From Lizerne Guiting: I’m still recovering from the first day of events at Comic-Con. It was pure madness. Crowds everywhere. I’m aching from toting my laptop and loot bag giveaways. And I can’t believe the ridiculous amount of money I’ve spent on parking, gas and food. But after a whirlwind of comics, movies and gaming combined, I can see why 120,000 fans are willing to splurge for an international convention that only comes once a year. This year’s was the biggest ever—completely sold out. You couldn’t buy a ticket at the door. Or book a hotel room within a five-mile radius.
Here’s a recap of Thursday's events:
Hall H was bustling despite a mishap involving fallen scaffolding and at least one injured person that caused major delays of the panel discussions. Finally Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis answered questions for the Max Payne panel, followed by Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly talking about The Day the Earth Stood Still (''It's a classic. It was a film of its time and it's such a great story,'' Reeves said). Check out our photos of them in our Comic-Con gallery.
The cast of Twilight also appeared for a Q&A session, which mostly consisted of adolescent females screaming at the top of their lungs. You can blame Robert Pattinson for the long line to get into this one, and all the squealing girls wearing homemade tees proclaiming their love for him. He plays vampire Edward Cullen, who falls in love with a teenager (Kristen Stewart). Other than a cool fight scene, not much could be gleaned about the movie with the girls either screaming or standing to ask questions like, “How do you feel about being one of the most wanted guys in America? Because I want YOU, baby!!!” More details in our Twilight Madness blog.
Disney took a turn in the spotlight with its Race to Witch Mountain Q&A with Dwayne Johnson, Carla Cugino and director Andy Fickman. Dwayne entertained the crowd with almost non-stop jabs and jokes at the audience. Fans asked if he ever used the People’s Elbow or got to kiss any dudes in the film a la Get Smart (answer? ''No!''). The panel opened with about two minutes of rough footage. Ominous music, strange sightings, car accidents, and two siblings with supernatural powers were all we saw, but the look and feel was intense. Dwayne called it a ''thrill ride,'' while Fickman compared it to 48 Hrs. and the Bourne movies.
After the panels I wandered around looking for something to eat before going into the RocknRolla press conference. Along the way I came across some entertaining characters: anime cosplayers wielding huge swords, a team of Ninja Turtles, the Ghostbusters, and a black and red suited Spider-Man. Not at all out of place here! Finally I found a food vendor selling nachos – yummm.
At the end of the day, I wasn’t the only one feeling a bit tired. A weary-looking Gerard Butler and Jeremy Piven sipped on their Starbucks coffee during the RocknRolla press conference while discussing their new film, about a Russian mobster who makes a crooked deal, puts millions of dollars up for grabs and attracts all of London’s criminal underworld. Director Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) says it’s his commentary on how crime and business have shifted in the past 20 years—''old-school gangsters getting pushed out by the new school.''
A number of movies screening at Comic-Con have been getting good buzz – and many of them, including Ben Stiller’s upcoming comedy, Tropic Thunder, the Seth Green/James Marsden comedy Sex Drive and Drac Studios’ Trailer Park of Terror, took place at the Gaslamp 15, a plush downtown San Diego movie palace (that sells tickets on Fandango, for you SD locals). If you happen to be in the area, the particularly popular unrated version of Tropic Thunder (reportedly featuring eight graphic sequences cut from the film to get it an “R” rating) may screen again Friday night. Two more free screenings of Sex Drive take place at 9:00 and 9:30 p.m.