While exciting (or controversial) news from the recent Comic Con about upcoming genre films and projects, as well as a plethora of new posters, trailers and other advertising collateral, exploded onto the blogsphere, Undead Backbrain was too busy with things like… um, ordinary work … to do any speed reporting. So everything’s out there now. Nevertheless I feel an urge to record a few of the most interesting bits (from my perspective anyway).
So here are some highlights from the news I’ve become aware of. I’m sure there would be other snippets if I’d been paying more attention.
I’m loving the new generation of Marvel Universe films, especially as they start to interact with each other. Comic Con saw the introduction of the cast of the in-production Avengers film (due in 2012). As pictured below, this includes Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Clark Clegg as SHIELD Agent Coulson, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Mark Ruffalo replacing Ed Norton as Bruce Banner, the Hulk’s human alter-ego. The two on the end are director Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. [Picture via Big Shiny Robot. Click on it to see it larger.]
The mere involvement of Joss Whedon in this project is excitement enough for me.
Here is the cast being introduced at Comic Con:
During the past few days, the following extended footage from the Thor film appeared. [Drat! The following trailer has been removed by the copyright owners already. Sorry. If you didn't see it, you're out of luck -- at least for a while.]
Addendum: But be quick and you can still see it here.
Here’s some of the cast (and director Kenneth Branagh) talking about the showing, at least:
For me, getting Thor right was always going to be the hardest sell, as in many ways it is the franchise that fits least, aesthetically, with the current Marvel films from X-Men on. Still, as little like the colourfully Norwegian characters drawn by Jack Kirby and friends the Asgardians here appear to be, the new designs are on the right track, I think. It always seemed to me that the Asgardians in Thor were Norse gods, yes, but not actually Norse or Gods. Here they come over as what they always were — a powerful alien race from a different dimension, who in the past were worshipped as gods by the Vikings. No reason why their appearance shouldn’t reflect different times and world-views.
Legendary Pictures’ announced reboot of Godzilla as a US franchise has been exciting kaiju fans into a frenzy of speculation for some time now. The general desperation to learn what the new Godzilla will look and act like — driven by the hope, so far supported by studio statements, that the creative crew (whoever they will be) will avoid the franchise-killing missteps taken by Emmerich in his 1998 Godzilla (whatever you thought of it as a giant monster flick) — is the prime mover in the speculation.
At Comic Con a t-shirt purporting to be a promotional item for Legendary’s Godzilla made an appearance and for a while seemed to provide extra reason to hope for the best. It bore the following image:
Perfect, eh? Exactly what we want in our Big G. But while the t-shirts turned out to be genuine promotional items, the image used has not been confirmed as actual concept art. Made by Talking Dog Studios, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada — using “Augmented Reality” technology that causes smoke to appear from the image on the t-shirt when viewed via webcams with the appropriate app — the t-shirt event was meant to introduce the production rather than illustrate the design of it. Presumably this image (which some have claimed was taken from an old model kit) is at least indicative of Legendary’s aesthetic approach, so to that degree is a positive sign.
Here’s what fans saw when they stood in front of the camera at the Talking Dog display while wearing the t-shirt:
Interestingly Todd Tennant has pointed out a distinct connection between this image of Godzilla and the conceptual artwork drawn by Mark “Crash” McCreery for the unmade 1994 US Godzilla (see Undead Backbrain article).
At the Mountains of Madness
For some time director Guillermo del Toro has been talking of wanting to film his own version of H.P. Lovecraft’s longest Cthulhu tale, “At the Mountains of Madness” — and that’s another prospect that has excited my over-stimulated nerdish soul for some time. Well, at Comic Con he announced that the project would be going into production soon. The film will apparently be a “big ticket item” made for Universal Pictures in that wretched 3D I’m well-and-truly over.
Illustrations from publication in Astounding Stories, Feb 1936 (Source)
Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness”, set in the 1930s, concerns a geological expedition to the South Pole that discovers the remains of a vast dead city pre-dating the first appearance of humanity on Earth. Naturally the explorers’ incursion into the ruins results in the awakening of an assortment of servile shoggoths and perhaps the Elder Gods themselves. Horror, tentacles and inter-dimensional madness results.
A Shoggoth, possibly by T.J. Frame (Source)
Since then it has been revealed that James Cameron is on board as producer, which apparently was the selling point for Universal and at least gives hope that the 3D will be done properly (deadline.com).
Del Toro’s dark, quirky imagination is Lovecraftain at the best of times. His In the Mountains of Madness could prove to be the best — and certainly the biggest budgeted — Lovecraft adaptation ever.
Sinbad: The Fifth Voyage
This exciting fantasy film — inspired by the Sinbad films of the great stop-motion SFX animator Ray Harryhausen — was featured on Undead Backbrain yesterday. Go read about it there.
Future Fighters is a big live-action mecha epic — full of space battles, giant robots and, as seems inevitable these days, 3D thrills. We featured it on Undead Backbrain last June, and now, in a press release issued for Comic Con, British producer Guy Orlebar has announced that Korean director/producer of the original 1986 animated Transformers movie Nelson Shin will be directing, with Hong Kong director Ken Siu (The Forbidden Kingdom, Fearless, Rush Hour) as Assistant Director.
There’s more, which I’ll be putting into a follow-up post. Stay tuned.
Is all that exciting enough?
- Written by Robert Hood