Notes from the world of comics (day 2)

Day 2 – July 22

I enjoyed myself so thoroughly yesterday starting the day off in Hall H, that I chose to take in the festivities again. Today, we began with a panel for the Steven Spielberg directed, Peter Jackson produced The Adventures of Tin Tin: Secret of the Unicorn.

The panel started with Spielberg being brought out to a standing ovation (as he’d never been to the convention prior to this appearance) and was honored with an award for his contribution to the popular arts. They even gave him a little montage tribute with clips from all of his films. As a guy who loves a good montage, it was quite magical.

From here, things got started and the moderator and Spielberg discussed the movie, delving first into the reasoning behind doing the film in motion capture as opposed to live action. To explain this, Spielberg told a story about getting WETA (Peter Jackson’s special effects company) to do a CGI dog test, because if the film was real life, that would be the number one issue, an animated Snowy (the dog).

As a surprise, they showed the test to the audience, and to our utter delight, we were met, on the screen, with a sailor-clad Peter Jackson “auditioning” for the role of Captain Haddock. As he says his lines and “tries” for the part, he is upstaged by the CGI animal grabbing attention in the background. It was really quite humorous and the audience gave a hearty laugh, that is until the test was over and those chuckles turned into awes and then cheers.

As the lights came up from the video, Peter Jackson, who was supposed to be in New Zealand filming The Hobbit joined Spielberg on stage for the remainder of the panel. The two of them discussed the movie, showed brand new footage (which, by the way, looks pretty awesome, the first mo-cap movie I’ve actually started to anticipate) and eventually delved into their past movie careers.

For me, the most notable piece of information to come out of the Q & A session was Spielberg admitting that American Beauty was the movie the he would have loved to direct instead of produce. He still thought it was phenomenal, but he kind of wished he’d done it. Really, really awesome panel.

After that, director Steven Soderbergh also made his Con debut, showing off his new movie Haywire. It comes off as a very female Bourne movie, as Ultimate Fighting Championship star Gina Carano is the movie’s lead, a special op’s agent gone rogue to save her own life and fight the system. Channing Tatum was the only other actor at the panel, but the film also boasts the likes of Michael Fassbender (who we saw in an exclusive scene going punch for punch with Carano) Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor and Antonio Banderas. Big cast. Big action. That’s what to take from Haywire.

Relativity Media’s second film they ran out today was director James McTeigue’s The Raven, a gothic thriller based around a series a murder’s inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe. John Cusack plays Poe, who is the first person suspected of the murders by Luke Evan’s Detective Fields, until his lover is kidnapped as the next intended victim.

Described as an almost Chief Brody/Matt Hooper relationship, the two must then work together to figure out the mystery. We got the glimpse of the first trailer and I was excited before I saw any footage. The trailer sealed it as a must see for me. It’s got style. It’s got thrills. And it’s got Cusack, who was serving on the panel along with Evans, McTeigue and actress Alice Eve.

From here I left Hall H to pursue other endeavors, but other films taking up the hall today included Underworld 4, Fright Night, Total Recall, The Amazing Spiderman and 30 Minutes or Less. Check out any other movie sites for further details on how those panels went over, because that’s the same thing I’ll be doing too.

From Hall H, I decided to stand in line for a couple of television events. After about an hour, we were let in to the room to see the new “Thundercats” series, including a screening of the two part pilot episode. I myself was never really a fan of the old “Thundercats” but there was plenty of people in attendance to make up for that, and they went absolutely nuts at more than a couple of moments in the episode. It seemed to go over really well, and if you’re seriously anticipating this reboot and want details on the episode, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to recap what I saw.

Once “Thundercats” ended, I set myself in for one of my most anticipated panels of the weekend, Disney Channel’s “Phineas and Ferb”. Prior to the panel, the show had already had a massive presence at the convention. You can’t go anywhere without seeing one of the free bags or pins that Disney gave away over the first two days. Despite having a moderator who was pretty terrible at his job, the panel showed exclusive SDCC created clips for the audience and revealed footage from their TV Movie “Phineas and Ferb in the 2nd Dimension”.

They also showed part of the music video they created in collaboration with guitarist Slash (yes, THAT Slash). It was pretty hilarious. The entire main voice cast for the show was there as were the shows’ creators. All in all they revealed information about the show and treated their fans as though they were the best at the convention. All of this made for a truly entertaining event.

I took in the giant exhibition hall from here, passing by autograph stations with people lined up the length of the hall for the likes of Stan Lee and Robert Kirkman. It seemed that everywhere you went, a new line was forming out of thin air and it was always too long to even bother joining it. That is the best way I can describe my Comic-Con experience so far. Lines and lines and lines. Luckily I’m here by myself, because I couldn’t even imagine how far back I would have to sit in these halls if I had to find more than one empty seat available.

Final note of the day is that British TV personality Jonathon Ross and his wife Jane Goldman walked right by today while I was standing in line at “Thundercats”. Another lady behind me was on the phone to her husband who had just met Steven Spielberg coming out of an elevator. Full of people here in San Diego. Full of people.

To read yesterday’s coverage of the Preview Night and Day 1 of Comic Con click here. Keep your eye on for the latest updates on Thompson’s trip to San Diego and read the full story in Wednesday’s paper, available online and in print.