Movie Review: Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope

Comic-Con is said to be a mecca, where nerdom’s royals and their fan’s all come to geek out. Unlike other conventions or conferences based on pop culture, it is less about the fans paying homage to the guests of honor, than it is about EVERYONE paying homage to the culture. You may bump into Joss Whedon at Mile High Comics, or rub elbows with Stan Lee on the floor of the main hall…Who knows…it could happen.

I have been eagerly awaiting this movie. I am a fan of Morgan Spurlock’s work since Super-Size Me, and clearly the material that this documentary has to offer is in my wheelhouse. It is a look at the San Diego Comic-Con from the eyes of the fans, the collectors, the potential profiteers, the workhorses, and the mega success stories of the “geek” universe. I am, at least, three of those things (I will let you ponder which…it should not that hard).

The very first thing I noticed about this movie, is that it is a bit of a departure from Spurlock’s other documentaries, in that he does not show up or speak a word the entire time. He works behind the camera, and lets the film focus on two groups of interviewees; the “average Joe” Comic-Con attendee, and the “celebrity” Comic-Con attendee. Furthermore, the content often alternates them and blurs the lines between the two. This, more than anything else, showed me that Spurlock is not only the documentarian for this film, he is a true fan. He saw the need to put the “fans” and the “celebrities” on a level playing field, which is what the concept of Comic-Con is all about. Remember “EVERYONE paying homage to the culture”? Furthermore, the movie was produced (along with Spurlock) by Joss Whedon, Harry Knowles and Stan Lee himself, to name a few…Who ELSE should have put it together?

The movie follows a few groups of “citizens” (The artists, the designers, the collectors, etc), on their individual paths to SDCC 2010. We follow them to potfolio reviews, Masquerade, the Hasbro lot, various creators panels, and even a wedding proposal. Salt & peppered through the “narrative” is random interviews with celebrities and fans alike, explaining what Comic-Con has meant to them, specifically. We get to hear Kevin Smith (a great deal), Seth Rogan, Eli Roth, Seth Green, Guillermo Del Toro, Paul Dini, Stan Lee, Joss Whedon (and so many more) geek out just like anyone else. Hearing Whedon, now that he is one of the biggest directors on the planet, talking about his first time at SDCC is especially endearing. And Smith is very funny acting out telling his 11 year old self that he would one day be rubbing elbows with Stan Lee. There’s a story that Seth Rogan tells, about seeing three Ninja Turtles (fuck you, Michael Bay), standing around looking at their watches…Finally the last Turtle shows up and its all “Dude you’re late…We’re three Ninja Turtles here, we look like a bunch of jerks.” Very good stuff, here.

My point (if you haven’t gotten my blatent delivery on the matter) is that you really get the feel that these guys are NO different than you when it comes to SDCC…I mean, sure, they’re a bit different, but you get what I am saying.

I thought this movie was great. It was funny, and fun…heartbreaking at points, and poignant at times, but overall: honest. And in the world of nerd, that is the one thing you better be, if you want to attract the masses. See it. I give it 5 out of 5 whteverwegots…

Its playing now, at limited theaters, and everywhere on Video OnDemand.

here’s the trailer:

and here’s a cool live stream with some of the film’s creators (you can access the stream by clicking “jump to beginning” in the top left of the video).

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