Last year, as I flew to Wellington, New Zealand to visit the set of Universal Pictures’ Mortal Engines, I read the source novel by writer Philip Reeve. It was a brisk read, one intended for younger audiences, but I immediately understood why filmmaker Peter Jackson had been working for a decade to bring it to the big screen. The world Reeve had crafted on paper was spellbinding. It was a fascinating foundation upon which all kinds of stories could be told and all kinds of characters could be constructed. The storytelling itself was a bit simplistic, a side effect of the novel’s intended young adult audience, but it was easy to imagine the material being remixed into something a bit bolder, a bit more complex, and whole lot more thrilling.
And after spending two days on the Mortal Engines set, speaking with cast and crew and touring various locations and sound stages, it seems that Jackson and director Christian Rivers are working to do just that. Mortal Engines looks be less of a direct adaptation of the book and more of a wider and wilder exploration of the source material’s thrilling world-building. And that is very exciting.
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Ready for more YA dystopia? The Peter Jackson-produced Mortal Engines just dropped its eerie new teaser trailer online, featuring the city of London itself attached to giant Mad Max: Fury Road-style machinery. Christian Rivers helms this slice of post-apocalyptic extravaganza, with a script by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens. Watch the Mortal Engines trailer is below.
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Another day, another story accusing Harvey Weinstein of being a terrible human being, as director Peter Jackson recently claimed that Weinstein actively blocked Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino from joining the Lord of the Rings cast. This is just the latest in an ever-growing list of despicable behavior attributed to Weinstein, who was recently forced out of The Weinstein Company in light of multiple sexual assault allegations.
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Author Phillip Reeve’s four-part Predator Cities book series isn’t messing around when it comes to its title: in the future depicted in the novels, cities have become actual predators. Every city on Earth is now on wheels, constantly cruising around looking for smaller cities to consume and absorb.
The first book in that series, Mortal Engines, is getting a film adaptation from producer Peter Jackson and some of his The Lord of the Rings collaborators, and now Jackson has shared the first piece of Mortal Engines concept art with fans.
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The upcoming film adaptation of Mortal Engines is something of a Lord of the Rings reunion for the film’s writer and producer, Peter Jackson. One of the stars of Jackson’s beloved trilogy, Hugo Weaving, has joined the cast, which he wrote with Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Christian Rivers, who will direct the film.
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Posted on Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 by Angie Han
Several years ago, Peter Jackson got involved with Mortal Engines, a post-apocalyptic steampunk adventure based on the books by Philip Reeve. The project went on the backburner while Jackson went off to direct the three Hobbit movies, but now that he’s back from Middle-earth he’s getting Mortal Engines going again. However, he won’t be the one directing. Instead, Mortal Engines is revving up with Jackson protégé Christian Rivers behind the wheel. Read More »
The inevitable extended edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hits blu-ray in November, and it will have 25 minutes added to the film. The second chapter in Peter Jackson‘s three-film adaptation of The Hobbit (with some other Tolkien material added) will feature quite a few extended scenes, and a host of behind the scenes documentaries, and commentaries from Jackson and writer Philippa Boyens. The bonus content runs to nine hours, which should keep fans busy until the December opening of the third and final film. Watch a clip from the Desolation of Smaug extended edition below. Read More »
What does one do after spending years in Middle-Earth? If you’re Peter Jackson, you remake King Kong, adapt The Lovely Bones, and then go back to Middle-Earth. (Even if the return trip was unplanned.)
The Fellowship of the Ring began early pre-productiin in 1997 and really kicked into gear in 1999, which means that by the time the third and final Hobbit movie is released in 2014, Peter Jackson will have spent a healthy chunk of the last seventeen years in or thinking about Middle-Earth. Time to move on? Yeah, more than likely. So what’s next? Small films, the director says, specifically focused on New Zealand stories. Read More »
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One of the few complains fans didn’t have with Peter Jackson‘s first Hobbit film, An Unexpected Journey, was “it’s too short.” Clocking in at about 2 hours and 50 minutes, it felt like the story of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) joining a group of dwarves on a journey to the Lonely Mountain barely even began by the time the credits rolled. To be fair though, fans probably said the same thing after Jackson’s first Middle-Earth film, The Fellowship of the Ring. Yet when Jackson revealed the Extended Edition of that film on DVD, the added time enhanced the drama and character in many ways.
Jackson and his team are currently finishing the second film, The Desolation of Smaug, as well as the Extended Edition of An Unexpected Journey. Empire Magazine has some quotes about what exactly has been added to the first film. Will it enhance the film or just make it feel longer? Read More »
When The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is good, it’s really good. Throughout Peter Jackson‘s first film in the Hobbit trilogy, his camera sweeps through an epic battle, and Howard Shore’s score crescendos through the speakers as thirteen dwarves, one wizard and a hobbit fight for their lives. That’s what most audiences are paying to see, and the film provides that on a grand scale, again and again.
“Again and again” is also the film’s biggest issue. On a consistent basis, it’s almost as if Jackson forgets he has two more films to release and is forced to pump the brakes. Tangents pop out of nowhere, dialogue scenes are stretched into infinity, and a familiar structure of capture followed by rousing escape, is consistently repeated. Much of the film feels like it’s purposely attempting to stall the dwarves’ quest from progressing.
What we’re left with is a huge, beautiful piece of entertainment, the lows of which are slightly outweighed by its adrenaline pumping highs. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey works, but feels bloated, derived from the fact that it’s based on a child’s book, only stuffed and stretched beyond the bounds of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s original narrative. Still, its flaws and fun work hand in hand to provide a suitably rousing first act to the Hobbit trilogy. Read More »