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Comic Con 2014: Sony Pictures Panel: Pixels and Goosebumps

sony picturesEither Sony Pictures just could not get enough films together for panels this year or they are still recouping from the expenditures from Spider-Man’s appearance at last year’s Comic Con, but regardless, this was a pretty stripped down affair for a studio that currently has a couple square blocks devoted to a number of their upcoming features (Fury, The Equalizer, The Interview).  That said, while one of the two films presented had little to offer audiences, the other managed to have me more excited than I thought I would be.  So let’s dive in to this limited panel from one of the major studios appearing at this year’s Comic Con.

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Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny moderated this panel, which would consist solely of presentations for the upcoming video game adventure-comedy Pixels and the film adaptation based around R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps book series.  Pixels was the first film to be presented, though that may be a misleading way to phrase it.  This is an upcoming film adapted from a short film that involves classic arcade game characters invading earth.  The film stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, and Michelle Monaghan, among others.  Despite my reservations about Sandler’s film as of late, the premise does sound like a fun with, but Comic Con audiences were treated to very little.

Director Chris Columbus appeared via pre-recorded video, explaining the film’s premise and stars, along with the fact that they are still filming and have nothing to really show, except for one short clip.  This clip was a gag, featuring Josh Gad running away from a prop representing a centipede from the arcade game “Centipede”.  It was a humorous few moments, but ultimately led to nothing, as we would be treated to nothing else from Pixels, except for the fact that a Pixels-themed arcade had been set up in the Gaslamp District, outside the convention center, and people could play games with a chance to win prizes, including a walk-on role in the film.

Pixels Arrives in Theaters May 15, 2015
Check out the Original Short Film Here:

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Next up was the panel for Goosebumps, which was a lot more worthwhile.  Directer Rob Letterman and star Jack Black were on hand to present the film and I was surprised how into it I ended up being.  Following an introduction from Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine, the two came out and gave a brief overview of what to expect.  As it stands, the film is an anthology film of sorts, which incorporates a lot of the monsters from many of the Goosebumps books, with Jack Black playing R.L. Stine  There is a main story that involves characters played by Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, and Ryan Lee trying to get the monsters back into Stine’s books, but there are a lot of monsters to deal with.

A reel of footage was shown, which basically indicated the intended tone.  While the effects were not yet completed, I felt I got a good sense of what the film was trying to be, which harkened back to kid-friendly thrillers.  Films like Monster Squad and The Goonies seem like very easy comparisons and if Goosebumps can pull off something like this, then it will be a worthwhile effort.  As a person who read these books when he was younger, I can easily say I have gone from no interest to general excitement, as this seemed to be a fun take on making these books work into a feature film.  I should also note that the footage shown featured a lot of recognizable actors and a lot of references to the 50+ book series.

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There was time for some panel antics as well, with Jack Black providing plenty of entertainment for the audience.  Along with having hilarious answers to a lot of the questions asked his way by both McWeeny and the audience, he was also happy to show off some kung fu moves, after a young fan’s request.  Additionally, he shed some light on his families appreciation for old monster movies and a new appreciation for Goosebump books, after digging into some of them for the film.  This led to a discussion about favorite Goosebumps monsters, where the subject of Slappy came up.

Slappy is the ventriloquist dummy from the book Night of the Living Dummy, who will apparently be the ringleader of all the monsters in the film.  Black claimed to have taken ventriloquist lessons, leading to Slappy being put upon the table, with Black performing with him.  However, Slappy soon took on a life of his own and promptly ordered a group of 20 different monsters onto stage, where they then grabbed Black and moved outside.  It was a fun gag, with some neat monster designs, as far a Comic Con panel goes.  Regardless, it kept up the spirits of all, after the fun that came from Black and the footage for next summer’s Goosebumps.

Goosebumps Arrives in Theaters August 7, 2015

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Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS4.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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