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ShoWest: Warner Bros!

03.14.2008

Like Universal, Warner Bros. took the time today at ShoWest to strut their stuff and show off their summer 2008 slate. That would include GET SMART, THE DARK KNIGHT, SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2, SPEED RACER and STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS. But Warner Bros. brought out all the stops bringing stars from each of the movies to talk to the crowd (if not briefly) and introduce some footage.

SPEED RACER

Joel Silver, Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci and Matthew Fox all came out to talk about SPEED RACER. Each of the actors said this was the first time they had seen any extended finished footage from the film and were really excited about what they saw. Emile said he was only 13 years old when THE MATRIX opened (God, I feel old...) and was a huge fan of the cartoon so working on the film was a huge deal for him.

As for the footage itself, it went by real quick but it's basically an extended version of the latest trailer. As if you couldn't tell from either of the two trailers, the film is super cartoony. In certain scenes where there were no actors present, it really did look like a cartoon. The visuals were so bright, colorful and streaky (??) if you saw this film on some acid your head would melt and explode like the guy at the end of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. I wish there was more to describe to you but it was basically just some extended racing sequences. So cars go real fast, cars flip all around in the air and Racer X spins upside down and punches another driver in the face mid-spin.

Many in the crowd loved it, but I still wasn't sold. I think I would've rather seen an actual scene from the film to see how the visual style (everything in every frame is in focus) works in context. When things are just flashing and whizzing past you, it's hard to tell how that works when trying to convey the narrative of the movie.

GET SMART

Director Peter Segel, Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway all came out to introduce an extended clip from the movie. There was some mild banter (Anne told a story about how eccentric Terrence Stamp was) but nothing real gut busting. Basically a "good to see you" kinda thing and the clip was off.

It starts in CONTROL headquarters with Masi Oka as a technician who gives Maxwell Smart a fancy Swiss Army Knife. It has a corkscrew, toothpick, flamethrower and a crossbow. Later we see Smart and Agent 99 on a flight and 99 becomes suspicious of a big, scary guy at the back of the plane. Smart feels like she's racial profiling until he looks, gasps and says "his head looks like an Easter Island statue" and admits he's definitely a terrorist.

Smart then sees he has gum on his shoe and tries to scrape it off. An old woman sees it and yells out "shoe bomb!" He says, "No, it's gum." Then she yells out, "gun!" So an air marshal tackles Smart and puts him in flex cuffs.

Smart asks to use the bathroom and once inside he attempts to escape by taking out his new pocket knife and shooting the crossbow to break the plastic cuffs. Of course, he's a terrible shot and shoots himself in the foot, ear, cheek and nose with the tiny arrows. He's moaning and groaning leading the people in the cabin thinking he's dropping the kids off at the pool in a major way.

Smart accidentally launches the escape latch and he falls without grabbing his parachute. 99 goes to check on him and sees that he left without his parachute and is falling to his doom. She goes hurtling after him with her parachute and catches up to him, clutching on for safety. Right behind them though is Easter Island Head who slashes Smart's parachute. Now all three are clutching to each other and 99 can't deploy her chute. Smart tries kicking him in the balls but he's impervious. Finally to get him to let go, 99 gives him a big kiss and he's so shocked he falls to his death. 99 and Smart hit the parachute and land safely.

I've got to say I'm pretty impressed with the footage I've seen so far from GET SMART. It's not super hilarious but it's humorous enough and the action is pretty slick as well. And Steve Carell really does a damn fine Don Adams. If you're going to do a GET SMART movie, it's not gonna get much better than this.

THE DARK KNIGHT

Sadly not much to report here. The footage shown was the prologue shown before the I AM LEGEND in Imax so nothing new. There was some debate amongst my fellow nerds in attendance whether the quick flashes at the end showed some Two-Face that wasn't present in the I AM LEGEND version. There was definitely a quick shot of Harvey Dent/Two Face but you couldn't clearly see the nasty side. Was that in the previous footage?

Christopher Nolan, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Christian Bale all came out to say hi, but none really had much to say. Nolan talked about how excited he is about the film and said a brief word about Heath Ledger and how proud he was of his work in the film. I was able to get separate interviews with Bale and Gyllenhaal where they each talked a little bit more about the movies so that fun stuff will be coming soon.

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS

George Lucas came out to talk CLONE WARS and was flanked by six stormtroopers in different clone uniforms. Says Lucas, "I never go anywhere without my army." Lucas explained that CLONE WARS takes place between ATTACK OF THE CLONES and REVENGE OF THE SITH and will follow characters we know like Anakin and Yoda and new characters like a teen girl Ahsoka who is Anakin's padawan. This started as a TV series but he was so happy with where it was going he decided to expand it to a feature film. With that he introduced the first footage from the film.

CLONE WARS had a very peculiar animation style. While the action sequences looked extremely impressive, the dialogue scenes with characters interacting didn't win me over. There was just something off about the faces of the characters and how their facial movements. Perhaps I'm spoiled by Pixar and DreamWorks who spend almost $100 million on their movies while CLONE WARS was initially developed on a TV budget.

The footage itself was a mixed bag. Familiar faces you see include Anakin, Obi-Wan, Count Dooku, C-3PO, Palpatine and R2D2. New characters (at least to me and the official STAR WARS canon) included Asajj Ventress, Ahsoka and the son of Jabba the Hutt (referenced but not seen). As I mentioned, the action and space sequences were top-notch but I felt the animation of the characters still needed some work.

Source: JoBlo.com

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