Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Super Mario Beats It: The Lessons of NYCC 2010

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JA from MNPP here. New York's Comic Con went down this previous weekend in the massive Javits Center here on the island of Manhattan, and if you were there amongst the stacks of dusty Fantastic Four comics and shiny samurai sword replicas and Jason Voorhees masks you might've seen me wandering around in a glassy-eyed stupor. Every Comic Con I've been to breeds the same overstimulated dullness - within a couple of hours my pupils dilate and seeing things like a ten-foot tall Orc tickling Wonder Woman just starts to seem normal. This happens every day! Still, a couple of things stood out this year and I shall now document them.

10 Random Things I Learned at NYCC This Year

01 Girls really like the Silk Spectre costume - Or maybe it's that they know the boys like seeing them in the Silk Spectre costume - either way, I saw about twenty different ladies wearing the slutty bumblebee ensemble from Zach Snyder's adaptation of Alan Moore's seminal comic book. The film hadn't come out yet when the last Comic Con happened here in NYC - in 2009 NYCC happened in February, while they moved it into October for 2010 (a permanent move), and Watchmen came out in March 0f 2009 - so I don't remember seeing the costume last year, but it was literally - literally! - everywhere you turned this time around. Does this make Malin "Baby Girl" Akerman a geek icon?

02 Danny McBride's a trooper - The panel for David Gordon Green's Your Highness was at the geek-freaking hour of 10:30am on Saturday. Keep in mind you've got at least an hour's wait to even get into the building at that hour, plus with the commute there... needless to say it took me some effort to drag my bum there, but I did. Then I heard through the press-vine that McBride & Co. had been partying hard until the wee hours of morning before the panel and I felt a little less super for my own efforts, since I'd been in bed by 11:30. James Franco seemed dazed, but Danny McBride was firing on all cylinders. Funny man.

And the footage they showed from the film, while definitely geared to the Comic Con audience - Natalie Portman's thong! Puppets smoking from a bong! (hey that rhymes) - was every ounce the bizarre mish-mash I could've hoped the film would be. It looks terrific. I don't entirely understand David Gordon Green's directing career, but it's been a pleasure watching it play out so far.

03 Geeks will stand in a very long line to watch a commercial - This is nothing new to Cons, I've seen it at every one I've gone to, but it always baffles me. The fine folks behind the upcoming release of the Alien Anthology, as they call it, had a booth where they'd close you up in a sleeping pod and right up in your face was a TV screen and it'd show a bunch of clips from the four Alien movies with some sound effects echoing in your ears. The end. And yet the line never stretched less than fifty people long! I suppose the T-shirt they gave you that cleverly stated "Want A Hug?" had something to do with it, but still. (I totally did it anyway, and I cherish my T-shirt.)

04 The family that geeks together, is adorable together - I wish my parents had dressed me up like a Jedi or Baby Yoda and taken me to these sorts of things. So I could immediately fall asleep. Damn you, parents!

05 In The Thing, There Be Tentacles - While I'm still unsure about a prequel to John Carpenter's brilliant 1982 film, itself a remake, the trailer for Matthijs van Heijningen Jr's film - which has made its way online in an exceptionally shaky, hand-held version - had a couple of quick glances of their take on the plant-animal alien monster things and they did excite this nerd's senses. Although only glimpsed, they look right, which in this era of lousy CG was a concern. Now let's just hope they can nail the right paranoiac tone needed too.

06 Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer are pros at this - I can only imagine how many of these events these ladies have entertained at this point, but the dynamic Battlestar Galactica duo had the audience eating out of their palms. They have a terrific rapport - they are apparently great friends in real life - and joked that they're waiting for the reboot of Cagney & Lacey to come along to showcase it. I would watch that.


07 But Michelle Forbes is scary - I don't care that she told us she's nothing like Admiral Cain in Battlestar of the maenad MaryAnn on True Blood or [insert the name of every character she's ever played] and that she's really a hippie-type in real life - there's a reason she's successful for playing harsh ladies, and she made me nervous. I had to keep checking to make sure everybody's eyes weren't going all black, because with all due respect the audience at a Battlestar Galactica panel at Comic Con is not the audience I want to be having an orgy with.

08 M Night Shyamalan, amiable dude - I defended M Night for a very long time, well past when most people had bailed ship - I liked The Village, and I liked parts of Lady in the Water - but the one-two punch of that book about him and The Happening (shudder) kind of killed any arguments I could make anymore. So I only sat through half of his panel by happenstance, in order to get a good seat for the panel following him (on AMC's The Walking Dead, which looks epic by the way). But he came off really well! It was for the 10th Anniversary of Unbreakable, a terribly underrated film, and you could tell he really loves the film and that its negative reception put him into a bit of a tailspin. He came alive showcasing the storyboards for the train scene at the start of the film - you can say a lot of things about him, but I don't think you can argue about the meticulous craft on display. And he was fascinating to watch in discussion of that.

09 According to Frank Darabont, Zombies are the new Vampires - Which seems like an odd argument to make, right? The last decade has seen every iteration of zombies you could ever imagine - it's not like they need to make a comeback to be the hip thing. I get that he was selling his Zombie TV Show, and it does look terrific. But isn't it really Frankenstein Monster's time to shine again? I want sexy Frankenstein, dang it. (Yes, SNL got there already.)

10 You haven't lived until you've seen Super Mario dancing to Michael Jackson's "Beat It" - This one is self-explanatory, and true. You might not know it's true. But then you see it happen, and you understand its truth. The fundamental sort.

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12 comments:

NATHANIEL R said...

so hilarious! i can't even begin to requote my favorite part. but i loved this report. since they moved the date around i forgot to get a press badge but it's almost better for me to just read about it.

For instance -- those hour long waits just to see a commercial (i.e. a trailer) that will be on the net the next day or even that evening? Such a waste of time. and yet everyone falls for it every year.

the last time i went there were endless Slave Leia costumes but that is true of every year. so Silk Spectre better enjoy her brief time of ubiquity. It always goes back to Princess Leia.

Andrew R. said...

1. While the movie may have increased popularity of Watchmen, I do think the people at Comic-Con are the type to read the book.

8. Unbreakable is, indeed, underrated. Other than that and of course Sixth Sense, he's not good at all.

10. LOL

JA said...

Ah but they were wearing the movie costume, not the comic costume, Andrew. That's why I made the distinction. There wasn't one old-school Laurie to be seen. (Much less a 40s style Sally Jupiter, which would've kicked total ass. Where's the Carla Gugino love?)

Andrew R. said...

@JA-Ohhhhhhh....I haven't seen the movie. Whoops.

Bia said...

"with all due respect the audience at a Battlestar Galactica panel at Comic Con is not the audience I want to be having an orgy with."

I laughed out loud in my office at this! Now everyone thinks I'm crazy...:(

OtherRobert said...

But zombies are the new vampires. At least they are in pop-lit. There are seriously zombie romance series coming out and it makes me feel all squicky knowing they exist. I feel less squicky and more sickened by the very graphic zombie apocalypse novels coming out by the bucket load. And then there's the whole classic lit + zombies = profit formula still holding strong somehow.

Me? I'm pulling for some shape-shifting witches to get some love.

Volvagia said...

They only call it the Alien Anthology now because they're planning that stupid sounding prequel (Ridley is officially OVER THE HILL and it seems like he CAN'T GET OVER IT.) The issuing title must remain accurate.

NATHANIEL R said...

otherrobert -- yeah. zombies & vampires do need to let some other scary peeps play.

Volvagia said...

I say that because: I have never heard an artist so baldly re-tread in a way that shouldn't seem like a re-tread. (Gladiator was good, but why did they have to position Robin Hood as "the movie that will wipe the memory of Gladiator from your memory"?)

Volvagia said...

Now that I think about it: Repetition totally intentional.

christine said...

JA! I'm glad you had an amazing time and got in on the panel action. I missed ALL OF THEM because I was stalking Adrien Brody. But that's what love'll do to you.
Great post(s)!

Drew said...

Michelle Forbes is the best! She does play the "harsh ladies" well, but I'm always astonished by how many layers she put into her Battlestar Galactica and True Blood characters.

Same goes for Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer, actually. Both of them were fantastic on Battlestar Galactica (Sackhoff more obviously, but Helfer developed so much depth with every new season)... film roles, please?