at the Anaheim Convention Center
Between the Disneyland Resort and the Anaheim Convention Center both drawing in massive crowds, parking is absolutely beastly in the area around the intersection of Harbor & Katella. We found ourselves driving in circles as we were shunted from one area to the next until we were FINALLY allowed to park at the back of Disney's Toy Story lot. The only reason we made it to our first panel with minutes to spare was because I'd thought it started half an hour earlier than it did.
That panel was Dreamworks: Dragons, Dinos...and More! Seanie and I had given Disney so much attention over the weekend that I thought it might be nice to devote a little time to one of the other major animation studios in California. As we walked in the door, we were handed a small plastic card good for three free months of Netflix. Sweet! It turns out that the panel was focused on Dreamworks' television animation, which is being broadcast not on a TV network but streamed on Netflix.
They focused on five TV shows:
- Turbo FAST
- All Hail King Julien
- The Adventures of Puss in Boots
- Dragons: Race to Edge
If some of those names look familiar, it should be no surprise. Four of the five shows are spinoffs of Dreamworks movie franchises. They are all designed to appeal to fans of the films, so if you liked the strangeness of King Julien, you'll love his new series. If you appreciate the swashbuckling adventure fantasy of the Puss in Boots movie, you'll swoon over his new show. If all you cared about in How to Train Your Dragon was the amazing diversity of the different dragon species, you'll be happy as a clam watching that new show.
Dinotrux is the only new story, and it reads very much like what you get when you get a bunch of toy company executives together and ask them to launch a new franchise. It's dinosaurs built from truck parts. Think Transformers, except the dinosaurs never switch between animal and vehicle. They're just made of trucks. The main character is a Tyrannosaurus Trux, what more do you need to know? The preview did not look promising.
Seanie and I appreciate the free Netflix, so out of a sense of duty we'll probably watch a few episodes of the Dragons: Race to the Edge series. We might even check out the Puss in Boots show. But by and large, this panel emphasized why we don't watch Dreamworks movies and anticipate their new releases with the same eagerness as Disney. The humor is exceptionally topical and the stories can't shake their commercial product placement. Worse, the animation usually just isn't attractive. There's a lack in fluidity in the movement of Dreamworks character, a rubberiness to the joints that proves utterly distracting.
But onward. When the panel was over, Seanie and I went down to the sales floor to see if thre were any last minute deals we could take advantage of. We didn't really see many markdowns, but we bought some little presents for friends. I also picked up a board game called Trekking the National Parks, and I can't wait to play it. National Parks in a Ticket to Ride style game - what's not to love?
Seanie and I decided to grab lunch at the food trucks parked in front of the convention center. After going back and forth several times, I settled on a fancy pants grilled cheese sandwich with the most heavenly garlic fries I've ever had. It no doubt earned dirty looks from some of the people I sat next to at the next panel, but many that food was good.
The Warner Archives Collection's More Than Sidekicks! panel has to be one of the nerdiest things we did this weekend. The panel focused on superhero sidekicks in general, and Robin in particular - guests included Loren Lester, the voice of Robin from Batman: The Animated Series, writers who had written the character for both TV and print, and in the audience there was even a kid who voiced the latest incarnation of Robin in a film that debuted at Wondercon over the weekend. It was pretty entertaining. Most of the talking was done by two podcasters, DW Ferranti and Matthew Patterson, both of whom had strong opinions about the roles of sidekicks and why they go in and out of vogue.
Seanie was about reading to go, since we had to drive all the way back to San Jose and it was already the afternoon, but I begged him to let us stay for one more panel: Honest Trailers & ScreenJunkies Honest Wondercon. We watch their Youtube channel every week to see the new Honest Trailers video, and it was pretty cool to hear the writers talk about their show. Of course, the real star attraction was the actor who does the "Epic Movie Voice" for each Honest Trailer - people eagerly lined up just to ask him to say something special at the con. But the panel was really fun, and very well-attended. They answered questions and previewed their newest Honest Trailer.
That panel ended at 3:30, and it was time to head home. But for my first big convention in ten years, Wondercon was really fun. I'll have to make a goal of attending more of these things in the future.