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Comic-Con Sees Stars, 2D Officially Back at Disney

In an animation panel, Kevin Koch, head of the Animation Guild, said that a new 2D film, titled, THE FROG PRINCESS, is in development at Disney. Moreover, Eric Goldberg, who has returned to Disney to work on animated shorts, said that LITTLE MERMAID directors Ron Clements and John Musker will be helming the film. Additionally, Chuck Williams will be heading up a shorts programing at the Mouse House.

In Hall H, Warner Bros. started the day with a panel on their adaptation of Frank Millers 300. In addition to Miller, the panelists included stars Gerard Butler and David Wenham as well as director Zack Snyder (DAWN OF THE DEAD remake). The fans were treated to the first look at the red band trailer for the hardcore film about the death of the Spartans.

Next was a big treat for fans having Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino on hand to talk up their new double feature film, GRIND HOUSE. A host of stars from the film were on hand including Rosario Dawson and Rose McGowen. However, besides seeing the very first footage from Rodriguezs PLANET TERROR, Tarantino announced that Kirk Russell will play the villain in his film, DEATH PROOF.

Next up for comic fans was the SPIRIT panel where director Frank Miller spoke about staying true to Will Eisners vision of the character and its timeless world.

Disney was on board next with a look at the extended addition of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. Producer Mark Johnson shared some of the new footage and vfx being worked on for the special DVD release. As well as promising the fans that PRINCE CASPIAN will be just as exciting as the original NARNIA adventure. For fans and professionals, the next segment of the panel was a real treat. ILMs John Knoll shared with the audience a how-to presentation on the visual effects done for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MANS CHEST. Knoll went into ILMs process of developing the look and movement of Davy Jones and his crew. Eliciting big laughs from the crowd were his blooper reel, featuring what can happen when cloth simulations go array or a programmer enters in the wrong numbers and Jones tentacle beard takes on more life than was intended. Yet, the crowd was really in for a treat as Knoll shared the premiere trailer for PIRATES 3, featuring new characters, which include a pirate from Singapore played by Ken Watanabe.

Sony closed out the big panels for the day with a look at GHOST RIDER and SPIDER-MAN 3. For GHOST RIDER, fans not only got a peek at the latest f/x filled trailer, but got the chance to ask questions of director Mark Steven Johnson and stars Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes. Cage told the assembled masses that Ghost Rider was one of his favorite comics when he was a kid and is one that is very dear to his heart. Johnson added that the films delay was partly due to the new techniques that had to be developed to create the characters signature flaming skull. However, the crowd went nuts when Sam Raimi come on stage to introduce the full trailer for SPIDER-MAN 3, which was in such an early stage that many of the visual effects shots were still in their previz versions. The trailer features the first quick glimpse of the villain Venom in full CG effect. After that the entire cast was brought on stage, including Tobe McGuire, Kirsten Dunst, Bryce Dallas Howard, Topher Grace and Thomas Haden Church.

Saturday at Comic-Con was a huge day for fans and professionals with the event reaching its attendee capacity of 125,000 people, leaving some desperate fans out in the sweltering heat of San Diego without the chance to enter the Mecca of fandom.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
Creator of Rick's Flicks Picks