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With Pacific Rim, Man of Steel, and The Hobbit on the menu, Warners-Legendary has been the panel to get into for days. Forget normal fans, producers and agents have been angling for some way to get in, even calling high-up execs and resorting to bribes.
The aptly called “juggernaut of panels” (by moderator Chris Hardwick) started the frenzy almost from the start, by pulling back a curtain on the high walls to reveal two giant screens on the side, not only making the entire proceedings feel more epic than any other presentation, but also feel as though it was enveloping the audience into its fold.
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And the crowd was literally presented with footage of juggernauts, as in Guillermo del Toro‘s giant robots vs. monsters epic Pacific Rim.
Del Toro, one of Comic-Con’s conquering heroes, primed the audience by saying he finished shooting the movie 12 weeks ago.
“We prepared footage for you specifically,” he said, promising nothing else from Rim will be seen for another six months, when th marketing for the movie kicks in. “This is for you, only for you. And for those motherf—s who have the James Bond glasses with cameras, don’t use them.”
The footage, which was only seen on the middle screen (unfortunately) showed off giant robots (Jaegers) and monsters (Kaijus) squaring off with the fate of the planet hanging in the balance. Del Toro promised his movie would have scenes that had never before been seen on film, and he seemed to deliver, even if only glimpses.
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“We wanted to do something new. Something with a different sense of drama, and different sense of scale,” he said.
The movie’s actors, including Ron Perlman, Charlie Hunnam, and Charlie Day shared the stage with Legendary’s Thomas Tull, but they were mere backdrop for the deft handling of the crowd by del Toro, a juggernaut in the geek world.
With his Mexican accent, his eloquent profanity, and his ability to speak geek, del Toro talked of the creative process behind the movie, in which he combined his drive to make the film’s destruction as real as possible, while also retaining heart.
“No f—ing motion capture,” he exclaimed of his choice to eschew that technique to convey the Jaegers. “I don’t want the robots moving like human beings. They need to move like a shock absorber and gears move.”He also described how the production had the soundstages rigged so that sidewalks, cars, and streets actually crumbled and shook when filming monsters stalking cities.
The panel then pulled off a one-two surprise.
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Tull brought out director Gareth Edwards who showed off a test reel for Godzilla, Legendary’s long-in-the-works take on the original giant monster. The footage showed a city laid waste, allowing a glimpse of a gargantuan body, and then, through dust, first scales—and then the familiar lizard, Godzilla; playing over the images was a speech by Robert Oppenheimer, the creator of the atomic bomb, ending in “I am Vishnu, the destroyer of worlds.” It played very well. Twice.
Before the panel moved on to Man of Steel, Warners surprised the crowd a second time by bringing out Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis to plug its comedy The Campaign.
Jokes were flying a mile a minute as the two zinged at one another, with Hardwick and fans asking questions.
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