CON: Snow White and the Huntsman!
I wasn't exactly jazzed up to sit through the panel for SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN considering they haven't even started filming yet and I assumed the audience would be filmed with screaming K-Stew fans. While both of those things are and were true, I walked out impressed with what I saw.
They showed us a first look at the four main actors - Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth and Sam Chaflin - as Snow White, the Evil Queen, the Huntsman and the Prince. It's pretty clear this isn't the old Disney fairy tale...
The look of Snow White, which presumably comes more towards the end of the film, goes back to what director Rupert Sanders said early in the panel. He said this is more like a LORD OF THE RINGS style movie than any other SNOW WHITE film (specifically the competing SNOW WHITE project at Relativity).
And to their credit, despite filming still being a week away, they had a 90-second proof-of-concept teaser trailer that Sanders shot on a Disney backlot in three days to convince Universal on the look of the film. It didn't feature any of the actors and some of the footage was cribbed from other films, but it gave you an idea of what they were aiming for. There were creepy tree monsters, an equally creepy white lady climbing out of the belly of a crow (the Evil Queen?), the Queen (who looked more like the classic Disney version) dipping herself in a milky, white liquid and mostly a very dark and, true to their word, LOTR-style adventure.
On stage there was some definite tension between Theron and Stewart and I was trying to figure out if it was all a bit or a joke, but after a while it didn't really seem like it. The actresses were technically seated next to each other but there was a huge gap between their seats as Theron was sidled up right next to Hemsworth. At one point early in the panel Theron said to Kristen Stewart, "Bring it on, bitch." The crowd laughed and cheered and she followed up with, "I'm not kidding." I didn't get the sense that they didn't like each other, but perhaps Theron is already working on intimidating Stewart in a Method-y kind of way.
Speaking of Theron and her method, she said she's playing the queen as if she's a serial killer, something she's got experience with. As she reminded the crowd of her MONSTER role with a wink, "I'm an Oscar winner..."
There was one other piece of art that didn't show up online and that was of the eight dwarves. Yes, eight. There were some contractual issues with "seven dwarves" so the film starts with eight and (SPOILER ALERT) Sanders revealed that one of them won't be so lucky as to make it all the way to the end of the film. (BTW, seeing Nick Frost as a dwarf was a weird experience.)
As the panel continued, there were a lot of "K-Stew!" chants while other actors were talking and some really annoying questions from the Entertainment Weekly moderator ("Are you an on-set prankster??...")
Considering the movie hasn't begun filming, they had a surprising amount to show to the crowd and the cast talked up the film as best they could. I was hesitant heading in but at this early stage, I think SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN has a definite leg up on its competition.