Jul 23, 2009

SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON 2009 - THURSDAY, PANEL 5 - TERRY GILLIAM Plus another stroll around the Exhibit floor...

Disney, Summit, AVATAR. With all of that, you would think that would be enough coolness for one day but no.

Following the AVATAR panel, Terry Gilliam made his first visit to Comic-con to present THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PERNASSUS. This movie has the distinction of featuring Heath Ledger’s final performance. Heath passed away before the movie was finished, and the script was re worked so that his character morphed into Jude Law, Collin Ferrell and Johnny Depp.

I am pretty sure that this movie has screened in a few places, most recently Cannes and has been getting mixed reviews (I believe Anne Thompson in her Thompson on Hollywood blog has reported on it a few times). Here Terry Gilliam presented us with a short making of featurette, a few scenes as well as the first ever promotional trailer. One of the scenes featured Heath Ledger, and as Gilliam said himself, he likes to show the boring scenes because he is tired of previews that show all the good stuff so that when you go to the movie theater it’s like you’ve seen it all before.

I loved TIME BANDITS, FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS and THE FISHER KING, but also hated THE BROTHERS GRIMM and BRAZIL (yeah, I’m the one) and was mixed on THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN. THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS is exactly what you would come to expect from Terry Gilliam – wild and colorful production design, dark almost nightmarish images and the #1 expectation in a Terry Gilliam film is to expect the unexpected.

The footage itself was good, but I wasn’t blown away by it. Then again, it was following on the heels of AVATAR and not to mention I was extremely tired having been lined up for hours in the morning, and in Hall H for almost 7 hours. Still, it left an impression and I am looking forward to seeing the film.

Focus Features’ PANDORUM was next on the Hall H agenda, but I decided it was time to see what life was like outside Hall H, eat something other than granola bars, and take another stroll through the exhibit hall.

I visited the FLASH FORWARD booth which is a new TV show coming to ABC this fall. Yes, I know, I’m blogging about TV (the sky must be falling) but the booth itself was really well organized. The premise of the show is that on one day, all life stopped and everyone saw a moment of their life 6 months in the future and those brief glimpses lead to some grander mystery. At the booth after filling out paperwork, you are led into a booth where you talk about your “flash forward” moment, basically vocalizing what you saw. You tell the location, what was happening, and 2 questions you had about it and you had 2 minutes and 17 seconds to record. Upon leaving the recording booth, I was taken in another small room by someone saying they were part of a Special Investigation Unit, again asking me about my moment – questions on what I did, who was around, what everyone was feeling. Leaving that room I was then asked by another gentleman who said he was from “Truth Hack” and he asked me questions about what I was asked, how I was asked them and how it related to my vision. It was all a very elaborate viral marketing initiative which worked very well – I am intrigued, will check out the websites on the cards they gave me and might even watch an episode or 2 of the show to check it out.

Then it was over to THE PRISONER remake (staring Iam McKellan and Jim Cavieziel) booth at AMC where I received a number designation and an ID card. The long wait for the card kind of wore me out, and there was nothing about the constantly running promo that particularly inspired me to want to watch the show.

I finished the day off at the Paramount booth which is pretty much only dedicated to the Blu-Ray/DVD release of STAR TREK. There I waited in a long line, and was one of the last lucky few to get a special Tribble before they ran out. Not to mention I got my picture taken in the captain’s chair with some green women.

I had planned to perhaps take in THE GREEN LANTERN direct-to-DVD animated movie screening, or Warner Home Video’s TRICK R TREAT, but the early morning line and long Hall H day drained my energy – not to mention I have another early morning line up to get into the Warner Bros. panel which features JONAH HEX, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, BOOK OF ELI and SHERLOCK HOLMES. Disney Animation/Pixar follows and later Peter Jackson presents DISTRICT 9 (he’s a producer on it) with perhaps a big HOBBIT announcement and also rumored is TINTIN footage. You never know when it comes to Comic-con.

Another long day, but as always, completely worth the effort and the exhaustion.