Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope (DVD Review)6 Jul, 2012 By: John Latchem
Box Office $0.03 million
$19.99 DVD, $29.99 DVD with figurines
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some sex and drug references, language and brief horror images.
It was only a matter of time before someone made a movie about the annual pop culture mecca known as San-Diego Comic-Con International. And since that someone is Morgan Spurlock, the resulting documentary, with its clunky ‘Star Wars’ reference of a title, is a warm-hearted look at the fans who attend the annual geekfest without delving too deeply into what drives their obsessions.
As revealed in the making-of featurette, Spurlock deployed 160 people to film the convention during the 40th anniversary show in 2010. Spurlock’s cameras follow a number of attendees, each seeking a different experience. A couple of them hope to become comic book artists and hope to impress the industry veterans on hand enough to be hired on the spot. Another wants to design costumes for Hollywood and has created elaborate outfits for her friends. There’s a toy collector seeking the latest exclusives, and a young man who plans to propose to his girlfriend during the Kevin Smith panel.
This footage is interweaved with interviews from celebrities such as Smith, Joss Whedon, Eli Roth, Seth Green, Todd McFarlane, Frank Miller, Stan Lee and others who ruminate on how Comic-Con became such a pop-culture phenomenon.
There was a time the “comic” in the name meant something, when the show started as a comic book convention with fewer than 150 attendees. Now the convention draws more than 125,000 fans from all walks of pop culture, from movies to TV shows to video games, and even occasionally a comic book fan.
In the film’s most effective storyline, the owner of Denver’s Mile High Comics comes to the show praying to turn a profit, and possibly selling his rare copy of Red Raven No. 1 for $500,000 to pay off his business debts. His plight symbolizes the dichotomy of modern Comic-Con, as his weekend is spent lamenting about how no one cares about comic books anymore, and bitching about Lucasfilm dominating the loading docks.
The DVD also includes unedited interviews and deleted scenes that provide a few more fascinating tidbits.
Those who have attended Comic-Con before will recognize a lot of their own experiences here while gaining insights into other facets of the convention. The film hints at the often soul-crushing exhaustion that results from navigating the busy schedule and the sheer mass of people trying to do the same thing.
In the end, though, Spurlock’s film emerges as a celebration of the spirit of Comic-Con and a tribute to those who embrace its madness.