Peter Jackson

The Hobbit

According to 'Kong is King', 'The Hobbit' is pencilled in for the summer of next year. Peter Jackson has a lot on, it seems, with Dambusters being produced, The Lovely Bones scheduled for 2007 and Halo scheduled for 2008. However, it's only on 'The Lovely Bones' that he's directing/writing. With 'Halo' he has 'executive producer' credit, I think the same is true for Dambusters.

My reading of the snippet about the Hobbit, if true (1) is that 'The Hobbit' will begin serious development once 'The Lovely Bones' is out of the door.

(1) given the obvious links that the KongIsKing site has to PJ, I don't think unsubstantiated rumours would appear there, even if they're presented as such

King Kong

Rather behind schedule, we saw King Kong yesterday. I did want to see it when in India but we could not find the time (the trailer showed Anne of the Empire state shouting 'Nehi!!!!' (Hindi) at the aeoplanes) Everyone know the plot - It's an old story. Ape kidnaps girl, girl screams, Ape tries to eat girl, girl runs away. Ape catches girl, Girl amuses Ape. Formal introductions. Ape meets girl, Girl meets Ape. Jeopardy. Ape wins girl's heart. Ape captured. Ape escapes. Ape and girl meet up. Ape and girl run off into the sunset. Ape falls off tall building. Everyone knows the plot, but how well is it executed?

On the whole, pretty well. Kong is believable, and well rendered. There are a couple of places where the compositiing doesn't quite work, the various picture elements seem pasted together rather than part of the same shot, but most of it is seamless. The virtual New York is very believable.

The dinosaur stampede sequence stretched credulity somewhat, but not so much that it was impossible to go with - the insecty bug things could have been safely cut though (killing off those characters in the stampede).

There was a scene in the trailers which seems to have been missed in the film. The one where they're on the beach filming and Jack Black says 'Scream, Anne, Scream!', Kong replies. Of course, I might have blinked and missed it.

Andy Serkis, poor lamb, has yet to have a character that survives a Peter Jackson film! (Okay, Gollum survives through to Return of the King, but it depends if you fez the three films as distinct or part of a larger whole).

Return of the King

Yesterday we finally got to see The Return of the King.

Generally, I was very pleased. I didn't feel there to be a gaping Christopher Lee shaped hole in the film, though it'll be nice when he's back in the extended cut. I was a bit disappointed that the Scouring of the Shire was cut, but I can see why it was cut.

The film is spectacular in it's scope and depth, though some SFX didn't quite work for me. There is a scene where the hobbits are reunited and they are bowed to by the population of Gondor. The hobbits don't feel to be a part of their landscape in the same way that they usually do. Similarly when Legolas climbed up onto the Oliphaunt that screamed CG almost as much as Spiderman did swinging through the city.

These moments are few and far between, most of the CG is so well done that it fades, it's a shame that a few examples do stand out.

The battle at Minis Tirith is incredible, the Riders of Rohan crashing into the Orc army is a sight to behold.

Overall, the trilogy has to be one of the best epics of all time - with Two Towers being my favourite of the three. I think that's because I like films that finish in a darker place.

Now it's Kill Bill Vol 2 to look forward to....

'Fellowship of the Ring' and 'The Two Towers'

Last night I went to see Fellowship and Two Towers at the cinema again. Nice to see them on the big screen, though they did not seem to be the extended versions.

I did notice a few things. For example, at the end of Fellowship, when Boromir was dying, Aragorn runs over to him and one of the dead Uruk-hai starts to get up.

The bit where Legolas leaps to the horse which everyone seems lo love still doesn't do it for me, it looks fake (which it is, of course) - and the comic relief elements of Gimli still seem overdone (but less so than they did at first viewing).

Gollum, of course, is wonderful - a bit of a shame that they didn't re-render the fellowship scenes with the Two Towers Gollum, but I suppose the law of diminishing returns hits there. Andy Serkis was robbed when they handed out the Oscars.

I hope they can do The Hobbit whilst Ian Holm is still young enough! It'd be so nice to see the ring finding scene slotted in there.