comic-con 2012

Comic-Con Blockbuster Roundup: Pacific Rim, The Hobbit, Elysium

Idris Elba in ‘Pacific Rim.’

Comic-Con is over, and while Vulture has brought you plenty of reports about big titles like Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and Total Recall (as well as an eyewitness account from the Panel Where Michelle Rodriguez Was Asked for Sex), there were three movies of interest we hadn’t addressed: Pacific Rim, Elysium, and The Hobbit. More than most, these huge-budget titles have something to prove, since Pacific Rim and Elysium are both original properties, and The Hobbit will be inaugurating a whole new way to look at film. So how’d they do?

Pacific Rim
Guillermo Del Toro, how did it feel to debut the trailer for your big-budget robots-versus-monsters movie Pacific Rim at Comic-Con? “I’m shitting in my pants, really,” joked Del Toro as he took the dais at the film’s Hall H panel. “But I wore pants twice my size, so we’re okay.” A fitting thing to say, since everything in Pacific Rim is upsized, from the giant ocean beasts tormenting humankind (“We have flying monsters, we have sea monsters … we have monsters up the wazoo,” said Del Toro) to the enormous fighting robots piloted by Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi in an attempt to save the world. Del Toro showed an early trailer (don’t expect to see it in the wild until December, when the film’s marketing campaign truly begins), and yup, it pretty much looked like the movie you’d picture in your head with this conceit and director: familiar (Idris Elba gets in the de rigueur troop-motivating trailer speech), but terrifically realized. Del Toro promised “absolutely obscene robot porn” during the panel, and it looks like he’ll deliver.

Remember the medi-pod that provided Prometheus with its most memorable scene? The most privileged space-farers in Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium have them, too … only, theirs are embossed with the Versace logo, an extra-witty touch. The problem with Matt Damon’s character, who’s suffering from radioactive poisoning that will kill him within the week, is that those medi-pods are up on a super-luxe space station (manned by Jodie Foster’s French-accented politician), while he’s one of the have-nots on an impoverished future Earth. How does he get from there to here in order to cure his fatal condition? The extended reel Blomkamp showed at Comic-Con provided several hints, but mostly, it was just a pleasure to see brainy, big-budget sci-fi at Comic-Con that wasn’t tied to any preexisting property or franchise. (Also, District 9’s Sharlto Copley looks like an excitingly hammy badass as the scruffy gunslinger on Damon’s trail.)

The Hobbit
Peter Jackson’s two-film prequel to Lord of the Rings just finished filming, but the helmer brought more footage to Comic-Con than any other property this weekend save Dredd, which actually screened as a completed film. After a long, behind-the-scenes look at the final week of filming (a brief testimonial from dreamy Lee Pace, who’s playing Thranduil, drew the most audience shrieks), Jackson showed a long, twelve-and-a-half-minute sizzle reel that included several completed scenes so lengthy that they already felt very “extended cut.” The best one: Martin Freeman’s young Bilbo encounters Smeagol for the first time, allowing Andy Serkis the chance to do his schizo motion-capture shtick to delicious effect. Sadly, Jackson backed down from showing the scenes in 48fps, so while the footage satisfied Tolkien fanboys, it didn’t have the shock of the new that would have really gotten Comic-Con attendees buzzing.

Comic-Con Roundup: Pacific Rim, Hobbit, Elysium