5 Movies to Watch Before Comic-Con

The 2013 San Diego Comic-Con is just a few weeks away and what better way to get in the mood for all things geeky than to start watching some movies!  Below are five movies that can entertainingly help get you excited for Comic-Con!

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Fanboys

Back in 1998, a group of friends united by their love of Star Wars decide to undertake a fantasy road trip.  They travel West across the country to visit their Mecca – George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch – in order to break in, steal a print of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and stake their claim as the first fanboys in history to watch it. But to secure their place in the fanboy hall of fame, they’ll have to contend with bizarre bikers, a crazy pimp, a deranged group of trekkies and the quiet intensity of William Shatner.

This geek road trip movie is jam packed with fun and geeky cameos from Seth Rogen, Danny Trejo, William Shatner, Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Ray Park, Joe Lo Truglio, Jaime King, Will Forte, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith.  The main cast members include Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel and Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell.  Plus, the screenplay was co-written by Ernie Cline, author of the book Ready Player One (a must-read for the geek-minded I might add).


Trekkies poster

Trekkies

Not every idea is worth a TV series, and of these only a few are hits, spinning off sequels and eventually movies. Rarest of all is the TV show that somehow reaches beyond mere entertainment, creating some kind of looking-glass in which we see ourselves. That has been the fortunate fate of Star Trek. For 30 years the adventures of Captain Kirk, Spock, the U.S.S. Enterprise, and the subsequent crews, have been watched by millions of fans at least once a day somewhere in the world. But what clearly sets the show apart is the fan phenomenon it has created, a group of people who have come to be known as “Trekkies” or “Trekkers.”  To be a fan is one thing, but to be a “Trekkie” puts you in a whole different league.  The Star Trek actors and fans interviewed in Trekkies discuss what Star Trek has offered to the entertainment world over the years and why it has inspired such fervently passionate fans.  The subjects profiled in the documentary span the entire spectrum of fans, from non-uniform wearing doctors, scientists, and teachers to Trek-uniform-wearing Dentists, Jurists, mothers and kids. These are some of the types of people you’ll run into at Comic-Con, a place where everyone is united under one roof for their passions/interests in all things pop culture.


Paul Mondo Poster

Paul

For the past 60 years, an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) has been hanging out at a top-secret military base. For reasons unknown, the space-traveling smart ass decides to escape the compound and hop on the first vehicle out of town—a rented RV containing Earthlings Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Collings (Nick Frost).  Chased by federal agents and the fanatical father of a young woman that they accidentally kidnap, Graeme and Clive hatch a fumbling escape plan to return Paul to his mother ship. And as two nerds struggle to help, one little green man might just take his fellow outcasts from misfits to intergalactic heroes.

Paul was (briefly) shot at Comic-Con for its opening scene where Pegg and Frost’s characters attend the convention.  They get their geek on there before taking a road trip across America. Besides the movie’s convention themed bookending scenes, Paul is chock full of references to a lot of geek properties and is really entertaining and at times heartfelt.  The movie will provide the laughs as you get yourself primed for Comic-Con, especially if you are taking a road trip before or after the convention.


Galaxy Quest poster

Galaxy Quest

A popular 70’s show, Galaxy Quest, followed the brave if not reckless Captain Peter Quincy Taggart and his crew on their adventures in space.  The now cancelled show has a big enough following that the show airs as reruns, even twenty years later.  Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen), Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver) and Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman) prop up their sagging careers by making appearances at sci-fi conventions, where they grudgingly shake hands and give autographs to the show’s socially challenged following. However, it turns out that nerdy sci-fi fans aren’t the only ones watching the show; somewhere in another solar system, a group of alien rebels living under a regime of violence and repression have picked up broadcasts of Galaxy Quest, mistaking it for historical fact rather than fiction. They travel to Earth and encounter the Galaxy Quest cast, who figure that they’re just another bunch of guys who like to dress funny. However, they soon realize that they’re aren’t being hired for another autograph-signing session but for a real-life outer space rescue mission.

Galaxy Quest is a really well made Star Trek spoof that also manages to stand on its own as being one of the best sci-fi comedies.. ever.  The movie succeeds because it pokes fun at genre tropes but also embraces them lovingly and respectfully.  Like Paul, Galaxy Quest begins and ends at a convention full of nerdy people.  In fact, some of the rabid fans/convention goers in the movie play into the story in a big way and help save the day.  I mean, how cool would it be to be a huge fan of a genre show, attend a convention and see the actors who play the characters you love and then find yourself in a situation where the very show you thought was fiction becomes real and you get to help the actors/characters defeat the bad guy?

Galaxy Quest might just be the perfect Comic-Con companion movie.  In fact, when I think of Comic-Con, Galaxy Quest is the first movie that comes to mind.  It’s a hell of a fun time that embraces the fans as much as the material we go gonzo for.


comicconepisodeivafanshope

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope

Have you ever imagined a place where Vulcans and vampires get along? Where wizards and wookies can be themselves? Welcome to Comic-Con San Diego. What started as a fringe comic book convention for 500 fans has grown into the pop culture event of the year that influences every form of entertainment, now attended by over 140,000 strong. Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, a film by Morgan Spurlock, explores this amazing cultural phenomenon by following the lives of five attendees as they descend upon the ultimate geek mecca at San Diego Comic-Con 2010. The documentary contains one-on-one interviews with Comic-Con veterans who have turned their passions into professions, including Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, Frank Miller, Kevin Smith, Matt Groening, Seth Rogen, Eli Roth and others.  These interviews are shared throughout the film along with up close coverage of all the panels, parades, photos, costumes, crowds and camaraderie that make up one of the largest fan gatherings in the U.S.

This movie feels like a warm blanket of nerdy goodness that serves as an introduction to the convention for the uninitiated and as a fun reminder of all the fun and craziness of Comic-Con for those who have attended the show.


by Ben McBride

Follow Ben on Twitter @monsterpopcorn

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