In my last blog about San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), I said, “Comic books are still at SDCC. You just have to know where to look.”
Since I have been so hyper-critical about what San Diego Comic-Con has become, I was very skeptical when I sat down to watch the Morgan Spurlock documentary, “Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope.” (available for rental on Video On Demand and iTunes)
I am relieved to say that this film is squarely focused on comic books and the fan culture and what little emphasis is given to the movie and television stuff is done mostly in cutaway shots (speaking of which: I’m sure Olivia Wilde was relieved to see her credit as “Actress, Tron: Legacy” and not “Cowboys & Aliens”).
Spurlock understands what does (and does not) make a great and captivating story.
Nobody. And I do mean nobody, not even the parents of the people involved. Nobody cares about Warner Brothers trying to pump millions of dollars into their marketing machine to try to convince the world that Green Lantern was anything but a steaming pile of dog sh**.
But we do want to see a guy trying to propose to his girlfriend at a Kevin Smith panel. We also want to see Holly the costume designer and her friends compete at the masquerade.
Specific to comics, We want to watch two unknown artists try to find work and break into the industry.
Most importantly, from a retail perspective, we want to see legendary retailer Chuck Rozanski from Mile High Comics selling actual comic books.
All of these stories have weight to them. They matter to the people that they are happening to and we as an audience are invested in their success.
Did I tear up during this movie? Quite a bit.
It’s a happy movie. It’s very positive. It’s about comic books. Which is why I liked it quite a bit.
That said, I can tell you that if you’re not into comic books you’ll still like it because at the end of the day these are stories about people who you “meet” and want to see succeed.
I have never played the game Mass Effect, but after watching the passion that Holly and her friends put into their costumes I was rooting (out loud) for them to win at the masquerade.
I’d have liked a comprehensive documentary about the history of the con, but I also know that I’m an audience of about 10 people who want such a thing so I’ll stick to finding that in interviews and online.
This is a fun movie and it brings you either closer to the experience of being at SDCC in the present day, or for people like me it reminds me of what I liked about attending back in the day.
Very much worth a rental.