CON Preview: The Spirit, Star Trek, Terminator and More!

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The fine folks at Entertainment Weekly have posted a large group of new photos from some of the most anticipated events of this year’s Comic-Con International, which will take place next week in San Diego. So we thought we would take this opportunity to talk about some of the movie-related stuff that we are most looking forward to. In fact, throughout the weekend and into early next week we are going to do our best to bring you up to speed on what to expect when we bring you our live coverage from Comic-Con 2008.

First up is Frank Miller’s The Spirit, which has had a rough go of things lately. You will all remember the recently posted, then removed, then re-posted officially first theatrical trailer. So far the film has received a very mixed reception — on one side you have the Sin City fans who are pumped to see the visionary work of Frank Miller on screen again, and on the other we seem to have the Will Eisner purists who are still searching for more than just a red neck tie. While the film appears to be very sexy and hyper-stylized, it is yet to be seen as to whether or not it will be any good. Thankfully, Miller and crew are going to try and use Comic-Con as a launch pad for their December release.

What do we expect at the Con? We are looking forward to The Spirit panel on Friday at 2:45pm. Writer/Director Frank Miller will be there along with Gabriel Macht, who plays Denny Colt/The Spirit and Samuel L. Jackson, who plays his nemesis the Octopus. More footage is expected, as are some special guests (we’ve got our fingers crossed for one of the many hot actresses in the flick.) As well, Gabriel Macht will be at the Lionsgate Booth (#4029) on Friday from 5:00pm to 6:00pm to sign autographs. For more, keep an eye on The Spirit’s official site.

Star Trek Comic-Con PostersNext up on ouy big board of Comic-Con must-sees is Star Trek. Yes, we know that there have already been tons of rumors that there will be no Trek presence at the Con, but we are also not stupid — there is no way that Paramount would let the last Con go by before the release of the film on May 8, 2009 without doing something. J.J. Abrams used last year’s Con to introduce the world to his new Spock, Zachary Quinto (“Heroes”), and since then we’ve seen very little come out of the production — with the exception of a few release date changes and the rest of the casting announcement. So far fans have been growing curious and somewhat agitated at the lack of information that has come out, which includes on teaser trailer — but the truth is that this is a big film that is taking a long time to make, so we can’t really hold it against them. Thankfully we now have this first set of posters which show us Eric Bana as the villain Nero, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Zach Quinto as Spock and Chris Pine as Kirk.

What do we expect at the Con? As I already stated, there will be no panel, but there will be a presence on the show floor. Fans have the opportunity to score one of the four posters seen to the left. When put together, they form the shape of the Starfleet federation logo. As well, keep an eye out for surprises — that J.J. Abrams is a tricky son-of-a-bitch.

Onward we move to one of the big titles from Warner Bros., who seems to have the biggest presence at this year’s event. The image to the right (which can be greatly enlarged with a click) is the first look at Christian Bale as John Connor in Terminator Salvation. This film has also seen a great deal of mixed reactions since it was announced earlier in the year. At first, fans were weary of director McG’s ability to successfully reboot the Terminator franchise, one that wasn’t in the best of shape after the most recent film. Then with the addition of Christian Bale as John Connor, the film got a much needed boost in momentum. Since then they have also added Anton Yelchin, Sam Worthington, Common and Bryce Dallas Howard to the mix. As well, they unleashed a very well received teaser trailer that has fans thinking, “Hmm… This might just work.”

What do we expect at the Con? Director McG and some currently un-named cast members will be on hand for a panel in the infamous Hall H on Saturday at 1:15pm. And while we don’t expect Christian Bale to be there (he told us he would be out of the country when we chatted at the junket for The Dark Knight), we could very well lay witness to the confirmation/announcement of Austrian Roland Kickinger as the T-800, a rumor that has been floating around the web all week. Look for some footage and possibly surprises from the Terminator camp.

Danny McBride, Will Ferrell and Anna Friel in Land of the LostNext up is Universal’s Land of the Lost, the remake of the classic TV show that will star Will Ferrell, Danny McBride and “Pushing Daisies” star Anna Friel. We got our first look at some of the Sleestaks from the film back in late-April and since then we’ve only had some on-set photos of Will Ferrell in a park ranger outfit. Then again, who hasn’t seen Will in a park ranger outfit? Aside from bringing back memories from the childhoods of many 20-somethings, this one has gotten only a little bit of buzz. The filmmakers look to get the momentum train rolling by bringing Con attendees a first look.

What do we expect at the Con? Director Brad Silberling and members of the cast who have not yet been announced will debut the film’s teaser trailer during the Universal Pictures panel on Saturday at 3:45pm. The panel may be listed as being for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and Death Race, but it will also include both Land of the Lost and Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell.

Rain in Ninja AssassinAnd finally in this round of the Con preview, we have another film from the folks at Warner Bros. Announced a while back and generating the “Ninjas are cool, so this must be cool, too” sort of buzz, Ninja Assassin is the second team-up between The Wachowski Brothers as producers and director James McTeigue — the previous being V for Vendetta. This time around they are back taking on the story of a young ninja (played by Korean pop star Rain) who turns his back on the orphanage that raised him, leading to a confrontation with a fellow ninja from his clan. And as you can see from the picture to the right, it appears to be a bloody affair. I don’t know about you, but the whole “Ninjas are cool…” argument should be plenty good enough to get me interested in this flick.

What do we expect at the Con? Director James McTeigue and uber-producer Joel Silver will be on hand, along with Rain and co-star Naomie Harris, for the Dark Castle presentation in Hall H on Thursday at 6:00pm. Most likely we will be seeing a little bit of footage from the film, but we also expect to see someone get taken out by a stealthy ninja.

That is it for round one, folks. Keep a close eye though, as we will be taking a look at all sorts of other Comic-Con related films, including Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, Pineapple Express, Twilight, Alex Proyas’ Knowing and much, much more. For all things Comic-Con, be sure to keep a close eye on our Comic-Con 2008 Homepage.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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