Comic Con: RoboCop, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, and The Mortal Instruments at the Sony Panel

It's pretty impressive that aside from a few leaked set photos, not much was known about José Padilha's ROBOCOP reboot before the Sony panel. But they got things started immediately with some footage:

Sam Jackson (wearing a funny wig) plays Pat Novak, the host of a Glenn Beck-style sensationalist political show. He tells the camera that every country in the world is completely safe except for the United States thanks to a new line of robot and drone technology. We see news footage of a variety of different robots—some humanoid, some AT-AT style, some planes—patrolling the streets of Tehran and doing routine scans on the citizens there to determine whether or not they're a threat. Jackson says that these American-made machines are promoting peace and freedom abroad, so "Why can't we have this here?" He then accuses Americans of being "robophobic."

Cut to Michael Keaton, the head of Omnicorp talking to Congress and trying to convince them to implement similar machines. He's asked, "What would a machine feel?" and he responds that they "feel no anger and no fatigue, making them ideal for law enforcement." "What would it feel if it killed a child?" "Nothing." We're then showed the same news footage back in Iran, but this time one of the robots scans a child and murders it for unknown reasons as panic erupts.

That set the tone for the rest of the panel as director Jose Padilha and stars Abby Cornish, Michael Keaton, Sam Jackson and Joel Kinneman came out. Padilha, director of the ELITE SQUAD series, said he wanted to remake the original ROBOCOP because it was such a beloved film and he wanted to take the concept and bright ideas and bring it to present day. You can't deny that with the influx of drones and other military technology the film feels very relevant, and the director says that it'll happen in real life just like it does in their movie, using robots abroad before bringing them home.

They then showed another sizzle reel for the movie:

Keaton says Americans need a figure they can rally behind to implement his line of defense robots. He says they want a product with a conscience, something that knows what it feels like to be human. We see Kinnaman's Alex Murphy at home with his wife and kid, moments before he gets blown up in a car bomb. Keaton: "We're gonna put a man inside a machine."

We then get our first glimpse at Gary Oldman's Dr. Norton, who's working on saving Murphy. His body is completely burned and destroyed and Oldman tells his wife he can save him.

We're then shown something that looks very similar to the old ROBOCOP suit, but Keaton inspects it and says, "Make him more tactical. Let's go with black." The new ROBOCOP is revealed and he looks exactly like the leaked set pics, sleek and black. One of the doctors says he looks like a billion dollars before another corrects her: "2.6 billion dollars."

There's a montage of fairly straightforward action scenes with RoboCop shooting bad guys and also riding a motorcycle and shooting bad guys. We get some glimpses at his POV inside the suit with night vision and heat vision. Character voiceover says "When the software takes over, the machine does everything and Alex is just along for the ride." There's a scene where his crying wife confronts Murphy and pleads with him to stop, but he sees a crime happening and ignores her.

The footage ends with RoboCop pointing a gun at someone and saying, "Dead or alive, you're coming with me."

The footage and the concept behind the remake looked better than I expected and the cast seems to be firing on all cylinders. There weren't really any big action moments that wowed the audience, but it is still early.

- Kinnaman said that in this version Murphy doesn’t die. The doctors save him but essentially have to amputate him from the throat down, so his challenge is a battle with the artificial intelligence and his own soul and humanity. In all scenes where he h to interact with people his visor comes up so Kinnaman can act with his full face. The visor only comes down for the action sequences or when RoboCop is pissed while talking to someone.

- Keaton said he saw his character as an antagonist and a pragmatist, not a villain. He's a big thinker trying to improve the world regardless of consequence and Keaton was drawn to him not being a clichéd bad guy.

- Sam Jackson said he played Pat Novak as "Rush Sharpton" as he claimed the character would use every means to get people to agree with him.

- Cornish said her character grounds the film in humanity and you see how RoboCop affects his child and wife.

- Padilha really believes that what happens in this movie will come true soon. He said he wanted to make a film "about something"—a socio-political commentary like original. When a cop kills a kid, you can put him on trial. When a robot kills a child, you can't."

- RoboCop will still have his human hand, but only for political reasons—so he can shake hands with people as a human gesture.

- A guy came to the mic wearing Google Glass to show that he too was a cyborg. He asked if people should fear technology and Padilha said "technology is made and used by people. You shouldn’t fear a gun, you should fear the man behind it." And that's a theme in the movie.

The first CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS was a fun animated diversion and the sequel looks to be enjoyable in the same way. The panel featured voice actors Bill Hader, Terry Crews, Anna Farris and directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn. Before they came out, a video was shown featuring the cast (including Andy Samberg, Will Forte and Kristen Schaal) trying to wear real life version of their character's costumes with funny results. Everyone's chemistry was very apparent on stage and it was clear they had fun letting loose and making a product so wacky. (Even though Hader said doing the voice work took forever on the first film.)

The first clip shown was a "getting the gang back together" montage with the various characters. Flint arrives at Live Corps and learns that "foodimals" have overtaken his hometown. He sets out to track down everyone from the first film, who all have various crazy jobs, and they pile in to a car and head to Swallow Falls. The footage had the same silly tone and manic energy as the first one and Terry Crews (taking over for Mr. T as Earl) is definitely the highlight.

The second clip played like an extended trailer and gave us a better look at the foodimals. The gang arrives at the falls and encounters a variety of creatures from shrimpanzees to watermelephants. There's also a killer cheeseburger and something called a tacodile. Crews was again the highlight here, using his eye muscles to man up and suck up an escaped tear, as well as cutting the cheese literally/

- Terry Crews said all the crazy foodimals reminded him of a David Cronenberg movie. Bill Hader interjected, "It's like DEAD RINGERS, kids!"

- The directors made foodimals in their backyard using real food to brainstorm some ideas and showed footage of their handiwork.

- The rule they followed was that, like the first movie, all the food had to look delicious—even though it was alive this time.

Overall, lots of puns and silliness for kids. If you liked the first movie, I have no reason to doubt you'd like this.

There have already been a plethora of movies trying to capitalize on the fantasy-young adult craze started by Harry Potter and the Twilight franchises. I haven't read the books on which MORTAL INSTRUMENTS is based, so I can't comment on whether or not the source material is more J.K. Rowling than Stephanie Meyer, but I can say the filmed adaptation definitely seems more like the latter.

The panel featured director Harold Zwartz, author Cassandra Clare and actors Godfrey Gao, Jamie Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, and Lily Collins (daughter of Phil).

The first question the moderator asked was "Any Shadow Hunters in the audience?" and I (and the majority of the Hall H audience) immediately knew we were not the target demo for this film. In the film, a young girl learns that she's special and can see a world amongst our own that features demons, vampires and werewolves which is invisible to everyone else.

The clip showed Lily Collins' character running outside and trying to get some answers out of Jace, who's from the secret hidden world. Inside her mother (played by DREDD and "Game of Thrones" star Lena Headey) gets attacked by some giant demon creatures. Mom calls her daughter to say goodbye, than takes a potion and dies. Collins comes back in, but before she can see her mom she gets attacked by a nasty demon that's seemingly half dog-half octopus. The creature design was actually kind of fun here and this sequence was the best part of the footage. Collins pulls a "nuke the fridge" moment by blowing up her kitchen while hiding in the closet, but ends up getting saved by Jace. He tells her demons can take possession of any living creature so you can't trust anyone.

- Collins was a fan of the books before being cast

- The author was heavily involved in all aspects of the production and has a catty cameo in the film.

- Jamie Bower said Jace is a "sassy bitch" and an arrogant character with lots of 'tude. (Kill me, please.)

- One of the many fangirls asked what the toughest part of the shoot was. For Collins it was doing stunts in five-inch heel boots, for Bower it was giving up chocolate eating chocolate and for Godfrey Gao it was "taking my pants off in front of the director." I don't get it either.

JoBlo.com covers San Diego Comic Con 2013


Extra Tidbit: No word on whether or not the new ROBOCOP includes the immortal line "Bitches, leave."
Source: JoBlo.com



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