth.

Yeah. If I have to put up with that for 2+ hours, I may WANT the world to end.

Let's switch apocalypses, to Zombieland. Someone did ask whether doing a zombie buddy comedy was worth it after Shaun of the Dead. The director says he's a big fan, but that it's not the same movie. It's in a very complimentary vein, but based on the clips we saw I'm inclined to agree; this is more . . . Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with zombies. That may mean for my taste Shaun of the Dead will remain my preference. Apparently Woody Harrelson doesn't like horror movies, and basically the opposite of his tough, violent character . . . someone asked the panel what they would use as a weapon/how they would escape if they were attacked by zombies from the audience . . . I thought it was a good question, but apparently the wrong panel to answer it XD; Nobody had a good answer. Jesse Eisenberg kind of came across just like the characters I've seen him play, only less interesting. ^^; Maybe there's just not that much you can say about zombies - unless you're a fan. Well, that's why there are writers.

=Paramount: Iron Man 2=
Iron Man is going to be more scattered, the panel had a lot of energy and was jumping around a lot. It felt waaay shorter than the others; and we did get teaser footage, which was good! We got to start off by everyone in Hall H singing Happy Birthday to Jon Favreau's son (a move up from the last time, when he only got applause, or "hi Matt"). I'm not sure Robert Downey Jr. should do a musical any time soon, but he was certainly entertaining XD And anyone who's worried about Don Cheadle coming in: they seem to have quite good "chemistry" so I think it will work fine. Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson were also kind of over on the side whispering to each other and giggling the whole time so if they get to use that onscreen . . . lol. Personally I think the best entertainment usually comes out of people who genuinely enjoy and have fun working together (not that it isn't work still). This is the kind of movie that needs a lot of energy, I doubt it's well served by being in a corner being method all the time . . . anyway I think it continues to be in the hands it ought to be and am looking forward to it.

I'd kind of had all I could handle of Hall H for one day so I bailed after Iron Man to take a shot at getting in to Mythbusters.

=Human Target/Vampire Diaries=
I honestly missed the first half of Human Target (transit times), so I can't say much about the show. Seemed okay, I suppose, but didn't get a wow out of me (heard same from other audience members). Why does everyone hire Tricia Helfer as a guest star these days? lol. Vampire Diaries . . . well I'm sure it will have a small subset of vocal fans. But it will be small. The majority of the audience was just about howling in laughter - and not at things that were SUPPOSED to be funny. The guys next to me finally couldn't stand it and bailed. No one in my area thought it was anything but epically terrible, and that was a pretty wide slice of population (including a family and their middle school age son and daughter). The only good thing was Ian Somerhalder; I wasn't that into his character on Lost (nothing against him, just didn't ever get too far with Boone). But when he came onscreen in this, it was an amazing breath of fresh air. I hope he gets cast in a similar type of role for some other project because he is really good at being creepy in a sexy way, and was the only one who could make the painful dialogue sound plausible.

I'm also sure my opinion of this show would be very unpopular with a certain subset. Sorry, I don't get "soapy"; I found it sloppy, cliched, and insulting to its target audience. "Campy" is not the same as "low quality". Dude, I have watched some CAMPY ASS Japanese dramas and in spite of low budgets and silly plots, they sometimes pull it off with surprisingly gifted actors and dialogue that makes ridiculous situations seem relatable. And it didn't help their case much that they spent so much of their panel time with various people defending the series against claims of ripping off Twilight (young adult books THEY used were written first, not the same kind of vampires, etc). If you have to work so hard to sell your show, it's because you don't think there's anything TO sell.

=Mythbusters=
I didn't wind up with a good position in Mythbusters; it wasn't terrible, but since I had such an awesome spot last year I figured it was someone else's turn. In the end though I realized that with people's tripods and such I couldn't actually see them very often lol. Disembodied voices FTW. (The screen quality was dreadful and making my contacts bother me, somehow @_@) Phil Plait introduced himself, and said people probably didn't know who he was; the cheering indicated otherwise. XD The Men of Mythbusters started off with the announcement about Kari's baby girl having recently been born. Other than that, they were entertaining as always, and Phil Plait did a great job moderating; but I think they must have been asked every question ever. Of course it was the end of a *very* long day for me, so I probably was zoning. Adam revealed his SDCC costume, which like last year was a Twitter hunt (it's not a scavenger hunt if it's just one thing, is it?). He did the Dark Knight Joker from the beginning of the movie (bank robbery scene apparently, I haven't seen the movie). He did get found and they called the guy's name. We also got to see a bit of footage from the upcoming season; Jamie said he couldn't tell us anything without it being a huge spoiler, but he and Adam have been practicing stunt falls. We saw them jump from a 15 and 20 foot building. Apparently it looks really high when you're up there.

SUNDAY
NOTHING AT ALL OF INTEREST HAPPENED ON SUNDAY lol.
Well I was going to go to a panel but it was a long line kind of deal and I wasn't getting in. So instead I pre-regged, went to the art show, and wandered the show floor some more. I did get to talk to Dan Jones (Tinkerbots from Flickr) for a few minutes, great guy . . . of course then I really had to come home with one of his bots (I'd love a ray gun too but I didn't have the cash for that).

WRAPUP
Most of the people I'd give shout-outs too won't read this anyway so . . . if I hung out with you, then you're awesome; and if not, you probably weren't there. ;P Overall I felt less like I was going to collapse any second this year than in 2008; but I was still struggling, especially by the end, which was frustrating. I suppose I continue to be the kind of person a certain segment of the SDCC population despises: there primarily for the media stuff. Well, I'm discerning about that kind of thing, though; and it also isn't because I don't read comics. There is less comics programming than there was, it seems like . . . certainly some of the dealers have bailed, but I think that's given more room for small press anyway. I did see one guy BS his way in through a different door to the Exhibit Hall with a rolling cart stacked with bins - he claimed he was an exhibitor, delivering goods; but he said to some of us nearby that it was really stuff he was getting signed. O_o I'm not sure how that was even possible but apparently SOMEONE is still coming for comics content. Other media have already been relying heavily on the comics industry for content, and now with things like Disney buying Marvel, there's no getting around the fact that no media can really stand alone any more. So the increasing involvement of other media is bittersweet, certainly, but hopefully in the long run it will amount to more creativity and more opportunities.

FYI, the report title is a sign outside the Marriott, which I failed to get a photo of, advertising a play. How bizarrely timely.
 
 
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Glarawenparnsangel on September 30th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
OMG, that Hellboy Angel of Death bust is so WIN @.@ And holy crap, HUGE!!!!

Aww, Rocketeer! ^________^