GB.NET NOTE: This is an excerpt from the entire blog from the original website. Visit the link above for the entire commentary on SDCC 2006.
Maybe it’s because I’m used to Saturdays at Comic-Con, but Friday had seemed quiet by comparison, a ‘small’ crowd of only a few tens of thousands. But Saturday was the normal push your way through the masses and pray you’ll get to the panel on time craziness. A friend of mine compared it to being on the 405 freeway only with people instead of cars!
While I’d given up on attending panels for the most part at Comic-Con after one too many experiences of lining up for hours and not getting in, since I had a weekend to spread out my schedule this time, I decided the number one panel I wanted to go to was the 300 panel. What’s 300? Frankly, my dears, I didn’t give a damn. I didn’t care that the panel featured Frank Miller, re-inventor of the modern graphic novel, or “God” as one attendee referred to him. Nor did I care that the director of this movie version of Miller’s graphic novel 300 was also in attendance. No, I was there simply for the eye candy. Err... I mean... actors. Dracula 2000’s own Gerard Butler (let’s please forget he ever mangled the Phantom) and Lord of the Rings’ Faramir, David Wenham, were on this panel. To heck with whatever the movie was *about*, I’d happily watch anything that paired the two of them! But rather shockingly, as soon as the room (of 6,500 seats) filled, the lights went down and the trailer for the film ran... and blew my freakin’ mind! In fact, the trailer was so good, even Gerard asked to see it again... so they ran it again, and again the crowd went nuts!
This was a visual feast – dark, artistic, violent and sexual – this is a typical Frank Miller R-rated piece. And according to those who’d read the original graphic novel, as well as the director’s constant reassurances, it was apparently very close to the style of the original story of Spartan soldiers and kings of two thousand or so years ago. Fans of Miller’s Sin City who knew the writer had ‘guest-directed’ on that work, asked if Miller had done the same with this film – he said he had not, he’d left it in the director’s capable hands. The director told stories of how during production he’d slavishly kept to the look of the original source material and when any crewmember suggested changes, the director would just point to the original and say, “Just do that.” The trailer incorporated music from Nine Inch Nails, but the director said the soundtrack would be a mix of rock and more classic movie score. For the fight sequences, there were a lot of speed changes from slo-mo to sped-up incorporated to make the heroes seem super-human, though Gerard joked that he simply was that good! He told stories of all the hours of training he had to go through to beef up for the part and handle the fight scenes and joked he hadn’t worked out a day since they finished filming in January. He and David both acknowledged their initial discomfort with their costumes (essentially just codpieces), but they eventually got used to it, though Gerard mentioned how his sword kept getting caught in his cape in the fight scenes. At the audience’s request, they ran the trailer one more time at the end of the panel. It was still amazing, though I later admitted to a friend that gorgeous as that trailer was, the reason I want to see the film is still Gerard and David and that if it had starred anyone else, I’d probably skip it.
We’d been given swag tickets to redeem down at the studio’s booth in the dealers’ room, so that’s where I headed once the panel was over. Rather unimpressively, the panel swag was simply a movie pin. Hmph. Make me walk all the way down there for a pin. Grumble. While I was down at the booth, though, I noticed there was to be a Gerard signing there later in the afternoon. I asked one of the booth employees if it was a ticketed event or could we just line up. I was told no ticket was required. Though in typical Comic-Con fashion, when I arrived for the signing, I was told we could line up... if we had a ticket. We could also line up without a ticket, but he wouldn’t be signing if you didn’t have a ticket. Uh, yeah, okay. So after a few moments of standing in a non-line for a non-signing, I gave up. And it was a good thing, too...