Saturday, June 2, 2012

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope

Wow! It's been a while since I wrote a review? I was referencing one my movie review templates and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was the last one? In any case, I had been super busy transitioning to a new job along with a few other things in my personal life. I apologize for not being able to find time to update GroggyBot. A lot has been happening for me. Going to conventions and watching movies has been part of that. Oh, also the NBA Playoffs are on! This year I'm rooting for the Boston Celtics. If they'll get eliminated, which they won't but, if they do, I'm going with the Oklahoma Thunder! Oh right, movie review... here goes...

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope is a documentary on the convention scene directed by Morgan Spurlock. You might not recognize his name but most likely you'd recognize his work. He's the guy who directed Super Size Me. That's the movie with the guy (Morgan Spurlock) eating nothing but fast food for 30 days from one of the well known burger places; the one with the giant yellow arches. He also directed Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden and a very interesting TV show called 30 Days. 30 Days is similar to Super Size Me but, instead of Spurlock being the "test" subject, it features different people whom are willing to live outside their comfort zone for 30 days; to walk in other people's shoes. I highly recommend checking the show out.

As for Morgan Spurlock's latest documentary, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope... I went to a special screening at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, MA where the director himself made an appearance. Morgan Spurlock gave us a brief introduction before the start of the movie and he stayed after for a Q&A session. In the introduction Spurlock gave us an interesting story about Comic-Con Episode IV's conception. Stan Lee (of Marvel Comics) is in the same movie agency as Spurlock. On a fateful day in 2010, Morgoan Spurlock met Stan Lee through their agents. During the impromptu meeting Stan the Man said to Spurlock, "we should do a movie." Spurlock told Stan Lee that he's trying to film a Comic-Con movie. Shortly after their meeting they both met with Joss Whedon and that was when Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope started to take shape. The idea was to get separate camera crews to follow the different type of convention goers at the 2011 San Deigo Comic-Con. Auditions were held and the final cut of the documentary features:
  • The Comic Book Vendor: the owner of Mile High Comics, Chuck Rozanski trying to sell a rare Marvel comic, Red Raven #1
  • The Toy Collector: Camping out in line long before the convention opens its doors in order to get the Con Exclusive Galactus Figure
  • The Attendees: a couple who are seemingly attending San Diego Comic-Con but, the boy friend of this couple plans to propose to his girl friend at Kevin Smith's panel.
  • The Cosplayers: Holly Conrad and her team of cosplayers signing up for the Con's Masquerade and hoping to win first prize. While in the contest, they have a chance to be noticed by effects team and costume departments in the movie and gaming industries.
  • The Aspiring Artists: Skip Harvey and Eric Hanson treats the Con as a job fair. Showing off their portfolios to different comic book companies, hoping they can land a job as professional artists.
The documentary does a great job jumping from one story arc to the next eventually culminating with resolutions. Inter-cut between the stories are talking heads made up of convention goers and guests such as artists and celebrities. Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, Seth Green, Eli Roth, Joss Whedon, Paul Dini and Grant Morrison were some of the more well known people who showed up as the talking heads in Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope. There were a few who got cut out because of time constraints; like Felicia Day and Nathan Fillion.

What I like most about Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope is that it doesn't poke fun at the convention scene or the people who attend. In documentaries such as this, they tend to point out certain people as the "freaks" of society. Spectacles to ridicule and to be laughed at. Sure there are stereotypes at Comic Book Conventions or, at any conventions for that matter. It could be a Car Show, a Garden Show, a Work "Forum" (come on we all know it's a convention), even at Sporting Events. Yes, ESPECIALLY Sporting Events! Why is the "fat drunken guy who painted his body and face in his favorite team's color" different form the "fat comic book geek dressed up as Wolverine?" Why are the fanatics at Sporting Events more accepted? There are always the stereotypes and the super fanatics everywhere you go. We tend to forget about the passion, the devotion and love for the subject and just laugh at what we don't understand. Morgan Spurlock did a great job with this understanding in Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope and my hope as a fan is that the documentary is able to convey the fun side of conventions and that it's more than just a barrel of geeky fish for people like "Men's Fitness Magazine" to shoot down with their derogatory gun. I highly recommend Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope. Not just to people who are into comic books but to everyone. The documentary follows real life people whom we can all relate to and this makes it easy to follow without any inside comic book knowledge. It also impressively explains the different aspects of comic book fandom in under 90 minutes. Again, highly recommended! I'm not sure if the theaters are still showing Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope. It was released in theaters on April 6, 2012. There is no video release date yet. But there will be a DVD full of extras. That was one of the Q&A questions and Morgan Spurlock confirmed it!


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