Hall H Thursday Roundup: Dreamworks Animation, Snowden, and Valerian

Emily Solomon ’17 / Emertainment Monthly President
Notorious for lines that seem to stretch forever and for some of the biggest, most earth-shattering announcements ever made in the entertainment world (who can forget the 2010 Marvel panel?), Hall H is the biggest panel space at Comic Con International.
On Thursday, four different films cycled through the dais, showing new footage and offering attendees the chance to get insight direct from the cast and crew. There was a bit of everything: from the uplifting Trolls, the delightfully absurd The Boss Baby, the undeniably political Snowden, and finally the sci-fi wonder of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Let’s get to it.


Trolls by Dreamworks Animation
Image courtesy Dreamworks
Starting off the morning on a bright note, Trolls comes from the minds behind Shrek (Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn). It promises a solid cast; Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake lead as Princess Poppy and Branch, respectively, backed by the voices of Zooey Deschanel, Jeffrey Tambor, and Christine Baranski just to name a few.
With an uplifting message—be happy, show your true colors, be kind—Trolls looks to offer moviegoers a respite from the grim outside world that seems so unavoidable as of late. One way it plans on doing this is through it’s music: the soundtrack is produced by Timberlake himself and includes talent like Ariana Grande and Icona Pop, and also revisits old classics like “Sound of Silence” and “True Colors.”
For being based on a toy collection that doesn’t always get the best reception, Trolls is poised to win over a lot of hearts later this year with compelling music, performances, and an ability to offer solace from a world that sometimes seems darker by the day.

Trolls premieres November 4.


The Boss Baby

Boss Baby by Dreamworks
Image courtesy Dreamworks
Dreamworks Animation pulled out a surprise panel today by bringing out The Boss Baby after their presentation of Trolls—the featured panelists were director Tom McGrath (Madagascar, Megamind), producer Ramsey Naito (whose credits stretch back to films like the The Rugrats Movie and The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie), and none other than the boss baby himself, Alec Baldwin. Coming out next March, The Boss Baby asks the basic question of “what if your little baby brother could talk?”
Hearing Baldwin’s voice coming from a small baby is at first bizarre—there’s no getting around that. Based on the footage presented, though, Baldwin handles the role with aplomb such that the adjustment period is short, and the payoff is huge. It’s self-aware and cheeky, much like many of the Dreamworks Animation offerings to come before it. With Trolls and The Boss Baby presenting one after the other, Dreamworks Animation got to flex their muscles by showing their range.

The Boss Baby premieres in March 2017.



Snowden film

Snowden brought filmmaker Oliver Stone to San Diego Comic Con for the first time, and with him came what’s likely to be one of the most politically-charged panels of the weekend.
Grappling with the NSA leaks of 2013 at the hands of whistleblower (and now exiled) Edward Snowden, Snowden has the difficult task of finding the delicate balance between drama and accuracy. “I think we represent the government’s position,” said Stone of the depictions in Snowden.
Stone called the film a “larger than life” depiction of what’s going on today in the realm of security, privacy, and the technology behind it all. Shailene Woodley, playing Snowden’s girlfriend Lindsey, stated that the world knows Snowden’s story “as the mass media wants us to know it.”
The cast spent much of the time wrestling with questions about patriotism, what it means to be a hero, and what kind of responsibility the government should take on.
The trailer shown in Hall H, if nothing else, is compelling, and gave us a glimpse at how these events unfolded—how it changed an entire country, and one man’s life. If the film can deliver and lend this very real—and in some ways, still ongoing—story a level of authenticity, then it will have done well indeed.

Snowden premieres September 16.


Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian movie
Image courtesy EuropaCorp
Arguably the most anticipated panel in Hall H today, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, directed by Luc Besson (of The Fifth Element fame) was met with undeniable excitement. Based on the classic cornerstone Valérian and Laureline comics, there’s a certain gravitas to this universe.
The Bessons (Besson directed while his wife, Virginie, produced) brought a slew of concept art to Hall H, featuring aliens and cityscapes and spaceships, each distinct and unique from the last. The level of detail and the design choices were impeccable—if the CGI and art direction can deliver on the promise of the concept art, then viewers are in for a treat.
Other highlights include glimpses of Dane Dehaan and Cara Delevigne in their respective roles of Valerian and Laureline. From the handful of clips shown today, their relationship looks to be one of the most compelling aspects of the film.

Valerian premieres July 17, 2017.
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