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I spent a good portion of my time at San Diego Comic-Con this year watching panels, as opposed to forlornly wandering the main convention hall (which, while fun, is difficult to navigate through the crowds). While I unfortunately (and kick myself or a bit for this) did not manage to get into the Harry Potter panel in the AM, I did scoop some pretty great preview panels. Here’s a rundown of what I caught:

Let Me In– Starring Kick-Ass’s Chloe Moretz, Let Me In is a remake of the Swedish film (which is based on a book of the same name) Let The Right One In. Director Matt Reeves spent much of the panel discussing his thought process- trying to go old school Hitchcockian, making you root for the killer even though it means people will die. Reeves also pointed out that he made sure the cast and a large portion of the crew did not see the original film before making this version, hoping to ensure that their spin on it is fresh and new (how fresh and new can you get when the original was made in 2008 anyway?). The scene I scooped looked pretty good, and was definitely full of edge-of-the-seat moments. It was different enough that it took me a minute to recognize which scene it is in the original film- which is probably good. You don’t want to see the same movie twice. I will definitely be checking that one out when it hits theaters.

Resident Evil Afterlife– What are they on now? 4? 5? I lost track. Anyway, Mila Jovovich is very attractive, but slightly weird- plus she gesticulates a lot when she talks. A highlight of the panel was when a con-goer asked her to say “multipass” and she happily obliged. The footage of the film was hokey and filmed in a bad-3D sort of way, even though director Paul W.S. Anderson stated that he used the same cameras as Avatar. Where Avatar had some art to its 3D, this RE flick did not. The scene we saw used all the typical gags- weapons flying out over the audience, slow motion action sequences, blah blah blah. I think I’ll pass on catching it in theaters.

Now, the highlight of the Resident Evil panel really came as the cast was leaving the stage. Apparently, some guy got really excited to see Mila, but some other dude got in the way (upon closer inspection, the scuffle was actually over primo seating, but we all know it was bout Mila). So the first guy did what any normal person would do- he stabbed the guy in the eye. With a pen. METAL. Thus, the hall was in a bit of a frenzy, and we got to sit through preview hour once more while they did damage control and we all suffered that Charlie St. Cloud preview all over again (I think everyone in the room wanted their eyes stabbed too). The panels got back on, but with major delay, leaving little time for fan questions or cast banter.

Paul– starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Seth Rogen as the title alien character, this movie follows two geeks from San Diego Comic Con to New Mexico in search for life from other planets. The star studded cast is full of great talent- Sigourney Weaver, Jeffrey Tambour, and Jason Bateman, to name a few. The movie is the brainchild of Pegg and Frost- something they dreamed up on the Shaun of the Dead set, no less. I’m not really sure to feel about the footage- the clips we saw of Pegg and Frost are fantastic, since the camaraderie the two share isn’t really matched by many other buddy comedy duos, but the interaction with the alien seems strange. The alien looks like your traditional extra terrestrial- gray skin, big head, bulbous oval eyes- but it’s got Seth Rogen’s voice and typical vulgarities. But with such a great supporting cast, I’ll still be checking it out. The movie hits theaters March 18, 2011.

Cowboys vs Aliens– Going in to this panel, I knew absolutely nothing about this film- in fact, I thought it was a comedy. John Favreau walked out, and my expectations rose a bit. Then I saw Daniel Craig an d started to giggle a bit (what? He’s good-looking). Then mother-effing Harrison Ford made his first ever San Diego Comic Con appearance, and I just about lost it. The really sweet part about Harrison Ford showing his rugged face at SDCC was that they dragged him out in handcuffs- apparently he’s got enough hots for Jovovich that he’d stab for her. Who knew?

Anyway, the cast didn’t really get to do much talking, but we did get to see some exclusive footage from the film. And oh, what amazing footage it was! I haven’t been this excited to see a film since seeing the promo shots for Stark Trek a couple years ago. Favreau has taken what seems to be a very silly premise and turned it into a true-to-it’s-roots shoot ‘em up Western. With aliens, of course. The footage kind of makes one wonder how the hell old-west human technology (i.e. knives and shotguns) can stand up to superior alien weaponry. I mean, it only seems inevitable that the aliens will win, what with the laser cannons and all. The clip we watched was interesting though- it started with some mystery, with Craig’s character in prison for some controversial crime that has the town (and especially Harrison Ford) stirred up. As he’s lead away to the prison wagon, the aliens arrived, blowing apart the majority of the town, only being chased away when Craig fired back with this fancy wrist gun thing that he must have stolen from the aliens to begin with. Bonus? The cast also features Keith Carradine, who we all (ok, maybe just me) remember being FANTASTIC in Deadwood so seeing him in another western is cause for excitement, Hottie Hot-Pants Olivia Wilde, and Sam Rockwell, who is just amazing.

Captain America– Ahh, what we have all been waiting for. What exactly does the eternally frat-boy-looking Chris Evans look like in Cap’s suit? Well, according to me, utter and complete GARBAGE. Like Daredevil type garbage. Granted, all we got to see of Evans in the suit was about 10 seconds of a costume test, but that 10 seconds was enough to make more of a doubter in me. Granted, the guy REALLY packed on the muscle for the role, but I had a hard enough time picturing Johhny Effing Storm playing Captain to begin with, and seeing him in the suit did not calm my fears. Hugo Weaving, however, who is pretty fantastic, will be playing the villain, and we did get to glimpse a 5-minute clip of him being all German Mc Villain Pants. Though, it was definitely nothing to write home about. My hopes for this film? Thinking about waiting for it to come to DVD before seeing it. Dear director Joe Johnston, please make me eat my words.

Thor– This film has a bit more promise behind it than the aforementioned Captain, if only because the Chris Hemsworth, who we saw briefly in Star Trek, looks great in the title role. Plus, the film has a great supporting cast- Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and Clark Gregg reprises his role as Agent Phil Coulson for this film . The footage we saw looked nice, but again, felt somewhat lackluster (maybe I was too buzzed about Cowboys and Aliens to enjoy anything else).

Here’s where my shit really went downhill. After watching the preview for Thor and failing to be more than slightly amused, I made the biggest SDCC mistake that someone can make- I left early. Oh, woe is me. Not more than 5 effing minutes after I left, the fucking AVENGERS assembled, including Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L Jackson, Mark Ruffalo (who will be replacing Edward Norton as Bruce Banner), Scarlett Johansen, Jeremy Renner, and holy crap, director Joss Whedon. AND they showed a previously unseen teaser trailer. Yes, everyone, you can shun me for life.

I’m gonna go cry now.

Until next year, SDCC. I’ll be ready then. Maybe.

–Caitlin Elgin