Friday, November 20, 2015

Peter Jackson "Winged It" While Filming The Hobbit Trilogy (Updated)

The Hobbit trilogy director Peter Jackson admitted that due to a lack of prep time, he had to kind of make it up as he went while filming The Hobbit trilogy (video below). The main cause was Guillermo del Toro having the leave late in pre-production forcing many of the designs for the film being restarted from scratch while also trying to meet a hard start deadline for filming. As a result everyone in the cast, including Jackson, would have to take each day as it came without the advance (nearly 3 year) prep they had for The Lord of the Ring trilogy. I assume this new info is part of The Appendices that came with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition and as another site mentioned, the honestly is rare and refreshing. While some sites have glommed onto this confession to explain why The Hobbit wasn't that good, to me the problem was there simply wasn't enough source material for three films. Without the stretching I suspect most would have found the films to be a perfect companion to LOTR. If anything the confession is a sign of just how fantastic Peter Jackson, WETA and everyone in New Zealand are at their job as even at their "worst" The Hobbit films were better than a mass majority of films released in that 3 year period. Their idea of a "rush" job is better than most directors best efforts with all the prep time in the world.

Update: The mainstream media failing to do their usual jobs of not providing context (cause context would prevent them from making mountains out of molehills) has resulted in Weta and Peter Jackson to release the below statement in response to all the negative headlines based on the snippet of video below. Those few minutes were taken from the four hours of behind the scenes footage in The Appendices (which I highly recommend watching) that would have provided more info not just on the problems they faced but the solutions they devised.
The You Tube clip is a 6min cutdown of a 45min featurette (one of many) from the recent Battle of the Five Armies Extended Cut DVD, entitled “The Gathering Clouds” [sic]. Somebody has decided to create this cutdown using only the sections of “The Gathering Clouds” that discuss the difficulties faced, not the positive ways they were addressed and overcome – which are also covered in this and other featurettes.
Peter has never made a secret of the fact that he took over the Hobbit directing job with very little preparation time remaining before shooting had to begin. It was a challenge he willingly took on. His comments are an honest reflection of his own personal feelings at times during the movie’s production.

However they are not a reflection of either the actual production of these 3 movies – which was very tight, professional, happy, and finished on schedule and budget – nor do they reflect the finished result. Peter is very proud of the 3 Hobbit movies, and actually regards this period as one of his happiest film making experiences – something he has said publicly many times.

Shifting 2 months of shooting from 2012 into 2013 to allow the long and very complex battle sequence to be properly planned and shot, had no impact on the budget or release date. It is exactly what any responsible director should do, given the compressed pre-production time Peter had for these 3 technically difficult movies.

Ever since The Frighteners, Peter has tried to provide fans with honest, detailed, “warts and all” behind the scenes featurettes – compared to the usual bland Hollywood publicity material seen on most other DVDs. It’s a little sad to see desperate media outlets hijack this honesty to feed their ravenous appetite for negative sensationalism.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition Available Now

Just a friendly reminder that the final Middle-Earth extended edition is now available where ever Blu-ray and DVD is sold. The movie includes about 25 minutes of extra footage edited back into the film with completed special effects, score and sound effects. More importantly (to me anyway), it includes the final edition to The Appendices which is quite simply the most comprehensive behind the scenes footage you can find for any film. If you are a movie buff who likes to know a little bit about how the sausage is made, all the extended editions are worth buying just for that. Its all content without all the cheer leading "this movies is the greatest, these actors are the greatest, please buy/watch this movie!" garbage that takes up most behind the scenes stuff. Nope this is as pure as Hollywood is able to get without a marketing flack doing the editing but there is a PR flack watching as of course all the on set friction is removed and you know there had to be arguments. What job doesn't after all. Still the level of detail is greater than anything else released as extras that I can think of. As far as pricing, the average price I have been seeing is $22.99 including Amazon so hopefully that tidbit will help you on where to get it.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Hobbit Recieved $200 Million in New Zealand Incentives

A rather odd choice in a political attack vector from the Green Party in New Zealand (think far left liberals if in the US) revealed that Warner Bros received back $200 million in benefits from the government for filming The Hobbit trilogy in the country whose total production cost was $1.1 billion. Green Party spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said the grant was "pretty extreme" saying "...our Government should [not] be handing out hundreds of millions of dollars to film companies that are making billions of dollars."

It should be noted that governments handing out incentives to keep a business (or film company) in a certain locality is a common practice around the world. While the conservative parties around the world prefer to give tax incentives away and just hope the recipients do the right thing, true incentives are supposed to have a carrot approach of "we give you X dollars back if you do Y things." In this case New Zealand promised around a 20% back on the cost of production in return for WB filming the entire trilogy in the country and participating in various ads to promote New Zealand tourism (hence those supplementals in the home video releases).

In this case the size of the grants were the result of months of negotiations when a mini-bidding war for The Hobbit production erupted between New Zealand and England when Warner Bros. signaled it was seriously considering moving production the England to save money via such incentive programs. It took a literal act of New Zealand's congress to get the production to stay. The Lord of the Rings trilogy proved to be a significant boom to the tourist industry of New Zealand so they already had first hand knowledge of how important a new trilogy could be.

From a practical point of view the Green Party's rather idiotic argument seems to be that the New Zealand government should have said no to around $900 million being spent in the country by refusing any incentives including risk increased tourism competition from movie fans who would then have a choice between the England or New Zealand for their Hobbit fix. By any measure the choice between $0 or $900 million at the cost of $200 million seems like a no brainer. Unless your the Green Party which speaks poorly of what would be their fiscal management for the country. (via TOR)

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Massive Lego Erebor

Standing at 7 feet (2.1m) tall, 5.5 foot (1.7m) deep and 6 feet (1.8m) wide is this massive 120,000 Lego brick version of Erebor from The Hobbit trilogy. Created by Lego master builder Michal Kazmierczak, this 286 pound structure isn't just about the gates outside of the mountain but also everything inside including the Throne Room and treasury where Smaug napped. This pic is just a sample so I recommend hitting up the full gallery of images at Michal's flickr page.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Hobbit Trilogy Extended Edition In Theaters Trailer

Below is the trailer to promote The Hobbit Trilogy Extended Edition that will show in select theaters in October. Its not all three movies in one day but each movie on three days spread over two an eight day period. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey EE will be on Monday October 5, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Wednesday October 7 and finally The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on Tuesday October 13. For full details hit up Fathom Events.