Walt Disney Pictures’ presentation at Cinema Con included footage from Cars 2, The Muppets, Winnie The Pooh and a sizzle reel for The Avengers. After the jump you can read my virtually spoiler free reactions.

Cars 2: Like many others, Cars is my least favorite Pixar movie. That’s not to say that I don’t like the film — the emotional spine, the Route 66 storyline, is better than anything in most non-Pixar animated films. But it is definitely the weakest. Unfortunately, it is the most profitable of the bunch, racking up billions in merchandise sales. If you read the site regularly than you know I’m not looking forward to the sequel — the first I’ve ever had this type of reaction to a Pixar film.

At Cinema Con, Disney presented 25-or-so minutes from the beginning two reels of the movie. They didn’t give the “unfinished” speech, and the footage was presented in 3D which makes me believe it is final or close to final.

Here is what was shown: Mater is mistaken as a secret agent while in Tokyo for Lightening McQueen’s first race in the World Grand Prix. Mater is unknowingly chased b a group of baddies who are out to stop him and a couple secret agents, Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer), who are trying to protect him.Neither sides knows that Mater is just an innocent pawn who knows nothing. We saw the opening of the film, which is set at sea with McMissile, Mater’s encounter with a Japanese bathroom, the first race in the grand prix, and more.

Here are my observations:

  • If you like the characters of the Cars universe, you’ll likely have a lot of fun with Cars 2 as it essentially puts your favorite characters in new locations and new situations. And by favorite characters, I mean Mater. It seems clear that he is the star of this film, with Lightening McQueen taking the passenger seat in the sub plot. That said, I only find Mater funny at moments, and I don’t really have any attachment to any of the characters in the Cars world.
  • On the other hand, I was surprised at how little the other characters from the first film appear in the screened footage. However, that may change in the later part of the film.
  • This movie is action packed. I would estimate that 80% of the footage we screened were action-heavy scenes, most using a James Bond-esque spy movie take. The action-packed nature of this story might be enough to engage some of you, but I was left bored by most of presentation.

The Avengers: Disney screened a 3-minute sizzle reel for The Avengers. The presentation was comprised of footage from the marvel films thus far, edited together to visualize the superhero team-up, along with concept art, animatics, interviews with the cast and director Joss Whedon, and the footage from Comic-Con with the full cast together on stage. The most notable things featured:

  • A piece of concept art which imagined the movie versions of the group as a team — it gave me chills.
  • Another piece of concept art showing what Jeremy Renner will look like in full Hawkeye gear. From what I can remember, he was sporting cool looking purple sunglasses, and his wardrobe had a bunch straps going across his chest (it looked like something a high tech sniper would wear).
  • A maquette of The Incredible Hulk’s head modeled on Mark Ruffalo’s head.
  • The animatics went by too fast to describe what had been shown, but for whatever its worth, everything shown looked cool.

The Muppets: We were shown the first footage from the new film. I’m a huge Muppets fanatic, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting this new film since it was announced. The footage was a quick montage of scenes, none of which I could describe, mostly because they went by so fast. The key takeaways were Disney talking about how the past two years of Muppets viral web videos was a plan for the company to get the characters back into the minds of contemporary pop culture before they launched the new film. They also mentioned that the film will have four musical numbers (supervised by Bret McKenzie, of The Flight of the Conchords fame), and will feature some classic Muppet songs (“Rainbow Connection” perhaps?). We also learned that in the years since the Muppets split up, Fozie is now performing at some cheesy Reno casino, and Ms Piggy is living in Paris (shot on a stage, not on location).

Winnie The Pooh: We were shown a scene from the film where our heroes are trapped in a hole, and Piglet is trying to find a way to get them out. It’s a really character centric scene which showcases the personalities in the film. I’m really really digging the look of the movie, with the watercolor painted backgrounds. Excited to see the full thing.

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