Friday was a big day here at the Con, but today is going to be huge. New York is quickly growing into one of the largest Cons in the country, perhaps even number two behind San Diego.
The big event on Friday was the Legendary Comics panel moderated by the Nerdist himself Chris Hardwick. Hardwick is fantastic at on the spot hilarity; the best moderator I’ve seen. Legendary Comics Editor and Chief Bob Schreck introduced some of the new and upcoming titles from Legendary Comics including Matt Wagner’s Tower Chronicles and the Max Brooks helmed Shadow Walk. Then Hardwick introduced legendary comic writer Grant Morrison to announce Annihilator, a new series he is doing with Legendary. Annihilator is about a failing screenwriter who signs a deal with the devil. The tag line Morrison used was something on the line of “what happens when deadlines become life and death.”
Then Hardwick announced Pacific Rim writer Travis Beacham and director Guillermo Del Toro and the panel blew up. Del Toro began the panel warning he had good news and bad. The bad was that the studio didn’t want him to show the trailer for Pacific Rim (which first aired for a select few in San Diego) again until December (probably before The Hobbit). The good news he said; “I don’t give a fuck!” With that the packed hall was treated to the first trailer for Pacific Rim, one of Summer 2013’s most anticipated and ambitious offerings. Here’s what I saw…
A couple of figures walk across a hostile snowy landscape with metal detectors. The detector pings softly and they find a small toy robot. The pings grow loud and rapid and the older man looks absolutely horror stricken. Next shot we see a towering 25 story tall robot (Jaeger as they’re called in the film) with full battle damage and a missing arm fall thunderously to the snow. Next shot we see one of the enormous Kaijus devouring what looks like the Golden Gate Bridge. Some jets fly by and then we get our first glimpse of some of the pilots suiting up and strapping into the standing controls within the Jaeger. We see some of the dynamics of how the pilots control the Jaegers. There are two pilots, each controls a separate hemisphere of the Jaeger. The pilots walk and punch and the Jaeger mimics their motion in real time. Quick shot of Del Toro regular Ron Pearlman followed by a massive hammerhead shark like Kaiju surfacing from a stormy sea. The trailer ends with Idris Elba commanding a group of pilots with the ominous call; “Today we are canceling the apocalypse.”
Needless to say, the footage was incredible. Del Toro knows how to deliver. Here’s a few highlights from the panel discussion that followed.
- Explaining that he is “upset with the idea of adventure film not existing anymore” Del Toro shows some slides from his notebooks, a handwritten collage of mythology and Bio-Shock-esque pencil sketches that Rim writer Beacham describes as the bible and Del Toro jokingly compares with Seven.
- Explaining how the Jaegers work Del Toro says his motive was to highlight the romance of the fight and physical and metaphorical corrosion. Each pilot controls a different hemisphere of their Jaeger and neuro-surges make them feel the damage a Kaiju inflicts to their Jaeger. He goes on to explain that during production they constructed a four story tall Jaeger head in the studio in which the actors could stand and he could gleefully shake them about by remote control.
- Del Toro pulls out a Honey Boo Boo reference and Hardwick brings the panel to a halt to address the fact that respected director Guillermo Del Toro had just referenced Honey Boo Boo child.
- Del Toro explains that the Kaiju’s are treated as forces of nature, and when they appear stormy weather also appears.
- Del Toro explains that he gets final cut on his films. When it came to 3D he said he had three conditions that had to be met; the 3D wouldn’t take away from the depth of images by minimizing them on screen, the budget must be doubled so ILM can shoot 3D effects shots without relying solely on conversion, and the 3D must be done so that he has 40 weeks prior to release for approval and changes. Skeptical at first, he explained he “did a full Romney” and switched tunes, falling in love with what he saw.
- Finally Del Toro jokingly announced the launch of his new cologne which Hardwick first called “I don’t give a fuck” and then changed to “Smellboy.”
Fun times here at New York Comic Con 2012.