Today’s the day — over a decade after the premiere of Peter Jackson‘s The Fellowship of the Ring, the director returns to Middle-Earth with the first of three planned films adapting J.R.R. Tolkien‘s first novel The Hobbit. The films won’t adapt only that book, however, as Jackson and co-writers Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro have also incorporated elements from appendecies and supplements to The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien eventually devised a dense amount of parallel story to buttress the episodic adventure of The Hobbit, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey incorporates some of that material.
The film is also Jackson’s first film set in Middle-Earth to be shot on a digital camera and in 3D, and the first studio feature film ever to be shot and projected at a high frame rate of 48 fps, compared to the standard 24fps.
Suffice to say, despite the presence of familiar Lord of the Rings faces such as Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Christopher Lee, and Hugo Weaving, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is very much a different look at Middle-Earth. Germain has weighed in on the film itself, and I’ve put down some thoughts on the high frame rate presentation. Now, tell us what you thought of the film, below. Spoilers follow in the text after the break, and are encouraged in the comments to facilitate full discussion of the film. Read More »
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In the first frames of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the camera briefly lingers on a pair of hands in close-up as they light a candle. As the small flame flares, the camera pulls back to show the aged Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), and the seemingly mundane sequence concludes with a shot that might be unlike anything else you’ve ever seen in a theater.
Peter Jackson shot The Hobbit on digital cameras that captured images at 48 frames per second. That 48fps speed, which we’ll refer to as High Frame Rate (HFR) from here out, is twice the long-held industry standard 24fps. The benefits of HFR include reduced or eliminated motion blur, and a notable increase in general clarity. The downside is that HFR doesn’t look exactly like cinema, or at least not like anything typically projected on film screens.
With those downsides noted, consider this, too: that first shot of Ian Holm as Bilbo has more visual information than any shot of the actor in any other film. He appears to be in the same room with the audience. Details of Holm’s hair (a wig), his prosthetic ears and well-designed wardrobe are impossible to miss. It feels, at first, as if it’s impossible to miss anything, so clear is the picture.
Weird, that such heightened clarity should anger so many cinephiles. Read More »
Yesterday we saw an image billed as the first from The Hobbit: There and Back Again, which is the third film in Peter Jackson‘s trilogy adapting J.R.R. Tolkien‘s short novel The Hobbit. I wondered if that might have been a mistake in billing, and that the still might actually have been from the second film, The Desolation of Smaug. After all, we hadn’t seen anything from the second movie yet, and so to see a still from the third seemed odd.
But that was indeed from the third movie. And now we’ve got the first pic from The Desolation of Smaug, and the guess is that it comes from the very end of the film, just as Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is coming face to face with the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) for the first time. See that, and a new pic from the first Hobbit film, below. Read More »
Things are going into overdrive for Peter Jackson‘s first film adapting The Hobbit, but before the film opens on December 14 we’ve got a great behind the scenes look at the production of the film. This 13-minute featurette features a lot of film footage you probably haven’t seen yet, and has some good interviews, to boot.
Plus, we’ve got the first official still from the second Hobbit movie (or is it from the third?) after the break.
Read More »
Just yesterday we passed on some quotes from Peter Jackson about the process of designing the dragon Smaug, aka the big villain of the book The Hobbit, and Jackson’s three films adapting it. At the time that interview was conducted, Smaug wasn’t quite done. But we know that he makes a very brief appearance in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which is starting to screen for press and has already had its world premiere in New Zealand.
Now a new TV spot features the first footage that gives any real glimpse of Smaug. But don’t expect too much. There’s a good bit of firey strafing from an object flying through the sky, but frankly the footage here almost looks as if it features a less than fully rendered shape. If nothing else, the shots used in this spot really don’t need to show the dragon in much detail, and indeed they don’t.
Check it out for yourself below, in both video and still form. Read More »
Not long ago we pointed you toward Rolling Stone for the premiere of Neil Finn‘s end credits song for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Now we can point you back to the site for a stream of the full score. If you’re ready to experience Howard Shore‘s music divorced from Peter Jackson‘s film, head right here and enable the player. I understand wanting to wait, however; I’m going to hold off listening to the score on its own until after I’ve seen the film.
But there’s a bit more, after the break, as Jackson recently had a few good things to say about the differences in effects approaches in this return to Middle-Earth. Advances in CG effects mean that Jackson can turn human actors into even more imposing Orcs and Goblins than was possible a decade ago. He also talks about the process of designing the dragon Smaug, who we might see very briefly in this first film. Read More »
Peter Jackson and Warner Bros. premiered The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey yesterday in New Zealand, but a review embargo was set in place to keep reviews from flooding the interwebs in advance of the first major US press screenings this weekend. But that embargo trick never really works, and so of course at least one outlet has broken out with a review (some might say “review”) in advance of the agreed-upon date. Get a few bits of reaction info below. Read More »
Where to start with the big remake news of the past twenty-four hours? How about with the version of Park Chan-wook’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeance that Charlize Theron has been trying to make for so long that when it cropped up again today, many people thought it was new. The third film in Park’s “Vengeance Trilogy” features a woman released from prison after years-long confinement for a murder she didn’t commit. After her release, she sets in motion a complex revenge plan.
Back in ’08 Theron was linked to the remake as a producer, and it hasn’t gone anywhere since then. But now Annapurna Pictures (The Master, Lawless) is backing it, with William Monahan (The Departed, London Boulevard) scripting and Theron set to star. That’s a good collection of talent, and Monahan explained in a statement today, “this will be very American — and very unexpected.” There’s no director yet.
After the break, proto-slasher thriller The Town That Dreaded Sundown gets a remake. Read More »
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