The 8 Best
from SDCC 2016
By Adrian Dy
Though it says right there on the box, “Comic-Con,” the San Diego Comic Convention has grown into something much more, mirroring the growth of, well, comic book culture in general.
Once thought to be a nice distraction for adolescents growing up, the medium has matured immensely, and gone mainstream, over the past two decades. Not only is its literary merit accepted, and no longer debated, it’s also a fertile field for multimedia properties, most especially the realm of film. As such, it’s no surprise that movie and TV studios make sure to debut new superhero, fantasy, and sci-fi trailers at SDCC, for maximum buzz.
Here are the eight reveals and teasers that will get you drooling in anticipation and ready to reserve tickets over the next 365 days:
King Arthur: Legends of the Sword
The last King Arthur revival was in 2004, an Antoine Fuqua-Jerry Bruckheimer collaboration that had Arthur and his knights as Roman soldiers, while Guinevere is a pagan archer. It goes without saying that it wasn’t very good.
Enter Guy Ritchie, who previous reinvigorated the Sherlock Holmes movies with his more down-to-Earth, BritPunk sensibilities, while simultaneously blowing up the detective’s scope by involving him in the beginning of World War I.
This Arthur, played by Charlie Hunnam of Sons of Anarchy and Pacific Rim, starts out as the leader of a street gang, until he manages to pull Excalibur from its resting spot in stone. Initially reluctant to embrace his royal lineage, Arthur of course, eventually does, leading a revolt against Jude Law’s villainous Vortigern.
The trailer does a good job contrasting Arthur’s humble beginnings, with the epic clash of armies packed with CGI soldiers that will undoubtedly be the movie’s climax. Can it be better than a Lord of the Rings-esque by-the-books fantasy flick? We’ll find out come March 2017. At the very least, the dialogue will definitely be crackling.
Kong: Skull Island
As one of the few who actually enjoyed Peter Jackson’s three-hour long take on King Kong, I was a bit disappointed to hear that the upcoming Skull Island movie is an entirely new sin on the source material. What makes up for that? The fact that it will be done in the same universe as the 2014 US Godzilla movie, paving the way for a 2020 Godzilla vs. Kong flick (my inner 12-year-old is geeking out like crazy).
Skull Island seems to have a deeper military bent than previous King Kong tellings. A US military fleet arrives at the titular uncharted island. When they encounter all of the bizarre and oversized fauna, their response of course is to blast the heck out of them. That seems like a good idea, until they wake up the great ape himself.
The cast of this movie looks spectacular on paper – Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, and John Goodman are headliners. It remains to be seen though if director Jordan Vogt-Richards has the chops to do a widescreen epic like this, given that his resume is highlighted by indie comedy-drama The Kings of Summer and a few episodes of TV’s You’re the Worst.
Also, one burning question: given the trailer and the movie’s title, does that mean Kong doesn’t get to New York in this one, and we’re denied an Empire State Building sequence?
Remember Book of Shadows, the Blair Witch Project sort of sequel? No? That’s good, because the folks behind the Blair Witch franchise are going to act like it never happened, with the upcoming Blair Witch to serve as the official sequel to 1999’s found footage horror movie progenitor.
That said, director Adam Wingard, who has done segments on the V/H/S horror anthology movies (which are also in the found-footage genre) couldn’t help but promote the flick via a little swerve, initially calling the movie “The Woods,” before revealing at SDCC that it was in fact, the Blair Witch Project sequel.
Spinning directly out of the events of the first movie, the brother of one of the trio that disappeared in the first movie sets out to find his sister in those same mysterious woods. That turns out to be a bad idea, of course, as his group encounters the same sort of hauntings that affected his sister and her friends.
The trailer has plenty of call-backs to its predecessor, but will it have a new spin on this brand of horror movie? The possibility of this being more of the same old is probably the scariest thing about it.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts…looks to do a great job expanding the Harry Potter cinematic universe by turning the previous series’ setting completely on its head. Modern world England? Try 1920’s America for a change.
Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander, who happens to lose possession of several dangerous magical beasts while in the US. With plenty of tension already between the various factions of the Wizarding World, especially with regards to how they’re to live amidst the Muggles, the various beasts wreaking havoc in old-time New York look to have plenty of horrible consequences.
Fresh off The Legend of Tarzan, director David Yates handled the last four Potter flicks, so there’ll be a reliable old hand at the helm of this one. He’ll have to walk a fine line between familiar and new however, especially given how this is supposedly the start of a new trilogy.