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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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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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 »
Posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 by Jack Giroux
There’s a need to explain where characters came from these days. Obviously this trend makes it easier to launch a potential franchise, but creatively, it’s not the most enticing idea. In the case of The Merlin Saga, a series consisting of 12 books, it begins with the famous wizard as a boy, with his memory erased. Would audiences rather see Merlin’s untold coming-of-age story or see the wise, old Merlin we all know? Disney is going with the former, so they’re moving forward with their adapting T.A. Barron‘s The Merlin Saga. To write the adaptation, they’ve enlisted Academy Award-winning screenwriter Philippa Boyens (The Lord of the Rings).
Learn more about the project after the jump.
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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 »
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 »
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Someone probably saw this coming, after his frustrated-sounding comments the other day (with respect to MGM’s troubles slowing down the films) but it is still a shock to see that Guillermo del Toro is no longer directing The Hobbit for producer Peter Jackson.
del Toro announced his departure via long-running LotR fansite The One Ring, and you can read his comments after the break. Read More »
Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro have announced that writing has begun on The Hobbit and the announced Hobbit sequel. Jackson partner Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have also been revealed as part of the writing team. Both Walsh and Boyens were part of the creative team behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Originally Jackson and del Toro were to oversee a writing team in penning both films. Jackson and del Toro made time in their schedules to become more involved in the process. This is great news because Jackson, Walsh and Boyens have an intimate knowledge of the Tolkien’s Middle Earth that would probably take months upon months of hardcore research for a new creative team. del Toro described the process as “something beautiful” while phoning in for a recent Hellboy II question and answer session.
The current plan is to begin shooting both films simultaneously in late-2009, with hopes of releasing The Hobbit in 2011, followed up the next year with the sequel. It does seem like they are rushing this a bit, but with a good creative team on board to pen the adaptations, I have a good feeling it will work out in the end. I’m still a bit hesitant about what exactly The Hobbit sequel will contain, and if it will be possible to create a narrative of the years in-between.
sources: OneRing, THR