Tomorrow, thousands upon thousands of movie fans, comic book nerds, anime geeks, professionals in the industry and press will descend upon San Diego in a blaze of cos-play. Though comic books and graphic novels still play a huge part in the pop-culture festivities, Comic-Con has become a mecca for television and film news, advance sneak peeks, and Q&A sessions with talent. Whether you wait in line all day to squeeze your way into Hall H or pop into some of the smaller ballrooms, here are our top picks for San Diego Comic-Con 2012.
Oh, sequels. Usually a death wish for a series, the past few years of comic book flicks have disproved the theory that follow-ups always fail. From The Dark Knight and upcoming The Dark Knight Rises to the ultimate Marvel mash-up, The Avengers, sequels are not necessarily to be discounted. If you’re into superheroes, check out Robert Downey Jr.’s return as Iron Man – after some shwarma and downtime, of course. Partial to violent video game adaptations? Milla Jovovich is also back to kick some zombies up and down her 3D universe in Resident Evil: Retribution.
If you miss the good old days of ludicrous ‘80s action, Sly Stalone, Jason Statham, and Liam Hemsworth are back with machine guns, machetes, and flamethrowers in The Expendables 2. Hold your horses, Stallone fans. Don’t think you’re the toughest in this bunch. If you’ve got a death wish, gather with the hordes of Edward Cullen fans for the final Twilight panel.
It seems fitting to introduce upcoming animated features at a convention all about its precursor – comics. This year, Disney has a full line-up of content to get the kids (and, let’s face it, parents, 20-somethings, and movie geeks) pumped. After nearly thirty years, Tim Burton returns to one of his earliest works, Frankenweenie. The macabre director takes the live-action 1984 short film and infuses it with new life, stop-motion animation, and the voices of long time Burton collaborators, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, and Martin Landau.
Also from Disney, Wreck-it Ralph revolves around a classic arcade-game bad guy who dreams of a new life. The trailer evokes images of Toy Story, and stars the vocal stylings of comedic genius John C. Reilly. Disney’s not the only one with something to share. ParaNorman, from Leika Entertainment, tells the story of a boy who can speak to the dead. ParaNorman not only showcases some of the industry’s top-notch animation (also stop-motion), but also has characters voiced by a flawless cast (John Goodman, Christpher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, and Casey Affleck – just to name a few).
One could argue that science fiction nerds are the ultimate in fandoms, but there’s simply too much research to be done to prove it. This year’s panels have some intense-looking gems from three directorial greats. Of all the Comic-Con previews, we might be most excited for the three sci-fi epics from Rian Johnson, Guillermo del Toro, Niell Blomkamp.
Johnson’s Looper is a gritty, futuristic action thriller, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an assassin sent to kill his older self (Bruce Willis). Looper boasts some of the most uncomfortably realistic makeup work we’ve seen, altering Gordon-Levitt’s jaw line to match Willis’.
On the other hand, Del Toro manifests a fantastical world where soldiers in giant robot-suits fight the good fight against massive creatures from the deep ocean. Described by del Toro as a “beautiful poem to giant monsters”, Pacific Rim stars the one and only Idris Elba, an actor we’ve been keeping an eye on.
Like Pacific Rim, Blomkamp’s Elysium has been shrouded in secrecy since it was announced. Recent news suggests that the film will take place on a desolate Earth and space station, rather than a futuristic planet. Blomkamp’s one and only feature to date was one of the most innovative and brilliant stand-alone films of the past few decades – District 9. The director is interested in sociopolitical commentary within the genre, which is exactly what sci-fi does best. Starring District 9's Sharlto Copley, Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, Elysium will showcase an hour and a half presentation that is without a doubt not to be missed.
For all the latest updates, geek-outs, and photos as we navigate Comic-Con 2012, make sure to follow @Buzzine on Twitter.