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Matt Patches

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Patches is a pop culture writer and reporter regularly waxing poetic on the web, TV, and radio. He's lost much of his life to the "best" vs. "favorite" argument.

SDCC 2013: The Top 10 Moments from Day 1

Comic-Con is in full swing and the buzz is deafening. What stands out among the crowd? Here are the top 10 moments from Thursday.

10. A First Tease of Electro in “Amazing Spider-Man 2″

Here’s a wake up call to those who distance themselves from the assault of movie marketing: Yesterday, Sony released the first glimpse of Jamie Foxx’s Electro in “Amazing Spider-Man 2.” The short trailer sees the evil-doer locked into a machine, powering up, and getting the worst case of blue balls ever to stricken a man. It was technically a teaser for their Hall H panel, that will likely showcase an extended look at the movie, paving the way for an actual trailer cut for public consumption, that will herald the actual release of the movie, slated for May 2, 2014. The teaser teaser — the easier way to stoke the fanboy fire — would be acceptable if it had a real reveal tied to it, but we have already seen pictures of Foxx in makeup. The only thing the footage confirms is that he will growl. While looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze from “Batman & Robin.”

I’m ready to be impressed by director Marc Webb’s second outing with Spider-Man, following up 2012′s lackluster attempt at a reboot. With the origin story behind him, Webb can tell a story he gives a damn about. This trailer isn’t showing off any of that ambition.

9. “Divergent”

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Word out of Hall H is that “Divergent,” based on the popular Young Adult Fiction by Veronica Roth, is setting up to be “the next ‘Hunger Games.’” Well, yeah, that’s why it was made. That seemed pretty apparent.

Based on reports from the panel, not too much. The world is as complicated as any YA novel (here’s an exhaustive breakdown) and the snippets of action screened at the convention left mildly impressed. Which in SDCC terms means that the footage did not inspire people to take a bathroom break. The real selling point of “Divergent” is another young leading lady with real potential: Shailene Woodley. The “Descendants” starlet is primed and ready for the big leagues. If she can deliver on the promises of her YA vehicle — as it sounds like she will — she might join Jennifer Lawrence in tearing down the convention that women can’t lead balls-out action movies.

8. Cumberbatch Is the Geek King

Benedict Cumberbatch couldn’t be at Comic-Con for his “Sherlock” Series 3 panel, but he and Martin Freeman recorded videos to be shown to rabid fans. His is particularly inspiring, a reminder that the “Star Trek Into Darkness” actor is the once and future king of genre entertainment while also being one the brightest talents working today. EW has the video message and it’s a hoot.

7. “Ender’s Game” Panel Combats Homophobia

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It was always going to come up. Author Orson Scott Card has draped the release of Summit’s “Ender’s Game” in a shroud of controversy thanks to his vocal, anti-gay marriage stance blaring louder as the movement reaches new milestones. A debate rages online over whether fans of the book or those eager to see the movie should consider supporting the movie may also put money in Card’s pockets. Bob Orci spoke to the issue in hopes of separating the movie from Card. “I would hate to see the efforts of all the people who made this movie thwarted for the less than 1% of the people behind the movie, particularly because the message of the book and the movie is tolerance, compassion and empathy,” Orci told Hall H. Though it would be nice if the problem could bury itself, the clash between author and filmmakers is out there. It needed to be addressed and Orci classed it up.

6. Han Solo Questions

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Adding a bit of levity to that same panel, Harrison Ford (playing Colonel Hyrum Graff in “Ender’s Game”) was thrown the inevitable “Star Wars” questions by the predictable Comic-Con crowd. While the fans who run to the microphone during Hall H panels have a reputation for a complete lack of common sense, the two off-topic questions Ford was thrown added to the fun. First, Ford was asked, “If Indiana Jones and Han Solo met, what would be the first thing they said to each other?”

His reply: “Hi, How are you?” Imagine that in the humorless, gruff tone that the 71-year-old Ford is now known for.

Moments later, a follow-up. “Do you think Han Solo would make a good soldier for Commander Graff’s army?”

“I don’t think Han Solo would be good in anyone’s army. I think he’s what they now call an independent contractor,” Ford said. From a distance, this looks like face palm-worthy absurdity. That’s Comic-Con’s charm.

5. “Zero Theorem”

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Not much happened at the panel for Terry Gilliam’s “Zero Theorem.” The cast wasn’t there, the “Brazil” director phoned in a message to the crowd, and the footage shown at leaked in “international buyer’s market” form earlier this month. But like every Gilliam movie, the imagination on display is so vivid, one can’t help but be mesmerized by the potential and giddy to see it let loose. The Christoph Waltz-starring sci-fi provoked tweets comparing to “Eternal Sunshine” and “Inception.” Which means little when Gilliam is the conductor of the train. HitFix has a full rundown with just the right amount of hesitation towards buying in to Gilliam’s vision. What was his last great movie? Let’s hope “Zero Theorem” takes the spot.

(photo by GeeksofDoom)

4. “X-Files” 20th Anniversary Sparks Threequel Interest

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“X-Files” has lived on both small and big screens, one incarnation more successful than the other. Full disclosure: I think 1998′s “X-Files: Fight the Future” is a spot on translation of the show that riffs on the mythology in a way that makes it worthy of a theatrical release. It’s not an “X-Files” episode projected in a movie theater. It’s bigger, weirder, and truthful to the show. Amazingly, as a huge fan of the series and first movie, I never saw 2008′s “X-Files: I Want to Believe.” Maybe it was the trailers, maybe it was that “X-Files” lost its luster having ran to 2002 without its two leads. Whatever the case, I didn’t see it and I figured we were done with “X-Files” forever (or at least until I marathoned the show on Netflix).

Now, a 20th anniversary panel at Comic-Con has started the buzz machine that will undoubtedly lead to a third movie. It’s not happening now, but we know it will. David Duchovny couldn’t even stop himself from teasing the idea. When Gillian Anderson took bids on an “X-Files” cardboard cutout at the tail end of the live oral history, Duchovny joked, ““This is how we’re going to get the movie made.” The truth of a new movie is out there. An announcement is only a matter of time….

(photo by EW)

3. Marc Webb, Edgar Wright, and Alfonso Cuaron Champion Original Movies

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“If we’re not doing more original films, there’ll be nothing to remake in 30 years time,” Edgar Wright preached to the choir of Hall H during EW’s Visionaries panel. It’s the type of thing we hear over and over and over again, from major filmmakers and even hopeful studio executives. Yet it never seems to be anyone’s prerogative. I love Wright’s films, but he is the man making “Ant-Man.” Webb — who is currently finishing his sequel to a comic book movie — seconded the statement with a bleaker follow-up. “Or in five years time.” True.

But echoing the demand for original movies doesn’t hurt and it’s rousing coming from filmmakers we adore. This is high up on the ranking just to put the blunt statement put there.

(photo by Collider)

2. Alfonso Cuaron talking “Gravity”

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During the Visionaries panel, Cuaron pulled back the curtain on “Gravity,” his methodical space epic starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, to reveal a rather turbulent production experience. Not to toot the Film.com horn, Cuaron revealed even more about his process making the highly-anticipated sci-fi film in an exclusive, on-camera interview. The most revealing tidbit is an explanation of his attraction to long takes, and why they fit perfectly into his vision for “Gravity.”

1. Sentinel Designs from “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

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Nerd alert.

One of my favorite parts of Comic-Con is the museum aspect of the convention floor. When it’s not flooded with hundreds of sweaty attendees pushing and shoving their way to exclusive giveaways — OK, that’s all of the time — the main appeal of the Con is to see artifacts from pop culture, new and old, on display like they’re Roman artifacts. The highlight from the bevy of snapshots taken from the floor is from the upcoming “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” If you’re someone who was weened on X-Men comic books and the ’90s cartoon, you know what a Sentinel is, you know how stupid it looks, and you know what devastating purpose it serves.

20th Century Fox touted a design for an early Sentinel to be featured in Bryan Singer’s upcoming time travel superhero movie and it’s, surprisingly, fairly accurate to the gargantuan, purple designs from the source material. That signals extreme geekery in store for “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and should make anyone who groaned at “Man of Steel’s” World Engine cower in fear. This movie is going to be weird, for better or worse. In the context of Comic-Con, it’s a plus. Take a closer look on SlashFilm, from whom the photo above was borrowed.

Want more from SDCC 2013? MTV’s livestream is the next best thing to being there (and in some ways probably a lot better).


Categories: News

Tags: Comic-con, Divergent, Enders Game, Gravity, SDCC 2013, Terry gilliam, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The x-files, Zero Theorem

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