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Comic-Con offers spectacle, fun fans

Hollywood Wrap with George Pennacchio
July 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Big movies, big movie stars, interesting new products and interesting people -- it's all at the annual Comic-Con in San Diego.It's an event and a spectacle. When you first arrive, the costumed fans might throw you for a loop. But the more costumes you see, the more normal it feels.

Comic-Con is a fan-friendly frenzy, packed with people who immerse themselves in this world of wonder.

From a high vantage point, Comic-Con looks like a human ant farm. On closer inspection, it's filled with plenty of creatures. Some are scary, some are friendly, and some are indescribable.

There is also plenty of stuff for sale. How about a bronze statue of Gollum from "The Lord of the Rings" for $15,000?

Or, for a hundred bucks, maybe the latest "Star Wars" toy -- The Force Trainer.

"It's very cutting-edge," said Frank Adler, the executive V.P. of toy maker Uncle Milton. "It has a wireless headset that actually reads your brainwaves, so when you're relaxed and you generate beta waves, it's going to translate that to the Jedi Training Tower, causing the remote sphere to rise and fall based on your concentration level."

"G.I. Joe was here, and so is Wolverine and Lord Voldemort. Plus, an autograph-signing Edward James Olmos.

"It's probably one of the most extraordinary events I've ever been to," said Olmos. "It's like nothing I've ever been to, actually."

"It is a very, very special convention, and it's not about geekdom," said Lisa Gregorian, the executive V.P. of marketing for Warner Bros. "It's about being a fan and being really enthusiastic, and potentially an evangelist for a lot of the properties that we have."

Thousands of people here got to glimpse something not being shown to the public -- scenes from James Cameron's 3-D movie, "Avatar," due out December 18.

Sigourney Weaver is one of the stars.

"Honestly, it is such a whole experience," said Weaver. "I think it's going to transform theatre-going. The experience of being a spectator will never be the same again."

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