Comic-Con 2008: Disney Pictures

Disney had four films covered this year spread over two days, including the most unexpected piece of footage of the entire con.

TR2N: The biggest surprise of the entire San Diego Comic Con was the first footage from the upcoming “Tron” sequel due in 2010. Even though the film hasn’t even begun shooting yet, a very polished pre-vis sequence was shown involving a motorcycle chase between two characters across a CG high-tech landscape reminiscent of the classic film.

One rider manages to shatter the other riders bike and stands over him menacingly. Cut to Jeff Bridges meditating in a high tech white room with a giant futuristic metropolis in the background. He stands up and looks out on it with a sense of superiority. Back in the game the winning biker lifts his helmet to reveal a CG version of Bridges face and holds a blade-like disc. The biker on the ground says “You won ok, this is just a game” to which Bridges biker responds “not anymore” and savagely thrusts the disc at the man.

Race to Witch Mountain: Director Andy Fickman, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Carla Gugino to discuss the new sequel/remake of the classic “Witch Mountain” movies with Fickman saying that fans of the old movie “will find everything from Winnebagos to aliens” which should satisfy along with action and effects galore for new folks.

Fickman compares the film to the Bourne movies, the footage agrees somewhat as we saw an obvious kiddie sci-fi film mixed with car chases (one involving a train), UFOs, an alien warrior in a Syphon suit, and stern Government enforcers chasing after our heroes. Original ‘Witch’ actors Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann play supporting roles in the film.

Filming wrapped on the project three weeks ago with editing just beginning on the project. The Rock spent much time having fun with fans whether it be about his reasons for doing the project (“The paycheck. Seriously. Uh, Disney… Ka-ching”) to a joke about playing a friendly cowboy in a porn version of “The Rundown” (“Stay on for eight seconds… that was the tagline”).

Bolt: The Disney animated comedy due in the Fall had a big launch with nearly twnety minutes of footage from the film screened for the Comic-Con crowd, mostly dedicated to the Bolt dog’s early scenes when he’s playing action hero. The developers apparently used heaps of new software that caused the CG animation to more closely resemble the brush strokes of traditional animation.

Up: Pixar’s big film entry for 2009 pays homage to my second favourite Miyazaki feature “Castle in the Sky” (“Spirited Away” being #1 of course). Even though the footage wasn’t finished it was damn impressive.

The story follows 78-year-old widower Carl (Ed Asner) who promised his late wife he’d go on an adventure in South America, yet he hasn’t done it yet and is facing off with the city council as he’s the last holdout blocking their urban renewal plans. Thus he attaches countless balloons to his house and sets off in the air to his eventual destination of Paradise Falls, an obvious spin on the real life Angel Falls, that runs off from a Venezuelan tepee (flat-top mountains). The house floats down the city streets past gaping onlookers.

Another clip showed an over-eager boy scout named Russell who’s missing the merit badge for aiding the elderly walking with Carl through a jungle with the house tied to both of them. As the kid gets distracted and unhooks the house from him, Carl starts to take off.