I got to cover Hall H at the Con today! Not too many dull moments at that place!
Disney brought out its big guns and provided plenty of surprises during its trio of panels in Hall H on Thursday afternoon.
Panel moderator Chris Hardwick first brought out Tim Burton to discuss the upcoming stop-motion animated film “Frankenweenie.” The movie, an update on Burton’s original 1984 live action film, tells the story of a kid who successfully brings his dead dog back to life.
“It stemmed from me having a dead dog as a child,” Burton said. “I wanted to mix all of those elements: the horror, the humor, the heart of the story. It’ a really personal project for me.”
The exclusive scenes shown to the Hall H crowd suggest Burton’s signature dark comedic style and an eccentric cast of characters, some of which are based upon kids Burton knew when he was in school.
According to Burton, this was the version of the film he always wanted to make.
“I was happy to do it in live action but, for me, this is the more pure version of it.”
Next on stage was “Evil Dead” and “Spider-Man” director Sam Raimi, who introduced his origin story “Oz: The Great and Powerful.”
James Franco plays the titular wizard, who starts out as a naive circus magician.
“It’s a story of a selfish man,” Raimi said. “Oz is like a land of second chances for him.”
A Con-exclusive trailer for the film showed off some visually stunning sequences and impressive 3D.
Stars like former San Diegan Michelle Williams, who plays Glenda, and Mila Kunis, who plays a character name Theodora, were also on hand to discuss the film. Kunis appreciated the realistic visual detail that went into creating the fantasy land.
“The sets were real, and they were tangible,” Kunis said. “It wasn’t a green screen. It was magical going to work.”
The film is more heavily based upon Frank L. Baum’s original books than the classic 1939 movie.
“We couldn’t use images or ideas straight from the original film,” Raimi said. “We had to base what we did upon the books.”
Next on stage was Rich Moore, who introduced his upcoming animated ode to classic video games “Wreck-It Ralph.”
Moore showed off 10 minutes of the film, which tells a tale of a longtime video game villain who wants to be good for a change. The footage really showcased the visual splendor of the animation, replete with clever visual references to classic video games like “Pac Man,” “Donkey Kong” and “Sonic the Hedgehog.”
John C. Reilly, who plays Ralph, and Sarah Silverman, who plays a character named Penelope, were brought out to discuss the film.
According to Reilly, doing voiceover work was an exciting challenge.
“It’s been an amazingly creative process,” Reilly said. “We did a lot of improvisation, and it was pretty cool. We didn’t have to worry about how we looked, which was great.”
Filled with big stars, major announcements and exclusive footage, Disney showed its fans that their Hall H panel was worth the long wait.