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CON: Warner Bros.

WARNER BROS. PANEL

INVASION

INVASION didn't have a panel, per se, but it did have a presence during Warner Bros. scheduled time. Nicole Kidman was off shooting AUSTRALIA with Hugh Jackman and couldn't make it but was game enough to film an intro. Maybe it was a sleepy Friday morning crowd or maybe Nicole Kidman doesn't mean much to fanboys but I was surprised the video didn't get more of a reaction. She just talked about how she was sorry she couldn't be in San Diego and how much fun she had making this movie (really?). Then she introduced the new trailer for the film.

This trailer is basically just a longer, freakier version of the teaser. It's a kinda stale concept and Nicole Kidman inspires nothing within me yet I still found myself drawn into this movie. Something inherently creepy about feeling like everyone is out to get you. The people who were "sick" had a pretty nasty look to them, which was pretty cool. The only thing that worries me about this film is that we're led to believe the kid of Nicole Kidman is the key to this whole crazy event. I'm sick of creepy kids in horror movies so let's move past that. Hopefully the Wachowskis played down this element in their reshoots.

WHITEOUT

That was it for INVASION and up next was another thriller WHITEOUT, based on the popular graphic novel. They showed the footage and sadly it looks like standard detective thriller fare. It did not surprise me to learn this was a Dark Castle (13 GHOSTS, HOUSE OF WAX) production. Basically we are subjected to some voiceover telling us that Antarctica is really cold and it gets really dark there and now there's a murder there are we should really solve it before it gets really dark and...well, snow ensues. Heck the film has Kate Beckinsale, which should be its best asset, but it keeps her wrapped up in a bulky parka. BOO-URNS.

After the footage they brought out producer Joel Silver, director Dominic Sena and....Kate Beckinsale? No Kate, not yet. She'll be right here, we're told. So Silver and Sena do their best to vamp and kill time as we wait and wait and wait. The panel is open to Q&A but this clearly is going nowhere. "Did you film in the Antarctic?" Uhhh no, buddy. That would be retarded. After about twenty minutes of embarrassingly boring chit-chat, Silver finally left the stage to get to the bottom of things or throw a phone or whatever it is that he does.

Sena was now all alone and got desperate. "So you wanna see that footage again?!" Ehh, not so much. This isn't 300 pal. Out of ideas though, they had no choice. They ran it again to a chorus of sighs. Luckily shortly after the lights came up, out came Kate Beckinsale. She was stuck behind a train getting into San Diego and that's why she was late. Now I understand she's a pretty big star and all but WHITEOUT had already gone past its time, boring the audience and now they were basically starting over from scratch with Kate involved. All the generic movie questions were answered so now we were left with horny fanboys getting up to the mic with "Umm, I totally loved you in UNDERWORLD and you looks so hot in the black suit..." Needless to say, I took a quick Hall H break at this point.

WATCHMEN

If you had told me a month ago that the most impressive presentation at the Warner Bros. panel would be GET SMART (read my previous coverage here), I woulda said you were off your rocker. But with the WHITEOUT debacle and WATCHMEN not having much to present, that was the case. WATCHMEN could've been a great panel but the big casting announcement was scooped on the web the week prior. And filming hasn't begun yet so there's no footage to show So there wasn't much WATCHMEN for us this year.

Still director Zack Snyder was on hand and he brought some guests with him: Malin Akerman (Silk Spectre) and Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach). Snyder also took the opportunity to publicly announce the rest of the cast (which included Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode and Patrick Wilson.


WATCHMEN star Malin Akerman

Before long it was time for some Q&A. Snyder said that sets for the film were currently being constructed in Vancouver, where the film would be shot. He said that the film visually will have little in common with 300 (ironic considering how many movies these days are trying so hard to look exactly like 300). He said the film will look more like SEVEN than anything in his previous movies.

A fan asked whether the film will stay grounded in 1985 or will be contemporized to modern times. Snyder said he considered moving the story to present day (at Warner Bros.' behest) but felt it best served the story to keep it in the 80s. That's the kind of clout Snyder has at WB now, which will also allow him to keep the film rated-R.

As for Alan Moore, the comic's author who swore off Hollywood adaptations of his books, Snyder said that he requested his name be removed from the film long before he was involved. Snyder said he would honor his request and hasn't talked to him since signing on. He did say that he hoped one day that Moore would watch the film and thing that it didn't completely suck.

Towards the end, Snyder confirmed a release date of March 6, 2009 (allowing us one more WATCHMEN Comic-Con panel) and brought out a look at the teaser poster (with art by Dave Gibbons).

Snyder did the best with what he had but next year (assuming he and WATCHMEN return) will be the big test. This year, GET SMART gets the nod while the studio's thrillers don't do much to impress.

Source: JoBlo.com

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