The first comic-con morning started off as normally as it does every year. The dynamic I have discovered in dealing with my brother during mornings where he is required to wake before noon, is simply to ride out the storm. He is awful argumentative and irritated until about noon, so if you just let him vent and avoid butting heads, you will have a good day. We arrived to the convention center an hour early to ensure a cool fifteen dollar parking spot and make sure we got in just as the doors opened. When you have been attending the con for as many years as we have, you tend to know some little tricks. Main thing is you must plan your day out piece by piece. There is no possible way you can see everything, so the trick is to fill your schedule so that you are occupied every hour, then when the time comes, decide to remove things from the list. This works far better than trying to add things at the last minute. It is necessary to perform in this fashion due to the fact that there are thirty thousand people in the convention center at any given time and the slightest derailment in schedule could spell certain doom for your entire day.
As soon as the doors opened, we went straight for the Sony Entertainment booth as planned to get our hands on the new beta version of Socom: US Navy Seals: Confrontation. In the fourth installment of the very popular third-person shooter franchise, you now experience full 1080p High Definition graphics as well as a far more responsive trigger mechanism as well as a vastly improved multi player player setting from the much hated 32 player deeathmatch of Socom 3. I was however, extremely disappointed in the lack of knowledge the booth exhibitors had for the game. Every question I asked either was met by a simple and unsatisfying one word answer or a confused glare. They knew very little about the very game they were displaying. A very bad move on the part of Sony not giving the booth to actual game designers or at least those who could give some insight into the game.
The first panel we wanted to attend was still a ways off so we wandered around the exhibit hall floor some more to kill some time. If nothing else, Comic-Con is one of the greatest people watching venues in the world. The main reason being that it attracts all kinds of people from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter what you do or what you are into, you can enjoy yourself at the con. If you are a shut-in that has been collecting comics your whole life, or you are just someone that enjoys seeing new movie trailers and testing out cool stuff, there is a place for you. The best thing about it all however, is because you have the broadest selection of people, all the way from the most GQ looking to the smelliest and unbathed, you don’t need to really worry about looking like a dork because no matter what there is someone there who looks a lot worse than you.
The first panel of the day is always a fan favorite. The panel was delayed though do to some structural difficulties. The large black curtain that stands about 30 feet in the air came crashing down like a line of dominoes onto the unsuspecting crowd and had to be fixed. The panel finally began roughly an hour later. The creative minds over at 20th Century Fox never disappoint and this year was no exception. According to the program we were there to see the cast and directors for the new up and coming films, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and Max Payne. There are always surprises involved though. The crowd lit up with cheers as Keanu Reeves stepped foot on stage followed by Jennifer Connolly. Director Scott Derrickson assured us he would stay true to the 1951 classic by keeping the main themes but, updating it to coincide with the current political situation. The premise, if you don’t already know, is an alien named Klaatu Barada Nikto has come to earth to assess whether or not humans deserve to go on living based on there actions. The first film was placed solely around the cold war and how we as humans are not deserving of such a beautiful planet if all we want to do is destroy each other. This remake I am sure will be a spin on global warming, but that is ok in this instance. Unlike The Happening, we will be going in knowing what it is about already rather than being duped into believing one thing then forced to watch another. The films opens up on December 12, and I cannot wait to see it.
As the cast left the stage, the young ladies in the room erupted at the site of Mark Wahlberg who will be playing the tough guy protagonist in the new film adaptation of the hit video game, Max Payne. As a huge fan of the game, and being someone who is always skeptical of video game movies, I was very interested in how they planned to make this a reality. Most do not know that Max Payne was the first to introduce bullet time, which can be best explained as a Matrix style gun fighting where each combatant is shown in slow motion dodging bullets as they fly by. Director John Moore said he didn’t want to do a copycat of The Matrix so he was going to film the bullet time in a simple way, but one that hadn’t been done before. Usually, like in The Matrix, the actor is suspend from wires and moved around the set by crane, but Moore assured us since Wahlberg was in such good shape they would just film the slow motion sequences from his own acrobatics. Which is a a great way to ensure realism and not lose the audience to some super powered make believe world. This one is set for release on October 17.
We then were told the Fox panel was over and just as the room began to stand and clear out, a voice came over the speakers telling us to wait someone else had just arrived from their flight from Australia. It was none other than Hugh Jackman come to give us a taste of his new film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. From his impromptu and hasty speech you could tell that he hadn’t rehearsed anything and he really had just gotten there. He started off by pointing out a man in the crowd by the name of Len Wein. For those of you who aren’t as geeky as me, Len Wein s the creator of the Wolverine character. Hugh jumped off of the stage to personally go up and shake the hand of Len and thank him for creating the character that without which, he would have no career. He then popped in the never before seen trailer for his new film and it is without a doubt the answer to the debacle that was X-Men 3. It shows Wolverine all the way from his childhood and how he got his claws, but more importantly, it show the entire Weapon X project including mutants that we wished we had seen in prior movies. And yes, for those of you who are wondering, GAMBIT! The long awaited X-Man makes his silver screen debut in this movie and it looks like he packs a punch. Hugh said, “You asked for him [Gambit] you got him.” All in all it was by far the best panel of the day.
There was a short break between panels where we had some time to pull lunch from our packs and chow down. That is another little trick. Bring your own food. Not only is the food there expensive, but the lines are insane. It takes about twenty minutes just to get some food. The next panel was the first ever Summit Pictures. They were showcasing three films, but one I had no prior knowledge of. The first was a film called PUSH. This one goes into the idea that the Nazis during WWII were experimenting with people who had certain psychological powers for use in the military. The films operates under the assumption that the experiments still go on today. It follows a group of these powers as they run from the government groups trying to track them down for research. Their powers include, but are not limited to, telekinesis, mind reading, future seeing, and high pitched speech. All in all it will be one that I would not rush to the theater to see, but will probably have to experience at least once. The next was a Nicholas Cage sci-fi thriller called, Knowing. It is directed by Alex Proyas, the same director of such sci-fi films as, Dark City, The Crow, and I, Robot. Nicholas Cage plays a man who finds a fifty year old piece of paper containing a cypher that when decrypted, tells accurately, to the number, every major disaster known to mankind in the last fifty years and beyond. It is up to Cage to find a way to stop the assurances and find a way to cope with this powerful knowledge. This one gets me going most of all simply because I am a huge fan of The Crow and Dark City, I can’t wait to see what Proyas has in store for us this time.
After wandering the exhibit hall for a couple more hours and taking some pictures, we decided we were tired and needed to call it a day. And as I type this, it is pretty late and I have another day to spend and blog about, so keep checking back for a daily con report. I will be posting the pics from each day on my forum for you to check out. They are at the bottom. Have a good night and I will see ya tomorrow!