NYCC: ‘Total Recall’ Surprises, ‘Ghost Rider’ Rocks, ‘Terra Nova’ Sustains and ‘Nikita’ Laughs

The Avengers and The Walking Dead weren’t the only highlights from this past Saturday at NYCC. While some were walking the show floor and enjoying many of the smaller panels going on throughout the day, a majority had one goal… Get their ass to the IGN theater. And while a fair amount were merely their to squat a seat for the two big events that would go on later that evening, I was there to enjoy some really awesome panels, the first of which was for the new FOX show Terra Nova.

Before bringing out any of the panelists, the newest episode set to premiere this Monday was shown to the crowd. This episode, the second of the series to be directed by 24 alum Jon Cassar, is by far the best episode to date. The action was superb and the single dinosaur scene in the episode was exceptionally done. This was also an episode that really showed of the scenery chewing awesomeness of Stephen Lang, mostly thanks to a stare down between him and the leader of the Sixers. Once that ended the panelists including EP Brannon Braga, star Jason O’Mara and good ole Stephen Lang himself were brought out.

During the panel, Bragga was asked how he felt about the way the show was hyped. And how he felt that the selling point was the dinosaur aspect of which there is not that much of throughout the series. Bragga made it clear that “it’s not about dinosaurs, it’s about people.”

Later in the panel he also made a promise to the audience, by the end of the 13-episode first season, all the necessary questions will be answered and more will raised according to Lang.

One of the more interesting moments came when the O’Mara was discussing his dinosaur scene from the episode that was shown. He feels that in something like this, his performance is very much in the hands of the special effects artist and the creatures the actors are working against when the final product is aired.

Later on in the panel this discussion would be added to when Bragga stated that there are animatronics used in the series, though sparingly.

When the panel’s focus was turned to Lang during the audience Q&A, one of the more pressing questions on everyone’s mind was how Lang viewed the show’s comparison to Avatar. To this Lang stated that he understands why many are making the comparison but the further the show gets, the more separated the two works become.

Lang then made an interesting statement that “based on the timeline, it’s even conceivable that Taylor and Quaritch served together in the military.” This statement referred to Lang’s belief that while two people might share a starting point, it just takes one minor route change to strip away everything you think you know about a character.

And before the panel ended, Lang gave everyone a laugh while discussing his role in the film The Great Panda Adventure where he got to toss a pre-Austin Powers Verne Troyer thus making him “a dwarf tosser” back in the day.

After the Terra Nova panel, there was a screening but no Q&A held for the latest episode of Person of Interest. All there is to say is that it is the best episode to date.

Later in the day came the panel for Nikita which included series’ stars Maggie Q, Shane West and producer Albert Kim.

Unlike the two TV panels before it, there wasn’t a full episode shown to the audience, instead there was a brand new sizzle reel shown featuring a combination of already aired footage and un-seen footage set to air later this season.

Some of the best moments of the panel came when the three were talking about working with series developer and Executive Producer Craig Silverstein. Q stated that Craig works very fast and demands the very best from everyone who works on the show. When asked about how they manage to make the show something more than just another remake of the Luc Besson film, Kim stated that it’s all because of Silverstein.

According to Kim, Silverstein is a very hard boss to work for and that often times he will blow up (literally, thank to a prop plunger detonator in his office) the writer’s first version of a pitch and have them improve it before moving forward.

Q then went on to state that Silverstein has “a plan” for the series as a whole.

Some of the other highlights of the panel included news that Owen will continue to be featured in the series and that Nikita’s “father” will be introduced this season.

After the Nikita panel ended, Sony took to the stage.

Before bringing out their main event, two brand new pieces of footage were shown. The first was the brand new 3D trailer for the upcoming Underworld Awakening film, with an accompanying introduced by Len Wiseman. This might be the first time I’ve ever given a shit about an Underworld film. The new 3D trailer shares a very similar approach to 3D style with last Resident Evil film. Just have a shit ton of fun in 3D.

After that, Len Wiseman introduced (via video) the first ever footage from his upcoming Total Recall remake. And I have to say, what was shown, was something no one saw coming, balls to the wall awesomeness.

The footage begins with Colin Farrell’s Quaid heading into the Recall center to be implanted. After a very awesome moment with John Cho, a squad of police offers come bursting through the door. And in a moment of cinematic brilliance, Ferrell goes all Jason Bourne and begins taking out the officers one by one, all in an absolutely stunning long take.

After that scene, the rest of the sizzle reel is made up of uncompleted but already impressive effects shots, mostly featuring some sort of upside down car chase.

To sum up, Total Recall blew everyone in the audience away and is now one of the most anticipated films of 2012.

After all of that hoopla, the main event started, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

The first thing shown was a behind the scenes montage that basically confirms what we all were hoping, this is very much a Neveldine/Taylor production. All their crazy, awe inspiring camera work will be featured in full effect during the film.

The final moment of the reel sums it up perfectly “Fucking your shit up in 3D this February.”

Following that, the men of the hour themselves, Mark Neveldine and Bryan Taylor were brought on stage to massive applause.

When asked why they took the project, Neveldine simply stated “motorcycle, skull on fire.”

After a brief discussion, a 3D reel for the film was shown. Despite later being revealed to be 100% post-converted due to the camera limitations of current 3D technology, it didn’t stop the footage from being spectacular in everyway. And when discussing it, Taylor stated that post-conversion 3D is only as good as you make it and it can be just as good as native 3D. Based on the footage, he isn’t wrong.

Taylor, when talking about the production stated “we wanted real cars, real motorcycles, not CG.” This was meat with tremendous glee from the crowd who was high at this point from all the awesomeness taking place before their eyes. Taylor went on to discuss how he and Neveldine have never had second unit on their films because they view the production portion as the most fun and don’t want to hand it off to anyone else.

When discussing star Nicolas Cage, Neveldine put it best when he said “Cage is like a Crank film in person.” Which was followed with a humerus “he smells like Vanilla,” from Neveldine. Taylor simply stated that “Cage was awesome.”

When the floor was opened to questions, a hot topic was the recently announced MPAA rating for the film as PG-13 and not R. Taylor stated that the plan was always going to be a “PG-16” film. Neveldine stated that they worked to find creative ways around the MPAA and that “we drop F bombs, we  swear, we have a high body count… it’s just how did it.” Taylor then went on to say “to aspiring film makers trying to make violent PG-13 films, you can burn as many people as you want.”

And of course it wouldn’t be a Neveldine/Taylor panel without a little Crank talk. The biggest question was regarding a possible third film to with Taylor simply stated “Crank was destined to be a trilogy, it’s just a matter of when and where.” This was of course was met with the loudest applause of the panel.

Before they left for the day, the duo did state they an idea of what they would do, should they end up making another Ghost Rider film.

This panel was followed by the panels for The Walking Dead and The Avengers.

In all, Saturday was an extremely successful day at the con and in terms of the various items that were shown, 2012 is going to be a great year for awesome things in movies and TV.

And finally, we leave you on yet another pic of the day:

There’s still more to come from the New York Comic-Con, so don’t go anywhere…

From a young age, TV guru Merrill Barr has been obsessed with the small screen. And one day he decided to put that obsession to good use.

Read More from Merrill Barr
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