Comic-Con movie trailer-and-poster-palooza: Riddick, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Elysium, X-Men Days of Future Past, Zero Theorem

 

Comic-con, which has just wrapped in San Diego (18 – 21 July), is greatly loved by Hollywood.

Amid some soul-searching that the annual pop culture extravaganza has sold its soul to commercial interests, lots of Hollywood studios were on hand to show their upcoming movie fares including of course Marvel which came carrying an embarrassment of superhero riches.

Not all of the trailers shown are available online right now so where the trailer is conspicuous by its absence, I have inserted a video of the panel appearance by that particular film’s cast and crew which are in most cases, quite illuminating.

So without further ado, here are the five movies that have me really excited.

 

RIDDICK

(Warning: Red Band trailer so only watch if you don’t mind strong violence, language and sexual content)

 

(image via blogs.canoe.ca)

 

SNAPSHOT
The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he’s encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty. The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won’t leave the planet without Riddick’s head as their trophy. (source: screen rant.com)

 

“You’re not afraid of the dark are you?”

It’s a classic tagline and the only way you can end a mother-f**king scary R-rated Riddick trailer that has our anti-hero in full, menacing flight.

Once he finally gets free of his chains, of course.

Half the fun of a Riddick movie is watching the poor unfortunate saps who think they have the better of him get their comeuppance after he has played with them, much like a cat with its prey.

It’s only a matter of time till Riddick’s playful banter, replete of course with menacing intent which is usually dismissed by those holding him captive, gives way to full on vengeful action and the tables are turned with those left alive forced to depend on him for their salvation.

In this case from a whole planet of hatching nasty beasties who are thrilled to have a buffet of naive humans, and Riddick, laid on for their eating delight.

 

 

During the Riddick panel appearance at Comic Con 2013, which included writer/director David Twohy, and actors Vin Diesel (Fast & Furious series), and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica), Vin Diesel made it very clear that fans can expect the Riddick they have come to know and love, in all his bad ass, R-rated glory:

“When the audience wanted it rated R, we knew we didn’t have to spend $200 million to make this movie.” (source: blogs.canoe.ca)

This pronouncement – the film only cost $38 million to make allowing Diesel the sort of creative freedom a larger budget would not have provided -was greeted with enthusiastic hooting and hollering from fans, who also gave the warts-and-all trailer an enthusiastic response.

Twohy also confirmed that Riddick is the closest that the escaped convict has ever come to actually dying.

“He struggles to survive, in a way he’s an allegory for the franchise.”

It all promises the sort of no holds barred otherworldly action that we have come to expect from the Riddick franchise.

Riddick opens 6 September 2013 in USA and 12 September 2013 in Australia.

 

 

 

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

 

This startling image of an enraged white-painted Caesar, leader of the genetically-evolved apes who are closing to claim the mantle of most dominant species on earth was released at Comic Con 2014 (image via totalfilm.com)

 

SNAPSHOT
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier.  They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.

 

Mankind is on the brink.

It’s been eight years since the events described in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), and humanity is the dominant species it once was.

Decimated by the Simian Flu, which has wiped out 90% of the human race, forcing a major rebuilding of Homo Sapien civilisation and bringing humans to a numerical parity with the apes led by Caesar , who are working to forge an egalitarian society of their own.

 

 

Naturally conflict ensues as the two groups comes up against each other, and the battle begins for control of the planet humanity once assumed would always be its unfettered, unchallenged domain.

At the Comic Con panel for the movie, which featured director Matt Reeves and actors Jason Clarke, Andy Serkis, and Keri Russell, a short sizzle reel was shown.

While the reel is live online just yet, Scott Collura provided a neat rundown of what it shows at au.ign.com:

“Times are tough for what’s left of mankind after the Simian Flu. We hear how the humans spent four years fighting the virus, and another four years fighting each other. There are gunshots. Clarke is in the forest, desperately calling out “I need to talk to Caesar!” And then we cut to a close-up of an ape’s eyes. As the camera slowly pulls back we see that it’s Caesar, a bit older from when we last saw him, with white war paint on his face and a red stripe down his brow. And behind him, other apes, all with weapons… waiting to attack. Cut to the title: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”

In conjunction with the panel, which also detailed how Caesar has grown and matured with a wife, baby and teenage son, the film’s producers ran a clever campaign  with “… people in surgical masks and gowns were on the streets outside the convention center warning of the Simian Flu and handing out hand sanitizer (!) that bears the URL www.simianflu.com (source: Scott Collura, au.ign.com)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be in cinemas in USA on 18 July 2014.

*Here you can hear from Andy Serkis who play Caesar , and one of the film’s producers, Dylan Clark, who were interviewed at Comic-Con 2013:

 

 

ELYSIUM

 

One of the two Elysium posters by artist Martin Ansin that Mondo released for Comic-Con 2013 (image via movieweb.com)

 

SNAPSHOT
In the year 2159, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a hard line government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that, if successful, will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.

 

The cast and crew from Elysium fronted a cheering crowd at Comic-Con’s cavernous Hall H as part of Sony’s two hour Comic Con presentation.

Present on the panel were director Neill Blomkamp (District 9) along with stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, and producer Simon Kinberg and the presentation began with the showing of seven minutes of unseen Elysium footage, which naturally was received with rapturous excitement by the crowd.

Matt Damon admitted he would have worked on any film Neil Blomkamp had offered him so impressed was he with his work, but even so, was still blown away when the director sent through a detailed rundown of the storytelling universe in which the film takes place prior to their meeting.

 

 

Apparently it’s typical of Bllomkamp’s approach to making his movies, and goes a long way to explain why his films are such a richly immersive experience.

Similarly impressed was Jodie Foster who admitted:

“After I saw District 9, I thought it was a perfect film.” (source: screenrant.com)

All indications are that Elysium is going to be just as perfect a movie going experience, and I can’t wait till 15 August 2013 (it opens in USA on 9 August) to what is sure to be a sci-fi masterpiece.

You can read a full rundown of what was said during the Elysium panel here.

Here’s the featurette released for Comic-Con showing Matt Damon in never-bef0re-seen action footage …

 

 

X MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

 

Dual shot of Professor X (a melding of Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy) (image via insidemovies.ew.com)

 

SNAPSHOT
The Bryan Singer movie is based on a classic two-issue comics tale that introduces a bleak future where powerful machines subjugate and butcher the warm-blooded populace,, which leads to a desperate time-travel gamble Yes that all sounds like a rip-off of The Terminator – but X-Men comics writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne was published by Marvel Comics in 1981, three years before James Cameron fired-up the Skynet artificial intelligence. (source: insidemovies.ew.com)

 

I didn’t used to consider myself much of a blockbuster superhero movie fan.

I watched the occasional Batman movie, especially the grittier Christopher Nolan versions, and one or two Superman movies but largely left that genre well alone.

It wasn’t so much cinematic snobbery as simply no real interest in that particular oeuvre of storytelling.

But then along came the X-Men movies.

They were action-packed, intelligent and underpinned by an ethos that everyone is worth something, that we are all inherently equal and worth of being treated with justice and fairness, a message that resonated strongly with a gay man on the “wrong” side of the moral divide (at least as far as certain groups in society are concerned).

Ever since I first saw X-Men in 2000, I have had a considerable soft spot for a series that aims to convey a strong message as much as it wants to wow and impress, and it looks that philosophy very much underpins the upcoming X-Men Days of Future Past, a rip-roaring time travel where the stakes are very high indeed.

 

Magneto (A melding of Sir Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender) (image via insidemovies.ew.com)

 

While the film is still shooting, director Bryan Singer, the man who has brought the franchise to the big screen despite not being familiar with the X-Men mythos when he signed on to helm the films in 1996, turned up at Comic Con along with a slew of fine acting talent from the film including Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, James McAvoy, Ellen Page, Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence and Peter Dinklage.

He also releases these two amazing promotional posters – there is a third one now available for Wolverine – and a trailer which does not appear to have its way online just yet.

Suffice to say, if this review (see below) by the great guys at SchmoesKnow is any guide, X-Men Days of Future Past promises to be every bit as imaginative, intelligently-written and powerful as the preceding movies in the franchise.

X Men Days of Future Past opens in USA on 23 May 2014 with no dates confirmed for Australia at this time.

 

 

And here’s the full panel from Comic-Con 2013 …

 

 

 

THE ZERO THEOREM

One of the photos released at Comic-Con by Terry Gilliam showing Christoph Waltz in a street scene (image via sfx.co.uk)

 

SNAPSHOT
The Zero Theorem revolves around an eccentric and reclusive computer genius (Christoph Waltz) plagued with existential angst who works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence ­or the lack thereof­ once and for all. However, it is only once he experiences the power of love and desire that he is able to understand his very reason for being. (source: sfx.co.uk)

and

Qohen Leth is an eccentric and reclusive computer genius who lives in an Orwellian corporate world and suffers from existential angst. Under the instruction of a shadowy figure known only as “Management”, Qohen works to solve the “Zero Theorem” – a mathematical formula which will finally determine whether life has any meaning. Qohen’s work in the burnt-out chapel that serves as his home is interrupted by visits from Bainsley, a seductive woman, and Bob, the teenage son of Management (source: wikipedia)

 

Terry Gilliam (Monty Python) is one of those eccentric, engimatic film makers that you know is always going to surprise you with each and every project.

From The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) to Twelve Monkeys (1995) and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009), he has been unafraid to tell boldly idiosyncratic, highly-imaginative enthralling stories that dare to ask big questions.

They don’t always provide coherent answers but that’s half the fun.

Throwing yourself into his gloriously over the top and immersing yourself in it come what may.

 

Terry Gilliam directing the actors in the movie (image via sfx.co.uk)

 

The Zero Theorem, which filmed in Bucharest, Romania and stars Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton, looks set to follow in these gloriously offbeat footsteps.

While little is officially known about the secrecy-shrouded project, ten minutes of the movie was shown to Comic-Con audiences at a panel fronted by the director’s daughter, producer Amy Gilliam, and  and producers Dean Zanuck and Zev Foreman, along with a short video from Gilliam (see below), where he alleged, in typically mischievous fashion, that he was being held by the film’s producers till he finished the movie, and the two photos reproduced here.

Zanuck made it clear that there is no such thing as a small project when the legendary director is involved:

“What could be deemed a small, little indie becomes an event when Terry’s involved. He does touch on themes he has in the past, but with this script and these actors and the world he creates, this is new.” (source: herocomplex.latimes.com)

There are no form release dates at this point, beyond Italy on 19 December 2013 and Russia on 2 January 2014 (according to imdb.com), and while The Zero Theorem does not yet US distribution, Gilliam has hinted that the movie could premiere at the Venice Film Festival in August.

 

 

*popwatch.ew.com has released this fantastic overview of Comic-Con 2013, which seeks to separate substance from the hype and find out what really hit the mark once the crowds had left San Diego.

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