I'm sure Scott and Elisabeth will chime in at some point within the next week with their favorite and not-so-favorite moments from this year's San Diego Comic Con, and so I thought I'd get the ball rolling with something a little different. Welcome to our first annual Comic Con awards! Pretty self-explanatory; we hand out awards in several different film-related categories, offer up an explanation for our choice and then attend a swanky, imaginary after party. Here goes ...
Most Buzzed-About Footage
Tron 2 -- Out of all the footage that screened during Comic Con, it was that damn Tron 2 teaser thrown in during the Escape to Witch Mountain panel that took everyone by surprise. However, after it screened, it was all anyone was talking about -- so much so that it was the first question three different complete strangers asked me whilst talking about The Con: "Did you see the Tron 2 footage? How awesome was that?" (Shhh ... leaked footage)
Fanboys -- When it takes two years for a film to arrive in theaters, that's usually not a good sign of things to come. When, throughout those two years, the film's director is replaced by some hack, the script is re-written to wipe out a crucial plot element and thousands of fans stage a boycott of The Weinstein Co. (said film's distributor) ... well, that can't be a good thing either. So then it was definitely a big surprise to watch the final cut of Fanboys at Comic Con and walk away with giant smiles on our faces. From my mini-review: "I will say, though, that this is not just a film for Star Wars fans -- it's a film for any geeky dude or dudette who's ever horsed around with their friends, gone on a nutty adventure and inserted random movie quotes into every other line of dialogue." The film should hit theaters on September 19th (hopefully in a wide release). Read Scott's full review.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno -- If you're a fan of Kevin Smith's raunchy humor, as well as the comedy-stylings of one Seth Rogen, then this was easily the one panel you didn't want to miss. It opened with roughly five-or-so-minutes of hysterical white text over black screen, followed by an extended scene from the film featuring Justin Long and Brandon Routh as two gay porn stars attending the latter's high school reunion. Not to mention that Long's character brought the house down when he mentioned the name of his latest film: "Shut Your Mouth or I'm Going to F*ck It." Place went nuts. The panel itself was a blast to watch, so much so that ten minutes in I just threw down my notebook, sat back and enjoyed it without the extra annoyance of having to take notes. And word is Zack and Miri could go down as one of Smith's best films to date. (Watch clips from the panel) -- Pictured right: Cinematical's Erik Davis with Zack and Miri's Seth Rogen; click to enlarge.
Tie: 1) "So you were like the Miley Cyrus of porn ..." -- Kevin Smith to Traci Lords after she admits to doing porn at the age of 15 during the Zack and Miri Make a Porno panel.
2) "That's a great idea! They haven't featured any terrorists on Monk yet." -- Two adorable kids in our hotel elevator.
Pictured below: Porn star Katie Morgan and Traci Lords on the Zack and Miri panel
The "Iron Man Award" for best all-around presentation
Terminator: Salvation -- McG and his cohorts really needed to "show up" if they wanted good buzz to grow throughout the year for next summer's Terminator sequel. Luckily for all those involved, they did. McG was high on excitement, willing to answer everything and anything in an open, honest manner. The two-or-so-minutes of footage was a lot more than anyone expected (especially since they're in the middle of filming) and the overall vibe on stage between the director and his cast was very, very strong. Read our review of the panel. (Panel footage, via IFC)
The "Coulda Shoulda Woulda Award" for the film that really needed more of a presence at Con in order to steer buzz in the right direction
G.I. Joe -- Like Terminator: Salvation, G.I. Joe was another big summer '09 flick that needed to show up and provide fans with a reason to get excited for a film that, honestly, doesn't look all that good. The early character photos spread like wildfire, though they were highly criticized for looking too black and SWAT team-ish. Fans of G.I. Joe are already all up in arms over the inclusion of certain characters, and the fact that they've made the Joe team an international force, instead of domestic. The film had a tiny presence at Con, piggy-backing on Hasbro's panel and toy line, but it simply wasn't enough.
Worst Comic Con Footage
The Spirit -- This is one of those awards you hate to give out, and especially to a film like The Spirit because we all really wanted this to kick ass. We respect Frank Miller's contributions over the years, and there's definitely a dynamite cast involved. Problem is ... the footage kinda sucked. Three scenes in total, with each one progressively getting worse. Visually, of course, the film looks stunning -- but that's about it. See Elisabeth's recap of the panel for more.
Summit Entertainment (ie: Twilight-mania) -- One property a lot of us were keeping an eye on heading into Comic Con was Twilight. Sure, we knew the teen vamp novel had a huge Potter-like following online, but would those same fans crash Comic Con? Well ... talk about extra insanity! The Summit panel, which featured Twilight, Push and Knowing, was absolutely out of control, with teenage girls screaming and crying, while the rest of us looked around for someone like John Lennon to return from the dead. The fandom for this property is real and big, so now we have to wait to see if that audience can carry this flick a long way at the box office. Unfortunately, most folks who aren't familiar with the books think the film looks very ABC Family Movie of the Week-esque.
Best Kickass Marketing Techniques
Bitch Slap -- What a better way to get people talking about your film than to take its three beautiful stars and parade them throughout the convention center all weekend long. The film didn't have a panel or any tremendous buzz, but it did take the time to pimp itself out in a cute, funny way (see The Movie Blog's interview in bed with the film's three female leads). With so much product out there, they sure found a way to make their tiny film a memorable one -- so kudos to them, with special props to their cutie PR captain, Amy.
The Wrath of Con Party -- On Saturday night there was only one party everyone wanted to attend ... and it didn't involve the words 'Entertainment Weekly'. Yes, The Wrath of Con bash, hosted by IESB, Bloody-Dee and Lakeshore Entertainment (among others), was an absolute blast. Not only did I get to meet and hang with the coolest movie-related internet writers around, but I did so amongst a bunch of very down-to-earth celebs and a slew of half-nekked model/dancers. Who could ask for anything more? Check out a slew of photos from the event below ...
Best Costume (as captured by Cinematical)
Optimus Prime holding a baby -- See below ...
Runner-Up: Star Trek dudes beating up a prep school kid -- see above
You can catch more coverage of most of these panels and events over in our official Comic Con Hub.
Overall, we all had a blast at this year's San Diego Comic Con and we're already looking forward to next year! Thanks for reading folks!