WONDERCON 2019 [Panel Review]: Warner Bros./New Line Presentation!

Kevin “Pastor” Palma
@eggrollko

WARNER BROS./NEW LINE PRESENTATION (Saturday) – Typically, the major movie studios tend to save their movie panels for San Diego, but WB/New Line Cinema presented their goods at WonderCon.

Given that Shazam is arriving this weekend, you’d think that the soon-to-be-hit would be the centerpiece of this presentation. But with so many early screenings and already positive reviews (including our own right here!), is there really anything they could have shown that would have made the experience memorable, anyway? Ultimately, Shazam closed out the panel with an extended cut of the scene of Captain Marvel in the liquor store. Yet that segment was not the highlight of the panel; the true showstopper was Godzilla.

JUMP SCARE

The panel began with a quick presentation and trailer of Anabelle Comes Home, the next movie in the Conjuring franchise line. Let this be known: I’m not a huge horror fan, particularly of the supernatural subgenre. Despite the silly premise — pushed as the catalyst for the events of this movie specifically — The Conjuring “types” have always done an excellent job of creating a tense and terrifying atmosphere once you’ve bought into the utter ridiculousness.

The trailer shows people exactly what they’re in for, in case anyone didn’t know at this point: an abundance of out-of-context jump scares that absolutely terrified many in the audience. As a matter of fact, there were actually a few members of the audience around me who were visibly shaken and some even walked out of the arena at that point.

KING GHIDORAH

Following the Anabelle segment was Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Writer/Director Michael Dougherty and co-writer Zach Shields spoke about the love and admiration they have for Godzilla. Dougherty specifically spoke about treating these monsters as ancient, neither good or bad, deities; according to Daugherty, how Godzilla reacts to humanity is determined by whether or not we are good or bad. He also went so far as to say that GKotM is biblical, as even the scene (from the trailer) of Ghidorah standing on a volcano was directly inspired by the Book of Revelations.

The creators also detailed how they brought these monsters to life. One example for the Ghidorah motion capture saw them tying three men together in mo-cap suits and having them react independently in order to give all three heads a personality of their own. Shockingly, that came through in the extended footage that showed a close, detailed look at Ghidorah rising for the first time with Godzilla arriving to confront him. The eventual stare gave me chills, and I immediately understood Daugherty’s reference to these monsters as deities. The King of the Monsters footage was majestic and breathtaking to watch on a large screen.

We then got to see Ghidorah attack humanity with what I could only really describe as a live action version of a Hyper Beam, for anybody familiar with Pokemon. It may sound silly to associate those two, but that shouldn’t take away from the majesty of watching these two face-to-face.

At some point later in the panel, someone from the audience asked about Godzilla vs. Kong to which Daugherty claimed was currently in production. He then retorted with a relevant question, “What is a King to a God?” That line alone should tell you about the reverence they approached with this project. 4.5/5 Dragon Heads.

-Kevin Palma

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