Comic-con Day 2: The amazing SONY panels at Hall H

It was really a great day to be at Hall H… I somehow felt that when I was waiting in line and talking to people whilst doing so. But little did I know it was going to be amazing.

As you’ve read on Part I of the Friday coverage, by the time Fright Night panel wrapped, it was already past 4 P.M. and my hubby & I have just downed the worst junk food we could buy — cheese nachos — which was one of the very limited menu available to buy if we don’t want to lose our seat at Hall H. By now, all I really wanted to see from the SONY presentation was The Amazing Spider-man, but we had to get through three panels first before we get to that (btw, the timing here is approximate, I think some of the panels ran a few minutes late).

So, let’s get to ’em, shall we?

4:00 – 4:30 – Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Heh, this is perhaps my least favorite segment of the entire Friday schedule at Hall H. First, I really don’t care for the first Ghost Rider movie. I think it’s one of the WORST movie I have ever seen, worst acting by Nic Cage/Eva Mendez combo, worst story, worst special effect, everything. So I find the idea of a sequel quite repulsive.

In any case, the moderator was Ralph Garmin from KROQ (a radio station I presume?) and he started to introduce the filmmakers and cast for this movie, including Idris Elba and Nicolas Cage. Anyway, the only thing worth watching from this panel was the video showing the extreme directing style of the directing duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, better known as Neveldine/Taylor. Their movies are definitely not my cup of tea… Crank, Gamer (even Gerry Butler still won’t entice me to see it), think Michael Bay-style on steroids. They’re known for their “roller dolly” technique, which involves the camera shooting the film while on roller-blades, they adrenaline-junkies who love to shoot their movies as if they were performing the stunts for the action scenes themselves. Nic Cage aptly called it “daredevil camera work”

Anyway, whilst it was nice to see Idris Elba on the panel, I really just wanted to move on… fortunately this is only a half-hour segment!

4:30 – 5:00 — 30 Minutes or Less

I had missed seeing the trailer which was released before I left on vacation, so I had no idea what this was about. Turns out it’s a comedy by director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) starring Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride (who appeared via satellite video) and Aziz Ansari. Frankly, I’m not familiar with the filmmaker nor the cast (apart from Eisenberg) but y’know what, the trailer and clips were pretty darn funny. Here’s the plot: Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else…

The Indian-descent Ansari, who’s a stand-up comic, had the room in stitches with his witty and hilarious comments. He joked about seeing an additional 15 minutes of The Dark Knight Rises and saying how great it was, it was a real hoot. “It was right after the Inception 2 panel!” Ha! He really knew how to poke fun of all the geeks in the room 😀

5:00 – 5:30 — Total Recall remake

I just realized that Colin Farrell is at Comic-con to promote not one but two upcoming movies, and both of them are remakes. Underworld director Len Wiseman was on hand again as the sci-fi helmer, along with the full cast of Farrell, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho, and his wife Kate Beckinsale.

I don’t remember much of the original with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the early 90s, but the movie was a big hit. Farrell is playing the same character as Arnold, well one thing for sure, the Irish actor is definitely much easier on the eye!

The panel starts out with Wiseman introducing a real rough footage as they’re only halfway through filming, but the director wanted to show something for those who’ve been waiting in line, how nice of him! The footage, albeit rough towards the end, looks pretty cool. This movie wasn’t even on my radar at all but I love a good action sci-fi. One of the screenwriters of the project is Kurt Wimmer who wrote one of my fave sci-fis Equilibrium, so yeah, this looks promising.

Oh, just before we went inside the convention, the hover car and the futuristic Total Recall police force were on display. We had no idea what movie that was from but now we know those were from this movie.

Bryan Cranston from the hit AMC show Breaking Bad is playing villain Vilos Cohaagen. When a fan asked him if he’d be just as ‘bad’ in this movie, he replied, “I get to celebrate badness in Total Recall.” The California actor is a pretty funny guy, he’s got that deadpan humor but I could see how he could be terrifying as a villain. Sounds like this remake will not be as tongue-in-cheek as the original, at least from the footage, it looks more like Blade Runner/Equilibrium in tone.

Ok, now last but definitely not least panel of the day… which is the highlight of my entire time at comic-con!

5:30 – 6:30 — The Amazing Spider-man

The anticipation is climbing higher and higher, you could feel the feverish excitement of the room practically ricocheting through the roof!

The room grew dark and within seconds of the movie title appearing on the big screen, the audience cheers. A few minutes later (which felt like forever), the trailer rolled in, it’s the same one I posted a few days ago but in 3D.

When the trailer ended, a guy in a bright Spider-Man costume rushes to the mic. The moderator immediately said, “No, no we’re going to take questions at the end of the panel.” but the guy kept on insisting. Just like with Andy Serkis, as soon as the boy appeared on the mic I knew it was Andrew Garfield, the star of the movie. I recognized his voice and he had the exact tall, slender built of the actor and I could also see a glimpse of his wavy dark brown hair peeking from behind his mask.

Sure enough, when he took off his mask, the room went wild (including yours truly). In fact, I felt a lump in my throat as I felt the energy of the room and the fact that the day just got better and better. I mean, Thursday I got to see Captain America up close and Friday, another Marvel superhero stood mere centimeters away from me, it was just unbelievable!! [See the two people grinning in the background? See if you could spot who they were :D)

His speech was so earnest and heartfelt I got teary-eyed a bit. Ok so this is my first time at comic-con but I can’t imagine something like this happen very often over there. Alex Billington of FirstShowing said, “In all my years attending Comic-Con, I have never seen any actor, or anyone at all, introduce a panel like this and read their own speech talking about their love for the character they play… It’s one of those unforgettable Comic-Con moments that I know many people will be talking about for years to come.” Spot on, Alex!

The 27-year-old Brit started off by saying how he could truly relate to Spidey as a character… “I needed Spidey in my life when I was a kid and he gave me hope…”  You could see the full speech in the clip below (again, you could see yours truly getting pretty hysterical in the background, he..he…) Just before he ran back to the panel, Garfield threw his Spidey mask towards us, but unfortunately, the guy next to my hubby caught it. Man, that would’ve been an awesome souvenir!!

Besides the trailer, the panel showed us a bunch of exclusive 2D clips. The panel begins with a 2D clip. There are scenes of Peter Parker in his high school days, which shows him being the awkward teen who’s a bit of an outcast and is a victim of bullying. Martin Sheen and Sally Field who play his aunt and uncle also appear in the scene. My favorite part is between Parker and his high school crush Gwen Stacy (the lovely Emma Stone), they have a sweet, almost innocent chemistry as they share an adorably awkward moment.

There are also scenes of Peter after he realizes his power, scenes in the subway, and his encounters with criminals and thieves. The part when he traps a criminal to a wall with his web shows his wisecracking, whimsical side. My hubby said to me afterwards he feels more confident now after seeing the clips, as he felt it brings out the mischievous side of the character that wasn’t quite present in the darker toned- trailer.

The panel consist of director Marc Webb, producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach and his co-star Emma Stone. Welsh actor Rhys Ifans joined them a few minutes later, looking disheveled and drunk, which I later learned that he was involved in a scuffle just moments earlier and was actually charged for battery! (per Yahoo! news) Well that explains his strange remark, “You never bring a monster to humanity, humanity brings a monster to you…” Huh??

Garfield on the other hand, makes an interesting analogy about these comic-book stories… “We’re approaching this like it’s Shakespeare, like a Greek myth, these comic book characters are our modern myths… “ He’s also gracious about stepping into a role that was made famous by another actor. When asked by a fan whether he talked to Tobey Maguire, he replied in his usual humble tone… “Every night, every night. He was like a hotline, a suicide hotline. [..] No, I spoke to him after but I did get an amazing message from him through Matt on the day that I got the news that I was taking on this [character] that is greater than him or me. […] But I met him after and he’s the best. I’m Team Tobey, Team Tobey totally.”

Both Emma Stone and Garfield are both lovely and affable. They’re both one of the freshest young talents working today, so I really look forward to see them together on screen. I know a lot of you guys love Emma and I can see why. She’s not just gorgeous but is quite charismatic and quick-witted, she’ll go far. As for Garfield, I’m already a fan of his before, but after this, my admiration for him just grew tenfold. He’s so darn nice that when a fangirl asked him for his name tag, he immediately responded “Oh no, it’s fine, it’s fine. No boos. You can have it.”

I’ve seen three of his movies so far so I know he’s got enormous talent, but it’s nice to see he’s a genuinely level-headed bloke on top of that. I’ll definitely be following his career for years to come.

What a fantastic panel to end the day! I still couldn’t believe how blessed we were that we’re able to get in, let alone got the best seats of the entire hall.


The one that got away…

Henry Cavill at the Immortals panel on Saturday… [sigh] Now, I’m not going to be sulking too much considering the other people I did get to see. But major bummer that Man of Steel got delayed six months from December 2012 to June 14, 2013! Now we have two full years to wait for it…  oh well, hopefully the script will be twice as good.


Well, on that note, that concludes my comic-con coverage. It’s been an exhilarating two days at SDCC and certainly we made the most of them. I hope one day you get to experience being at comic-con at least once in your life, despite the frustration that would REALLY test your patience, it truly is worth the effort and the energy of the place really is contagious and most of all, fun!

Let me know your thoughts about any of the things I talked about on this post. Once again, which movie(s) featured at comic-con are you anticipating the most?

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29 thoughts on “Comic-con Day 2: The amazing SONY panels at Hall H

  1. I’m officially extremely jealous that you got to be in the same room as my future husband (hehe) Andrew Garfield. And Emma Stone. Life is so unfair!!!

    No, it sounds like you had a ball!

    1. Hi Stevee, so he’s your future hubby, eh? Well shouldn’t you be at the panel then to keep him away from Emma? 🙂 I heard rumors about them hooking up off the set but whatever, they seem friendly but not in a romantic kind of way.

  2. Great summary of the Comic-con day, Ruth! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about a ‘Ghost Rider’ sequel. It’s not my favorite, but my teen sure loves it. And if you get enough of that demographic (especially in the DVD market), some studio exec is going to green light the inevitable follow-up.

    However, out of all of this I’m more intrigued with the continuation of Colin Farrell’s comeback in two film remakes. The original films get replayed on a semi-regular basis, and I usually detest redoes, but because he’s in them I’ll give him a chance. The man may have hit bottom mid-decade, but ever since his splendid turn in my fave for 2008, In Bruges, I’m enjoying his work again as when he started with his early run in Tigerland.

    I hope you have more post coming on this, my friend. Thanks

    1. Ted S.

      Same here Michael, I watch Total Recall at least once a year. First I bought the VHS, then DVD twice and now I have it on Blu-ray. I hope Wiseman can actually do something with the remake, so far I’m not a big fan of his other films. I imagine that Die Hard 4 never happened and if they make another one, hopefully they’ll get a better director than Wiseman.

      I agree with you about Farrell, his career took a nose-dived in late 2000s, but he was very good in In Bruges. It’s a good move by him to get away from doing big Hollywood films for a couple of years. Now he’s back, let’s see if he can get back on track again.

      1. @ Ted – wow, you really do love Total Recall. I think I saw it but can’t remember a darn thing about it, ironic huh? 🙂 I guess I’m optimistic about this reboot based on what I’ve seen so far. By no means it’s going to be an Oscar-winning flick, but it looks intriguing enough for me to check it out on the big screen. John Cho looks good too, sporting a Billy Idol blond locks.

    2. Hi Michael, I suppose there’s gotta be an audience for Ghost Rider, I’m just not in their demographic. Sounds like they’re doing something different with this one, but still I’m not sold on it.

      Yeah, Colin certainly is one of the comeback kid, much like Robert Downey Jr. I Think he admitted during the panel that he lost sight of why he became an actor in the first place, he got caught up in the whole celebrity thing (he even said he used to party/do drugs, etc. at Chateau Marmont (like in the movie Somewhere) but now he’s clean and even quit smoking, good for him!

      I haven’t seen In Bruges or Tigerland yet, might have to check ’em out. Yeah, I’ll be following this Total Recall project surely. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Ted S.

    Another great coverage Ruth. Yeah I’m with you, I hated the first Ghost Rider film and I’ll avoid the sequel at all cost. I don’t care for Neveldine/Taylor either, just because they filmed their movies while riding roller blades, it doesn’t mean they made good films. Crank was one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, it was just awful!

    Yikes, I totally forgot Kurt Wimmer & Len Wisemen are teaming up for the Total Recall remake. As you know, I think both of them are the biggest hacks in Hollywood right now, hopefully they can finally make a good film with this one.

    Hey I can see both you and Ivan in the background there, that was cool. I think the more I hear about this new Spidey flick, the more I’m excited about it. Too bad you didn’t get to see Superman in person, I know you’re a big fan of Cavill.

    Well I hope to be at Comic-Con in the future but not as a fan but to promote my film. 🙂

    1. Hi Ted, I seriously abhor Ghost Rider, I think Peter Fonda was in it, I was like, WTH is he doing in this crapfest??! I’ve heard/seen clips of Crank, definitely NOT something I’ll ever be interested in watching, plus Jason Statham has lost his charm as well.

      Ahah, I remember how you feel about Wiseman/Wimmer, let’s hope it’ll be two wrong making a right, he..he..

      Yeah, I can’t believe we’re so visible in the background in those videos, I’ve seen a few of them circulating on the net, blimey!! As for Cavill, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t meet him, not sure I can handle someone who look like THAT in person 😀 😀

      Well Ted, when you go there to promote your movie, hire me as your publicist, please….

  4. Garfield is such a cool dude!! He is my new best mate!

    Nice to see you had such a great time. Although I am still feeling the pain of envy in my ribs…!

    C

    1. Yes he is indeed, Custie. So humble and earnest, it’s a rarity in Hollywood today. I hope that town won’t ruin him… but he’s hopefully old enough not to get caught up in their own celebrity like Colin Farrell did before he sobered up.

      Aw come on, why spend your energy being green… I mean, better make it the environmentally-friendly kind 🙂

  5. Hi Ruth and company:

    Excellent write-up!

    Now that you are a Comic~Con Veteran. I hope that you have seen and experienced the advantages of sensible shoes or sneakers.

    Looking forward to the newest ‘Total Recall’. Bryan Cranston can do ‘evil’ very well. My guess is that Cranston will more than fill Michael Ironside’s role from the original.

    1. Hi Jack, ahah well by no means am I a veteran, I’ve only been there once. I did wear sensible shoes though standing up and walking for 5+ hrs straight still make your feet quite sore. I just kept thinking of the movie The Way Back as they had it much, much worse 😀

      I take it you’re a Breaking Bad fan, Jack? Bryan seems to revel being bad, I think actors like him are good at both comedic and villainous roles.

    1. I hope one day you get to go as well, T. It’s really worth experiencing at least once in your life just for the fun of it. I was grinning from ear to ear during his speech like a dork, I actually teared up a bit in the beginning as his speech was so moving. I mean he genuinely like and relate to the character and it meant a lot to him… now, there’s no way he’s going to screw it up.

  6. I am surprised they are making a Ghost Rider sequel. I didn’t hate the movie as much as you, but i didn’t think it needed a sequel.

    30 minutes or Less seems like it could be fun.

    And i’m hoping next Comic-con i will be able to go 😉

    1. Hi Julian, I think you’ll have a blast seeing all the cosplay. There’s a small article in the comic con souvenir book about Deborah dressing up in a costume so she could roam around in the exhibit hall. Some people actually asked to take a picture with her because of her costume (forgot what it was) and not realizing they’re having their pics taken with a celebrity 😀

      1. …so in addition being an amazing and beautiful actress(IMO of course) she is also into cosplay!?!

        …i think i am even more in love with her now. I didn’t know that was even possible

  7. Thanks for the summary, Ruth. I enjoy reading it.

    I have heard about Total Recall remake but not sure I want to see it. I don’t like Arnie’s version that much

    1. Thanks Nov! Too bad Cillian wasn’t there or I’d definitely ask for his autograph for you 😉

      I’m not crazy for Arnie’s Total Recall either, but I’m intrigued by this one, the clip looked really good.

      1. Fortunately…Cillian is busy on stage,doing fabulous alone man show (i will talk about that performance on August 1). Heheh I said fortunately because is he was there and you met him…I will end up hating you out of envy 😉

  8. Movie Remnants

    Just like everybody else, I’m jealous you got to see Andrew Garfield! I go to NYCC every now and then, but have always wanted to go to San Diego since everyone goes to that one! I really like Andrew as well and am sad about all the criticism around the new Spiderman, he should be given a chance before people judge. Have you seen ‘Never let me go’?? I wanted to see it when it was out, but didn’t get to.

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