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Well for starters its Mark Hamill walking around, pretending to be a super comic book nerd that centers his attention around a 1940's circa comic book, that Mirimax has recently picked up to be made into a modern day movie. The production company wants it to be bloody and action packed, Donald Swan (Hamill) wants it to be more like the older comic he has grown to love and adore. So the movie company hires him as an "expert" to go around and get the average joes "perceptive" on this would be movie (which is not real people). What makes this mock-umentary so neat is that big names like Stan Lee, Bruce Campbell, and Kevin Smith play along like its the real deal, and talk to Hamill like he isnt Hamill. Even the fans don't rush him yelling Skywalker or anything. Overall its fun to watch, and funny to see the conventions he goes too, and naturally Kevin Smith is pure gold!! A must own for any comic book fan.
This film really captures the essence of what it's like to be in the
convention\ comic book world. And not just San Diego, but all of the other
cons around the country. The party scene was really great, I was laughing
all the way through because the characters and discussions going on there
were like so many of the after hours parties I've gone to over the years.
Jim Cummings was fantastic- I can remember having discussions with 'that
guy' at each of his phases, from pompous pontificating professor to
But Mark and the rest of the creative team not only captured the spirit and essence of comic collectors and conventions, they also deliver a hilarious tale of the epic clash between the studios and the fans. There's so much more here than just a documentary about what comic book fans are like- there's a real story- and it's real good.
It was also highly enjoyable to see all the terrific voice actors step onto the screen. Jess Harnell was my favorite.
A big thank you to all the Creative team for taking the time and having the heart to do it right and see you all for Comic book: The Sequel!
I give the movie itself 6 stars and the DVD extras 8 stars. This movie
has its heart in the right place and does assemble some of the best
voice talent around. It's great to see these people in front of the
camera. I only wish that they had added some writers into the mix. This
movie is mostly ad-libbed in the style of "Spinal Tap" and other
Christopher Guest movies so some of the jokes work, and others don't.
Since everyone is trying to be "realistic" almost all of the jokes are
subtle so the inattentive viewer is likely to miss them.
I found that the DVD extras are the best part of this DVD. There are two disks, so there are a lot of extras. There are lots of helpful bios in case you missed some of the many cameos of industry insiders and other "masked" performers. The deleted scenes are actually pretty good (for deleted scenes). The best part is the real convention panel with all of the talent on stage telling stories and doing voices.
Bottom line, if you love comics and animation, and even video games, then see this movie just to learn about the talent. Use IMDb to see what some of these people have done and you will be amazed. If you aren't into comics then this movie might be interesting to you just to learn about a different culture.
The movie was rather odd, but it did have its moments. It works better if one really knows comics, vintage collectibles, the movie industry, and the actors involved (especially the ones known for voiceovers for popular shows). For those heavily into science fiction and comics, it was fun to pick out the people making cameos, including the "Men Behind the Mask." Mark Hamill's approach showed respect and reverence for the fan base, as well as poking a healthy dose of fun at the movie industry. The DVD has a lot of extra information including some of the panels these talented actors chaired. The movie was made for the fans, but unlike some movies of this ilk, they showed respect instead of making it a geeks on parade feature.
The hearts are in the right place and the fun is found in details and indirect references to the goings on in the comic book adaptation machine. Fans and non-fans might find fun in it, and I cheer Mark Hamill for initiating this. The one small caveat is that the viewer should be someone who is aware, for example, of Kevin Smith's screenplay for Superman Lives. If that kind of detail isn't as interesting for you to follow, or if you genuinely care more about "news reports" that followed every detail of the "Bennifer" situation a while back, then stick to the usual reality TV that is clogging the airwaves. This movie introduces us to a few people we might not recognize, but who are revealed in extra features to be great unseen celebrities and artists. I hope Hamill keeps directing, and perhaps tries something genre related and with a tripod. Good stuff. I'll show my DVD enthusiastically.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wow, I must say this is one of the more satisfying purchases I have made
my DVD collection. I believe this is a straight-to-video production,
because it really is to niche for theaters in the first place. But Hamill
and Co. really make this "mockumentary" through the San Diego ComiCon
Hamill is a believable History teacher, who is a huge fan of comics and especially the Commander Courage character (made up character for this show). Commander Courage is basically a take on Captain America. The story is, back in the 40s and 50s, Courage used to take on the Nazis or Communists, etc...He was a hero to all the children who read his books. Now he has been reborn, as Codename Courage, and fights terrorism. Hamill, as Don Swan, is hired by the people who are making the Codename Courage movie and is sent to document the announcement of the movie at the San Diego ComiCon. Swan uses this to promote the Golden Age Commander Courage and hopes to make the original character the basis for the movie.
There is a lot of very good acting for something so unscripted. I've seen more errors and gaffes in major motion pictures than in this one. I'm very impressed how seamless the picture was presented. You really start to root for Swan, he really shows his zest and enthusiasm for comics in a very believable way. In my opinion, the movie really seems to get going a little too late. By the time it's over you wish it could continue a little longer. The ending is a bit disappointing (SPOILER ALERT)I would have liked to see what becomes of the movie, if Codename Courage still gets made, or if Commander Courage gets the nod.
For any fans of comic books or even collectible hobbies in general, this is a fun movie. If you've ever been to a major collectible show, this is also a fun watch. The DVD also has extras that make the whole Don Swan and Commander Courage even more believable. Check this one out, it's worth it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
POSSIBLE MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD
My wife and I have been to San Diego Comic Con quite a few times, including the year this movie was "filmed". We were, in fact, in the audience for the final scenes. So we were particularly interested in finally seeing this movie.
Mark Hamill, an avowed comic book fan, has been a constant presence at SDCC for years. We met him there when he was promoting the release of his own comic book, and have heard him speak several times. His love of the genre is obviously genuine.
And he intended this "mockumentary" to be "a love letter to all this" (his words). Whether he succeeded is arguable; looking at the other comments, it is clear people are sharply divided. I will say this does not strike me as a movie you will enjoy unless you are in on the joke, can recognize the players, and have some insight into the comics world. (In one scene, Mark's character asks if he can take a seat at a table already occupied by 3 people. One of them refuses, saying, "Move along, son." The scene would be meaningless unless you recognize the man speaking as David Prowse, who played Hamill's father in the Star Wars movies. And the 2 others at the table are also actors from the series.)
Perhaps it would have been better if Mark had not played the lead himself -- even with a beard and eye-magnifying nerd glasses, it proved impossible (for us at least) to disassociate Don Swan from Mark Hamill. When Swan is interacting with the celebs making cameo appearances, we always thought, "These people are hanging out with Mark Hamill, who is pretending to be a nerd." (To Mr. Hamill's credit, he obviously considers himself a nerd as great as any other. He does not poke mean fun at comic book fans; he certainly presents types, but I'm here to tell ya those types exist...) Because of this, it is hard to feel for Don Swan as a character.
Something else which served to keep me distanced from the film was the camera work. Mark's Swan character is being followed about by a camera crew throughout the film. But the camera crew is also being filmed... The POV shifts abruptly between the two cameras. The first time it happens it is quite jarring; after that it is merely dizzying. This directorial/editing decision made it very difficult for me to ever become immersed in the film.
For anyone who has ever attended a comic book convention there is certainly a familiarity factor at work. This is especially strong for those who have been to the Comic Con: "Hey -- I've shopped at that booth, talked to that person, sat by that pillar..." (Though the film never gives a true impression of just how big the Con is, nor how crowded it becomes -- most of the scenes were obviously done early on in the con when relatively few people are in attendance. Later on the scenes would have been impossible to shoot, with 50,000 people about.)
Mark gathered together some friends who just happen to be some of the greatest voice talent in the business. Everybody tries hard, but excellence in voice talent does not necessarily translate into screen presence, and all too often we found ourselves watching past the actors to see if anyone we knew was walking past.
So appreciation of the movie itself is a matter of personal taste, and how it impacts upon you. The extras, however, are a gem which can be appreciated by anyone!
Mr. Hamill has sometimes been the target of criticism for, after early screen success, having to "stoop to voice-over work" on cartoons. I have heard him speak on this subject, and he is not defensive but rather amazed that anyone could hold such a view. When doing voice-overs, you don't have to do makeup, go on location, answer 5 a.m. calls, worry about your appearance -- as one of the voice talents says, "they can't see you get old or fat!", a valuable thing in age-ist, image-conscious Hollywood.
And however we may feel about the movie itself, Mark will always have a special place in our hearts for drawing together an amazing group of voice actors to appear in it. As mentioned above, we were there on hand for the filming of the final scenes -- the Con let Mark schedule one of the rooms for filming, and the production needed crowd extras. So we were there until early in the morning (condensing inward as the crowded room slowly emptied over the course of the shoot).
To keep us in place, entertained, and rewarded for the long hours, Mark got the actors from the film to do a panel on, well, themselves. And a grand collection of talent they were -- dozens of memorable cartoon voices, represented by the people on that stage. They had great fun, and shared it with us. Though many of them had worked together, it was the first time this group had been together in one place, and they were obviously having a wonderful time simply being there, and being in the presence of their idol Gary Owens (who made it all look easy, and gave a cold reading which proved again why he is considered the Grand Old Man of voice talent.) Quite a bit of this session is on the Bonus disk, though sadly not all -- I recall other wonderful moments as the folks went through their repertoire of voices, as well as trying to do each other's. Still, we are overjoyed to have on disk a record of that night, and that collection of talent.
Watch the movie and decide for yourself, but treasure the extra material and share it with anyone who has ever watched a cartoon.
I was fortunate enough to see an advance screening of Mark Hamill's 'Comic
Book: The Movie.' The low budget mockumentary is good natured and
some nice performances (highlighted by Hamill's portrayal of the comic-fan
made documentarian that the story revolves around.)
There are many cameos by comic celebs like Stan Lee, Bruce Campbell and Kevin Smith. It also provides a window into the strange annual event known as Comiccon where thousands gather to celebrate fandom. The core story invokes the frustration of fans who suffer when classic properties are bastardized by Hollywood and in this story the fans strike back.
The movie is a bit long and loses its way for a while about an hour in but overall it entertaining and charming. The film is a celebration of comic books and the people who love them. It lacks the razor wit that Christopher Guest's films possess (A Mighty Wind, Best in Show) but this one is more authentic and seems to be a labor of love.
This is a nice little film and I recommend it.
After I finished watching "Comic Book: The Movie", I would have to say it
was enjoyable. With that said, this movie was nothing spectacular. I think
people will enjoy it more for the people who collaborated on it, rather than
the story itself. There are quit a few funny parts, but not laugh out loud
funny ... more like amusing funny. I liked seeing allot of people who are
in the comic book/ animation world. The fact that there are so many Icons
in this movie makes it a good watch.
I especially like how it is a double disc DVD, so you get allot of extras to enjoy. There are people in the movie, you wouldn't even know are big stars because maybe they had a career along time ago or our voice actors. Speaking of voice actors, it seems this movie is busting with them. I love that. It's cool to see them. Then there is Jess Harnell who plays Ricky the Camera Guy. He is pretty funny. Good character and one of the many voice actors who partakes in this featured film.
As a Kevin Smith fan, I have to give him a shout out. It was cool to see him in this and a new sight to see him watch his tongue. Although he managed to still bring that edge, we have all come to love. Inclosing, if you are a comic book fan, I would recommend checking this out. If not for the movie, do it for the extras.
I was very excited to see this and sat patiently for two years while it
spent months collecting dust on the Miramax shelves, finally being
released direct-to-video. I'm in it--kinda. Since I was at the
Comic-Con that year--I can see about a fourth of my face in one of the
crowd shots--this added to the excitement. And I'm a comic fan, and a
Mark Hamill fan and a fan of cartoon voices. So what could go wrong?
So I watched it, finally, and desperately wanted to like it. I mean, it was about comic fans! But...after the first five minutes or so the novelty wore off and I was stuck with a draggy, boring movie. The cast is game, but without much going on it gets a-mighty tedious. Still, it was nice to revisit a great con that I've not been to since two years after it happened.
For a much more entertaining evening, go to the second disk on the DVD package for "Behind the Voices," the hysterical symposium fans sat through to get themselves on film. They cut out most of it, (the guys doing the Animaniacs singing the Country song from memory, Billy West singing "Happy Happy Joy Joy) but it's still great. The movie: C+ The Other Stuff: B+
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