Saturday, April 19, 2014

WonderCon Man: Arena

Today started in the WonderCon Arena aka Hall H Jr where studios trot out movie stars and directors along with exclusive clips to thousands of appreciative fans.  First up was Warner Brothers and genre favorite Bill Paxton, known to this room for his work on Weird Science, Aliens, Tombstone, Agents of SHIELD and much more.  Paxton was awesome; gracious, funny, insightful and game to discuss his career and memorable roles.  Oh, he was there promoting Edge of Tomorrow, the Tom Cruise sci-fi action flick that is Groundhog Day meets World War 2 but with alien oppressors instead of Nazis.  If you've seen the trailer you're either on board or not, I'll give it a go since I like Cruise, action, director Doug Liman and Paxton.  God from Navy Seals talked how his career is going back to his earlier work of smaller but memorable parts as he doesn't have to worry about being the face of a film as a movie star and can just give edgier and funnier performances as a supporting actor.  Paxton says Cruise is a great guy and ringleader of after hour activities while he's always been a fan of Liman and signed up on their names alone.  When asked about James Cameron, Paxton equates it to picking up the Bat phone and doing whatever Cameron asks of him whether it's setting himself on fire or telling the world he has a little sick like in True Lies.

Also in the WB panel was Godzilla.  Director Gareth Edwards came off as a young, funny and passionate guy who talked about the difficulties of designing the creature, honoring the original, going from a low budget to big studio fare and how he basically compiled a wish list of collaborators to help him with the transition.  A clip was shown with a great surprise so I'm now more excited for this film and not just thinking it'll be a lamer Pacific Rim.  Thomas Tull, the head of Legendary, is described as a movie geek who is interested in making good movies versus financial gain.  Edwards told us that he originally thought Godzilla star Bryan Cranston's character on Malcolm in the Middle was a closet homosexual which received a quick and assertive  correction from the man himself upon meeting.

Next was FOX who jammed looks at How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Maze Runner, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Secret Service and X-Men: Days of Future Past into two hours, phew!  The seats in the arena are too close together and hard on the bum for this kind of prolonged viewing.  Matthew Vaughn's teenage James Bond looking Secret Service was a treat and looks amazing.  Colin Firth plays the head of a secret society of bad ass spies to Samuel L Jackson's hip hop mogul looking villain.  A bar fight scene was brutal, inventive, exciting and funny with Firth being the latest older, distinguished actor going HALS, Hard As Liam NeesonS. Director Matt Reeves and actors Keri Russell, Gary Oldman and Andy Serkis segment played as a Serkis love fest with a few tidbits about Dawn being an unexplored bit of Apes mythos and making a tale of family and survival.   The crowd got a look at a scene from X-Men that showed the cinematic mutant posse doing what they do best, getting bitched!  The footage looked rich but I'm not sure why the X-Kids never seem to look that exciting on screen.

Last for us was a look at Luc Besson's Lucy, starring The Black Widow, Old boy and the lone black guy from Last Vegas.  Besson was very charming and his Frenchman demeanor was very endearing.  Asked about his recent penchant for writing and producing vs directing, Besson stated he only directs if he thinks no one else can do a better job and that producing is easy and more cushy.  Two clips played showing some very visually stimulating action and harrowing car chase, crashing and flipping mayhem.  During audience questions, Besson stated that he started writing at 13 and his first 5,000 pages were shit.  He doesn't pay attention to critics as he makes movies for the audience and that his early work like La Femme Nikita and The Big Blue might be regarded today but upon release were cast off.  

Lots more was shown and discussed but it's time to head back to the show!

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