Regular DHD readers know I don’t do geek. But frequent LA Weekly film reviewer and comic book expert Luke Y Thompson does. He spends all year waiting for Comic-Con and this time he’s covering it for me. Here’s his preview:

SATURDAY, JULY 26th

More of the stuff I expect to like…

Today features the coming of age of the LOST panel. A series beloved by fans of sci-fi and comic books, LOST has been a perennial favorite at Comic-Con, yet for every previous year it has always been scheduled opposite some major movie-related panel in Hall H, the big room. This year, LOST finally moves into Hall H to take its rightful place as a main attraction. Last year, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse announced the return of Michael (Harold Perrinneau) to the show, so even though we expect them to be cryptic, you might hear a similarly significant announcement this year too (12 p.m.)
 
This will be followed at 1:15 p.m. by Warner Bros’ presentation of a look at the fourth Terminator movie, currently entitled TERMINATOR SALVATION: THE FUTURE BEGINS. Fans weren’t exactly clamoring for this one, especially with much-derided director McG at the helm, but the announcement of Christian Bale in the starring role as John Connor pleased a lot of people, as did the very recent announcement that the Austrian bodybuilder who starred in an Arnold Schwarzenegger TV biopic has been signed to play the original killer robot from the future. Even if it sucks, fans want to see an all-out futuristic war between man and machine, and the movie hints at delivering that much, at least.
 
After that, Disney and Pixar take the stage to promote their upcoming cartoons. BOLT, which you’ve likely seen the trailer for in front of WALL-E, looks awful, with John Travolta voicing a dog who thinks he has Matrix-like super powers – but it’s in 3-D, which tends to make me forgive narrative flaws if the effects are good enough. Pixar’s first 3-D movie is called UP, an adventure movie that little is known about, but I think it involves a journey in a hot air balloon. No new Narnia stuff? Damn. VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER has the potential to be a lot more visually interesting than its predecessors, based as it is on The Odyssey more than the Bible.
 
Universal is primarily focusing on the new MUMMY sequel and its DEATH RACE remake. The former has shown pretty much all we need to see prior to viewing, and the latter, few care about…but the small print in the program indicates that talent from Sam Raimi’s upcoming return to horror DRAG ME TO HELL and the Krofft brothers big-screen update LAND OF THE LOST might also be on hand.
 
Did you know that STARSHIP TROOPERS 3 is coming out soon? Do you care? Sequels to Paul Verhoeven movies rarely do the originals justice, but original star Casper Van Dien has returned for this new one, along with STAR TREK ENTERPRISE Vulcan hottie Jolene Blalock, and both will be hyping up this direct-to-DVD release (Room 7AB, 5 p.m.).
 
Sick of prequels yet? How about one for UNDERWORLD, the franchise folks can barely muster up interest in? Kate Beckinsale and hubby director Len Wiseman have bailed, but at least this one still has the always-entertaining Bill Nighy, though Michael Sheen (Tony Blair in THE QUEEN), just doesn’t strike fear in my heart as an up-and-coming werewolf. Also on the Sony panel: a look at the thriller QUARANTINE, which boasts no name actors; and PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, with Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Danny McBride, all of whom will be in attendance. I happen to find Danny McBride (THE FOOT FIST WAY, HOT ROD) to be one of the funniest guys on the planet right now, so say no more. Humor is subjective, but to me he’s a goddamn genius. (Hall H, 5:30 p.m.)
 
Saturday night is usually highlighted by the masquerade ball, a costume contest which often features amazingly intricate robots and demons side-by-side with fat fanboys and girls dressed inappropriately as their favorite heroes. (I usually watch from the sails pavilion on the big-screen TV while noshing on free nachos and enjoying the one time per weekend that the convention center sells booze). This year, however, it isn’t the only main attraction: A work-in-progress screening of THE MUTANT CHRONICLES, with stars Tom The Punisher Jane and Ron Hellboy Perlman in attendance is expected to draw big crowds, while midnight brings a special Gaslamp District screening of Clive Barker’s MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, with the author himself presenting. Fans have been indignant about Lionsgate’s limited theatrical release plans, so this may constitute a test of their commitment.
 
One more day to go, folks…