Chris Hardwick moderated the two-and-a-half hour Warner Bros/Legendary Films mega-panel at Comic-Con, which kicked off with Guillermo del Toro‘s Pacific Rim, a science-fiction film about giant robots who fight to save humanity from an onslaught of 25-story-tall monsters. The panel was a special treat for those in Hall H because del Toro promised that once this presentation was over, the production would go “radio silent until Christmas.” He then showed an exclusive from his secretive project.
The Pacific Rim trailer opens with an old man and young boy in a snow covered landscape using a metal detector. The detector goes off, they step back, and out of the falling snow emerges a gigantic battle-damaged robot missing an arm. Immediately you get the sense of the scale and weight of the mechanical warriors. It then collapses shaking the earth on impact. Lots of FX filled clips followed, showcasing monster-on-robot action, but gave little plot or character information. The most interesting stuff featured a close combat melee between a giant mechanical warrior and a monster in the middle of the ocean. The clip ended with Idris Elba‘s character giving a speech to his mechanical pilots that ended with, “Today we cancel the Apocalypse.”
What followed was a fun Q&A with the profanity-loving Spanish director and his cast that included Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchu, Charlie Day, and Ron Pearlman. One audience member asked if the movie would feature rocket punches to which del Toro gleeful replied, “Oh yes, there will be rocket punches” and promised “this movie will be monster porn. We have monsters out the wazoo. That’s a Mexican word ‘wazoo.’”
Once GDT and company left the stage, Legendary rolled out their biggest surprise: A Comic-Con exclusive trailer for Godzilla.
The trailer was comprised solely of very realistic FX shots displaying the destruction of what a creature like Godzilla would create. It captured the drama and visceral impact of what that would be like in a way few other giant monster movies have. Then there was an aerial shot of a derailed train with one of its cars smashed flat and its passengers’ bodies littering the landscape, a cityscape torn asunder, followed by a shot of the giant beast. His design is very much in tune with his Japanese forefathers and not the Roland Emmerich version.
In the brief Q&A that followed, Monsters director Gareth Edwards promised that his take on the famed monster is “really serious” and “nothing sci-fi about the movie really, just grounded” and “realistic.”
On the audience’s reaction to the footage: “When I heard the crowd cheering and everything, I was like, ‘Okay, don’t cry Gareth.”
After Godzilla came the very funny but out-of-place panel for The Campaign starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Both stars did a Q&A which was hilarious, and the audience members that tried to comedically spar with the two were not.
The trailer they brought is an extended version of what will appear in front of The Dark Knight Rises. There is a surprising amount of Nolan influence in the footage. Lots of handheld Batman Begins style shots and location set sequences outside of Snyder’s usual green screen heavy comfort zone. Cavill cuts a mean Superman, but like the Pacific Rim trailer, there is very little plot or character information given, which is typical of a teaser trailer. It is clear that this is, in fact, another origin story for The Big Blue Boy Scout.
I could go on about the footage but this guy’s reaction says it all. Check it out:
Lastly was The Hobbit.
The panel for the much anticipated Lord of the Rings prequel opened with a documentary detailing the last week of production. A lot of familiar faces peppered the mini-making-of including LOTR stars Sir Ian McKellan, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, and Andy Serkis along with the new film’s Hobbits and Dwarves.
After director Peter Jackson introduced his fellow panelists, a 12 minute sizzle reel was shown of the upcoming fantasy film. It featured the scene of Bilbo being recruited by Gandalf and the dwarves, well-cut action montages, a great monologue by Gandalf to Galadriel, and all of the amazing creature work one has come to expect from the franchise. I was relieved to see the footage shown in 24-frames-per-second (fps) as opposed to the 48fps it was shot in, which makes things look like a BBC teleplay and General Hospital.
The Q&A that followed was a love-fest with fans expressing their love for the books and Jackson & Co’s work on the epic series.
Check out some photos from the eventful panel:
What are you most excited for?
Additional contributions by Laura Aguirre