Luke Y. Thompson is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of Comic-Con.
The Disney panel at Comic-Con offered the first trailers for Sam Raimi’s Oz The Great And Powerful and Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger. Raimi’s Oz impressed and revealed plot details. New trailer for Burton’s Frankenweenie looks pretty much as expected amd Wreck-It Ralph shows 10 minutes of videogame crossover fun.
Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick introduced the latest Frankenweenie trailer in 3D (the one that’s been everywhere online, but its mix of retro-Universal monster-style narration and black-and-white stop motion looked great on the big screen). When Tim Burton, who was on hand, was asked what informs his sense of comedy, he replied “Growing up in Burbank.” Here’s the Frankenweenie trailer:
There was also a funny clip was shown in which a foreign-accented, Vincent Price-like science teacher becomes, shall we say, excessively enthusiastic about describing the science behind a man being struck by lightning. This leads to all the kids in the classroom speculating about why the town is cursed with so much lightning: is it the creepy windmill? The souls of dead miners? Funny stuff, and stays securely in the ’50s B mold.
The second clip included a very cool 3D moment of stop-motion fish in a giant tank, as the Igor-like kid blackmails Victor into trying to revive a dead fish for him. They succeed, but it turns out to be invisible except for the skeleton. Igor promises not to tell, but crosses his fingers behind his back.
A Brazilian fan asked Burton “Aren’t you tired to work with Johnny Depp?” to which Burton responds he’s moved on to dogs. He wouldn’t commit to a preference between original characters versus reboots, saying they’re all in his family.
A fan asked how Colleen Atwood is to work with. Burton joked “She’s a bitch!” Before saying he likes to surround himself with talented people and she is one. In answer to a question about dreams, said his most common nightmare is of going to school.
Another fan question: How did Burton get one f-word in Beetlejuice? Burton replied you could get one in there back then.
When a tearful fan asked how it felt to finally finish a project he started as a short so long ago, he said he was just as emotional and it makes him want to cry too.
Following a montage of Raimi’s best clips, reminding us that his Spider-Man is still awesome, the director came out to talk Oz The Great and Powerful. “It’s based on Frank L. Baum’s books” [Actually, that'd be L. Frank Baum)]. He explained origins of the Wizard as a carnival magician with bad social skills who seeks fame. “His life becomes untenable in Kansas … He’s an adulterer, he’s chased out of Kansas.”
First clip made everybody excited – it’s clear Raimi working in 3D will be fun. Kansas stuff is in black and white just like the MGM classic The Wizard Of Oz. The gradual fade to color when the wizard’s balloon enters Oz airspace is a wonder. The tiny porcelain kingdom seems to play a part, and the clip ends with winged monkeys (savage, fanged, black) and a familiar green hand clawing its way toward the camera.
The witches of Oz Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis then came out and discussed how much of the set was actually practical and not greenscreened. Emerald City and Glinda’s castle are major sets, Kunis described them as beautiful.
The familiar car in every Raimi film makes a cameo in the form of its engine block being in the Wizard’s lab.
To another random question Raimi explains he never made The Shadow because he felt they never got a good enough script.
The wizard’s backstory is based on events in the Baum books, the rest is made up, Burton said, and there are many nods to the classic version where they could get them in. Raimi didn’t have the right to use ideas that were original to the MGM movie, like the ruby slippers, and Scarecrow and Tin Man are not in it.
Wreck-It Ralph director Rich Moore (whose resume includes The Simpsons and Futurama) came next, talking about his tale of an ’80s Donkey Kong-like videogame villain with an existential crisis. Ten minutes of the CG-animated movie were shown, not continuous – the fans here clearly loved the scenes that feature multiple characters from other games, like a villain-support group with Zangief and a Pac-Man ghost, among others. In a Grand Central Station between games Sonic the Hedgehog does PSAs warning characters that if they die in another game, they die for real. Moore mentions that one character he couldn’t get was “a certain highfalutin plumber.”
Notably, this was not in 3D.
Sarah Silverman and John C. Reilly came out afterward to take questions. Asked if he preferred voice-over or live-action, Reilly said he preferred being employed, and that despite what Chris Rock said at the Oscars, V.O. is a lot of work.
An off-the wall question about balancing out two different personalities from an oddball fan took the panel aback, but Reilly replied that it’s easy because he’s a Gemini, then quipped that the guy must have been getting questions beamed in via his earpiece. Silverman said she’d totally watch a reality show starring that fan.
One final surprise: The Lone Ranger trailer! Yes, Depp speaks haltingly as Tonto; yes, it looks like Pirates Of The Caribbean in the old west, and yes, the clip was scored to heavy metal rather than the William Tell Overture. Nobody said “Hi-ho Silver.” The marketing is skewing young on this one, and evidently not to fans of the old show, but this Comic-Con crowd was into it.