Earlier today I had the extreme pleasure of being able to attend the US Premiere of Morgan Spurlock’s touching Documentary entitled Comic-Con Episode Four: A Fan’s Hope.  The film follows a week in the life of 7 individuals as they attend the biggest gathering of geeks and fanboys on the planet known as Comic-Con.

With Spurlock’s involvement, this film could easily been have been an 85 minute diatribe on the awkward social skills of basement dwellers, but instead, Spurlock abandons that sort of harsh critiquing that made Super Size Me so famous, and lets the film and its subjects speak for themselves.  Interestingly enough, the only bit of Spurlock you see is is name in the credits.  Separating each disparate story are clips of fandom icons such as Kevin Smith, Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, and Frank Miller, who each give their unique perspective on this one week a year when nerds can just be who they are, free of judgement.

Every member of the cast goes into the convention hoping to take something away, whether it be an award from the Masquerade, or a limited edition Galactus figure.  You find yourself rooting for these underdogs, hoping that one guy can get enough money from comic sales to clear his debt, or others to get noticed by the industry and realize their dreams of working in the business.  But the cruel reality is that while Comic-Con may be rooted in the unlimited possibilities of the Fantastic, it can also serve as a crushing reality check, and that’s exactly what we see in some cases.

Then there is this other to Comic Con which people like Harry Knowles are quick to bring up.  Every year the convention brings in over 150,000  people, which makes the Convention attendees a target for big business.  More and more companies are starting to view fandom as a bottomless goldmine, and have already begun disparaging fans by selling them useless trinkets like Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet, and others.  Then there is also the unfortunate fact that for the last few years, the convention has been allowed to grow to the point where it no longer is just about comic books and super heroes, and instead includes just about anything with a large enough fan base.  Do you really think a Vampire Diaries or Mythbusters panel is what Shel Dorf had in mind when he started San Diego Comic Con in the 70s?  I think not.

One of the worst things that happens to us as we progress in adulthood, is our loss of imagination.  As children we didn’t care if we look silly wearing tights and a cape, we just liked pretending to be pirates and superheroes and we were better for it!  As we grow we are told that dreaming is silly, and that imagination is a tool that is meant to be abandoned on the road to adulthood.  The truth is, when we make fun of the people that we see in films like Comic-Con, it’s not because we think down on them. It’s not because we think their stupid or childish.  It’s because we are jealous.  We’ve lost that sense of freedom and happiness that came only with the ability to pretend.  We’ve lost our optimism and hope.  Movies like this make you want to drop 1000 dollars on that Voltron costume you’ve always wanted to make and just run around and have a good time.  It’s a film that will bring both tears of elation and sadness as you watch these 7 individuals conquer their fears, and go up against a world that is a million times larger than them.  If you’ve ever been told to grow up, or that you’re to old for something, then this movie is one that most certainly will speak to you.

Now I’m not too certain as to when we’ll be seeing this film released on the National market, but I can assure you that with Spurlock behind the helm, you will almost certainly get a chance to check it out in the coming year.

 

Thanks to Jack Plunkett for the photo and all the other awesome pics he took throughout the fest!

Crew & Stars: Harry Knowles, Thomas Tull, Skip Harvey, Tova Goodman, James Darling, Chuck Rozanski and Holly Conrad at the Premiere of Comic-Con Episode IV

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Ty Cooper lives in Asia and spends most his time drifting through the streets of Taiwan imagining he is Shotaro Kaneda in Akira. Once a year he takes on the unyielding snow storm that is Sundance and attempts to capture a glimpse at what the upcoming year in film has to offer. Ty first started writing for HeyUGuys after SXSW in 2010.