War of the Worlds: Goliath finally got its premiere at the San Diego Comic-Con. We asked a major fan to trace its – and his – journey…
Impact has been following the production of War of the Worlds: Goliath for the last couple of years and the SDCC gave its creators the chance to debut their 3D anime-hued project in style – the first time the public would have seen the finished feature about a second martian invasion in a steam-punk alternative history. During the days leading up to the premiere, we asked fan Dave Davis to be our eyes and ears and keep a diary of his con experience…
In 2007 I was introduced to Joe Pearson by way of the Official Highlander Message Board. He posted some concept art for an animated film he was working on called “War of the Worlds: Goliath”. It had a kind of Steampunk feel to it and immediately caught my attention since I have always enjoyed Retro-style artwork. When I asked him what influenced him, he said he had always imagined a “what if” scenario of what could have happened after H.G.Wells’ original story. You can find all the details here as well as a trailer for the film;
In 2009 my friend Andrew Modeen got a one day pass to Comic-Con for me and we went to the best Convention in the world. Now, I don’t say this lightly, because in 1977 I attended my first Comic-Con and went on to help plan and produce it for the next nine years. During that time I had the pleasure of meeting and becoming friends with some of the biggest artist’s in the Comic Book World, so returning to Comic-Con after 30+ years was a major treat for me. Andrew had some comics he wanted Kevin Eastman to sign and while we were there I saw a sign for “War of the Worlds: Goliath” and called out for Joe Pearson by his Highlander Board Screen Name. He came over and we introduced ourselves and became friends that day. Since then I have been supporting and promoting the film at every turn, telling everyone I know about it.
Joe and I began meeting at the SDCC every year since and through him I have had the singular pleasure of meeting Adrian Paul, Peter Wingfield and David Abramowitz. David was one of the Principle Writers of the Highlander Television Series and the writer of WotW:G. Adrian and Peter are two of the major voice actors in this film along with Jim Byrnes, Elizabeth Gracen. Joe began sharing footage from the film and asking my opinion as a fan. Here I am, pretty much a nobody, being asked what I thought about a major production! I watched, closely, drinking in every detail as the scenes played over and over, finding new wonders at every turn. The animation was flawless and the story gripping. It reached out and grabbed me from the first scene. I told Joe that I really liked what I saw and was looking forward to more and to keep me updated as I really wanted to see what progress was being made and how the final film turned out.
In 2011 we met again at the Con and I met Leon Tan, another of the project's producers who must have been impressed with Joe’s story about my opinion on the film that we became fast friends right there. They showed me some new footage which totally blew me away. It was a thousand times better than the first footage I had seen the previous year! They then proceeded to tell me that they planned on having a copy ready for a special screening the following year. This only served to whet my appetite and keep in drooling in anticipation.
Here it is, 2012 and I can hardly wait. Joe, Leon and I had been keeping in touch via Facebook and had asked me to attend a premiere screening of the film. To say that I was flattered is an understatement! Between the time they asked me to see the film and the time for SDCC, I was diagnosed with throat cancer and things were looking pretty bleak for me, but I was determined not to let it beat me out of my annual sojourn to the con and a chance to be in on something great. After seven weeks of intense radiation and chemotherapy, I came through with flying colors. I was completely cured of the cancer and now just had to get through the final healing of the radiation burns in my mouth. Nothing would stop me getting to the con…
THURSDAY JULY 12TH: Comic-Con begins! I roll in and head straight for the “Heavy Metal” booth to see Joe and Leon. To my chagrin, they weren’t there, but were at the theatre, getting things set up for the screening. Oh well, still lots to see and do, so I rolled around the Convention Center, meeting old friends and making new ones that I hope to see at future Conventions. While I was in the Sail Pavillion on the upper Level, I met with Adrian Paul and told him I was ready for the screening and hoped to see him there.
FRIDAY JULY 13TH: I finally met up with Joe and Leon and collected my ticket to the screening and got to meet Peter Wingfield and David Abramowitz and we talked about the film and how David came up with the characterisations. I couldn’t stay very long since my wheelchair takes up a good amount of real estate. I also met with Carmel Macpherson, Head of Highlander Worldwide, and had a quick chat with her until she was called away to take care of other things.
SATURDAY JULY 14TH: Screening Day! I could hardly contain myself for the entire day, waiting excitedly for 7:00pm. I rolled around, randomly visiting various displays and taking pictures of different Artists, Celebrities, and Cosplayers, killing time until I could get to the Theater. Finally, I headed to the theater at 6:30, fighting my way through a crushing crowd of humanity as they wandered aimlessly through the streets trying to find whatever they were looking for. I made it with seven minutes to spare and was ushered in to the Disabled Seating, Orchestra, Center Left. More people came in and were seated and surprised me by introducing themselves and asking me if I was Dave Davis, aka Bluesman from Facebook and The Highlander Board. Apparently I’m well known in a small circle of Highlander fans! We chatted for a while and then the lights dimmed.
The theatre grew dark, you could feel the excitement as the music came up and the screen flickered to life with the first images of the opening credits in 3-D. The applause was intense as the cast and production names crawled down the screen and the story began with the words, “London: 1899”. For the next 90 minutes I sat enthralled by the story of “What if the Martians Came Back?”. The characters were strong and you wanted to hear their story as it unfolded and the world came together to fight this threat from another planet. The 3-D was understated and not the in-your-face style of yesteryear. It served more to give the story depth and feeling than to make you duck at things being thrown at you.
The heroes were believable and you could identify with them. I wanted to join the fight as I watched the story unfold and I’m sure my fellow audience members felt the same. This is high adventure that you seldom see anymore in a world filled with over-the-top action and deafening explosions at every turn. It is my sincere hope that when this comes to a Theater with a major distributor that you will go see it. I know that I will!