Sony Panel NYCC '11: 'Ghost Rider 2', 'Underworld 4' & 'Total Recall'

ghost rider spirit of vengeance panel at new york comic con 2011

Sony made a big splash at New York Comic-Con 2011, bringing presentations and footage for their upcoming slate of blockbuster movies. The biggest films fans are expecting to see at NYCC are Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Amazing Spider-Man and the Total Recall remake, so the only question is: will Sony fulfill their wishes or leave them feeling disappointed?

Read over our coverage of the Sony Panel at NYCC '11 to find out just how big the studio went to promote its superhero films to the geek masses.

The Sony Panel began with IGN’s Eric Moro revealing that – surprise! – the studio was going to be debuting more than just Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

Underworld: Awakening

  • The first footage screened was a new 3D trailer for Underworld: Awakening, introduced by Len Wiseman (who's also directing Total Recall for Sony). The trailer featured the usual scenes of Kate Beckinsale as Selene, kicking ass and taking names; there was a bit of the gimmicky “Fly at the screen” 3D moments, but on the whole, the film looked like a return to the solid offerings of the first Underworld. The new trailer also fleshed out the story, which involves Selene waking from cryo-sleep over a decade in the future, only to find that both vampires and werewolves are hunted by humans – and that she has a daughter, a powerful vamp/wolf hybrid who plays a pivotal part in the struggle for supremacy.

Total Recall

  • Up next was a sequence from the Total Recall remake (also introduced by Wiseman), which featured Colin Farrell as Douglas Quaid, the bored husband who visits a “recall” center to have false memories of adventure implanted into this mind. Things quickly go south as the recall guy (played with a wink by Harold & Kumar star John Cho) realizes that Quaid has already had his memories tampered with. Before anybody can say “WTF,” Armed troops barge in and shoot the place up – but before Quaid can even manage to piss his pants, something in his head clicks and he dispatches the entire squad single-handedly. After that, Quaid tried to find away out of the room he was trapped in, while the squad of guards use futuristic SWAT tech (such as a greneade-like object that bursts into a cluster of tiny sensors) to take Quaid down. Quaid, of course, escapes. [This is the same intro footage played at San Diego Comic-Con back in July].
  • From there we saw a montage of footage, including unfinished scenes of the futuristic world, and a hot girl-on-girl catfight between stars Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel. Yowza. There was also a great scene with Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston.

On the whole, Total Recall looks like a surprisingly good sci-fi action flick. Consider our expectations raised.

 Spirit of Vengeance

  •  The main event was the panel for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, featuring directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Before one minute of footage was even shown, we first saw a… highlight reel of the director’s balls-to-wall style of filmmaking [Same footage from San Diego Comic-Con Sony panel]. From Neveldine roller-blading on the back of high-speed vehicles, to hanging on wires over cliffs to shoot a sick slow-motion action sequence – these guys certainly fit the term “extreme filmmaking.”
  • After the director highlights, it was on to a new 3D trailer for Spirit of Vengeance. We got a little more of the story this time, which revolves around Idris Elba’s character, a warrior monk, approaching Blaze for a “sacred” mission of protection. We get fleeting looks at some of the villains in the film: this includes Ciarán Hinds as the devil (great casting), and Johnny Whitworth as the evil thug who will eventually become Ghost Rider nemesis, Blackout. There was also a quick shot of the fully-transformed Blackout, who looks pretty close to his comic book version (pale skin, white hair, check).
  • It’s clear in the trailer that this Ghost Rider will be a darker version of the character when compared to the first movie. Blaze is now slave to the demon’s hunger to dispense justice – and dispense justice he does aplenty.

In the Q&A that followed, Neveldine and Taylor dropped the following tidbits:

  • Spirit of Vengeance was made as a “PG-16” movie. They knew that they had to fit a studio rating, but they found ways to get around the MPAA mandates – WITHOUT sacrificing naughty fun like dropping “F-bombs” and showcasing some bone-crushing action and violence. Seriously, there’s a shot in the film of somebody literally breaking their leg. Parents be warned.
  • The pair have always considered Crank to be trilogy. In terms of Crank 3, their position is, as Taylor put “a matter of where and when.” Subsequent questions resulted in multiple Ghost Rider vs. Chev Cheleos suggestions.
  • Nic Cage apparently smells like vanilla cookies (joke), and is ‘one of the darkest people’ they’ve met – for those who think the actor is nothing but a walking punchline.
  • Both directors are adamant that post-conversion 3D is “what you make of it.” As Taylor explained, “Saying a post-converted 3D movie was bad, and therefore post-conversion 3D is bad, is like saying the CGI was bad in a movie you saw, and therefore CGI is bad. It’s simply not true.” They explained that they couldn’t have Possibly shot the film using 3D rigs – given the type of guerilla shooting style they work with – but that they were fully invested in making the post-conversion a strong part of the viewing experience
  • Somebody suggested that the pair should make Deadpool. They respectfully stated that somebody (Tim Miller) was already handling that – though they said fans should feel free to make their wishes known on the Interwebs.
  • They changed the bike from a chopper because “you can’t do stunt bike s*it on a chopper.”

Neveldine and Taylor definitely left the crowd applauding and feeling good about Ghost Rider 2.

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