Aug 02, 2013 02:37 PM EST

A Head-Popping Film With Friends (Predator 3D at SDCC)

A Head-Popping Film With Friends (Predator 3D at SDCC)
When the water rises in a creek, it rushes. Allowing for the poor analogy of crowds of water molecules and crowds of people, you could not reach the same conclusion on the main exhibit hall floor of San Diego Comic-Con International, though 2013 seems to be flowing more smoothly than did the crowds of 2012. Whether this is due to greater excitement over this year's events, or lesser, I cannot say.

East-of-center is devoted to major studios' ever more elaborate "booths", amalgamations of spectacle that have quite grown beyond this unassuming descriptor. One of these is our destination. It is a sort of box, with five sides, done up in a jungle setting, with two fairly ordinary televisions playing something, I cannot say what yet.

In the back, there is the identifier, in the stark austerity of the post-classic movie poster form. I do not quite know what to make of it at first.

"Has the man himself", I think then, "returned to this classic showcase of his talents, as his modern partner-in-crime has so recently?" No, it cannot be; he does not look so much the same anymore.

I receive a pair of plastic glasses, and I understand. I put them on and look at the TV. They are really quite good; I can make out the intended detail without the requisite headache, an experience which has repeatedly eluded me in the 3D cinema.
Predator 3D
A charming centerpiece for any social occasion.
The film: A mess of jungle scenes with our stars walking around, shooting at things, and having discussions about walking around and shooting at things. Despite, or perhaps because of, the huge variety of depths of all the foliage, this comes off quite well.

But never mind that; there is someone I must meet!

Oh, there is a Predator there, pleased-to-meetcha as a Predator could possibly express. We pause momentarily for photos; how many Predators will you have the opportunity to meet, anyway?

You know, we really have become such fast friends, ever since that whole xenomorph incident. What is it that leads us to befriend this former stuff-of-nightmares over the other? Perhaps it is that we recognize so much more of ourselves in them than in the xenomorphs. We feel: the joy of the hunt, the thrill of the chase. The glee of indulging in malice, because it is there. What could a xenomorph, driven only by its need to feed and reproduce, no hate, possibly share with us?
Predator 3D SDCC Fox Booth
FlickDirect head honcho Nathan pals around with an old war buddy.

I suppose this event is sort of like one of the better Civil War reenactments, then. Better, anyway, than that poor showing made a few years ago. Union bandannas for sale, Confederate bandannas for sale, all is in good fun; it is just sport to us.

You may even have a model made of your head on a spine held in hand by a similarly miniature Predator model. This is the real attraction of the booth. We commemorate events formerly considered horrific as amusing novelty, because how else are we to remember? I know I will remember this long after anything else.

You sit in front of a bank of repurposed and carefully positioned SLR lenses. Canon EF 50mm; I have one of those. Hold still; one shot, maybe two, and it's off to the rendering heuristics!
The film: There's a scene with a helicopter flying over the jungle. It is clearly a helicopter-shadow flying over a jungle-shadow. I respect this limitation more than I would respect trying to reshoot or otherwise severely alter the original film; anyway, we quickly cut to the chopper interior, which works out much better. I don't think you'll have many complaints about this film if you're a 3D aficionado, unless you quite unreasonably expect them to deliver a message back in time to the original film crew, "shoot this in 3D!"
But never mind that; the render is done! I cannot get the hair right, but it is otherwise eerily accurate, not to mention eerie in general, and so it is highly satisfactory.
Predator 3D Photo Booth SDCC 2013

I will have to grow my hair out.


FlickDirect, Stephen Compall
Stephen Compall, Editor
Ostensibly a programmer from faraway places, Stephen recognizes that making up your mind about movies and television is a simple matter of imposition in the form of review, and he who controls minds controls the world. No word yet on how that second part is progressing. After seeing many films, a few good, for FlickDirect, he returned to faraway places, but still checks in from time to time.
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