Tag: Peter Jackson
Yes. It is the first of three films based on this one book that is shorter than any of the books in The Lord of the Rings.
Yes. The film clocks in at just shy of three hours.
Yes. There are details in this movie that don’t directly or even indirectly come from the book.
All of that being said, after viewing the film I can safely say that this is not simply a cash grab on the part of Peter Jackson or Hollywood. This is a loving book-to-movie adaptation of one of the seminal works of fantasy fiction. It’s a love letter to fans of the series. The details added lend a sense of depth and persistence to Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth, and I’m excited to see where he goes with the series from here.
The film opens up, much like Fellowship of the Ring, with a history lesson. We hear Bilbo Baggins (played again by Ian Holm) narrating the story of the razing of Dale and the fall of the Dwarven Kingdom of Erebor to open the book he will eventually leave Frodo. We are treated to some fabulous camera work and shots that give us tantalizing glimpses of the dragon Smaug without ever seeing the beast during his attack. A bit of wing here, a shot of one of his massive feet crushing a troop of Dwarves there, a shot of his tail disappearing as his slithers deeper into the mountain towards the king’s throne room there. It’s a fabulous scene that really gives us the scope of the beast’s size in a way that wouldn’t have been able to be conveyed by simply showing us the dragon. Bilbo then goes on to speak about the exile of the Dwarves and how they wandered the countryside looking for somewhere to settle.
The film then takes us 60 years into the past and introduces us to a young Bilbo Baggins as he is unwittingly introduced to a company of Dwarves that will take him on a life-changing adventure. He will encounter mountain trolls, stone giants, Orc war bands, a goblin kingdom under the mountain, and a creature of shadow and dark malevolence that closely parallels what he might have become. Oh – and he finds a magic ring.
All the while, they are being pursued by an ancient enemy of Thorin’s – Azog, the pale orc that killed his grandfather in a battle outside of Moria after the Dwarves fled Erebor. Thorin took Azog’s arm. Azog wants Thorin’s head, and to see the line of Durin extinguished.
Through much of the film, Azog is hunting the Dwarves, and it really lends a sense of urgency that might have otherwise been lacking. It is only after they reach Rivendell that they realize that they have less time to complete their quest then they thought, and so the inclusion of this character that is so obsessed with ending Thorin’s life and those traveling with him really helps to keep the first part of the film moving.
Despite the moments of comic relief from characters like Merry and Pippin, The Lord of the Rings were very dark films, full of fear and oppression. The Hobbit was a much lighter book, and that comes through in the movie. The Dwarves are broadly drawn and comical, but they all come through with their own personality. Balin and Dwalin are brothers whose love for each other is dwarfed (pun intended) only by their sibling rivalry. Bombur’s weight is a source of continual humor, with a scene of him breaking the table his is sitting on by holding too much food and shots of him constantly struggling to keep up with the rest of the group. The entire party at the beginning of the film showcases the fun loving nature of the Dwarves as they eat and drink Bilbo out of house and home.
This lighter nature is also shown brilliantly by Martin Freeman (Bilbo), who plays the character with a brilliant sense of comedic timing. A single look from the character can steal an entire scene, and the character’s talent for understatement is played up beautifully. At the end of the film, as they are gazing at the Lonely Mountain in the distance, he remarks “I do believe the worst of it is behind us.”
That isn’t to say this movie wasn’t without its darker moments though, because it was. There’s a scene where Radagast the Brown is exploring Dol Goldur, and he encounters The Necromancer and one of the shades of the Ringwraiths.
And then there is Gollum. I don’t even know what to say about Gollum. He has never looked better. Advances in motion capture have allowed the filmmakers and Andy Serkis to portray Gollum in an even more realistic fashion than before. The characters facial expressions had a much wider range than they did in any of the other films, and that coupled with Serkis’s commitment to the character make you almost forget that he isn’t a real character. And Serkis brings more than his “A game” to the character. Smeagol is a delight to watch. Gollum is chilling at best and terrifying at worst, and the game of riddles stands out as one of the most uncomfortable scenes to watch because of that creepiness factor.
Now, I want to address the question that I’m sure you all have. Should I see the film in 3D or not? Having seen it in both 2 and 3D, I can safely say that it doesn’t really matter. You’re not going to miss out on anything by not seeing it in 3D. It’s not any better, and it’s not any worse than its 2D counterpart. Mostly, the 3D effects are there to add depth to the scenes, and it’s unobtrusive enough where you won’t really notice it beyond that. There aren’t any gimmicky effects in the 3D, and it’s all handled very professionally.
And some of the scenes just look gorgeous in 3D. After the company flees the Misty Mountain, they are trapped in the treeline at the edge of a cliff by Azog and his warg riders before they are rescued by the giant eagles. The sight of the eagles flying through the early morning skies in 3D was simply breathtaking, and by far the best use of 3D that I have seen yet.
However, there were also some scenes that the 3D detracted from a little bit. When the Dwarves are captured by the Goblins as well as their escape from Goblintown for example. There’s just too much movement coming from every direction on the screen, and the 3D makes it difficult to focus on anything at all. Still, it’s not enough to ruin the enjoyment of the film.
If you’re a fan of 3D effects, you’ll enjoy The Hobbit in 3D. If you’re not, you’ll be just fine in 2D. However you see it, just make sure you see it. It’s an incredibly enjoyable film, treated with the same level of respect and detail that made The Lord of the Rings films so much fun to watch. I’ve already seen the film twice since it opened and I’m already itching to go back.
In short – welcome back to Middle Earth. I never realized how much I missed you until I was back in the theater.
How quickly times can change. I’m not referring to the rapidly changing time-zones that are the cornerstone of the British time-travel series, Doctor Who. I’m referring to the fact that in the relatively meager amount of years I’ve been a Doctor Who fan (my first Doctor was Peter Davison, the Fifth Doctor in 1984) there have certainly been some highs and lows in the life of the program.
From 1984 to 1990, I could count the number of real people I interacted with on a daily basis who were also Doctor Who fans on one hand. About halfway through college, I met several other like-minded folk (I feel obliged to name-check fellow Word of the Nerd writer, Mark Driscoll) and even converted a few new fans, myself. From 1993 to 2005, you could up the count to between twenty to thirty other people I knew who shared a love of the show and the characters.
It’s quite a different story, today. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone wearing a Doctor Who t-shirt, or seeing a display of books and coffee mugs and keychains in the mall, or hearing teenaged girls in line at the pharmacy talking about how River Song HAS to be The Doctor’s wife, “for realz”.
I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Doctor Who has never had a higher public recognition factor than right now, today, at this very minute. That’s not to say that it won’t change tomorrow, and again the next day, but if you’ve ever poorly tried to explain the series to a non-fan, take a moment and feel proud that we have “arrived”. We are living in that moment where the “guilty-pleasure” we’ve greedily held to ourselves, much like Smeagol and his magic ring, has become an award-winning, critically acclaimed, can-do-no-wrong, must-see television series. For crying out loud, it was the most downloaded television on iTunes last year! Look around you at all of the young, new fans and have a private “I told you so” moment, to validate the times people thought you were strange for being a Doctor Who fan!
Last week, in a volley of interviews with a New Zealand newspaper, The Waikato Times, Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith basically dropped an indirect invitation to Peter Jackson to direct an episode of Doctor Who, set in New Zealand. Jackson then responded saying,
“I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, and I think Matt’s fantastic. Just name a time and place, and I’ll be there!”
Since then, Doctor Who Executive Producer, Caro Skinner has replied to Jackson,
“It is beyond wonderful that Peter is a fan of the show and it’s beyond flattering that he’d even think about it… I’m absolutely sure that we couldn’t afford him but, you know, we can always negotiate. His enthusiasm is just fantastic of course.”
With the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who rapidly approaching in 2013, I can’t help but think that a marketing genius like showrunner Steven Moffat could do no wrong in letting Peter Jackson helm an important episode. In fact, according to The Waikato Times, Neal Cross (the creator of Luther) has already public volunteered to pen Jackson’s episode. Cross also lives in New Zealand, and has already scripted a Doctor Who story, set to air in the second half of the seventh series.
Even more recently, Looper director Rian Johnson (Breaking Bad, Brick, The Brothers Bloom) has revealed on Reddit during an Ask Me Anything feature, that he would love to apply his twisted perception of time-travel to Doctor Who. Having already directed two episodes of Breaking Bad for television, Johnson was asked what other television shows he would like a crack at. He replied,
“I’d love to do a Game of Thrones.
But what I’d really kill to try, although it would be terrifying because I’m such a big fan of it? Doctor Who.”
Again, we’re faced with a very popular creative individual who is associated with another big science fiction/fantasy property that would make for some fantastic marketing synergy. If advanced word about Looper proves correct, any man who can do time-travel right with Bruce Willis can surely produce a kick-ass Doctor Who episode.
With this caliber of talent stepping up to say that they not only want to enjoy Doctor Who, but also want to play in the timey-wimey sandbox, doesn’t it start to seem like 13 episodes (plus a Christmas Special) might be too few? Doesn’t it make sense to take advantage of this creative boom and rise in popularity of the show to put some extra dollars in the budget to produce a higher episode count featuring big names to draw in even more viewers?
More importantly, should all of these pressures and and decisions rest squarely on the shoulders of one man? With well-versed writers and producers in fringe “Doctor Who” team players like Neil Gaiman, Chris Chibnall, Mark Gatiss and Gareth Roberts, couldn’t several production teams be set up to produce more frequent, higher-caliber Doctor Who? It would require an almost Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor) level of commitment from Matt Smith or the Doctor who follows after him, but knowing that all tides change and every peak quickly morphs into a valley, I wish the BBC would strike while the iron is hot. Throw out a few new spinoff shows (the Victorian-Era adventures of Madame Vastra and Jenny, along with Jackson Lake, Rosita, and original series characters Jago and Litefoot, or possibly a future-space-archeology adventure series featuring River Song, please!) and really soak up the entirety of just how big Doctor Who has gotten in the last fifty years. I really trust these people to make the 50th Anniversary of my favorite show a very special time for all of us. I just hope they realize just how many of us are waiting on the edge of our seats to see what happens!
No series can keep getting as exponentially popular as Doctor Who is at the moment. The fall of more than just the Ponds and the Eleventh has got to be looming in the next half a decade, so would it really hurt to let just a little pride come, before the fall?
Please comment below and let Word of the Nerd know which “A-list” creative types in television, movies, books and comics you would like to see get a chance to produce some official episodes of the good Doctor!
Via a digital daisy-chain of interviews and sound bytes, it has come to light that Hobbit director Peter Jackson may just fancy a spin in the TARDIS. The world has learned once again that some deals are struck in dark, secluded rooms by shadowy men with long beards, and that some deals are forged in the white-hot fires of the interwebs, in full view of the general public.
While being interviewed by New Zealand newspaper, the Waikato Times, Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith told of his wish to film an episode of Doctor Who in New Zealand, and to have that episode be directed by Peter Jackson.
“Let’s get Peter Jackson to direct one and go and make it in New Zealand. I would love to, I will campaign endlessly to come over and film there. I think it would be an absolutely wonderful place to film Doctor Who,” Smith confided in the newspaper. “There’s clearly a great film industry out there. It’s something I would be very interested in, it’s just whether we can persuade the producers to fly us all over.”
The newspaper then contacted Jackson, asking if he would be interested in guiding The Doctor and friends through one of their many adventures in time and space. Jackson replied,
“I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, and I think Matt’s fantastic. Just name a time and place, and I’ll be there!”
WETA (Jackson’s effects company) were also involved in the design and build of Paul McGann’s sonic screwdriver (featured as part of the Eighth Doctor’s new costume for Big Finish full-cast audio adventures) which was presented to him while appearing at a New Zealand convention.
So there you have it. The mind literally boggles at the possibilities. Looking at random Doctor Who news and connecting the dots, there is a new Neil Gaiman script in the works for Doctor Who, so could we possibly see a 50th Anniversary special penned by Gaiman and directed by Jackson? Surely Steven Moffat would want to lay claim to writing that particular episode, but Gaiman/Jackson would certainly be a memorable and marketable one-two punch for the series! The addition of Peter Jackson’s rabid fans to the mix of existing Doctor Who and Neil Gaiman fans could propel our favorite time-travel show into levels of popularity we cannot even imagine!
Please comment below and let us know what your dream Peter Jackson episode of Doctor Who would include!
It’s that old “one/two punch”. Give ‘em the good news, then smack ‘em with the bad news.
When Peter Jackson decided to shoot the (now) three films in The Hobbit series in 48 frames per second (double the standard speed), his reasoning was that movies need to up their ante to hold the attention of the standard teenaged movie-goer. Knowing full well that a portion of his audience may have never seen any of The Lord of the Rings films outside of their living room, Jackson is hoping that the immersive nature of the 48fps shot in 3D will keep bringing the kids back to see more.*
Which, leads us to a strange case of Middle-Earth Epic WIN/Epic FAIL.
Jackson premiered footage from the 48fps initial Hobbit movie at Cinemacon, the reception was not entirely favorable. Now Variety reveals that the footage is looking much better, but your fellowship may literally have to walk to Mordor in order to see how good it looks.
- EPIC WIN (from Variety): “People who have seen much of the film in 48 frames-per-second 3D tell Variety the picture now looks vastly better than the test footage shown this April at CinemaCon, which had not yet undergone post-production polishing and got a mixed reception from exhibitors.”
- EPIC FAIL (also from Variety): “According to source familiar with Warner’s release plans for Peter Jackson’s first “Hobbit,” the HFR version will go out to only select locations, perhaps not even into all major cities. … But the studio still wants to protect the format by going into a limited release for the HFR version, hoping to test the marketplace and expand the HFR release for the second and third installments — provided auds are enthusiastic.”
One wonders if the limited initial 48fps release will lead to a re-release of the first movie in full 48fps glory when the majority of theaters are better equipped? Jackson is a master at the clever games of making you buy a DVD over and over, and speaking of those skills, will we see a re-release of the three Lord of the Rings films in theaters before or after The Hobbit trilogy? What are YOUR thoughts on the matter? Comment below!
*I hope Peter Jackson has considered that there are very serious dangers in making a prequel trilogy look better than the initial films that spawned it, but that happen later in the chronology of the story. For example, a child who had not seen The Lord of the Rings, but is taken to see The Hobbit in 48fps/3D first could be really let down when the following three films are not filmed in such a spectacular manner. Case in point would be my daughter, Abbey, who was first exposed to Star Wars with The Phantom Menace in the theater. She was always very cross when “her” Yoda (back-flipping, hoverchair-riding CGI Yoda) suddenly turned into a “creepy muppet” when she watched The Empire Strikes Back.
I tell you, these kids today.
It seemed inevitable and now it has become a reality: The Hobbit will be split into three films. Rumours started circulating a little while ago, especially during Comic Con, that Peter Jackson was in talks to expand the franchise from two films to three.
Here’s the official announcement that came from Peter Jackson’s official Facebook page:
It is only at the end of a shoot that you finally get the chance to sit down and have a look at the film you have made. Recently Fran, Phil and I did just this when we watched for the first time an early cut of the first movie — and a large chunk of the second. We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life. All of which gave rise to a simple question: do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved ‘yes.’
We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance. The richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.
So, without further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of The Hobbit films, I’d like to announce that two films will become three.
It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, “a tale that grew in the telling.”
The first question immediately comes to mind is, what more will he add to it? Peter has answer some of it in the statement with Bilbo, Gandalf, the Dwarves, Necromancer and some extra battles, but he has to make it all fit in and very smooth. Adding stuff retrospectively to an already rough-cut film will be a challenge.
Are you looking forward to it now being a trilogy or is this purely for the money? Will you see all three parts? How will one book cover three films?
Over the last 266 days, Peter Jackson has been keeping fans up to date on the production of his latest two movies, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again via his Facebook page.
With the December release date seemingly approaching faster and faster and San Diego Comic-Con right around the corner, two new updates have been posted this week.
The first, posted on Friday the 6th of July, announced that principal photography for both halves of The Hobbit is complete. Here’s the quote from the man himself:
We made it! Shoot day 266 and the end of principal photography on The Hobbit. Thanks to our fantastic cast and crew for getting us this far, and to all of you for your support! Next stop, the cutting room. Oh, and Comic Con!
Cheers, Peter J
The second post revealed a brand new poster that will exclusively be available at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International. Many of the biggest movies make announcements and host previews at the yearly convention and Jackson’s appearance next weekend is certainly one of the most anticipated for this year. Whether Peter will announce some previously unknown news, show some footage or something else entirely is unclear.
In the meantime, enjoy the new poster and make sure to check the production videos over at thehobbitblog.com.
Well, the movie event geeks have clamored for years about has finally happened. Some of you certainly attended the midnight showing, and a certain percentage of those were astute enough to realize that work today was something that just wouldn’t happen, so you called out. Of course, some of you who are now playing hooky will go see it again, but what about those who won’t? How will you spend this fine day? Good luck for you, as I have some suggestions.
1. Google Bad Taste
Peter Jackson’s first film, about a group of aliens coming to Earth to harvest human flesh for their intergalactic fast-food chain, is a fun, if not gore filled ride. It is laughably bad, with production values so low, it rivals most home movies. Several online outlets (not including Netflix, damn them) offer this cheesy gore-fest. Here is a behind the scenes look at the film from The Internet Archive:
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2. Start an Internet Rumor
Fun for those who create them, annoying to those they are about, and highly confusing to those not in the know, fake internet rumors have been a staple of this online world of ours since its inception. Starting one can be daunting however, so we’ve thrown together this handy little chart to get help you started. Just grab a D12, and roll for one from column A, one from B, and one from C. If column B says (roll again) roll once more from column A.
|Column A [People]||Column B [Rumors]||Column C [Details]|
|1||Neil Gaiman||having child with (roll again)||a koala|
|2||Joss Whedon||in legal trouble||5 tons of flax|
|3||Felicia Day||is new writer for||the Klingon empire|
|4||Karen Gillam||is cast in||the Messiah|
|5||Gail Simone||was caught smuggling||discordianism|
|6||George Lucas||in feud with (roll again)||the Higgs-Boson|
|7||Stan Lee||“retires becoming”||Batgirl|
|8||Lisa Randall||discovers||Before Watchmen|
|9||Brian Cox||disproves||the Daleks|
|10||Kevin Smith||is the new ambassador to the||the Dalai Lama|
|11||Matt Smith||is addicted to||an obscene amount of ketchup|
|12||Brian Michael Bendis||engaged to(roll again)||Mars|
”So let’s see, 3, 1, ooh roll again! 11, and….4. Felicia Day is having a child with Matt Smith, geeks await word on the birth of The Messiah!”
Feel free to post your creations in the comments below. Who knows, your story may be picked up by TMZ!
3. Automate Your Home
Want to be like Tony Stark and be able to tell your house what to do? Hop on over to http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/ for instructions and products that will allow you to do just that. Just be careful, otherwise you’ll have no time for friends and family, and your “party mode” will involve you, a disco ball, and a strong sense of being alone in the world. (much like this guy, I would imagine)
4. Memorize Pi
Want to impress your friends and family? This probably isn’t the way to do it, but if you disagree, here is Pi, to 300 places. Get to memorizing!
If you REALLY want to impress (annoy) them, head over to piday.org for the first million. Have fun!
5. Stand In Line…Again.
You know you want to. You aren’t doing anything anyway. Besides, you can have fun discussing fake spoilers while waiting with folks who haven’t seen it before. “OMG I can’t wait to see the Fin Fang Foom scene in 3D!”. Odds are a few people who overhear will be so upset that they will wander away, giving you their place in line, getting you ever closer to the perfect seat!