Tag Archive: Peter Jackson

Dwarves and mountain

At last!  For those of us who thought The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the best genre film of 2012, we now have reason to get excited about Part 2 of the trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, with Warner Bros. releasing the first trailer a few hours ago.  The theme for the first trailer is Elves–and we finally get our first look at Lost star Evangeline Lilly as the Elf called Tauriel.  And she looks awesome, wielding bow and arrow, dressed in green with great red hair.  Orlando Bloom is back, too, as Legolas, along with Martin Freeman as Bilbo, Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, and Ken Stott as the wise old dwarf Balin.  It’s also our first look at Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman, and the CGI Smaug the dragon, although we don’t hear Benedict Cumberbatch yet as the voice of the dragon.

This is the part of The Hobbit where we meet Shelob the giant creepy spider–long before she meets up with Frodo in The Lord of the Rings.  And we get to see the great river barrel ride of the Dwarves, that Peter Jackson previewed for fans in a series of videos last year here.  And what’s more fun than a barrel of Dwarves?

Evangeline Lilly in The Hobbit

So wait no longer–enjoy the first trailer released for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Here’s the prologue of Volume 1 of the graphic novel adaptation of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s novel The Strain:

They have always been here.  VAMPIRES.  In secret and in darkness.  WAITING.  Now their time has come.  In one week, Manhattan will be gone.  In one month, the country.  In two months–the world.

If you’re like me, you’re tired of vampires.  Tired of zombies.  Everyone is writing about either zombies or vampires.  So if you’re going to read one of the several vampire or zombie books, you’ve got to have a reason.  I stumbled into The Strain in a sort of backwards way.  I don’t like horror as a general genre but will consider something new if a writer or artist I like is working on the project.  Usually cover artists entice readers to a book.  In this case, artist E.M. Gist’s grotesque characters in the cover art normally would cause me to move along to something else.  This is one reason I skipped Issues #1 to #6 of The Strain when they hit the bookstore shelves.  Then I saw the name Mike Huddleston as interior artist and I flipped open the new volume from Dark Horse being released November 14, 2012–Huddleston has created some of the best single pages of art I have seen over the years.  And checking out The Strain was a good call.  Reminder to self: You can’t judge a (comic) book by its cover(s).  Editor’s Note–A few spoilers ahead!

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Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings movie series and the coming movies series base don Tolkien’s The Hobbit, has confirmed that he will be breaking his two films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, into three films.

“We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance,” Jackson wrote on his Facebook page.  “So, without further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of The Hobbit films, I’d like to announce that two films will become three.”

The Desolation of Smaug and Riddles in the Dark, indicating one of the second two films may take on this subtitle.

Fansite TheOneRing.net suggested a third possible subtitle, The Battle of Five Armies may be in consideration.

My guess?  Maybe they’ll follow the Harry Potter final film strategy and simply have The Hobbit: There and Back Again Part One, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again Part Two.  Maybe not if the third film delves into Tolkien stories outside The Hobbit tale.

So here are the release dates for the now three Hobbit films:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters on December 14th, 2012.

The Hobbit: There and Back Again (or revised title) opens in theaters December 13th, 2013.

The Hobbit (unnamed) hits theaters in Summer 2014.

C.J. Bunce

It’s tomorrow in New Zealand (I love seeing comments at thehobbitblog.com dated a day that hasn’t arrived here yet!) and yesterday the best friend of fantasy film fans, director Peter Jackson released behind the scenes footage that he showed fans at the Hall H panel at Comic-Con this year.

Like Jackson’s prior blog video updates, this one shows a lot of the cast and crew, but it has even more than before, including interviews with many of the dwarves, as well as nice footage of the key sets from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, to be released this December.

It’s very cool that Jackson would release this footage to everyone so quickly after Comic-Con.

One more item–there is also word out that Jackson is in talks to change the two movie deal to three Hobbit movies.  Apparently he has enough footage for three full length films.  We’ll share more as we learn about any updates.

Tomorrow, come back for updates on next summer’s reboot of Superman, Man of Steel.

C.J. Bunce

Peter Jackson has released his penultimate behind the scenes feature on thehobbitblog.com, home for Jackson’s online vlog series to whet the appetites of anxious fans who just cannot wait for the December release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, part 1 of The Hobbit film adaptation.  If you haven’t seen the other production features yet, check out our earlier post here.

Instead of showing the behind the scenes people and places on the outdoor sets throughout New Zealand as Jackson revealed in early production videos, this 14 minute film, the 7th of 8 scheduled for release this year, goes to the giant stage town.  Key staff members run us through make-up, costuming, model building, all the way through the second unit directors office.

The production is careful to blur some bits and pieces, like set miniatures and production drawings, for those (like me) who freeze-framed the video to see all that rushes past us.  Still, there is more than enough cool features to make this video worth your time.  In particular, a look at the vault boxes storing the lead actors’ props, the different sizes of actors filming various sequences (there is a miniature of everyone in this film, it seems), WETA offices, and a practice street battle for the stunt men to warm-up.  And the variety of titles of the people creating the movie is amazing.  Who wouldn’t want to be a real-life sword master?  And don’t worry about spoilers–other than some great images of costumes and characters and flash-by set pieces, there’s not anything substantial given away here.

Jackson again shows here why he is a fan favorite.  Every film should take the time and effort to document the production process as he does with his films.  With seven features now released, and only one more to go, it feels like we’re almost to the finish line.

Here is the HD version of the Production Video #7:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be first released in New Zealand, and will see its U.S. release on December 14, 2012.

C.J. Bunce


It is likely that no filmmaker today shares more with his fans than Peter Jackson.  And there may be no fan base more loyal and appreciative than fans of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and its coming two-part production of The Hobbit.  Instead of waiting for the DVD release Jackson has been releasing early looks at the filmmaking process at thehobbitblog.com.  Now halfway through production of the two films–The Hobbit–An Unexpected Journey, due at year-end, and The Hobbit–There and Back Again, due out in 2013–Jackson & Co. have crisscrossed New Zealand with two film crews, re-creating locations from the LOTR trilogy and filming in newly selected places, too.

Jackson has released six production videos, but the last two, including production video #6, released last week, immerse the viewer into the unreal, impossibly beautiful landscapes of mountains and snow-cover, rain, and the brightest greens found anywhere on the real Earth.  But beware, before watching the two on-location documentaries, you may decide to sell everything for plane tickets and a permanent move to New Zealand.

Beyond the first four documentaries, the two on-location productions are 12 minutes in length each, and despite Jackson stating  that he can’t show us much, we get to see Martin Freeman in costume as Bilbo Baggins discussing film locations, Ian McKellen (Gandalf) chatting up New Zealand, as well as a whole swarm of new actors of Middle Earth playing dwarves.  The vistas and villages almost make this documentary stand by itself as a mini-vacation.

The highlight of production video #5–the first on-location documentary–is Elijah Wood returning as Frodo Baggins at age 30 to Hobbiton–11 years after he first played Frodo at age 19.  The village of Matamata has been rebuilt since the LOTR films as a permanent encampment by the production for tourists to visit for years to come.

The new production video #6 shows ad hoc interviews with the new dwarf crew, as well as the second unit director, Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in the LOTR films.  The production zigzags from town to town, with plenty of aerial shots showing the real locations and where they will end up in Middle Earth.

The 24 minutes of footage, along with soundtrack, has the feel of a travelogue of a national park like Yellowstone.  The humor of the crew and Raiders of the Lost Ark “travel by map” shots across the north and south islands of New Zealand also play better than the average DVD extra footage–something like Bruce Brown’s Australian film Endless Summer a free-wheeling surfing documentary classic from 1966.  Just like Endless Summer showed surfers traveling the world, the incredible opposites of grand landscapes of New Zealand reveal a world’s worth of differing ecology, geography, and seasons, that make New Zealand truly seem like a different world.  And the new actors give us a peek at how funny the new characters will be.

Here is the first on location documentary (production video #5):

And here is the new on location film (production video #6):

The earlier released production videos are available at thehobbitblog.com.

These video releases are fun and sure to whet the appetites of Tolkien fans until the December release, with more videos expected before then.

C.J. Bunce