Comic-Con 2016: Day One, by Tyler Smith
My Comic-Con experience started by simply waltzing right into Hall H. This is a very rare experience, even for a Thursday morning. I wasn’t very interested in what was happening in there, but I’ve come to believe that, if I can get into Hall H, I should, because I might never get the opportunity again. As I entered, we were already several minutes into the Dreamworks panel, during which we saw footage from Trolls and Boss Baby. And, of course, there’s no better follow-up to a couple of delightful, colorful animated family films than a discussion with director Oliver Stone! He, along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zachary Quinto, and Shailene Woodley, was promoting his new film Snowden, about government whistleblower Edward Snowden. David Bax wrote in more detail about these panels here.
After walking the exhibit floor for a bit, I made my way to the 1986 panel, in which a number of writers and commentators discussed the various movies released in 1986. This panel is put on every year, always looking back 30 years. These panels are often frustrating, as the discussion usually devolves into standard fanboy fare; commenting on nudity, talking about what “kicks ass”, that sort of thing. And, while this year did contain its fair share of that, there was also a surprising amount of time spent on David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. While I’ve never been a huge fan of the film myself, any discussion of Lynch in a room full of people who are (by a show of hands) largely unfamiliar with his work is a step in the right direction. This led to solid discussion of Cronenberg’s The Fly, and how it manages to transcend its body horror brilliance and become a surprisingly heartbreaking film about human connection and deterioration. There were also quick shout-outs (or is that “shouts-out”?) to Manhunter and The Mosquito Coast, leading me to realize that 1986 was a pretty good movie year. Throw in movies like Hannah and Her Sisters, Mona Lisa, Platoon, Aliens, About Last Night, Big Trouble in Little China, Down by Law, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Labyrinth, Little Shop of Horrors, and more, and 1986 becomes maybe one of the best genre years ever!
I then attended a panel dedicated to the great movies and TV shows that weren’t made. This has become an obsession within the geek community lately. Jodorowsky’s Dune, The Death of Superman Lives, Lost Soul; just a few of the documentaries made about what might have been. I’m not sure exactly why this has become a trend in the last few years. Perhaps the internet has allowed such a glut of film criticism that a few people got tired of discussing movies that actually existed and decided to move on to ones that didn’t. Nonetheless, it is interesting to hear about these projects and fantasize; like when people hypothesize about how things would’ve gone had Kennedy not been killed. Among the projects discussed were a sequel to Gladiator, in which Maximus (who dies at the end of the first film) enters into a more ethereal state that places him on every battlefield in history, from the French Revolution to Vietnam. Wherever there is a battle, Maximus is there. A crazy idea, moving the world of Gladiator from the tangible to the metaphysical, but intriguing nonetheless. Other films discussed were Darren Aronofsky’s RoboCop, and the ill-fated Three Stooges biopic, which would’ve starred Jim Carrey, Sean Penn, and Benicio Del Toro. As strange as many of these projects sound, it’s probably true that the world would be more interesting had they actually been made.
Also briefly talked about was the pilot for Lookwell, starring Adam West. Unlike these other projects, was actually shot and, thankfully, has been made available online and should be viewed by everyone.