Comic Con 2008: Day 2

Friday: Watchmen, Trailer Park, Wolfman, The Spirit

I am currently reading the graphic novel on which Watchmen is based. I have not finished yet, but it is amazing. Even with as little as I know so far about the comic I cannot wrap my head around how the heck Zack Snyder and his team managed to even come up with a coherent way to turn such a dense, far-reaching story into a film and stay faithful to the original material. Let me clue you in for those that don’t really know what I’m talking about.

The main story takes place in 1985 in a post-hero era where the majority of costumed heroes have removed their capes in the name of patriotism or become agents of the government – then one is murdered and one of the last non-government heroes (he’s also the legally insane one) begins to they and find out why. There’s a love triangle between Dr. Manhattan (a 6’4” blue former-human who can manipulate time, space & molecules), a second generation hero Laurie, and another retired hero, Nite Owl. There is an old generation of heroes waxing nostalgic on the past, and we can actually visit the past due to Dr. Manhattan, there is the Cold War issues, and there is some conspiracy forming around Dr. Manhattan. On top of this there is a sub-plot about a kid reading a pirate comic that underlies some of the themes in the story and there are excerpts of novels about our heroes laced throughout the book. And I’m only half way through the comic.

Back to the panel, everyone from Zack Snyder to Billy Crudup was excited to be there and stoked to see the footage – which kicks some major ass BTW. If all goes as I think it will this film will further cement Snyder as one of the foremost big budget film directors in the business. Just wait until you see Dr. Manhattan on Mars.

I’m not going to write about Trailer Park because let’s face it – it’s just a bunch of us sitting in a room watching movie trailers to kill time. You’ve seen ‘em all before online or on the big screen.

The nice little badly advertized surprise was Universal’s Wolfman panel with Rick Baker, Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro. The footage looks pretty dark and bad ass, they did the wolf with make-up instead of CGI and I got to see Fenster in person, and one of the film gods – Rick Baker.

Baker talked a bit about Stan Winston, and the coolness of getting to make Del Toro into the wolf, Blunt was stoked because she got the be the damsel in distress and Del Toro is a wicked old school film geek. It was fun. I want to see the period-piece horror movie they have created. It has Anthony Hopkins so that’s a lot towards its credibility.

What we were all actually waiting through the Wolfman panel to see was the panel on The Spirit. We were not disappointed. Frank Miller is a kick to listen to because you can tell he loves the material but would still rather not be talking about it, he’d be drawing or showing it.

The best part of the panel was Samuel L. Jackson who is playing the villain the Octopus. When he came out he climbed up and stood on his chair while people cheered and then he was the wittiest panel member I’ve ever seen. Someone asked Samuel what his favorite action figure of himself is and he said Mace Windu as there are so many versions of that figure, and that he has his action figures all over his office peeking around shelves, fighting each other, etc. When asked about Nick Fury he said that he was excited because when he was a kid Nick Fury was white, and now Nick Fury had finally evolved into something he could understand and that it proved that “you too can grow up to be a black man.”

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