Our WonderCon 2006 coverage concludes with looks at the crowd pleasers of the coming year, starring animated heroes ("Cars," "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown") and super-animated couch-jumpers ("Mission: Impossible III").
Pixar presented their own Q & A panel (kind of a yawn-fest as the entire twenty year history of the company was celebrated in what felt like real time). However, most people perked up when the attention turned to "Cars," Pixar’s next animated moneymaker, and the audience was treated to two scenes from the upcoming pic.
The first scene to be screened showed virtually the entire "cast" of characters, in which the automated citizens of a dead-end town, desperate to boost their faltering economy, freak out at the first sight of out-of-towners. Now, first and foremost, those creepy Chevron commercials with talking, animated cars come to mind when you see the stars of "Cars" and the comparison almost completely ruins Pixar’s effort; I can’t watch the anthropomorphized automobiles with their giant windshield eyes without thinking about gas. Children, however (like certain animation junkies) will certainly be more forgiving, especially once they see scenes like the second clip — a NASCAR-style race that effectively draws even adults in. See the trailers here and judge for yourself.
The other animation presentation came when Fox provided a sneak peek into "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown." It was revealed that, in response to an overwhelming audience reception in the first "Ice Age," Scrat the tweaked-out cave-squirrel will have a bigger part in the sequel. Thus, we screened an entire scene starring Scrat himself, desperately chasing a nut again to no avail. This clip was a hit with the WonderCon audience; "Ice Age 2" comes out next month! Check out the teaser trailer here.
At the start of the next panel, J.J. "Alias/Lost" Abrams emerged to shock those who didn’t already know that he isn’t, in fact, a 50-year-old man but is very young, and very spry. He bounced around the stage before presenting two clips from the upcoming threequel "Mission: Impossible III."
The first clip gave a glimpse at bad guy Philip Seymour Hoffman, who — believe it or not — may actually make a compelling, intelligent, and intimidating villain for super agent Ethan Hunt. In it, Hoffman’s bad guy is being interrogated by Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) in the cargo hold of an airplane as Hunt’s partner Luther (Ving Rhames) looks on calmly. Despite being bound to a chair and in no position to make threats, Hoffman is telling Cruise how he’s going to exact his revenge on him; Cruise becomes enraged and drags Hoffman to the plane’s drop hatch and opens the doors, and Hoffman is left prone, staring straight down into the atmosphere as wind rushes into the plane.
The second clip was an extended action scene (part of which we get a glimpse of in the trailer, when Tom Cruise is blasted through the air by an explosion and thrown sidelong into a car). This action scene, in one word: awesome. I wasn’t so sure I’d see "MI: III" when it comes out, but now I might consider giving Katie Holmes’ baby daddy a second thought…
One last look at the exhibition hall at WonderCon 2006…