Day 2 of the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con was full of highs, lows and thousands of people waiting in line to see peeks of things they can't wait to wait in line to see. But, as is most often the case, the most interesting stories weren't necessarily the biggest ones. Here's the good, the bad and the ugly from Day 2.
The 2012 remake of Paul Verhoeven's "Total Recall" was a massive whiff. The movie's major problem? It opted to replicate all the moves of the original. The sheen was 2012, the core was half-hearted Verhoeven.
So we approach José Padilha‘s remake of "Robocop," slated for February 7, 2014, with caution. But there's hope: Slashfilm reports that the Hall H debut of the film delivered a trailer that made it "clear this isn’t an imitation of Paul Verhoeven’s film" and that there's an undercurrent of satire to the slick sci-fi thriller. During the panel, Padilha described the angle: "The use of drones and robots in war is going to become a big issue … our movie is about something. It’s fun, but it talks about the near future."
To be fair, "Total Recall" swept up Comic-Con audiences too.
9. "Kick-Ass 2"
There was a slice of comic book nuts who adored 2010's "Kick-Ass," some even declaring it — and this is a big deal in the comparison scale of fanboys — "better than the 'Dark Knight.'" Though a triumphant success in many eyes, the Matthew Vaughn DIY superhero flick quickly faded from the public conscious after modest box office numbers. So the sequel is somewhat baffling.
An extended trailer for the movie played to Con audiences and it doesn't make much of a case for why a follow-up needs to exist. It just does and if you liked the first one, now there is more for you. The biggest surprise in the trailer is the reduction of screen time given to the movie's biggest draw: Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars & Stripes. Maybe something to do with his recent denouncement of the film?
8. The Future of the Cornetto Crew
"The World's End" panel had a bittersweet taste to it. The movie is fun time, once again converging the comedic sensibilities of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost into a heartfelt genre picture. But once it hits theaters this August, that will be it for the crew — at least for a while. Wright has Marvel's "Ant-Man," Pegg will continue is climb to international fame and Frost will probably show up in that "Snow White and the Huntsman" sequel. But fear not: They vow to reunite. Wright apparently cracked a joke during the panel that suggested the trio may tackle a British period piece down the road. Easy to picture, something akin to "Tristram Shandy"? Let's hope.
With Universal's "Riddick," Friday officially became the day of sequels know one was asking for, but that show enough promise so as to avoid cries of "Cinema is dead!" when the credits roll. The third film in Vin Diesel's Dungeons & Dragons campaign come to life scales down the action from the ambitious "Chronicles of Riddick." It looks slightly above the average SyFy movie — a good thing, considering the goal of the movie is showcase Diesel slicing and dicing up alien creatures while the other forgettable characters see themselves ripped in two. It's too bad every low-budget genre feature resorts to CG crap for its monster and blood effects, but it's baby steps for Diesel, Hollywood's unlikeliest geek voice.
6. Veronica Mars Is 2014's "Godfather III"
Translation: Veronica Mars doesn't want to be investigating crimes anymore, now that she's a high power New York City lawyer, but it's a life she can't avoid.
The Kickstarter campaign that brought "Veronica Mars" to fruition is a swirling controversy that should now be set aside — even if the creator, Rob Thomas, can't shut up about it. In-between the masturbatory celebration that was there Hall H panel, Thomas and star Kristen Bell gave fans a first look of the upcoming big screen adaptation, and it's a reminder of why "Mars" was a heralded show. Then again, I love "Murder, She Wrote" and "Veronica Mars" fits the same mystery-of-the-week format. Non-fans: Does this trailer do anything for you?
5. Eccentric Andrew Garfield
The man behind Spider-Man's mask is a real hero. There is little accomplished in a day of Hall H panels, but Garfield (in costume AND character) took a moment out of the web-slinging and franchise-marketing to preach diversity and acceptance to a fandom that desperately needs the lesson. "Spider-Man stands for everyone: black, white, Asian, gay, straight, bisexual. It would make sense if I was with a black guy in the third movie," he told the crowd. Garfield made similar comments in the wake of DOMA and, while it might not instill Sony with the bravery to actually take that chance with its staple character, the vocalization of the sentiment in front of the Comic-Con crowd lays tracks for the possibility.
4. Joss Whedon
King of Comic-Con, Joss Whedon, held court Friday evening for a Q&A on whatever the hell he wanted to talk about. Whedon is a best case scenario for a guy in charge of Marvel's billion dollar initiative. He orchestrates a movie like "The Avengers," then goes off to shoot a black and white, micro-budgeted Shakespeare adaptation. One hopes that he'll use a bit of clout to make an original movie. He certainly thinks we need them.
"Pop culture is eating itself at a rate that is going to be dangerous," he told the crowd. "Too many narratives are built on the resonance of recognition. That’s going to become really problematic. Even though it’s enormous fun to work on something I read as a child, I think it’s important for us to step back from that and create new universes, new messages, and new icons … so that 10 years from now we can reboot those.”
Of course, Whedon was there to pimp his latest TV show, "Agents of SHIELD," a spin-off of the Marvelverse and steered the conversation towards geekery. He even found time to diss "Green Lantern." All hail, Whedon.
3. Vin Diesel in a Marvel Movie
Comic-Con makes random superhero casting announcements cool. It can't be helped. It's the perfect environment.
During the "Riddick" panel, Diesel let is slip that he will be involved in a Marvel and that the news will come later this month. Yeah right — this is Comic-Con! An announcement is upon us. Expect Diesel to take part in a previously announced movie, either "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Avengers 2," or "Ant-Man." I could see the big, bald one dousing himself with purple paint and taking on the mantle of Thanos, teased at the end of "Avengers." Calling it.
2. "Night of the Living Dead" 3D Conversion
Today's moral debate: Do we love that a 3D conversion of "Night of the Living Dead" would put George Romero's defining horror film in front of new audiences or is this the ultimately blasphemy? Today's young people are weaned on the jump-scare assault of modern horror filmmaking. Romero's movie could teach them that the genre has the potential for more. Yes, it will be in 3D — but if the process is done with the care, it will either be eye-popping or inconsequential. In this case, I have to be the optimist. The conversion process began in 2007 and is said to be near completion.
1. "The Legend of Korra" Trailer
Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko's Nickelodeon TV show is not a film — but it might as well be. There's more cinema going in in every frame of "Korra" than in the entirely of 2013's action blockbusters. America continues to run behind the rest of the world in terms of animation. Hollywood has never figured out how to unlock the potential of animation. Brad Bird's films come close, but even the illustrious Pixar team salivates over the work of Hayao Miyazaki and other Eastern animation directors. They're jealous of what the rest of the world is allowed to do.
I think DiMartino and Konietzko reach the bar set by the greats of animation with "Korra." From the storytelling to design to the fluid, hand drawn artistry — they somehow convinced Nick to let them make Ghbili films for a "kid's network." The second season of their show appears to have raised the bar even further.
Want more from SDCC 2013? MTV’s livestream is the next best thing to being there (and in some ways probably a lot better).