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WonderCon 2012: Universal Pictures – Battleship and Snow White and the Huntsman

Adding more to my series of WonderCon posts, there is something to be said for what Universal has in store for audiences this summer.  This blockbuster studio’s presentations included panels for the upcoming films Snow White and the Huntsman and Battleship.  There was much to enjoy from both in regards to the footage that we were treated to, even if one panel was way more awkward to watch than the other (Hint: one involves things blowing up real good, while the other has the awkwardness of Kristen Stewart at a comic convention).  Regardless, in terms of providing a good case for both of these movies, I think the audience was able to learn enough about both upcoming blockbusters to make them much more interested than they might have been beforehand.  Read on to learn more about these films, the panels, and to find more footage.

Here is the official WonderCon panel description:

Universal Pictures: Battleship and Snow White and the Huntsman Universal Pictures will present footage and special guests from two of its upcoming epic action-adventures: Battleship (May 18) and Snow White and the Huntsman (June 1). Battleship director/producer Peter Berg will be joined by two of the star’s from the film, Alexander Skarsgård and Brooklyn Decker, to discuss the project. Snow White and the Huntsman‘s director, Rupert Sanders, will answer questions about the new movie starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth and Sam Claflin.

The first panel up was Snow White and the Huntsman.  This will be the second Snow White-related film to come out in 2012, following the colorful-but-bland-looking Mirror Mirror‘Huntsman’ looks like a decidedly darker take on the classic fairy tale, adding a level of Legend or Lord of the Rings-style of atmosphere.  The film stars Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Chrlize Theron as the evil queen, and Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsmen.  The film also features a host of great English character actors as the seven dwarfs, including Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Brendan Gleeson, Toby Jones, Ray Winstone, and Nick Frost.

While I was already familiar and intrigued by this film, based on the look and tone that was shown in the first trailer, the new clip (posted below) that the audience was treated to gave a much more exciting preview of what is to come.  The same Lord of the Rings-style was very apparent, as the battle scenes in particular definitely had a familiar feel, but the most striking elements seen were the sequences that really dialed up the fantastical elements that will be featured in the film.  I am aware that this film has quite the budget, but watching this footage makes me aware that the budget has certainly been put to use.  The special effects look great, with the work done to make the normal-sized British actors look like dwarfs seeming particularly well done.  There were also instances that involved various creatures and a shattering effect applied to the destruction of armies, which looked really cool (more of this can be seen in the new trailer, also posted below).

The actual panel for the film, which featured Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, and director Rupert Saunders, was a bit of a mess, which I think can be mainly attributed to Stewart’s presence, which is kind of unfortunate.  Basically, WonderCon seems to have a bit of a grudge against the effect that Twilight has brought to its sister convention, San Diego Comic Con, which manifested itself by way of some awkward reactions to Stewart’s answers to questions.  What made matters a bit more irritating was the fact that Saunders was not too open in regards to really addressing his process in making the film.  Fortunately, Theron was a lot more game to have fun at the panel, openly attributing her ability to play dark and villainous characters to the fact that she’s a bitch (jokingly of course).  Overall, the panel may have had some hiccups in listening to the participants awkwardly answer questions from the crowd (who didn’t help things), but at least the footage was quite interesting.

Snow White and the Huntsman opens in theaters on June 1, 2012.  Check below to see a 5-minute sizzle reel from the film:

 

And check below here to see the latest trailer for the film:

Next up in Universal’s presentation was the panel for Battleship, the upcoming science fiction/naval warfare flick based on the popular Hasbro board game.  The film stars Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna, and Liam Neeson.  It also features Alexander Skarsgård and Brooklyn Decker, who were present at the panel, along with director Peter Berg.  As some are aware, the film borrows loosely from the board game by featuring naval warfare, but adds on an alien invasion twist.

The audience was presented with two clips from the film.  The first clip was centered more around the human element of the film.  It featured Taylor Kitsch’s character interacting with Alexander Skarsgard, while also trying to woo Brooklyn Decker.  The best thing I can say about this clip is how the approach to comedy is much better than the past couple Transformers films, which try way too hard to be funny, when they don’t deal simply with robots rocking and socking each other.  The second clip was much more action heavy, as it featured Kitsch and the rest of his crew facing off against an alien in a heavy suit of armor.  The scene was a lot of fun, satisfying in how the action played out, and handled with a certain sense of style that certainly seems to evoke that of Michael Bay (in a good sort of way).

When the Q&A for the panel really kicked into gear, I was particularly satisfied with what Peter Berg had to say.  What audiences learned was how Berg originally wanted to make a movie based on In the Heart of the Sea, which is a book about the whaling ship known as the Essex, the same ship that was the basis for Moby Dick.  However, given some of the subject matter that takes place in that story, the studios were not exactly thrilled about making that movie.  Given that Berg still wanted to make some sort of naval film, when Battleship became an option for him, he felt he could make a fun popcorn flick out of it.

Berg also used this idea as a concept for his decision to add aliens to the property:  the Aliens don’t just show up randomly one day, they were invited — we contacted them.  This was followed by some explanation as to how, based around thoughts explained by Stephen Hawking in regards to research on the Goldilocks planets and NASA using SETI to send out signals.

And one last thing regarding Berg’s work on this film; he was apparently contacted by Kevin Costner, who wanted to make Berg aware of how difficult it was to work on a film based mainly on the ocean.  Overall, it was a pretty entertaining panel that spoke well for solidifying Battleship as a movie purely meant to be fun.

Battleship opens on May 18, 2012.  Check out the latest trailer for the film below:

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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.

1 Response to “WonderCon 2012: Universal Pictures – Battleship and Snow White and the Huntsman”


  1. Brian White

    Huntsman yes!
    Battleship…no!

    Great coverage. I just can’t get into Battleship