On Friday the
events started at noon. Since I arrived early I had time to get my bearings, survey the many lines, and grab some breakfast.
If you didn't want the standard Con food of pretzels and nachos you had your choice of nearly a dozen different
Once I had my
bearings I secured a place in line. I spent the time going over the floor map and marking which booths I had to hit first.
Once we were let in I made a beeline for Artist Alley. This was going to be the best time to check it out. There
were no panels I wanted to see that morning so I took my time going down each aisle. The aisles in the Artist
Alley were significantly wider this time. Definitely a welcome sight and a good sign for the days to come.
I made my way
around the vendor floor, picking up business cards from several artists, meeting up with friends and making mental notes of
booths I wanted to revisit later. I tend to save my shopping for later in the day.
of the day for me was the panel sponsored by GEEK Magazine, The Greatest Geek Movies of 1984. The basic premise is a discussion
of classics and fan favorites that came out in the summer of 1984 including a discussion of their significance today. The
films discussed included The Terminator, Red Dawn, Ghostbusters, Star Trek III, Dune, Buckaroo Banzai, and Indiana Jones and
the Temple of Doom. What followed was a lively discussion about what makes The Terminator so entrenched in our culture today.
How a movie like Red Dawn is the ultimate in teen fantasy wish fulfillment. (Admit it, if Russian paratroopers
arrived on your high school field, that would ROCK!) The blue collar comedy of Ghostbusters still holds up quite well today.
All the production problems with Star Trek III and Dune. I seriously could listen to this panel of talk for hours.
going to be the big day for me. I started out by sitting in on the press conference for two of 20th Century Fox's big summer
movies, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. For 'Dragon', star Jay Baruchel (the voice of Hiccup)
talked about how he felt a responsibility to the role and that's why he not only came back for the sequel but he even does
the voice in the regular series. Much respect for that! Many actors wouldn't want to be bothered with a weekly animated series.
He also mentioned how he likes the laid back approach to voice over work. For 'Dawn', director Matt Reeves talked about his
approach to this sequel and how it was important for the characters to be developed in a believable manner. Gary Oldman and
Keri Russel said how it was so important that while acting with Andy Serkis in his motion capture suit, Andy's eyes remained
visible and not hidden behind a mask. That one little step helps for their characters to relate to each other better.
Next up was
the panel “The Best Sci-Fi Movies & TV Never Made. Again, GEEK Magazine chief Mark Altman asssembed a crack team
of writers, producers etc to take a look at what could have been. For instance, have you heard of David Lynch's Ronnie
Rocket? This was to be his follow up to Eraserhead. There was also a lengthy discussion about all the failed attempts to reboot
Star Trek. Stories involving Kirk meeting JFK and being around at the time of the assassination as well traveling back to
the dawn of time. Let's just say, be glad none of these were ever made! A lot of talk was given to Alejandro Jodorowsky and
his attempt to tackle Dune. There's a recently released documentary that details much of this (Jodorowsky's Dune) but no studio
would touch his vision which was seen as way to big in scope before its time.
The last panel
I attended today was a presentation by director Luc Besson. He was on hand to show the trailer and a few exclusive clips of
his newest film, Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson. Besson has made a career of featuring women who kick ass in his films
(La Femme Nikita, The Professional, The Fifth Element) and Lucy is no exception. Lucy is about a woman transporting narcotics
who begins to develop heightened senses and abilities. I believe this was Besson's first ever convention and he really seemed
to enjoy himself. He gave a shout-out to all the cosplayers and fans and said that he makes films for us, critics be dammed!
Ah Sunday, the
final day. I dove right in by attending the Warner Archive Collection panel “From Chuck Norris to Mr. T: Real-Life Toons
and Back Again!” This panel was devoted to many long forgotten and obscure animated series, many of which are available
through Warner Archives. Anyone remember the short lived Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos? How about the Mr. T animated series
where Mr. T teamed up every week with a group of gymnastics students to fight bad guys? (Side note: I remembered it and loved
it. I even ate the Mr. T cereal!) The real treat though was listening to Steven E. de Souza talk about his adaptation of Will
Eisner's The Spirit. Not the 2008 film starring Eva Green and Samuel Jackson but an earlier attempt to bring the character
to the TV screen back in 1987. A few clips were shown and yes, it does look like a late 80's attempt at a detective film but
I had never even heard about this film! The best part was that I was lucky enough to win a copy of the DVD so I’ll be
diving into that film soon enough.
The last day
of any convention always brings a hint of sadness but I got no time for tears, I've got some shopping to do. If you're patient,
you can score a few bargains on the last day. I picked up a ton of comics as well as some original art by Jenny
Parks and Sebastien Millon. I found an old action figure I've been looking for, I did a little early Christmas shopping, and
even scored free t shirts from Magnet Releasing and Warner Archives. Finally it was time to say goodbye to WonderCon
To sum it all
up, I had a blast! I'm sore and tired and my feet are killing me, but that's always a good sign of time well spent. I don't
know if the show will be back next year but if so, you know I'll be there! WonderCon rocks!