Comic-Con 2009: Thursday Roundup

As I have mentioned in the latest Entertainment Link-Off, I will be posting some stuff on certain interesting panels/events at Comic-Con. Kicking off a series of entries is the Thursday Roundup featuring two highly anticipated films: Tron Legacy and Avatar. tron legacy

Tron Legacy

At the Disney 3D panel at Comic-Con 2009, the title of the highly-anticipated Tron sequel has been revealed to be “Tron Legacy”. It’s not exactly the best name out there, but it sure beats the title that they teased with last year (TR2N). Why Legacy? The story of this movie focuses on Sean (Garrett Hedlund) and his search for his father Kevin (Jeff Bridges). Think of it as the father passing the torch to the son. Okay, lame explanation aside, the big news of the day is not the fact that this film will be in digital 3D, it is because it will be in IMAX 3D! Yeah! For once I feel like this will be worth my $16.50.

The film has recently wrapped production and there is a full year worth of post-production to follow due to the heavy reliance on computer generated graphics (Jeff Bridges does note that they actually had more tangible sets compared to the filming of the original Tron).

Since the computer generated footage weren’t completed, they decided to release some concept artwork to please the eager fans out there. There were some interesting images, but the most impressive ones were the new sleek vehicles.

There is the light-runner, which is like a light-cycle, except it can hold 2 passengers. From the slick design, you know it will be fast. I would like to get my hands on one of these… but I don’t live in the virtual world.

tron legacy 2

There’s also the new and improved light cycle which is featured in the teaser trailer.

tron legacy 3

I’m obsessing over these nice designs and the glowing turquoise light.

The scale of this film is much larger as the virtual world has expanded on its own without any connections to the internet for the past 20 or so years. Expect to see bigger versions of everything you’ve witnessed in the first film. Oh there will also be plenty of eye-popping action as well. Director Joseph Kosinski promises that at next year’s comic con “you’ll see something you’ve never seen before.” Let’s hope he lives up to that promise.

For those interested in the official description, this is what Disney has to say:

TRON is a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world that’s unlike anything ever captured on the big screen. Sam Flynn (GARRETT HEDLUND), the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn (JEFF BRIDGES), looks into his father’s disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin’s loyal confidant (OLIVIA WILDE), father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.

avatar 1James Cameron’s Avatar

Mark your calendars everyone! At the end of the Avatar panel, James Cameron drops a major bombshell: 15 minutes of the film will be screened in digital theatres for free across the globe on August 21st. Can you say “Happy Avatar Day”?!

This “social marketing experiment”, as James Cameron puts it, will take over the digital 3D screens and IMAX 3D screens on August 21st to build up hype for this movie. This looks like a good move since it will demonstrate how awesome 3D films can be without being a silly gimmick. If anyone is to prove Michael Bay wrong, it’s James Cameron. Plus, raising awareness for 3D movies is a good thing since it may be a huge part of the future of filmmaking. With a ballooned $300M price tag for Avatar, it is a good idea to generate as much hype as possible to make all that money back.

avatar 2Even without this smart campaign, Avatar does have a lot of buzz surrounding it and it is possibly the most anticipated film of this year (well except for maybe Twilight: New Moon, but to be honest, major sci-fi epic trumps silly vampire romance any day).

After the 25 minute screening for the fans at Hall H, the cast members enter the stage and introduce the characters that they play. Sam Worthington couldn’t make it to the event, so he recorded a video message to thank the audience and mention that he had a great time working on Avatar.

The film has been many years in the making, but it certainly seems like it’s fitting to release it this year now that we do have more digital screens in theatres.

Here are some fun tidbits revealed during the panel.

  • Cameron tells us that the language was developed over two years with the assistance of the head of linguistics at USC.
  • The actors were taught how to remove their human physical quirks from their performances to create a different “alien” movement.
  • James Cameron’s regular Michael Biehn will not be making a cameo in the film much to the disappointment of many fans.

“Avatar” hits conventional, 3D, and IMAX 3D theatres on December 18th. Let the countdown begin!

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