Here at Comic-Con 2010 it is a standard and recurring complaint that the event has been taken over by branding: An event that started out as a grass-roots gathering of comic-book culture has been overrun by corporate money, corporate product, and above all corporate advertising. Sure, it’s easy to see what they mean. The entire exterior of my Hilton hotel is covered with an ad for Scott Pilgrim (“an epic of epic epicness” — it’s a comic, soon to be a game and a major motion picture starring Michael Cera). The hotel elevators are wallpapered with promos for True Blood. Other buildings are draped in similarly vast posters for the game Red Faction and the upcoming movie Skyline.
The overall effect is a little overwhelming. It is also kind of…awe-inspiring.
But there’s plenty of room for a condensed run-through of all the latest technology, from motion capture to the ever-ubiquitous CGI. Which is reason enough to like the Science Channel’s Science of the Movies series, premiering Tuesday, May 26. Hosted by AchieveNerdvana.com blogger and Geekscape columnist Nar Williams, it’s six episodes on the behind-the-scenes geekosity that’s responsible for everything from Terminator 3 to The Fast and the Furious to Dexter to, yes, Star Wars.
Of course, take away all the blockbuster jargon and Hollywood sheen, and what you’re really watching is a tour through the ranks of ironic T-shirted, scraggly-facial-haired dudes that create the world’s biggest movies. Williams hobnobs with the best and baddest, from John Dykstra (yup, the guy who blew up the Death Star) to the Strause brothers, whose visual effects shop, Hydraulx, dominates the CGI market (300, anyone?).