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From Kirk to Kung Fu

2015 Comic-Con International Report – Part One

The 2015 edition of Comic-Con International: San Diego was the 48th of the convention’s various iterations since 1970 and my 11th since 1996, back when you could show up on a Saturday and still buy a ticket.  Every year is memorable in its own way and while there is always potential for disappointment, the convention is a great teacher in managing expectations

Preview Night finds the Convention Center only open for a few hours and it allows people to jump into Comic-Con International as deep as they’d like.  I prefer to take it easy and touch base with folks during what may be the only relaxed moments I’ll be able to enjoy their company, but the truly devoted fanatics can fight on the exhibition for exclusive knick-knacks and their brethren  go wait outside in line days ahead of programming in Hall H.

Autobiography of James T. Kirk

To be honest, I almost skipped this one out of fear of missing out.  Been too many times when I’ve gotten up early and missed out so I almost talked myself into staying in bed, but Day One seemed too early to be passing on things and I hadn’t seen William Shatner in person since the late ‘80s. I headed over and found myself within the first thousand for Ballroom 20, which holds four times that.

Author David Goodman hosted the panel where Shatner read excerpts from the fictional memoir, such as Kirk at the academy while in a relationship with Carol Marcus and his first time on board the Enterprise and meeting the crew once he was given command.  The book comes out in September from Titan Books, and supposedly there was no deal for Shatner to do the audiobook, which seems inexplicable.

Shatner showed off his silly sense of humor, teasing Goodman and some in attendance who asked questions.  He made it worth losing the extra moments of sleep.

The Hunger Games: Mockingbird Part 2

After hearing how easy from friends and strangers how easy it was to get in to Hall H, I altered my schedule and made a run for it.  I got into line and after a short wait (for Hall H) of about an hour, I got into the tail end of the The Hunger Games: Mockingbird Part 2 panel to hear a few fan questions and see the replay of the trailer.  I don’t know the series, but the movie looks to have quite a few explosions in it.

Not to infuriate those who wanted to see this panel but didn’t, there were quite a few seats spread through just the sections of seats I walked by, making me wonder why I wasn’t let in earlier.  It’s really poor form on behalf of those running CCI and the attendees to not do a better job of sharing the experience with those who wanted to take part.  But then it’s hard to fault Con-goers because I had to move seats before the boring Trailer Park session, just a slew of previously available trailer, started up because a woman and her daughter squeezed into the two seats to my left, and the daughter was pressed up against my entire left thigh, which was well within my seat space, demonstrating that no good deed goes unpunished.

Doctor Who: BBC America Official Panel

Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald) and Michelle Gomez (Missy, signaling the character will be returning for the next season, which begins in September), and lead writer / executive producer Steven Moffat were on hand to reveal as little as possible while moderator Chris Hardwick, asked some inane questions about their characters.  To be fair, he had better advice than the panelists for an audience member interested in acting, suggesting she make her own things and post them online.

Moffat proved himself to be a hysterical fellow and a quick wit throughout the panel.  While this show and Sherlock have humor in them, it’s surprising he’s not running a comedy.  Capaldi felt a weight of responsibility in playing the role and wanted to honor all those who came before and all those who loved the show.  It seems like Clara is staying put, which disappoints me because as nice as Coleman comes off, the character is a bit of a bore.  The trailer for the upcoming season not only showed the three actors, but also revealed there would be Daleks, Zygons, and Maisie Williams playing an unnamed character familiar to the Doctor.

Rifftrax: Sharknado 2

Considering these are nationwide events, I don’t know if they intentionally scheduled this screening during Comic-Con, but it certainly fit well at a nearby San Diego theater.  And those at the Horton Plaza had the benefit of getting a brief Q&A with star Ian Ziering and director Anthony C. Ferrante, who were in town for panels promoting Sharknado 3.

Ian talked about expecting a child so his wife pushed him to take the first film.  It was originally called Dark Skies, which was the name of another script that was getting good coverage, so he was eager to read it.  During the shoot, the name was changed to Sharknado, which he thought was a goof at first.  He was worried how it would affect his career, but figured no one would see it.   They were happy to be riffed at this event and were glad people are having fun with the series.

Unfortunately, there was one disrespectful nut, who likely charted on the autism chart considering how terrible his social skills appeared, acting the fool with his questions and remarks.  Ian was mobbed by folks for photos, likely because he wasn’t charging like many of the celebrities in town.

This was my first of any Rifftrax/MST3K screening, which surprises even me.  I was long aware of it, just no interest and not sure why because many of the folks I trust enjoy them. The program started with them riffing on a freaky short entitled “Parents: Who Needs Them?”  A weird puppet gives a young boy the Christmas Carol treatment and shows him what his parents do to make him (and viewers) more appreciative.  The audio for the Riffers had a bit of an echo, so it didn’t sound as smooth as it could, but that didn’t stop their riffs from being funny.

After about 30 minutes into Sharknado 2, I found the laughs-to-joke ratio low, so I gave up.  When the entertainment doesn’t deliver better than hanging with my friends could, it’s time to move on.  After enjoying the short and their jokes about it, I am interested in seeing more of the Rifftrax team in action, but their riffing on Sharknado 2 was underwhelming.  If I had paid, I likely would have stayed longer, but Comic-Con offers too many options, like having many cable channels to explore.

18th Annual Superhero Kung Fu Extravaganza

It’s impressive that this panel has run for so long and runs for so long, at over two hours.  And if you don’t like what’s playing, there’s going to be a new clip running shortly.  There many memorable fight sequences, from the comedy in the Rurouni Kenshin trilogy from Japan where two men stopped fighting in a kitchen to have a bite to eat to the ridiculous brutality / brutal ridiculousness of Panna Rittikrai’s Vengeance of an Assassin from Thailand where (forget martial arts) a train car was launched at a helicopter with predictable yet satisfying results.

 

About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS

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