At this past weekend's Comic-Con in San Diego, enthusiastic nerds held the fate of Hollywood in their hands, as studios and networks presented sneak previews of the next year's worth of sci-fi, fantasy, animation, and superhero material — which is to say, the stuff that actually makes money now. From the new Terminator movie to next year's Pixar, from The Spirit to Heroes — which coming attractions helped their own cause, and which buried themselves?
Terminator Salvation was the big winner at the Con, especially because audience expectations for the McG-helmed movie were so low. But the T-600 onstage looked good, the entire cast (minus Christian Bale) and McG were apparently reassuring and sharp on the panel, and from all reports the footage was gritty, exciting, and non-embarrassing, perhaps benefiting from the fact that the movie's only half-shot and no easy-to-complain-about CGI has been added yet.
The reaction: "I personally was not expecting to be impressed, but the trailer actually left me wanting more(!)." [/Film]
Zack Snyder's Watchmen continues to be catnip to the comics audience based on Snyder's fealty to the original graphic novel and a crack marketing campaign, including these comics-inspired posters, unveiled at the Con. Snyder screened the trailer and a few extra minutes of footage, mostly of the hard-R variety.
The reaction: "This is an even more promising display than the first trailer." [Cinematic Happenings Under Development]
Were you, like us, assuming that Wolfman would be awful? Apparently the trailer rocked the house at Comic-Con, playing the story moody and gruesome, and we must admit that the cast is pretty excellent: Benicio del Toro, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving. (Alas, also Anthony Hopkins.)
The reaction: "Gory, gothic, very old school." [Cinematical]
The Jury's Still Out:
Tim Kring screened the entire first episode of Heroes' third season to the panel audience at Comic-Con, and by all accounts the premiere was a vast improvement over last season, launching fan favorites into new quests and challenges almost immediately. But the show has a long way to go to win us back.
The reaction: "Perhaps it's just the enthusiastic Comic-Con audience, but the episode seemed to regain some of the clever wit that marked the show's first season." [Live Feed/HR]
The new Pixar movie, Up, screened clips, and apparently afterward a lot of the audience walked out during director Pete Docter's Q&A. But any movie that's described as "a Pixar-meets-Miyazaki art film version of About Schmidt" sounds pretty awesome to us, even if it does star Ed Asner.
The reaction: "And while the character decision has me baffled, I can't wait to see how Docter and the other storytelling geniuses at Pixar are going to make it work — because if the previous nine films have taught us anything, we know they're definitely going to make it work." [Ain't It Cool News]
Way, Way Down:
By common agreement, the biggest loser of Comic-Con was Frank Miller's The Spirit, which apparently looked terrible and campy despite the producers' and cast's constant claims that it isn't campy. Soon-to-be-legendary highlights: an underwater fight scene in which Eva Mendes is clearly completely dry and getting blown around by hair dryers, and Samuel L. Jackson hitting the Spirit on the head with a toilet.
The reaction: "Okay, I’m hoping this footage will get out onto the web, because it looks terrible. I mean, really, really, really bad." [SpoutBlog]