Friday afternoon gave us FOX's lineup of four upcoming movies: two of them mockumentary style (Reno 911 Miami, Borat) and two of them period pieces about "chosen ones" fulfilling ancient prophecies (Eragon, Pathfinder).
Here's the rundown...
We were treated to an unfinished trailer showing Jeremy Irons looking serious, John Malkovitch talking some "the legend is true" stuff and newcomer Edward Speleers raising his sword getting all "pre-battle-Braveheart" to a group of cheering soldiers. Dungeons and Dragons meets any of those post-Lord of the Rings sword battle epics.
The footage we saw was cool but lacked any mind blowing elements. Lots of large scale sword fighting ie Chronicals of Narnia/Lord of the Rings with the addition of a fire breathing dragon and what appears to be an interesting magic vs. thrown axe. fight moment. It's safe to assume the money shot stuff is yet to come.
In one of the funniest panels to kick Comic-Con in the crotch was Reno 911 Miami. Things kicked off with a word for word spoof of the Miami Vice trailer. This is essentially a bigger budget episode of the show complete with helicopters, gun fights and short shorts.
Jim Dangle, Deputy Travis Junior and Trudy Wiegel came out in character acting "disappointed" the "documentary" made them look stupid. Hilarity ensued.
Clip 1 was Dangle and Travis Junior working airport security, making music with their metal detectors, mistakenly holding a burrito-packing tourist at gunpoint and falling into an X-Ray machine. The next clip was Raineesha teaching Trudy sassy street talk on a beach. Funny, racy and messed up stuff. Lastly, there was an epic standoff with the whole crew trying to apprehend (via many many gunshots) a chicken running loose on a desolate freeway.
The audience responded very well and the cast capped their panel by holding the nearby Fox publicist at gunpoint making him change it so they look badass and have crazy CG dragons. Deputy Travis Junior asked "when does this giant web of lies come out?" and to that, Fox says...."Early 2007."
We saw two clips of Pathfinder, a movie which gets brownie points simply for being the only Viking vs Native American movie in recent memory. Based off the notion that Vikings hit the Eastern seaboard 600 years prior to Christopher Columbus, the story is about a child left behind after an invasion. He's raised by Native Americans trained as "the chosen one" who grows up to defend his adopted culture from the return of the evil vikings.
The trailer is well shot and the art direction is very well done. The vikings are portrayed as ominous monsters instead of the typical Sunday comic strip cliche giving a lot of personality based of costumes alone. The visual feel is a loose blend of Last Samurai meets Night Watch but the action and overall energy didn't seem too special. There was a potentially awkward looking battle on a snow sled and lots of run of the mill sword fighting. A second clip was an action scene in which Viking chief Clancy Brown (who was present at the panel) kills an Indian sparking a quick battle between lead actor Jay Tavare and a baddie.
With a grand exit out of the women's bathroom was Sacha Baron Cohen's alter ego Borat. Followed by a camera crew, he awkwardly took a good 2 minutes trying (and failing) to climb the main stage. Upon reaching us, we are greeted with a "Hello Comic Con. I like you. I like sex," followed by details Kazakstan's comic icon; the 6 breasted "Astonishing Woman" who holds the mighty power to plow fields for days at a time and has a magical vagina that can spit out 14 babies at once.
The trailer was, in typical Ali-G Show style, a documentary. Very funny stuff. As one would expect, Borat uses his ignorant cultural differences to piss off middle American rodeos and feminist extremist groups.
Clip 1 is our hero in a Confederate themed antique store. He slips on a toy truck, breaks half a thousand dollars worth of merchandise and tries to repay the store using bags of hair as currency. At this point we're introduced to a new character: a fat Kazakstanian who runs in to yell at Borat until they are kicked out of the store. Cut to: fat guy and Borat are in an ice cream van arguing about how their documentary is ruined. It seems as if the movie has somewhat of a narrative spine. In between the Ali-G show culture clash reality is a story about the two Kazikstanian's making a documentary for their country.
The 2nd clip was essentially gay porn meets wrestling meets Tom Green show. Borat stops taking a bath to notice his chubby buddy is pleasuring himself to a magazine. Borat is not cool with said pleasuring and an epic fight scene ensues. A NAKED epic fight scene, filled with lamp breaking, a giant censored piece of Kazistanian anatomy and really detailed accounts off sexual positions. At one point we even learn ball sacs don't need to be blurred out. The naked fight goes into the hallway, in an elevator populated by scared white people and onto the stage of a very formal, humorless award show.