New era of 3-D begins at Comic-Con

Zemeckis, Burton, Bailey, Lisberger join panel

San Diego Comic-Con 2009 blasted into high gear Thursday morning with its first-ever 3-D panel that included Robert Zemeckis (“A Christmas Carol”), Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland”) and Sean Bailey and Steve Lisberger, the producer and writer of “Tron 2.0.”

To kick things off, moderator Patton Oswalt introduced Robert Zemeckis – the biggest name behind performance-capture technology – to talk about 3D and his new performance capture venturen A Christmas Carol. When asked by Oswalt why he was diving into the world of 3D, Zemeckis declared that “3D is the future… it’s an immersive way to see movies.” He also said performance-capture technology freed him from the rules of live-action films.

Zemeckis then presented the first footage from “A Christmas Carol.” A visually impressive crowd-pleaser, it seemed somewhat slow paced in its first few minutes.

Burton, who received rousing applause upon his arrival, was affable and seemed very much at home with the full house of Comic-Con fans. Unfortunately, the “for Comic-Con only” footage was essentially the same “Alice in Wonderland” trailer posted to IGN yesterday, only set to a popular MGMT track. Oswalt even seemed to be left wanting more, asking Burton, “Is that it?”

Nonetheless, Oswalt then begged to play the trailer again, and again, for a total of three plays. When Oswalt again asked if that was indeed all Burton brought with him, Burton nearly brought the house down by bringing out his Mad Hatter, Johnny Depp. While only a brief cameo, it proved enough for a salivating Comic-con crowd

Finally, the cast and crew for “Tron” were introduced along with an appearance by Jeff Bridges, star of the original “Tron,” and Olivia Wilde. While the only new filmed footage was in 2D, the cast and crew spent most of their time showing new concept images from the film as well has reminiscing about the “Tron” of 27 yrs ago.

Steve Lisberger, who also worked on the original Tron, declared to the new generation of fans, “You made cyberspace real.”

And with that, the panel ended and a new era of 3D films began. Let the buzz begin.

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