aka the longest post ever. But with pictures to keep you entertained as we go.
Comic Con rule 1 you can't do everything. Make your choice and enjoy it. #sdcc
— AJ (@girlsspeakgeek) July 15, 2012
I’ve never gotten to Comic Con early enough to get a lay of the land before. Normally Kel and I sort of just show up and roll with whatever comes our way. And, to be honest, since Kel wasn’t there I wasn’t really going to do anything particularly fun. Which is to say most of the pictures I took were for my nephews and so probably not things you’re interested in, unless you want to see the lego Hulk.
But it was interesting to walk through the floor without any agenda or anywhere to have to be at any particular time. I met up with friends; I took a few pictures; I got a free book and a free t-shirt and totally missed out on the Arrow panel and the Firefly 10th Anniversary panel and Tron Uprising and the Sony panel in Hall H. Sometimes you have to accept your losses and learn to live vicariously through the internet.
We had hoped that we could go into Hall H around mid-morning, thinking that things like Django Unchained and a few trailer parks wouldn’t be that interesting. How very wrong we were. When we realized the line was insane we decided it would be best just to go straight in and spend the day in Hall H.
Admittedly, I’m not much of a Tarantino fan. I mean, he’s obviously a talented filmmaker but his work is really not my style so I was prepared to be unimpressed (also, no Leonardo DiCaprio was not there). Little did I know it would turn out to be one of the most interesting panels all day.
When he was introducing the footage, Tarantino said that there had been a sizzle reel for the industry that was something like 7 or 8 minutes. And there were a lot of discussions about trimming it down to 4 minutes for Comic Con or showing this and leaving out that. Then he masterfully won over the entire room of 6500 people.
"I figure if it's good enough for the industry, it's good enough for the fans." – Quentin Tarantino
— AJ (@girlsspeakgeek) July 14, 2012
Jamie Foxx was interesting when he talked about having to let go of his ego to play this slave, how it reminded him in some ways of the way he was treated growing up as a black man in Texas.
And Christoph Waltz was interesting as he discussed how both he and his character came into this story without any comprehension of that racism and the social impact of slavery.
But for me, it really got fascinating when a girl dressed as The Bride got up and asked Tarantino about how he writes stories with strong female characters and how that played into Django Unchained. Tarantino told her she looked hot and it was totally genuine and really sweet and you could see that this had suddenly become one of the top five moments of her life.
But then we went on to explain that people did ask him about Brommhilda kicking ass and he explained that that wasn’t this story. That this is something of a dark fairy tale and she is the damsel in distress and that he writes strong, convincing women because he wrote characters that are true to the story. In this story, Broomhilda enters the present narrative just after she’s tried to escape and couldn’t. She’s done everything in her power but she needs Django to come and save her.
Then Kerry Washington chimed in that Broomhilda’s strength is that she believes in love. This is a world where slaves weren’t allowed to marry, could be sold off from their spouses and children and never expected they would see them again, where they were only 3/5 of a person. And Broomhilda dares to believe that Django will come for her, that their love is that strong and that real when everything around her works to destroy that belief in love.
“It’s in the humanity, when at that time in (the) eyes of the Constitution, they were only three-fifths of a human being. What makes her strong is her belief in love and that she is deserving of that love in a time where black women weren’t even afforded the luxury of that fantasy.”
In watching the footage, it was obvious, also, that Broomhilda’s strength is her ability to endure and to survive and to hold fast to that belief in love when so many things are working to tear apart her humanity.
And it was so fascinating to me that Tarantino could create a character who is the damsel in distress without being diminished. That just because she needs Django to save her, it doesn’t make her weak.
So often feminists rebel against the idea of that damsel in distress who needs help, who isn’t all powerful and in some ways it’s moving women from one box of helplessness into another of unrealistic invincibility (but that’s probably a whole other entry). The complexity of a damsel in distress who is not weak is beautiful and fascinating.
theoretically. I’m still not interested in seeing the movie so I have no idea if it will play out the way they’re talking about it. but fascinating concept.
Giant Robots vs. Giant Aliens – that’s Pacific Rim in a nutshell. It was fun, though because Guillermo del Toro said that they brought footage for Comic Con and then they were going dark – no press, no pictures released, no more footage – until I don’t remember when. It created the sense of being let in on the secret of a film shrouded in mystery, or maybe that was just me because I had no idea what Pacific Rim was (another of those its-not-a-big-deal-panels-we’ll-totally-be-able-to-walk-into-hall-H).
The footage was pretty impressive though. The music and the sense of movement through it were really exciting. And the world looked really gritty and lived in which was great. Normally I wouldn’t expect more from a giant robot/giant alien movie than for it to look cool. But as Guillermo del Toro talked about it, I remembered that this is the guy who directed Pan’s Labyrinth and he is more than capable of delivering a staggering story that is focused on the characters. So, it’ll just be interesting to see if he can maintain that in the midst of those giant robots (they’re really, really big).
Score 1 for Comic Con – I’m now curious to see this movie.
Then they revealed a short clip of a new Godzilla movie that Legendary is doing. It looked really post-apocalyptic and dusty and if I was more interested in that sort of thing, I might be more excited.
And then they had Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell come out for The Campaign. You’d think that would have been amusing but it really wasn’t (and not just because I have a wonky sense of humor). I think they were just sort of overwhelmed and had no idea what to do with the Comic Con crowd (and really?! What was The Campaign even doing there?!).
But this is a great moment to mention the host of the Legendary/Warner Bros panel, Chris Hardwick who was brilliant and hilarious. He connected with the fans really well and was really funny and did a fantastic job.
"I love watching grown men act like Tweens at a Taylor Swift concert." – Chris Hardwick #sdcc
— AJ (@girlsspeakgeek) July 14, 2012
Man of Steel
I, admittedly, haven’t been that excited about Man of Steel. Because I’m not the biggest Superman fan ever. And because I don’t much like Zack Snyder’s work. also, I saw him at the Sucker Punch panel three years ago and was not impressed.
But, low and behold, Man of Steel looks kind of amazing. The footage they showed really came across more as a Christopher Nolan movie than a Zack Snyder movie. Clark is all tormented not just with the one dimensional how do I handle the responsibility of this power, but with the weight of being an outcast.
There was a fun moment when a fan asked Zack Snyder who the villain was. He very coyly replied, “How about we watch that teaser again?” Which was an elegant way to both sidestep the question and answer it because there’s totally a shot of a guy who looks very Kryptonian who I assumed was Zod. And he’s totally listed on imdb so… I hope that doesn’t spoil anything for anybody.
And that one shot of Superman they released, was it earlier this year?, totally didn’t work for me with the slicked back hair and snake skin looking suit.
But it’s Henry Cavill! And seeing him in the teaser with a beard totally worked for me. Amy Adams, not so much. Henry was so nice to everyone who had a question and thoughtful and such a gentleman.
So now I’m excited for this movie. Score 2 for Comic Con.
"Who would win, Batman or Superman?" Zack Snyder "I love Batman. He's awesome. Literally awesome. But, really?!" #sdcc
— AJ (@girlsspeakgeek) July 14, 2012
The one panel I really wanted to see all weekend was The Hobbit.
mini-history lesson: I was not excited about The Hobbit for a very long time. Even when they were doing LOTR, my brother asked if I thought they’d do The Hobbit and I was a bit scornful. It would be a huge expense and I wasn’t sure if it would be worth the effort. But, also, it would kind of come across as if they were just doing it because they just wanted more money and were tapping the same well. For years, through casting announcements and production kerfluffles and everything I didn’t care. Even after the first trailer came out. Until I heard they were going to be at Comic Con.
Score 3 for Comic Con.
Ok, not entirely because of Comic Con. It was really the vlog that Peter Jackson posted that took me back to Middle Earth and made the whole thing seem wonderful and beautiful and fun. But THEN Comic Con – suddenly, not only would I be seeing footage, but the actors would be there and Peter Jackson would be there and I wanted desperately into that room when they were.
The footage was as beautiful and exciting as you’d expect. They used temp tracks for the music and some of it was from Last of the Mohicans which was so much fun for me because I love that score! The panel itself wasn’t terribly insightful or interesting (and, no, Orlando Bloom and Luke Evans weren’t there). But Peter Jackson does a great job with behind the scenes documentary type things so I’m sure the dvd and extended edition will fill in any gaps the panel left.
Though! Peter Jackson did say one interesting thing. When a fan asked if he’d ever make The Silmarillion he answered that the rights for that were with the Tolkien estate and not Warner Bros or MGM and since the Tolkien estate wasn’t fond of their films. I immediately wanted to know why but you don’t want to squelch all the fun by asking things like that. I imagine, though, that it’s because they don’t like that The Hobbit was contrived into two films. Jackson and Philippa Boyens insist that they only pulled material from the appendices and Tolkien’s other writings, but it’s still a bit unseemly. Because the real answer is, they had to make at least two films so they could amortize the costs. Otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it, no matter how much The Hobbit made. But maybe they have other reasons, which, of course, I’d love to know.
Iron Man 3
Marvel knows how to do Comic Con.
Their panel started with Kevin Feige revealing the titles for the sequels to Thor and Captain America (Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier). There was a lot of excitement about the Winter Soldier bit, but even I’m not a big enough of a geek to really get why. You’d think it was Days of Future Past or something.
Then, as Kevin Feige is talking but after he’s made his announcements, Robert Downey Jr. starts strutting/dancing from the back of Hall H. It was a fun moment.
Again, not much substance in the panel but the footage from Iron Man 3 looked amazing! Full of action and destruction the way a Marvel movie should be. And I guess there was a little substance in the panel because it was interesting to hear Jon Favreau and Shane Black talk about their dynamic as directors of Iron Man films and Favreau’s experience coming back to the franchise not as the director. I may not like him much, but Favreau did pretty the tone of the universe for successive Marvel films and I’m sure his point of view was interesting, if I could remember more of what it was.
(For the record, that came out sounding more snide and dismissive than I intended. I genuinely can’t remember much of what he said but I remember thinking that it was an interesting dynamic.)
The 20th Century Fox TV party was fantastic. Mostly because I got to talk to several friends and hang out with cool people for a while. But there were no celebrities there and you don’t know the people I know, so you’d probably be really bored if I recounted it in detail.
WETA has recently opened a production company in LA and they threw a party on the roof of one of the hotels in San Diego. Very fun party (despite the absence of Orlando Bloom and Luke Evans and Peter Jackson but you can’t have everything). The fun thing about industry parties at Comic Con is they offer the chance to not only talk about geeky sorts of films and tv (because it’s Comic Con) and to analyze and speculate in detail (because that’s what geeks like to do) but to enjoy it in the context of people who know how these things are actually made: the intricacies of storytelling and limitations of production and politics of casting. It would probably be an intolerable three hours for you, but Kel and I had a blast!
And not just because I was acknowledged as the victor in the Captain America debate, despite the fact that I think she’s right even though I disagree with her. (For the record, apparently, Captain America’s internal struggle is to want to be stronger externally but after having been granted that, realizing that it doesn’t mean anything and then having to find his way back to the internal courage and character and learn that’s what really matters).
Either way, there was a lot of laughing and really fun conversation and a little bit of food and some free drinks on a beautiful night. Next year we will sacrifice all of that for celebrities and dancing (possibly).
We always run around the floor and take pictures Sunday morning. It’s a nice way to make sure there isn’t anything we missed and enjoy the exhibit floor before it gets too crowded. There actually wasn’t as many fun things to take pictures of this year but we hit a few fun spots and ran into a few more friends. And I got a couple of books signed by one of my favorite authors.
But by the time 2pm rolled around we were exhausted and done with Comic Con for the year.