Wondercon: The 2011 Film Panels

by Gordon Elgart on April 4, 2011


Geoff Johns (love his Flash stuff with Kolins) asks Ryan Reynolds why he's so awesome. (Photo from Nicole Abalde on Flickr. Thanks for sharing!)

The 2011 Wondercon film panel lineup was the worst in recent memory. It was more notable for what was missing (Captain America, Thor, Super 8, Pirates of the Caribbean) than what was there (Immortals, Priest, The Three Musketeers). Jon Favreau noticed that movies weren’t prioritizing Wondercon for their promotion, and I can’t say I understand why. Was it the relative commercial failure of such ComicCon-loved properties such as Kick Ass and Scott Pilgrim? Or was it really all just about scheduling? But we did have film panels on Saturday (and one on Friday), so I was there. And this is what I saw.

Green Lantern: The footage looks like it comes from a pretty bad movie. All I can tell about it is that Ryan Reynolds, who’s hilarious on a panel, looks horribly mis-directed as Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern. Every single shot of him that was shown, he was either cracking a joke or strutting comically. This isn’t the Green Lantern I know. We were “treated” to a shot where one Lantern-dude (sorry but I am not all that well versed in the Lantern mythos) was talking to the Corps, and well … there were too many Green Lanterns for my taste. I worry about the too-many-characters problem. I worry about the quippiness of the project. I am officially unexcited for this movie. Ryan Reynolds did get off some great lines, though.

When complimented on his earliest movies, including Practical Magic: “Whoa. Lay off the Netflix. My mother doesn’t even know about those movies.”

When asked about playing a villain like Deadpool: “Deadpool is not a villain. He’s an asshole.”

This whole panel was really all about girls screaming at Ryan Reynolds, referring to him as “Mr. Hottie” at one time. That, and Blake Lively trying really hard to fit in, but giving typical answers about “training really hard” and things being “a joy.”

Cowboys and Aliens: Jon Favreau is good on panels. He really comes across like he’s doing this stuff for YOU. So when he showed footage from Cowboys and Aliens that looked good, but lacked a certain something, the response was slightly better than average. But when he said the movie would be released in “glorious 2D,” he brought the house down. He may have been predicting the common theme for the rest of the day — defending 3-D.

The Three Musketeers in 3-D: I don’t know many times I need to be told that “this is not your mother’s Three Musketeers.” I don’t know which one that was, actually. We never talked about it. I guess “my” Three Musketeers is a chocolate bar; I’ve never cared for any of the movies I’ve seen of it. It’s a good book, I hear? Nothing about what they showed (crappy trailer, crappy “behind-the-scenes” footage) makes me think that I’m going to like this any better than a candy bar. Sure, it’s from Paul W.S. Anderson, so there will be at least 2-3 very cool looking scenes, but I wasn’t one of the girls screaming for the actors, so I might not be the target audience.

Hanna: I’m seeing this tomorrow night, and I couldn’t be more excited. Joe Wright pretty much owned this panel, giving impassioned speeches about the objectification of women in geek movies such as Sucker Punch that led to many cheers by women dressed as Slave Leia. Saiorse Ronan came across like she’s about 30 — she sounded like the smartest person in the room, discussing how interesting it is to play a character with no idea how the world works. She came across as so much smarter and more thoughtful than all the other women on all the other panels, her career is going to be amazing. I’m predicting Cate Blanchett levels of awesome for her.

Priest: I saw a lot of Priest this weekend, both at a Friday night 3-D screening and then in 2-D at the panel on Saturday. The director made a point to ask those who saw both that “it looked awesome in 3-D, right?” I didn’t agree. Yeah, sure, it looks fine in 3-D, but it actually looks better in 2-D, especially the extremely cool animated opening by Genndy Tartovsky. Now, Priest has been in the can for a while as they spent months getting it ready for a 3-D release, and I’m not certain it’s worthwhile. It seems like the geek community is done with the whole post-conversion 3D, and I think coming out that way will only hurt it in the end. The director did admit that Sony has a lot riding on 3-D televisions, and that’s one reason they want to make it look awesome in the format. But he also said he shot with anamorphic lenses “from the 70s.” And frankly, movies looked better back then. Other than the technical stuff, how was it? Dark and actiony. I have no doubt that this movie is heavy on ass-kickery and light on plot. If the dialogue in the clips is any indication, it’s a lot of “watch out you’re going to get your ass kicked” and “I’m going to kick your ass” lines, which sounds fine to me. Also, Paul Bettany lands artistically a lot here.

Immortals: Nothing could have prepared me for the joyous insanity of an hour with Tarsem Singh on a panel. He’s awesome. Also on this panel was Henry Cavilll, soon-to-be Superman in Zack Snyder’s upcoming movie. So to prepare himself for that role, he’s in a movie that features a lot of slow motion action. Tarsem is known as a grand visual stylist, and he says he wanted to make a movie that looks like Caravaggio meets Fight Club. And then he went from there. Pretty much every question from the audience was for Cavill if a girl asked, and for Tarsem if a man asked, except for one woman who was working hard to pick up on Tarsem. Not sure if that worked or not, but it was fun to watch. Here’s what I know about this movie: it’s based on Greek mythology, features a lot of slow-mo ass-kicking and POV-arrow shots, a buff Mickey Rourke, and plenty of green screen. It’s very likely to be an extremely entertaining movie, and it comes out 11/11/11, so I know Jason Webley will like it.

And that’s it. Nothing else. One hour on Friday and four on Saturday. It’s a weak showing, and even Eddie Ibrahim, director of programming at Wondercon, didn’t seem to have his usual level of excitement going.But he’ll be back next year, and so will I, sitting in the dark on a Saturday waiting for my fellow nerds to ask stupid questions, and waiting for actors to say something better than “it’s so hard to do my own stunts.”

(Note: The best panel I saw all weekend was on Sunday, for Doctor Who, but that’s to be expected with Neil Gaiman, Mark Sheppard and Chris Hardwick on one stage geeking out over Doctor Who, especially when they can’t even talk about their episodes very much at all. All that was left for them to do was to be entertaining, and they were.)




Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jason LeRoy April 5, 2011 at 10:06 am

“…giving impassioned speeches about the objectification of women in geek movies such as Sucker Punch that led to many cheers by women dressed as Slave Leia.” AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!


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