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We're keeping our distance from the large-scale fanboy marketing orgy that is San Diego Comic-Con, in part because we've already got our hands full grappling with Warners' Dark Knight Dark Publicity™ campaign, but also in part because Defamer's frugal travel policy requires hitchhiking for journeys longer than 100 miles [Ed. Note - Sorry STV, the policy has changed to 50 miles — effective immediately]. Sadly, we missed our only other option: The City of Ember train, chartered by Fox and Walden Media on Wednesday to transport select film writers on an all-expenses-paid romp from LA to San Diego. With a junket, of course. And cookies. And a jazz band! And apparently some kind of "loyalty oath" to the fantasy epic's titular metropolis where Bill Murray presides as mayor: "We swear eternal loyalty to our city and to the wisdom that created it. We declare our infinite gratitude..." No shit — with the exception of CHUD editor Devin Faraci's tasteful incest-joke interlude, Fox and Co. are making out brilliantly with MTV, the LA Times and others among the "23 key journalists and bloggers" handpicked to fellate Ember to an early, rousing throb. And nobody is more grateful than the filmmakers, who think unquestionably highly of Ember and its audience:

"The goal with something like this (event) is to create special awareness for the film. It needs to be nurtured," said Kenan, who admitted he was nervous about how his film clips would play amid the jostling of the train. "In an enormous hall with people dressed up like Klingons, (a film like this) can sort of fall on the floor." Producer Gary Goetzman (Mamma Mia!) also made the coastal rail trek, marking his first Comic-Con outing. "My films don't usually appeal to this audience," said Goetzman, who produced such nonfanboy fare as Charlie Wilson's War and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. "But this a great opportunity to spread the word on City of Ember, which should appeal to this demographic."

So, to recap: It won't make you forget about Star Trek, but if you like to mouthbreathe, then you'll LOVE City of Ember. All aboard!