This morning at Comic-Con, the star-studded Hall H hosted a Dreamworks Animation panel, which showcased Home and The Penguins of Madagascar. We saw a ton of footage, but most importantly we've got video where Benedict Cumberbatch shares some feelings about Dr. Strange.
Penguins of Madagascar
There was a ton of footage from this Thanksgiving release. In one clip, we saw the penguins hang gliding to Fort Knox, where they break in as part of Private's 10th birthday. They even use some banjo music as the required password at the vault because "It's Kentucky." They don't go in for the gold, but for the vending machine because it's full of Cheesy Dibblers. They end up being trapped in the vending machine by tentacles.
The second clip introduced the villain of the movie: Dr. Octavius Brine. He's a typical mad scientist type, until he falls over and loses control of his limbs. Then it's revealed that while humans know him as Brine, he has a more infamous name: Dave. He's an octopus with a face just like John Malkovich's, though the actor said later that he thinks Dave looks more like his youngest sister.
The third clip was a headlong race through Venice, Italy, as the penguins attempt to outrun Brine/Dave's octopus henchmen. They take over a gondola, racing through water, then use the paddles to walk the gondola across dry land, and end up cornered by the octopi in an alley. They're saved by a dive-bombing owl and a polar bear master of disguise. In the fourth clip, we head to the North Wind's HQ, where Benedict Cumberbatch's Classified the wolf leader tells them that Dave's evil plan includes the "Medusa serum," which the penguins managed to nab. Dave then interrupts the scene by hacking the screen, having the kind of trouble with videoconferencing which wouldn't be out of place with Doctor Evil.
The final clip was the first six minutes of the film, which went all the way back to tell the origin tale. There are penguins marching, of course, but Skipper wants to know why and where they're going. When an egg rolls to the edge of a cliff, Rico, Skipper, and Kowalski, just chicks, go to get it back. It rolls onto an abandoned ship, which is the feeding ground for seals. A seagull is brutally eaten to make the danger clear. It's actually pretty intense. While the penguins plan to get the egg back, a film crew working on a nature documentary punts them off the cliff for more drama. They rescue the egg, but end up floating off on an iceberg. The egg hatches to reveal Private, who asks if they're his family.
The film's apparently more of a sequel to Madagascar 3 and not the TV show, which takes place in an alternate reality. John Malkovich explained his involvement, saying that he thought it was "Such a funny idea for me to play an evil octopus, it was no-brainer." He described Dave as having a vendetta because "at every zoo and aquarium" he had all attention stolen by the arrival of the cute penguins. According to Malkovich, he's had his "life ruined."
When Benefict Cumberbatch joined the panel, to deafening cheers, he said that the first time he met Malkovich was last night and "The first question I asked him was 'How does it feel to play an evil octopus." He described his character as a leader of the CIA-type group, but "not like extraordinary rendition" CIA, who "underestimates the penguins and overestimates himself." He said he was drawn to the character because of the James Bond pastiche and the chance to show the vulnerability underneath.
During the audience Q&A portion, Cumberbatch explained what he did to prepare for the role:
I worked in Yellowstone as a wolf, and I got accepted into the pack quite quickly. I became the alpha, only to discover that two of the other wolves were Daniel Day Lewis and Christian Bale.
From the beginning, moderator Craig Ferguson made clear that asking about Sherlock would "cancel" Comic-Con. That didn't stop one person from asking Cumberbatch if he'd come back to Comic-Con next year for Sherlock, which got a "Maybe.:
Both Malkovitch and Cumberbatch were asked what superhero they would like to play. Malkovitch, as you can see above, said "Lois Lane." Cumberbatch addressed the Dr. Strange rumors by joking "Nurse Normal."
Image by Anne Wu
But we know what he really meant.
Dreamworks kicked off the panel with a look at Home, their adaptation of the children's book The True Meaning of Smekday. On hand were director Tim Johnson and Jim Parsons as Oh, an alien called a Boov whose people invade Earth to make it their new home.
We saw a clip that looked like a scene from the climax of the film where Oh and human Tip (voiced by Rihanna), try to escape from the Boov forces, led by Steve Martin's Captain Smek. The confrontation takes place on the Eiffel Tower, which the Boov have pulled out of the ground and have floating above Paris.
Oh is an outlaw who has made many mistakes and ruined things for the Boov before, so he and Smek engage in a protracted "I wouldn't do it again!" "But you would!" "But you wouldn't" exchange. It's ended when Tip manipulates the gravity device (because she's tall enough to reach it — the Boov are short, you see), causing the Eiffel Tower to swing like a pendulum.
The ensuing chase scene showed off the Boov's bubble space ships (they literally pop and have to be restarted), which leads them through Boov-occupied Paris, saving a Van Gogh painting from being lunch, and ends up in a ball of umbrellas. It was a wild ride.
During the panel, Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory) said that he got involved after asking his friends if the character design looked like someone who could have his voice. They also produced a cut-out of his character dressed up in one of Rihanna's recent outfits.