The second of Peter Jackson‘s trilogy of films adapting The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug, both improves on the previous film, and regresses from some of its achievements. In 2012′s An Unexpected Journey, Jackson stretched the story of The Hobbit to a breaking point. Sequences that were mere blips in the book became much longer, hurting the pacing immensely. At the start of this second film, Jackson picks up the pace considerably and, in just over an hour, our characters are at their final destination: The Lonely Mountain. Unfortunately, there’s still an hour and a half to go (plus another movie) which means that briefly improved, upbeat pace comes to a screeching halt. Plus that rushed first hour glosses over some of the most famous scenes in J.R.R. Tolkien‘s book.
Besides the major pacing problems, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has lots of good things going for it, including more rousing action, great performances by new characters, and several beautiful new settings. But all of those don’t save the film from being considerably divisive.
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Considering there’s another film set for release in 2014, it’s no spoiler to reveal The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ends on a massive cliffhanger. It also ends very close to the end of J.R.R. Tolkien’s narrative of The Hobbit, which means unless There And Back Again is 20 minutes long, it’ll be stuffed with new narrative linking Peter Jackson‘s current trilogy with the Lord of the Rings.
Recently, one of the film’s stars teased the press by saying the character of Legolas (Orlando Bloom) would be the main link between the trilogies. Jackson also explained how he justified putting that character, which isn’t in The Hobbit novel, into the film by giving a brief Tolkien history lesson. Read More »
Posted on Monday, December 9th, 2013 by Angie Han
Just as no young male actor seems to get anywhere these days without toplining his own comic book franchise, few directors at the moment seem immune to the allure of YA adaptations. The latest to jump on the angsty-teen wagon is Ridley Scott, who’s just optioned the fantasy novel Fae. Hit the jump for more details on the story.
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Posted on Friday, December 6th, 2013 by Angie Han
A motion-capture adaptation of George Orwell‘s Animal Farm seems like one of those concepts that could easily go awry, but if anyone should be able to pull it off it’s Lord of the Rings and Rise of the Planet of the Apes star Andy Serkis.
After putting in time as a second unit director on the Hobbit trilogy, Serkis set the fable as his feature directorial debut last year. He’s been plugging away at it ever since, and now says he plans to shoot the “fairly unique” project sometime next year. Hit the jump for more details, along with a minor update on the Serkis-produced The Bone Season.
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The Sword of Shannara, from author Terry Brooks, is kind of a cold-war revision of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ideas. The book features all the fantasy trappings of Tolkien’s novels — so much so that critics dinged Brooks for rampant borrowing — but gives it all a nuclear origin, as the novels take place thousands of years after apocalyptic wars mutated mankind into elves and dwarves, and changed the geographic layout of Earth.
The book was also very successful, and it spawned two direct sequels and ultimately became the thing that dominates Brooks’ career — he’s got more Shannara books set for 2014 and 2015, almost 40 years after the publication of his first. With all the interest in YA and fantasy novel properties from studios since The Lord of the Rings was a success, it is possibly only the very Tolkien-lite characteristics of Shannara that have kept the books from being adapted. Not that people haven’t tried, as producers who started working with the rights in 2007 have now hit pay dirt.
MTV is now developing Shannara, a TV series, with Jon Favreau signed to direct the pilot. Read More »
The Christmas movie season is almost here and while most of us are getting super excited for The Wolf of Wall Street or Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, there will be plenty of other options at the theater. One example is 47 Ronin, Carl Rinsch‘s big budget samurai fantasy epic starring Keanu Reeves. The film has been in production for what feels like forever with plenty of behind the scenes drama, yet we’re now just a few short weeks away from finding out if Rinsch was able to rise above all that. I will say, after the first few trailers failed to impress, the TV spots showing up during primetime shows have me much more interested.
Now, a slew of behind the scenes footage has come online that will only help get you interested in the film, which also stars Hiroyuki Sanada, Ko Shibasaki, Tadanobu Asano and Rinko Kikuchi. Check it out below. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, December 5th, 2013 by Angie Han
In an era when most major film franchises are pushing out a film a year — or even more, in the case of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — The Chronicles of Narnia has gone at a remarkably relaxed pace. The first film, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, was released in 2005, followed three years later by Prince Caspian and then two years after that by The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Now, three years after the last entry, producers are slowly but surely getting the pieces in place for a fourth. Life of Pi screenwriter David Magee has just been brought on to write The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, which entered development earlier this year. Get the latest details on the project after the jump.
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Things are about to get all Hobbit up in here. A week from today, fans will be piling into theaters to watch the second film in Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Reviews come out this weekend, interviews will be published, it’s all about to get nuts with the film so close to release.
Seems like the perfect time to Jackson to release the 13th installment in his running Hobbit video diary. This one shows lots of behind the scenes action of this second film, including filming the scenes with Smaug, the character’s look and much more. There’s even some Benedict Cumberbatch in there! Check it out below. Read More »