Jul 25, 2011

SDCC 2011: Prometheus, In Time and Rise of the Planet of the Apes

10:15 PM


20th Century Fox looks like they have some pretty cool sci-fi films up their sleeve - and some big names to star in them. Now they just need to work on the whole presentation thing.

The studio sent Charlize Theron, Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and performance-capture specialist Andy Serkis to Comic Con's Hall H on Thursday to speak with moderator Damon Lindelof, but the discussions winded up looking like bad late-night TV, with the stars doing their best to appear grounded yet really, really cool. Five or 10 minutes of fan questions per film could have breathed some life into the session, but instead we were forced to watch Lindelof put on a BFF act with every goddamn guest on the panel.

Prometheus Will Be Very Good

Lindelof started things off by introducing a preview of Prometheus, a film he co-wrote and Ridley Scott directed. Lindelof quickly brought out star Charlize Theron, who joked that she was attracted to the role by the incredibly large amount of money offered to her to play it. That got some laughs, but from there Lindelof just did his best to show the audience how chummy he is with Theron. Can't really blame him - it must be rare for the nerdy screenwriters to be accepted into Hollywood's elite star class.

Theron then fumbled a "surprise" live stream of Scott and Prometheus co-star Noomi Rapace from Iceland. Scott immediately got defensive about comparing Prometheus to the Alien films, saying his new film shares a bit of Alien's basic DNA but ends up being "completely different."

Scott also revealed that he filmed Prometheus in 3-D but - and this is the highlight of the panel for me - rarely delved into CG. Hallelujah! Said Scott, "If you can do it live, it's always better." Please, Hollywood, take notes!

Prometheus is in theaters in summer 2012.

Justin Timberlake Won't STFU
After a few quick questions with In Time director Andrew Nichol, Lindelof brought Timberlake and Seyfried front and center, although Timberlake only shut up long enough for Seyfried to eek out a sentence or two. Lindelof ran through some of the same questions he had for Theron, and Timberlake straight up copied Theron's joke about being attracted to the role by a paycheck. Zzzzzz.

As for the actual film, it's based on an interesting idea: Genetic engineering has "improved" to the point that no one ages past 25. But once you hit 25, you only have a year to live unless you can accrue more time from others. So time replaces dollars and cents as currency. From there on out, society's rule enforcers chase Timberlake and Seyfried around for a crime they didn't commit and opens the door for misplaced romance to ruin yet another quality film idea. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

In Time is in theaters October 28.

andy serkis
Tech Talk with the Ape Che Guevara
Lastly, Lindelof talked shop with Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt and CG star Serkis. The conversation centered mostly around Serkis and his ability to act like a non-human while being filmed with a gigantic camera helmet on his head. I'll grant that the technology is amazing. BUT…it still looks like a cartoon, just like every CG-centric film ever made.

At this point, even Lindelof seemed a little bored, but a couple of clips kept the audience awake. Some scenes of the great ape revolution in San Francisco were especially cool, as the apes kicked human ass with an utter lack of mercy. As a huge fan of the original Planet of the Apes and a few of its sequels, I know I'm going to get sucked into seeing this, just like I did with the shitty, shitty Marky Mark and Tim Burton version. Luckily, there's no way the new Apes can be any worse than Burton's take.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is in theaters August 5.

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