The Comikaze Expo Session On "Godzilla" and "Pacific Rim"

by Armand Vaquer

Above, the panel on "Godzilla" and "Pacific Rim" before the start of the session. 
It was  a good thing that we had a room that was double the size of last year's room for this year's panel on Godzilla (2014) and Pacific Rim (2013) at Stan Lee's Comickaze Expo.  All seats were taken and a dozen people had to stand in the back of the room. I was somewhat surprised as our session began an hour after the show's doors were opened to the public. I was wondering if they would make a beeline to the main hall instead.

Above, a panel's eye view of the crowd still coming in.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It was an appreciative and enthusiastic audience of giant monster and robot fans. The panel consisted of Jessica Tseang (moderator), Bill Janczewski, Frank Woodward, Tom Franck, Chris Eaton, Scott Zillner and myself.

We began the session with our thoughts on Pacific Rim. Generally, all on the panel felt the movie "delivered the goods" with some minor quibbles. On the low box office, most felt the movie wasn't marketed right, leaving many people with the impression that it was another Transformers movie instead of giant robots battling giant monsters. But all believe that it will be a big hit in DVD and Blu-ray sales. Most wondered why it grossed better in China but not in Japan. One panelist voiced the opinion that Japan is just over-saturated with giant monsters and they can see giant monsters for free on television. Another said it was (probably) because it was mainly centered in Hong Kong.

Above, these session attendees show their support for "Pacific Rim."  Photo by Armand Vaquer.
I repeated my opinion that I posted a week or so ago on this blog. The audience seemed to agree that Toho did a better job with the Millennium series MechaGodzilla movies by having jets do the heavy lifting of the robot, whereas Pacific Rim went beyond the boundaries of "suspension of disbelief" in having helicopters do the robot transporting. They also seemed to agree with me that while the CGI was probably the best (so far) for a giant monster movie, it still did not fully convey mass and weight of the robots (or monsters) as the traditional "suitmation" method with miniatures.

Each expressed hopes that next year's Godzilla will be a hit and generally like the direction the Godzilla design is heading.  I said that as long as Godzilla looked and acted like Godzilla, along with his atomic breath, it will be a winner as far as I was concerned.

As mentioned in my last post on Comikaze, there were a few SNAFUs. Jessica Tseang was disappointed that there was no Wi-Fi Internet available at the Los Angeles Convention Center to have Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah's android M-11, Robert Scott Field, to participate with the panel via Skype. We also planned to have audio/visual materials to show along with a recorded greeting by Max Borenstein, the scripter of Godzilla, but somehow the show's organizers didn't come through with any. But those problems didn't prevent us or the audience from enjoying the panel session. Jessica did a great job in keeping the session moving.

I did manage to sell the same number of travel guides following the session as last year.. Which helped to lessen the bite of the parking fees at the L.A. Convention Center, and then some.

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