Peter Jackson to Next Focus on Smaller, True-Story Films Set in New Zealand; Doesn’t Rule Out a Return to Middle-Earth

by     Posted 2 days ago

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Filmmaker Peter Jackson has now made six full-length feature films out of material from author J.R.R. Tolkein.  While Jackson’s return to Middle-earth following the brilliance of his Lord of the Rings trilogy was originally welcomed, interest in his new The Hobbit films waned after the first film turned out to be a bit of a slog.  You can blame the stretching of the material, the shooting in 48 fps, or simply a weak story to begin with for how this trilogy turned out (though to be fair it certainly has its fans), but none of that really matters now.  The final installment, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters in two days, and all eyes are on what Jackson will turn his attention to next.

He’s an undeniably talented filmmaker with a penchant for eye-popping visuals, but Jackson says that after making three massive movies in a row, he’s ready to turn his attention to stories with a much, much smaller budget.  But that doesn’t mean he’ll completely rule out a return to Middle-earth sometime in the far future.  Read on after the jump.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Review

by     Posted 2 days ago

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At one point in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Dwalin (Graham McTavish) tells a greedy, paranoid Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), “You are lesser now than you have ever been.”  The same could be said to director and co-writer Peter Jackson and the conclusion of his prequel trilogy.  In an interview with EW earlier this year, Jackson stressed that it was important to keep cutting back to main characters during the action scenes, “otherwise the audience gets battle fatigue.”  He should have taken his own advice as this trilogy is clearly spent and left with almost nothing but hollow spectacle, hypocrisy, poor characterization, and at times becoming an outright embarrassment.  If The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of cinema’s best, then Battle of the Five Armies cements The Hobbit trilogy as one of its most disappointing.

Robert Zemeckis, Matthew Vaughn, Edgar Wright and Peter Jackson Also Top Choices for READY PLAYER ONE

by     Posted 13 days ago

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Christopher Nolan might not be the only director in the running for Ready Player One.  It’s being reported that Robert Zemeckis, Matthew Vaughn, Edgar Wright and Peter Jackson are all being considered as well.  (Looks like you got your wish, Brendan!)

The film is based on Ernest Cline’s award-winning book of the same name.  It takes place in the year 2044. The world isn’t in great shape thanks to the exhaustion of Earth’s fossil fuels, but at least people can escape the energy crisis and overpopulation by logging in to OASIS, a video game getaway.  Hit the jump for more on the directors who are supposedly in the running to bring OASIS to the big screen.

Peter Jackson Says THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Extended Cut Will Include Around 30 Minutes of Additional Footage

by     Posted 16 days ago

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies doesn’t even come out for another two weeks, but Peter Jackson is already making plans for his extended edition of the film.  Steve is currently at The Hobbit press conference in London where Jackson just revealed that there will be an extended cut of the film on the Blu-ray with around 30 minutes of additional footage.  The extended edition of An Unexpected Journey clocks in at 183 minutes long (13 minutes of additional footage) and the extended cut of The Desolation of Smaug is 186 minutes long (25 minutes of additional footage) so when the time comes to marathon the entire The Hobbit trilogy, we’ll be spending about 543 minutes in Middle Earth, which is actually significantly less than the Lord of the Rings extended trilogy’s 680-minute grand total.

Hit the jump for more on Jackson’s plans for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies extended cut.

Early THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Reviews Seem More Favorable Than Prior Installments

by     Posted 17 days ago

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Peter Jackson’s J.R.R. Tolkein saga will soon come to an end with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and critics have begin discussing the merits of the film in their reviews and on Twitter. Our official review will be up soon, but in the meantime we can sample some of the initial reactions, which are fairly mixed-to-positive.  In short, people so far seem to be enjoying this a bit more than the first two installments, but still not as much as The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Check out the initial reactions to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies after the jump.  The film stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando Bloom.  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.

James Cameron Says the AVATAR Sequels Will Be “Bitchin”; Reveals Peter Jackson Suggested Famous Line from the First Film

by     Posted 22 days ago

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James Cameron is hard at work developing his Avatar sequels, and the only way they can be described is by bringing back long-dead slang terms.  With a December 2016 release date officially set for Avatar 2, Cameron is currently getting ready to begin production on the three sequels back-to-back-to-back, and when asked by Empire about the storylines, Cameron, laughing, said he could reveal one thing: “They’re gonna be bitchin.’  You will shit yourself with your mouth wide open.”  Dear Fox, please print this on the poster.  Your marketing job will be half over!

The filmmaker certainly took his time in crafting the follow-ups to the highest grossing film of all time, and when it came to writing the screenplays he broke the stories with a team of writers and then assigned each of them one specific film.  In the recent edition of Empire, Cameron elaborates a bit on this writing process and reveals that the films will be shot in 48 FPS instead of 60.  Moreover, the director lets slip that one of the most quoted lines from Avatar actually came from Peter Jackson.  Read on after the jump.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Celebrates Last Trip To Middle Earth With Five Empire Magazine Covers

by     Posted 23 days ago

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With the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on the way in just a few short weeks, the marketing push is in full effect.  And we’ve got five new images from the film that come courtesy of a few magazine covers from Empire.  This installment of the film looks identical to the prior two, and these images don’t do anything to change that, but if you’re a fan of the movie they’re well worth checking out.

Hit the jump for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies images.  The film stars Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando Bloom.  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.

First THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES TV Spot Has Trolls, Flying Creatures, and Lots of Arrows

by     Posted 37 days ago

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Hot on the heels of a new trailer debut, Warner Bros. has released the first The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies TV spot, giving us another look at director Peter Jackson’s new animated feature.  I kid, but these Hobbit films have become increasingly reliant on CG technology to bring not only creatures and backgrounds to life but full environments, and this latest TV spot is flush with animation-filled shots.  Obviously this kind of technology is necessary in order to depict the titular battle, which involves factions from all over Middle-earth descending upon the now unguarded Lonely Mountain in order to claim its treasure.  And in the middle of it all is one small Hobbit, Mr. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman).  Will he survive the battle and be able to return to Hobbiton in order to transform into Ian Holm?  There’s really no way of knowing until we see the film next month.

Watch the Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies TV spot after the jump.  The film stars Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando Bloom.  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.

New Full-Length THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Trailer Teases Massive Spectacle, Big Emotion

by     Posted 42 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released a new The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer for the final chapter in Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit trilogy.  The film concludes the Hobbit saga as five armies descend upon the Lonely Mountain in order to claim its now unguarded treasure, and it also acts as as prelude to Jackson’s other J.R.R. Tolkein trilogy, The Lord of the Rings.  With the release a little over a month away and the final visual effects shots coming in, this trailer goes big on the spectacle.  This thing looks absolutely massive, but there’s a strong focus on emotion and hot tempers as well, as Thorin’s desire to reclaim his people’s mountain trumps anything that stands in his way.  And yet, I still can’t shake how much CG is involved.  The film is at least 60% animated feature, and the all-CG creatures aren’t threatening in the least (one looks like a giant baby).  My hope is that the live-action character work is strong enough to overcome the “fake” feeling, but seeing as how most of the film takes place during the titular epic battle, I’m not exactly holding my breath.

Check out the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer after the jump.  The film stars Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando BloomThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Ending Features a 45-Minute Battle Sequence; Billy Boyd to Write and Perform End Credits Song

by     Posted 55 days ago

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With a title like The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, there are pretty high expectations for a rather epic-looking battle sequence.  Indeed, Peter Jackson has revealed that the film concludes with a 45-minute fight during the climax, as the various armies of Middle-earth all descend upon the Lonely Mountain now that the dwarven treasure of Erebor is no longer being guarded by that fearsome dragon Smaug.  Jackson is currently putting the finishing touches on the film during post-production in anticipation of its December 17th release, but he recently talked a bit about planning the final battle sequence with EW and also unveiled some rather massive-looking concept art.  Additionally, Warner Bros. has announced that Lord of the Rings actor Billy Boyd (aka Peregrin Took) will perform the closing credits song “The Last Goodbye”, which he co-wrote with the filmmakers.

Hit the jump for more on The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies climactic action sequence as well as the end credits song, including Jackson’s thoughts on how those eagles would’ve made The Lord of the Rings much, much shorter.

Watch Air New Zealand THE HOBBIT Safety Video with Peter Jackson and Elijah Wood

by     Posted 57 days ago

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Air New Zealand is all in on the Lord of the Rings tourism industry.  They created a 5-minute safety video set in Middle Earth to show passengers before each flight with plenty of Hobbit sight gags.  Directed by Taika Waititi (Flight of the Conchords), the production values are solid and the clip is entertaining, as far as airline informational videos go.  The result will make you actually pay attention to the safety instructions on your next flight to New Zealand.

Watch the video—featuring appearances by Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, Sylvester McCoy, Dean O’Gorman, and Weta Workshop co-founder Richard Taylor—after the jump.

Watch Benedict Cumberbatch Pretend to Be a Dragon in THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG Extended Edition Clip

by     Posted 58 days ago

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One of the more impressive aspects of director Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was the characterization of the titular dragon.  Benedict Cumberbatch not only provided the voice for the sleepy/cranky character, but he did performance capture as well that was then used to inform the animation of the dragon’s movements.  In anticipation of the release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition on Blu-ray, a behind-the-scenes clip has been released that shows Cumberbatch performing as Smaug.  It’s a pretty fun watch, and you can definitely see how Cumberbatch’s movements influenced the finished product.  Additionally, Warner Bros. has released an assortment of other clips (both from the film and behind-the-scenes) from the EE release that are sure to pique interest, and we’ve included them as well.

Take a look at the The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition clips after the jump.  The film will be available on Blu-ray 3D and DVD on November 3rd, and is currently available on Digital HD.

Comic-Con: Peter Jackson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom Talk THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES

by     Posted 140 days ago

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From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the third in a trilogy of films that bring the masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, to life.  It is an epic conclusion to the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves, who have reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, but have unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.  And there are even greater dangers ahead, as darkness converges on their escalating conflict, and the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must either unite or be destroyed while the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.

While at Comic-Con for a presentation in Hall H, Peter Jackson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom spoke to press at a conference, in which they talked about why the title of the third film changed, the progression of the tone, from the first film to this one, perfecting the voices of Smaug and Gollum, the creation of Tauriel, the experience of revisiting characters from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and how long it might be before any of the films get remade.  Peter Jackson also talked about why The Silmarillion will probably never get adapted for film, and how he feels about a new King Kong film.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

New THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Images: Luke Evans Prepares for War

by     Posted 142 days ago

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Fresh off yesterday’s teaser trailer debut, Warner Bros. has released a few new The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies images for director Peter Jackson’s final installment in his J.R.R. Tolkein saga.  This third Hobbit film will obviously cover the concluding events of the book, but will also likely cover much more ground from Tolkein’s appendices, as we glimpsed some truly epic footage of Lee Pace’s Thranduil doing battle and Ian McKellen’s Gandalf in a rather precious position in yesterday’s trailer.  I still don’t think the Hobbit films are near the quality of Jackson’s masterful Lord of the Rings trilogy, but during the Hobbit panel at Comic-Con last weekend, I did get the sense that Jackson really aims to go out on a high note with this one.  Here’s hoping he succeeds.

Hit the jump to check out the new The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies images.  The film also stars Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Stephen Fry, Hugo Weaving, and Benedict CumberbatchThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.

Peter Jackson Could Work DOCTOR WHO Episode into His Schedule after THE HOBBIT Trilogy

by     Posted 147 days ago

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While Peter Jackson has a bit more to do this year to finish up his Hobbit trilogy with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, he might be taking a trip to the small screen in the near future.  Which TV show, you ask? Well, Jackson has expressed an interest in directing an episode of Doctor Who.  Jackson would have done the show already if it weren’t for his insane schedule over the last few years.  Perhaps things would go a little easier if the Good Doctor took a trip to New Zealand where Jackson spends much of his time.  I jest, but according to Steven Moffat, that’s not exactly out of the question.  Hit the jump for more.

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