Best bits from San Diego #ComicCon 2014

San Diego Comic Con 2014 was chock-a-block full of television and film stars, directors, showrunners and producers all ready to dish out the best in teasers, trailers, characters, release dates and character reveals to their adoring audiences.

There’s simply too much information to digest from the four day event, so I’m just rounding up the best bits, from the shows I watch to the movies I’m excited about as well as other little tidbits that came out of SDCC!

Game of Thrones

The show storylines and new castings confuse the hell out of me because I still barely know what is happening or who anyone is.

One thing I can get on board with is a reet good blooper reel!

Arrow (The CW)

If you don’t already watch this show then what is wrong with you?! The nicest guy in television and in possession of possibly the most amazing set of abs ever, Stephen Amell, stars as the green-hooded vigilante Arrow aka Oliver McQueen.

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Those abs.

The CW show just concluded season two and the cast are currently in the midst of filming season three, for which an awesome action-packed trailer debuted at Comic Con.

After a happy season two ending this trailer promises that things will not be as smooth sailing for the third season, even thought there’s a date for Olicity it also reveals who the Big Bad will be – Ra’s al Ghul. Known as the head of the League of Assassins, most recognisably played by Liam Neeson in The Dark Knight trilogy, executive producer Marc Guggenheim said of the season three villain: “We really wanted our Ra’s to be very different — at least our own Arrow-ified version.”

The Flash (The CW)

A sorta-spin off from Arrow, but as we know a stand alone superhero in his own right, The Flash gets it’s own show starring Grant Gustin (Glee) as the titular character Barry Allen.

As a side note I was a little reluctant at Grant Gustin’s casting purely on the back of how much I hated his character in Glee, but all is forgotten!

Starring in two episodes of Arrow’s last season we saw lots of lovely chemistry between Felicity and Barry before a massive lightning storm set off by a reaction at S.T.A.R Labs causes something to go very wrong with Barry and he disappears from Arrow.

The Flash debuts in October and we won’t have to wait long before there’s a crossover episode between the two shows, episode 108 and episode 308 respectively, but Felicity will be first to crossover into Central City in episode four without her right-hand man.

The audience at the panel got a sneak peek at the pilot (which I’ve also seen and it’s freakin’ awesome) and here’s the trailer for the show:

Teen Wolf (MTV)

Another fantastic show that bares no relation whatsoever to the Michael J Fox movies apart from it’s name.

MTV are doing really well with their original scripted shows and this has just been renewed for season five and we’re only half way through season four. Great news for the Teen Wolf cast which includes Tyler Posey as alpha werewolf Scott McCall, Dylan O’Brien as his human BFF Stiles, and the rest of the ragtag bunch include Holland Roden as banshee Lydia, werecoyote Malia played by Shelley Hennig, beta werewolf Derek Hale played by Tyler Hoechlin, Arden Cho as Kitsunay (basically a fox) Kira and JR Bourne as the hunter Chris Argent.

The last season saw several big losses from the main cast as they got killed off and basically asked to leave the show to pursue other roles. Fair play to them but it meant that season four has given the writers the chance to revisit some of the more fun elements of the earlier seasons when Scott was just learning to deal with his new life as a wolf with this time new cast member Dylan Sprayberry as the newbie.

During the Comic Con panel they released a freaking brilliant mid-season trailer that promises so much I could not be more excited!

The Maze Runner (20th Century FOX)

Yet another movie based on a series of young adult books, you may groan, but I read them and couldn’t put them down. They are that good.

Here the movie stars Teen Wolf star Dylan O’Brien as Thomas, a boy who wakes up after having his memory erased surrounded by a group of boys who live in The Glade. He soon finds out that they are trapped by a maze and will need to escape with his fellow ‘runners’.

Every 30 days in The Glade a boy is delivered via the lift shaft and Thomas was expected, but the next day a girl, Teresa played by Kaya Scodelario (Skins), is delivered and everything changes.

The movie also stars another Brit, Will Poulter, who is definitely on the rise in Hollywood! During the panel Dylan accidentally revealed a massive spoiler when asked by the audience what his hardest scene was to film, but to be fair if the fans of the books were there they’d know it anyway!

The Vampire Diaries (The CW)

The Vampire Diaries is heading towards it’s sixth season and *spoiler alert* season five saw the demise of main cast stars Ian Somerhalder’s Damon and Kat Graham’s Bonnie, they went into that bright white light on the other side with no way back.

I have to admit this show annoys me somewhat, it took me a few episodes to really love it in season one and then I was enamoured by the show. Then every season since sees it have a good opener then it dips so low beyond bad that I always come close to giving up on it, then just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse someone dies (but probably always comes back to life) and then it gets good just for a crazy season finale.

I think some shows that have a long run of around 22-24 episodes per season will always struggle to keep the action and storylines above average and so this is expected and which is why I always end up coming back.

Anyway panel for this show had all the cast present from Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, the return of Matt Davis as fan-favourite Alaric, AND Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham. So they’re not going to stay dead for long then (dammit).

Here’s the very funny trailer they debuted, a possible Damon-Bonnie spinoff? I don’t think so:

#Spideradcliffe

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe was at Comic Con this year to appear on the panel for his new movie Horns, which looks brilliant.

But that wasn’t his only appearance… He shared a picture to his Google+ page of him dressed in full Spiderman costume hitting the show floor! Well done Spideradcliffe you fooled everyone, not sure Andrew Garfield would be too happy… Haha!

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Batman v Superman

At last year’s Comic Con they announced this epic superhero battle and now Dawn of Justice debuted it’s cast on the panel, and they didn’t utter a single word. Director Zack Snyder was worried the audience would ask too many questions so didn’t let stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill or Gal Gadot speak at all!

And according to Collider editor-in-chief Steven Weintraub, Ben Affleck actually walked the show floor with no security and not one person recognised him. Way to go incognito Batfleck!

What we did get though was an awesome image of Gal Gadot in full costume as Wonder Woman. I love how they’re sticking with the gritty theme and have discarded that traditional red, blue and gold costume we all know and love. Instead it’s all dark burgundy leather and warrior-like. Love it.

Gal Gadot

 

Mad Max

The first trailer for prequel Mad Max: Fury Road debuted at Comic Con and it looked suitably apocalyptic. The cast including Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Zoe Kravitz spent months in Namibia, South Africa filming giving the desert backdrop a hellishly authentic feel.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The first sighting of Jennifer Lawrence‘s heroine Katniss in this full teaser trailer. Note that we’ve had two teasers, less than 30 seconds long, then we have the first teaser trailer which is just one minute long. I reckon we’ll get another couple of teaser trailers, before a full length trailer which could potentially last more than two minutes, by that time I will be more annoyed by the way marketing departments are dribbling out these multiple trailers instead of just releasing one or two. Grrr.

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The Hunger Games

I remember why I prefer to travel 40 minutes to a Cineworld cinema than regularly go to my local Bridlington town cinema. It is full of little kids aged 12-14 allowed out to the cinemas for the night in a big gaggle of annoyance.

I like my cinema experience to be quiet with the odd gasp, whisper or laugh not unnecessary chattering for large portions of the movie. It frustrates me so much and more often than not end up having a moan but they always ignore and carry on the little buggers.

Rant over.

I went to see the newest addition to the book-to-movie franchise The Hunger Games, and was squealing in anticipation as I took my seat and waited those painful minutes until the movie began.

For those unfamiliar with the young adult trilogy, The Hunger Games is the first book in the trilogy, set in a dystopian future it sees Katniss Everdeen a 16-year old girl volunteer to take her young sister’s place as tribute in the Capitol’s Hunger Games. An annual event that requires a boy and girl tribute aged 12-18 to be selected from each of the 12 Districts that surround the Capitol, and to take part in a fight to their deaths until one sole victor emerges. The Hunger Games are a reminder to each district that the Capitol can take their children and kill them in response to the uprisings that resulted in the loss of the thirteenth district.

The opening scenes were very different to the book, but worked from an audience point of view as it wove in the Capitol’s Head Gamemaker Seneca Crane who we don’t experience in the book as it is told from Katniss’ point of view. Seneca Crane, played by the brilliant Wes Bentley, is shown in extra scenes with President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland, and in the Games control room which again we don’t know about from the book, a really great addition to the story overall especially when you want to know how the arena is created and controlled.

I think Elizabeth Banks as guardian to the District 12 tributes Effie Trinket was near perfect, in fact she didn’t get nearly enough screen time but with so much story to get through I can see why this happened. Certain scenes were shortened purely to get the timeline moving, but part of the allure of the book are the descriptions of the food on the train that Katniss and her fellow tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) encounter for the first time and how they react to it, it wasn’t really that clear.

Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy was great casting, and I was excited to see how he would play the alcoholic mentor to the tributes. I was disappointed with how much he changed Haymitch’s attitude towards Katniss and Peeta, and I think because so much was cut out in terms of scenes they share together in the first book you don’t see how he gradually warms to them rather than all of sudden changing his personality. (Don’t even get me started on the scene where he supposedly suggests the idea to Seneca Crane for two tributes to win because the audience wants a love story – this does not happen in the book. I’ll get over it)

There are plenty of people that are to credit for the fantastic look of the movie, the choices made how to portray the Capitol, the super fast train on the way there and of course the set of District 12, there is only so much you can imagine in your head and it was great for it to see it come alive. The people of the Capitol were absolutely spot on, exactly the way that Suzanne Collins described them in the book, bright, colourful, oddly weird, strange and a bit loopy. The way they see the Games as pure entertainment and barely consider the 24 children going to their deaths.

As we move through the training of Katniss and Peeta, we see more of the other tributes which I never really paid attention to in the books because I knew in the end they would have to die. But it was interesting to see them and how they played their characters, most notably Alexander Ludwig as the ‘career’ tribute Cato and the tiny delicate and adorable Rue played by Amandla Stenberg. Rue is a turning point in the Games for Katniss but once again it was edited down, this in particular annoyed me because her relationship with Rue and how it ends makes Katniss the Mockingjay (something that will be clear in the next movies) and part of why she hates the Capitol and President Snow so much.

I’m just going to be ridiculously picky here, but did anyone else notice Rue say, after she was shot with a spear and lay dying, “Did you blow up their food?”, how could she possibly know that the food could/would be blown up when Katniss herself didn’t even know until the last minute that the pile of food and supplies protected by the careers was rigged with mines? Error.

I’ll move along… A book will never be portrayed exactly how you want it on screen especially when the narration is in first person, ie. Katniss point of view and no one else’s. In certain places the movie benefits from it being a different point of view as we gain extra information, eg Seneca Crane and the control room. But what I miss from Katniss’ narration is her feelings, her personality, her conflict, and her responses, because they are not there nearly enough. Yes Jennifer Lawrence is an Oscar-nominated actress, but there is so much to Katniss I wonder why she skimped on her inner turmoil in regards to Peeta and Gale (Liam Hemsworth). Especially considering how the story and she progresses.

I think in some ways the film relied to heavily on people having read the books and knowing the background of the story, for example the state of District 12 the details of the uprisings only briefly shown in the propaganda at the beginning, how Peeta was always protecting Katniss when he was with the tributes, the unexplained ‘muttations’ they just looked like wolf/rabid dogs, rather than the creations of the Capitol.

(One more point the Mockingjay pin is one of the most important aspects of the books and you aren’t even told what they are or where they came from – a Mockingjay is the offspring of a Mockingbird and a Capitol muttation Jabberjay bird, the Jabberjay’s were a Capitol weapon that recorded conversations of the people within the Districts to seek out traitor’s etc but the people realised what they did and turned them against the Capitol and they were then released into the wild and mated with Mockingbird’s thus creating Mockingjay’s which couldn’t speak but could record note perfect songs if you sing to them.)

I’m going to be really excited to see how Catching Fire works as a movie, there is a lot more to the story and I think we only really touched up on it in The Hunger Games. So I implore those of you who have not read the books to do so, because you will gain a lot more detail and background information that you wouldn’t know about from the film.

I want to see the movie again, to watch it without judging it because I just can’t help it!  Overall the movie is a thumbs up from me, and the £152 million it made in its opening weekend from domestic gross goes to prove that it was a thumbs up from everyone else.