Universal was out in full force over the weekend, hosting panels for The Incredible Hulk (see our report here), Wanted and Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Though less attention has been given to Wanted and Hellboy II so far, both films will provide, perhaps, some of this summer's most spectacular visuals.

Wanted

We mentioned it the other day, but prior to the Wanted panel at NY Comic Con, Cinematical was invited to Universal's suite high on the 52nd floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel to hang with director Timur Bekmambetov and watch the Wanted Comic Con footage a drop early. Following the brief screening (on a monstrous flat screen TV), I caught up with Timur and spoke to him about the film. One thing, in particular, was whether he planned on a Wanted franchise, or if this would be a one-off film. Timur laughed when I asked, and said we'd have to wait to see if people go to see this one first. Also of note, when I asked if he planned to continue his very successful Night Watch/Day Watch series of films, Timur shot back: This [meaning Wanted] is it! This is the third film. Even though it has different story, the tone is the same from the other films."

Oh, and then came the footage ...

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The first scene they screened from Wanted comes early in the film when Fox (Angelina Jolie) approaches Wesley (James McAvoy) to tell him his father was murdered the night before, and that the man who killed him was ... right behind him! Before Wesley can comprehend the entire situation, Fox is in a gun fight with this other man. The scene speeds up, then slows down -- there's a ton of style here; definitely reminiscent of the Matrix films (for those who haven't seen Night Watch and Day Watch). Eventually, Wesley escapes Fox and runs out of the supermarket where his enemy gives chase in a van. Just as the van catches up to Wesley, Fox comes cruising around a corner in a hot red sports car with an open door that swipes Wesley off his feet. Thus begins a pretty rad chase through the streets, which culminates in Fox's car flipping over several police cars, then landing on the side of a truck which flips over and allows Fox to drive off its roof as vehicles blow up behind her. Needless to say, the audience reaction was pretty damn positive.

The next scene screened comes right after the car chase and it involves Wesley waking up in some sort of isolated warehouse. It's there that we're introduced to Sloan (Morgan Freeman), who informs Wesley that he's different; special. He then asks Wesley to shoot the wings off the flies buzzing around a garbage pale. Reluctant until a gun is put to his head, Wesley eventually goes through with it and -- whaddya know -- shoots the wings right off. He then gets freaked out and darts down the stairs -- passed a smiling Fox -- and out the door.

During the Q&A, it seemed the most important question came in the form of why Timur chose to differ from the source material and not put his characters in costumes. Timur stressed that he wanted the film to feel more real; that, in the real world, assassins like these wouldn't be walking around in costumes -- they'd look just like everyone else. Wanted arrives in theaters on June 27.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

One of the more visually entertaining panels came in the form of Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Not only was Guillermo del Toro joined by his entire cast (Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones and Luke Goss), but there were several characters from the film dressed in the most ridiculous (and expensive, so I've been told) costumes hanging out on stage too (see two characters to the right; click to enlarge).

After watching an extended trailer for the film (which looks completely off-the-wall insane), del Toro and his cast fielded questions from the audience. Cursing up a storm, as per usual, del Toro first responded to questions regarding his involvement in The Hobbit and other projects, like At the Mountains of Madness. First up, del Toro said he should know within 4 or 5 days if The Hobbit will move forward with him behind the camera, though he's still not sure because it seems a different lawsuit pops up each day. Additionally, he'd love to shoot Mountains of Madness, though no one will give him the proper financing. He said that he'd rather shoot stuff with a small budget -- and control it -- then have his hand forced in directions he doesn't want to go in.

On Hellboy II: The Golden Army, del Toro announced that The Family Guy's Seth McFarlane will be providing the voice of Johann Kraus. Also, he has tons of characters who did not make their way into the film; one of which is a giant 10-foot tall three-headed bulldog. The crowd seemed so into this character that del Toro said he'd release an image of it this week online.

As far as other projects go, del Toro is currently working on a script for a film called Saturn and the End of Days -- about a boy who witnesses the apocalypse while he travels back and forth to the grocery store. "Trust me, it's a small film!" said del Toro. Check out our Hellboy II: The Golden Army gallery below, and the film arrives in theaters on July 11.

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