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:
SUNDAY, JULY 27th
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday… It always used to be the chill-out day when less people showed up and most of the panels were leftover stuff like “Christianity in Comics” panels. Nowadays, however, every day of the Con sells out, and some of the wealth gets spread. Though I am rather surprised to see a big panel for HAMLET 2, the Steve Coogan comedy from the director of THE CRAFT (that’d be Andrew Fleming) and the co-writer of many SOUTH PARK episodes, Pam Brady. Comedy at the Con is a risky bet. Kevin Smith and Judd Apatow are always welcome, because they make comedies about comic geeks and toy-collecting virgins. Jack Black’s always welcome because Tenacious D do a rockin’ cover of Queen’s 1980 FLASH GORDON theme, plus, y’know, KING KONG. Coogan’s definitely made geek movies of a sort – TRISTRAM SHANDY for literature geeks, and 24-HOUR PARTY PEOPLE for music geeks, but that’s not quite the same crowd as this one. Still, he’s brought along Elisabeth Shue, so any unanswered questions about the BACK TO THE FUTURE sequels or ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING can finally be asked. The movie itself will be screening over the weekend also, but will this audience be in the mood for a comedy about high school drama in Tucson? (Ballroom 20, 11:30 a.m.)
Following that, John Cho, Kal Penn, and Neil Patrick Harris will be appearing to promote the DVD release of HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY. Again, a risk for the comic-book crowd, but Harris was in STARSHIP TROOPERS. Will Casper Van Dien show up to beg him for a job? Probably not, but it’d be a good gag.
At 12:30 p.m. in room 2, guys looking to meet goth girls will have their second-best chance of the weekend, as we get a behind-the-scenes look at Dark Horse’s popular comic “Emily the Strange” (if you’ve ever walked into a Hot Topic store – and I know that may not be a given – you’ve seen “Emily” merchandise aplenty). Supposedly there may be movie news.
Back in Ballroom 20 at 1 p.m., Jason Voorhees returns in the new remake of FRIDAY THE 13TH, a remake that pisses me off. Not because the original FRIDAY was so great – it wasn’t – or because the new continuity has Jason as a hockey-masked killer from the getgo (Drew Barrymore died in SCREAM for not remembering that Jason’s mother is the original killer; oh, and that mask didn’t show up till Part 3). But seriously, arguing about FRIDAY continuity is stupid. I’m just mad that they were so close to making it to Part 13, which is where things should conclude. If you count FREDDY VERSUS JASON, there are eleven Jason Voorhees movies… only two more in the same continuity-line would have done it! But no, remake ahoy. Oh well, it’ll probably be a better movie than most of the originals, if not all; the Friday/Jason franchise is known more for longevity, and negative portrayals of premarital sex, than quality.
Speaking of SCREAM, Wes Craven has to follow Jason with a look at his newest, 25/8 (which will hope is closer to RED EYE than CURSED). Following him will be David Goyer, beloved by genre fans for writing BATMAN BEGINS and DARK CITY, but somewhat disliked among those who sat through his dismal directorial efforts BLADE: TRINITY and THE INVISIBLE. His new one, THE UNBORN, stars Gary Oldman, though, so there may be hope for it.
Deepak Chopra at Comic-Con? Yes. He’s working with…wait for it…Virgin Comics. And he’s going to talk spirituality with acclaimed comic writer Grant Morrison? Might have to be seen to be believed. (Ballroom 20, 2:45 p.m.)
And no Comic-Con is complete without at least peeking in at the “Starship Smackdown” panel, which is hands-down the nerdiest thing ever, but hilariously so. A panel of geeks and comics actually hold a formal debate/tournament thing to decide who would win in various hypothetical space battles. The Enterprise versus a Star Destroyer! Dr. Who’s TARDIS versus Carl Sagan’s spaceship of the imagination! As my little brother used to constantly ask me: “If they fighted, who would win?” No matter how much of a geek you may think you are about this stuff, you’ll feel better about yourself watching the real nit-pickers go at it. Usually hilarious, and usually the last panel of the day, but this year, it’s a little earlier. (Room 7AB, 2 p.m.)
Time to wind down after all that. And while the rest of you are doing just that, I’ll still be writing…about as much of the preceding stuff as I’ve managed to see, or hear about.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.