Friday in Hall H had little to do with comics, but these days at Comic-Con, that’s more rule than exception.
The day kicked off with a discussion about Paranorman, a meticulously crafted stop motion film featuring Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse, Anna Kendrick, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. The movie, shot in 3D, is about a town that’s overrun by the undead, and Smit-McPhee (presumably) saves the day. There was much back-slapping about how the film rewrites the rules of stop-motion, as well as how damn involved the production process was. At one point, writer/director Chris Butler said that the five-minute trailer represented a few years of his life. Overall, the film itself looked fun, and was obviously a labor of love for Butler.
Up next came Chuck Lorre and the cast of his TV show The Big Bang Theory. Several blooper reels were screened and laughter ensued — at least in the form of the laugh track that accompanied the blooper reels. If someone can tell me what this schlocky show has to do with comics, I would be eternally grateful. Maybe Lorre just assumes that because the actual big bang theory (i.e. the “prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe”) is scientific, nerds must be interested. Either way, nothing interesting occurred during the panel — even when a free trip to space (really) was given away to an audience member. This gimmick seemed only like an attempt to overcompensate for the panel’s lack of preparation and relevance to Comic-Con.
Most Hall H attendees weren’t there for Paranorman or Chuck Lorre, however. And even though the headlining panel for Friday would feature Jodie Foster and Matt Damon (you may have heard of them), the main attractions were AMC’s The Walking Dead and HBO’s Game of Thrones.
It was fun seeing and hearing the actors and writers discuss these two very innovative shows, but overall, the panels felt phoned in. The most interesting part of the Walking Dead panel occurred when its comic book creator Robert Kirkman said he had the plot mapped out well into the future, effectively giving the TV writers little wiggle room with plot or character.
Speaking of mapped out, fantasy legend George R. R. Martin moderated the Game of Thrones panel. Next year, the show will enter its third season, and Martin, who is expected to complete the series by 2098, still has two books to go before it’s all on paper. Let’s hope the old guy holds out. The biggest takeaways from the Game of Thrones panel: Martin is a stereotypical nerd and a terrible moderator. His dirty-old-man side also made an appearance, notably when he asked Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) why her boob wasn’t exposed more often in season two. In his defense, we were all wondering.
Resident Evil: Retribution came next. Why this shitty franchise a) gets a prime slot in Hall H each year and b) hasn’t yet been put out of its misery is beyond me. It’s hilarious (but mostly sad) to see these people take themselves so seriously. Also, in case anyone was wondering: Michelle Rodriguez isn’t actually acting when she plays a dumb jock in the movies.
Last came Sony’s panel for (in reverse order) Elysium, Looper, and the Colin Ferrell-starring remake of Total Recall. I didn’t stay for Elysium, which stars the aforementioned Foster and Damon. When I left, though, there was no line for Hall H. The fact that two of the biggest Hollywood stars ever can’t draw a crowd is astonishing.
Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, looked like your typical assassin film with a twist. This time, it’s time travel. The trailer was intense and hyper-violent. Total Recall also looked okay, even though it would be hard not to improve upon Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1990 masterpiece in accidental comedy. It was interesting to see Breaking Bad anti-hero Bryan Cranston goof off and joke around onstage, when we’re so used to him embodying pure evil. For Total Recall, he will also play the main bad guy (Cohaagen). Hey, he’s good at it.
Two main things revealed in the Total Recall trailer: 1) the movie will not take place on Mars and 2) yes, the three-boobed woman will return. I am sure George R. R. Martin is pleased about #2.
Comic-Con 2012 Photo Round-Up: Friday at Hall H