Comic-Con 2009: WB, Disney, Pixar, and Miyazaki

One of the best parts of the trip was the Friday line-up in Hall H (the largest room in the convention center, holding 6,500).

I wanted to see Hayao Miyazaki at the Disney/Pixar panel at 12:45, but to get a seat in the room, let alone a decent one, you had to go very early and sit through whatever panels came before it, since they didn’t empty the room between presentations.

I was planning on going early Friday morning, since seeing Miyazaki was the single Comic-Con event I was most looking forward to and I wanted to be sure to get in, but I had a panic attack on Thursday night, imagining a line forming as I was eating dinner, and my chance to see him slipping away, so decided to just camp out overnight to be safe.
I joined a line of about 10 people that had formed by 11pm, and slept out there overnight until they let us in the next morning at 9. Over that time I met some fun people, including a group of boys behind me in line who were saving on hotel costs by camping out each night in whatever line was forming for Hall H. They knew how to do it in style! Airmattresses, a hooka, and fireworks, lol. They made the experience much more fun, and let me use their airmattress for about 6 hours of sleep. :) And actually, they are the reason I got such a good seat inside, because some idiot in the front row would not answer me as I stood in front of him asking, “Is this seat taken?! Is this seat taken??!!” while the room was filling up around me. They saved me a seat in the second row, and I am eternally grateful!
Joelle and Jamie heard that I was camping out and came over to see me, despite having partied and probably being in the mood to crash in the hotel room. They were so sweet!! They brought me a pillow and blanket and were like, “Seriously, text us if you need anything!!” Terry brought me coffee at like 8:00 in the morning, too…such good friends I have!! What would I do without them?

So the first presentation, which I did not initially care about but had to sit through to keep my seat for Miyazaki, was by Warner Brothers at 10:00. It actually turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the whole weekend. They screened about 10 minutes of new footage for each of the films they were promoting: Where the Wild Things Are, Jonah Hex, Sherlock Holmes, The Book of Eli, Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Box. There’s a nice summary of it here.
What I personally enjoyed so much about this panel, though, was the star-studdery! Robert Downey Jr., Rachel McAdams, Megan Fox, Mila Kunis, Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Cameron Diaz, and James Marsden were all great, and it was so surreal to see them in person. Being in the middle of the second row, I was about 20 feet from each of them in turn, and I was just shocked by the experience of seeing celebrities in person (hur hur hur, Oregonian moment). The lighting must have reached the first few rows, too, because I could make eye contact with the people sitting on stage when they scanned the audience. It felt really cool!
Oh, and the actresses were gorgeous! You can tell yourself it’s lighting, the makeup artist, and photoshop, but they are all truly beautiful, even in a very normal environment.
Robert Downey Jr.’s announcement made the crowd scream, stand up, and surge toward the stage, and his presentation during the panel really stood up to that anticipation. He’s very funny and quick-witted, and it was really fun listening to him answer crowd questions.

Then, finally, came the Disney/Pixar animation panel! (Matt Goldberg has 2 good posts up describing the panel) They showed previews of Beauty and the Beast in 3-D (nice glasses provided by Dolby), Toy Story 2 in 3-D, Toy Story 3, The Frog Princess, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, and Prep and Landing, and there were many talented creators there to present and discuss the films. Miyazaki was the big name, though…you could tell by the crowd reaction and the fact that they saved him for last. He came out very modestly and reluctantly, and conducted his interview in a very understated fashion. He used a translator for the interview and Q&A, and I felt kind of bad for him seeing how he wanted to know what was being said but having to wait for it to be passed on to him, and then feeling pressure to answer quickly when he might have wanted to think it over. Can you imagine addressing a room that big in a foreign language?? Blegh. Anyway, it was truly worth waiting for, and the single highlight of my trip to see and hear him in person. I recorded the entire thing on my camera, which was evil and never quite focused on him, but which I will post anyway soon enough. Again, I was so close to the stage that I could see the seams in his clothing, and it was really, really special to see him looking out at the crowd and at me occassionally. He would watch the crowd as footage played behind him on the big screen, and I tried to look animated and appreciative for that. :)
The Ponyo footage was very exciting–we saw a clip embodying the original and difficult portrayals of the ocean in the film. This scene created an ocean of teeming fish, which looked like it was hell to draw. I also got a preview of Tina Fey as the mother, and saw a bit of her character in the film. All in all, I am very excited to see it. On the negative side, though, I was admittedly a little disappointed by the backgrounds in the clip. They were sparse and…hmm…drawn plainly with colored pencil? What? Tell me this will make more sense in the context of the film…I mean, does it work as an embodiment of the main characters youth…???
I was a little concerned.
Oh, but the Frog Princess is looking great–we got to see the entirety of the classic Disney bad-guy song, and it was awesome!!! So much more excited about that movie than I was. :)
And of course, Toy Story 3! So stoked. But I was already.

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