The Hobbit

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

This week’s Short Starts column was already going to be different by focusing on the first film for a particular story’s adaptation rather than for a director or actor. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit‘s first time on screen was as a short film in 1966 from the team of producer William L. Snyder and director Gene Deitch (Popeye the Sailor). I wouldn’t exactly call it an animated film any more than I’d call a Ken Burns documentary animated. It’s more of a slide show of illustrations, some of them zoomed in on or panned across for some visual stimulation, plus an occasional spot of psychedelic effects. The short was kind of a throwaway work (an “ashcan” production), similar to Roger Corman’s 1994 Fantastic Four film in that it was only made, and in such half-assed fashion, to retain rights to the property. Simply pointing to this curiosity is not enough, though, especially because it was already included on a list of Hobbit adaptations here at FSR last week. But I still want to address it because it’s so fascinating that the same story can be told in about 11 minutes, in the case of the ’66 version, or closer to 11 hours, as could be the case for Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit trilogy (currently the three films are on track to run closer to 9 hours even after the extended releases come out, but down the line maybe a Blu-ray special edition will put it near 11, a la the LOTR trilogy). Both are […]

read more...

HER

I don’t know which critic first suggested Scarlett Johansson deserves an Oscar nomination for Her. That’s too bad, because a statement like that often initially comes from a place of attention-seeking. Not necessarily in a bad way, either. We like to and need to have fresh ideas in this business, and even more than that we like to get credit for those ideas. But it’s also too bad because I’m curious of the true intent behind the statement. It’s one thing to suggest — not in jest but in a way that’s not totally meant to be taken seriously so much as inspire a certain kind of discussion — and it’s another to really champion and campaign for the notion that a voice-only performance should be considered for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The conversation around the idea reminds me of the one a couple years ago in response to the suggestion that Andy Serkis‘s performance-capture work on Rise of the Planet of the Apes deserved a Best Supporting Actor nomination. It was actually residual build-up following the same idea more than a decade ago about Serkis’s performance as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Interestingly enough, there was no talk of such recognition a year ago when the actor reprised the role as the computer-generated character in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Had everyone just given up? Was it a lesser performance? Definitely not the latter. Perhaps it was that the novelty of […]

read more...

singing ringing tree

After all the thrill and adventure of The Desolation of Smaug, you’re going to wish there was more to watch. Well, there is, only it’s not necessarily more of The Desolation of Smaug (not until the extended editions on video, anyway). Instead, it’s other movies that I’ve selected as necessary viewing for those who’ve seen the new Hobbit movie. It doesn’t matter if you liked Smaug or not, because many of these titles are preferred predecessors and alternatives, anyway. Others consist of early movies starring prominent members of the cast or just movies that I was personally reminded of and have now made the excuse to share. From the very well known to the very obscure, the long and the short, there’s bound to be at least one title here for you to enjoy in however much time you have leftover following another lengthy trip to Middle-earth with Peter Jackson. This weekend’s list includes 13 titles, one for each of the 13 dwarves in the movie — though not every selection is necessarily tied to a dwarf. That was just my idea of being clever, plus the fact that such a long movie with a lot going on naturally got me thinking of more movies than usual. Check out my recommendations below and share any others you believe are relevant to mention. There are plot SPOILERS for Smaug after the jump, of course, since many of these picks are relevant to various parts of the movie.

read more...

thehobbit-commentary5

With this week’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, director Peter Jackson and his filmmaking fellowship continue their long journey towards expanding J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 fantasy novel into a blockbuster trilogy. Even watching the film, it’s evident the adaptation process was a tricky one; Jackson lifts familiar beats from the book, scrutinizing over details while reconfiguring set pieces and emotional beats to align with his cinematic sensibilities. Because one does not simply walk into billion dollar box office franchisedom, even with Lord of the Rings behind them, The Hobbit has to be a great set of movies, a great set of Peter Jackson movies. The Hobbit can be an epic Hollywood triptych because nothing is sacred in the art of adaptation and nothing should be. Over the years, “The Hobbit” has been the source material/victim of the process. Like Jackson, artists saw Tolkien’s adventure tale as malleable. The goal wouldn’t be to trump the original, but to find something new within it or reach an audience that may not have discovered it in the first place. Ahead are nine more Hobbit incarnations; only time will tell if Peter Jackson’s trilogy will be the one to rule them all.

read more...

banks

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

read more...

The Hobbit

Though the hobbits are a simple folk who are content staying in their shire and enjoying a meal or five, it turns out creating that shire costs a fortune. According to Variety, The Hobbit trilogy has already cost approximately $561m, marketing not included. That figure includes the 266 days of filming completed this year, but not the additional two months of pick-ups or post-production costs for the last two films. Lordy. To put it in perspective, Peter Jackson spent $281m total on the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. But Jackson and Warner Bros. are considering the Hobbit money well spent; the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, made $1 billion in theaters worldwide despite the decidely mixed reviews, and it’s likely that the second film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, will do just as well, or even better. It has a Benedict Cumberbatch dragon –how could it not? (Check out the trailer here.) So what comprises half a billion dollars here? Jackson’s decision to shoot in both higher frame rates (48 rather than standard 24) and 3D in the hopes of providing better clarity for audiences added a “significant expense.” It also provided many viewers with headaches and really doesn’t seem like it should be highlighted as the only thing driving up production costs. Of course, staffing a small army of crew members and then costuming/styling (and paying) another boatload of actors adds some more expenses. Then pile on CGI and I think we have something close […]

read more...

Best Visual Effects

Best Visual Effects. Over the years, this award has been called a number of things. In 1928, it was given as the award for Best Engineering Effects to the World War I flying drama Wings. It has evolved in the years since, recognizing in equal measure effects that are practical and digital, but most of all that live on the line in-between reality and surreality on the silver screen. It’s the only award category to consistently recognize those pioneers of film who have dazzled audiences with the yet unseen, everything from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey to George Lucas’ Star Wars. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. The core criteria for the award is that it’s given to the visual effects masters whose work most exemplifies artistry, skill and fidelity with which the visual illusions are achieved. Each of this year’s nominees has these elements. And each of this year’s nominees brings something unique to the table. We’ve got the year’s highest grossing, all-out superhero explosion; the return of Peter Jackson and his WETA wizards to Middle Earth; Ridley Scott’s return to the sci-fi genre; a classic tale with a digitally saturated twist; and of course, one arty epic that is as colorful a film as was printed on celluloid (or imprinted in ones-and-zeroes) this year. Still, it might be one of the most predictable categories that Oscar has to offer in his 85th edition. The nominees are below, with our pick for winner marked with red…

read more...

Jack the Giant Slayer

While talking my dog on a stroll through Hollywood, my gaze fell upon a sufficiently giant billboard for the upcoming failure that will be Jack the Giant Slayer. Having previously seen a trailer, I knew it to be some sort of live action film, despite the billboard featuring some very cartoony looking giants. Taking them in, I was taken aback by one particular giant – one with a giant, orange, twiggy afro. “That’s silly,” I thought to myself, because that giant looked goddamn silly. A few giants over there was a two-headed fellow, with one head mostly normal and the other looking like it was quite possibly retarded. Seeing these two silly monsters together would have destroyed any hopes I had for the film if I, you know, had any hopes for the film. It reminded me of seeing the poster for The Hobbit, the one that made you think, somewhat accurately, that the film should have been called The Silly Dwarfs. The potent combination got me wondering when the fantasy genre got so goofy.

read more...

2012-rejectawards

It’s funny. We spend so much time honoring the triumphs of 2012, and the big game won’t even roll around until February. The Academy Awards aren’t a paragon of perfection for some, and they aren’t the final word, but they are (like it or not) the closest thing we have to a standard for celebrating creative film talent. There job is to hand out the general cheers for performances, make-up, songs and the like, and since they’ve got those covered, it falls to us to hoist filmmakers and films on high for unique reasons. Reasons that might make the average Academy voter spit out their tea. From the far corners, here are the 2nd Annual Reject Awards.

read more...

Lena Dunham

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the coolest movie column of the year. Most nights, at least. Coolest Person of the Year – It’s a fascinating thing, for Time’s Joel Stein to name someone like Lena Dunham as the “Coolest Person of the Year” for 2012. Here on the Internet, she’s been the subject of much derision. Her creation, the HBO series Girls, has been the subject of heated discussion. Is it terrible? Is it a gift from a place where more is expected from comedy? Or is it just awkward? No matter your take, it is interesting. And her bold sensibilities combined with the network shield of Judd Apatow has created something culturally relevant. She even lost her virginity to President Obama, or something like that. Either way, TIME is right. She is pretty cool.

read more...

Drinking Games

By now, you’ve probably seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and you may have stumbled out of the theater, feeling drunk from the effects of the HFR projection. Regardless of what you thought of Peter Jackson’s latest Middle-earth fantasy epic, you might be tempted to watch all or part of his previous trilogy The Lord of the Rings. This is a marathon session to endure, especially if you opt for the extended editions of the films, which totals close to twelve hours of movies. In short, you can start one movie with breakfast (or second breakfast, or elevensies) and be drinking your nighttime spirits by the middle of the second film. So whenever you plan on drinking during this batch of movies, there’s always time for this drinking game.

read more...

The Hobbit

There have been exactly 4,593 editorials written about higher frame rates ever since Peter Jackson announced he’d be filming The Hobbit in 48FPS. Experts, semi-experts and barely-experts have weighed in with a range of responses that firmly cover “Who cares?” all the way to “Film is dead forever and ever so everyone stop making them.” But we want to know what you thought. If you went to a screening of The Hobbit that featured the higher frame rate, did you like what you saw? If not, is it the kind of thing you could get used to? Or is it terrible all around? Let us know in the comments section, and feel free to share your thoughts on the movie itself. Audiences and critics seem a bit divided on this one, so we won’t be surprised if you came to a different conclusion than Hunter and Neil did.

read more...

mnad_gollum

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the thing that makes you feel better about the world after a long, tough day. And lets just all agree that it’s been a long, tough day for so many people. So a little escapism is in order. Hobbit Wizardry – We begin tonight with a shout out to our friend Eric Vespe, best known as “Quint” from Ain’t It Cool News. That’s pertinent information, because this excellent article he wrote about Peter Jackson and The Hobbit for Popular Mechanics includes his real name in the byline. It looks like everyone’s using their real name lately. The article is excellent, even if it is dealing in-trade with one of the more disappointing films of the year, according to some.

read more...

Transformative technology. Fips. The Marvel Model disrupting superhero movies (and how it can survive alongside perpetual reboots). The literal death of film. Megan Ellison saving movies. The sleeper hits of 2012 and a great movie year for every kind of fan. Emerging independent funding. Fans saving shows with their own money. The digital horizon. Here at the end of the year (and the end of this podcast) I’ve asked FSR associate editor Rob Hunter, Cinema Blend editor-in-chief Katey Rich, Movies.com managing editor Erik Davis and screenwriter Geoff Latulippe (Going the Distance) to talk about the things that will never be the same again in the movie world after 2012. They’ve come through with some incredibly interesting answers. Plus, your view on what’s changing and a look ahead to the future. Download Episode #156

read more...

Pacific Rim

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column recapping news, updating you on the trends of today and bringing you thoughts on what is going on in this world gone mad. We begin this evening with a number of looks at Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. In conjunction with the newly released trailer, these images, poster, etc. have brought the buzz around this one to a fever-pitch just as the movie del Toro passed on (The Hobbit) moves into theaters. It’s an interesting dichotomy, really. While Peter Jackson has delivered one of the bigger disappointments of 2012 (see my notes below), del Toro gives us hope for 2013. Lots and lots of hope. More new images just after the break.

read more...

Mondo LOTR

While some might think that the best way to celebrate the release of a new film is to perhaps craft some art based on said new film, the folks over at Mondo have decided to use their poster celebration (posterbration?) of Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to honor Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy instead. Sounds good to us! Everyone’s favorite poster shop (and the official collectible art division of the Alamo Drafthouse) will release the Olly Moss-made posters tomorrow, December 13. The posters each measure 15″ x 36″. The regular edition (as shown up top) is limited to 580 posters (priced at $50) and the variant edition is limited to just 285 (priced at $90). Make sure to follow @MondoNews on Twitter for the exact sale time for these Hobbit-celebrating LOTR posters. Check out the variant after the break!

read more...

Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings

We can all hoist accolades on the filmmakers found in this series, but there are few who are as transparent about their process and actively engaging when it comes to including fans on set (at least via video) than Peter Jackson. Not just a minimal-effort chore for marketing, Jackson seems to relish with childlike abandon in making the Making Of videos and taking audiences behind the scenes of movies while they’re being made. Maybe that shouldn’t be surprising for a details-oriented storyteller who has built entire worlds for us to visually visit. But he wasn’t always sitting on top of Middle-Earth. Before The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, it was more likely you’d catch him with a lawnmower in hand and a bucket of fake blood close by. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from someone who fought in the Battle of Helm’s Deep.

read more...

Ender

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s news, discussion, opinions, things! It’s everything that a fan of filmed and televised entertainment could want right before bed. Tonight it’s all about Hobbitses and Guardians, with yet another “Mini-Review” for the masses and plenty of fun to be had. Staring Down Butterfield – We begin this evening with the first look at Ender’s Game, the film based on the book by Orson Scott Card. It’s kind of like Space Camp, but with a way cooler story, budget, cast. The only thing missing is the nostalgia. Oh look, it’s Harrison Ford playing a badass. There’s the nostalgia.

read more...

Boiling Point

Yesterday on Twitter a minor spat broke out, as is often the case when people type things on the internet. Participants included our own @FakeRobHunter, FEARNet writer @ScottEWeinberg, Movies.com editor @PeterSHall, and many others who chimed in. What was the topic of the day? The Hobbit and its 48FPS presentation. Firstly, background: As you probably heard or just recently put together from the previous sentence, The Hobbit was filmed in and will be projected at 48 frames per second, which is something new for the big screen, at least on this scale. Movies generally run at 24FPS and have been running at that rate for the last 80 years (give or take). By doubling the frame rate, Peter Jackson hoped to eliminate a blurring effect that happens during quick movement and action at 24FPS, but in doing so, creates an unusual experience, one of super smooth motion that has been described as either looking “realistic” or “like shit.”

read more...

The Hobbit

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) lives a quiet and comfortable life in his home in a hill in The Shire, but that life gets a wake up call one day in the form of a tall, bearded wizard named Gandalf (Ian McKellen). It seems Bilbo has been chosen to take part in an adventure, and before night falls his home is filled with a dozen dwarves emptying his pantry, singing songs and planning their great journey. After some consternation Bilbo agrees to join the troupe, and this baker’s dozen plus one head off towards The Lonely Mountain which was once homeland to the dwarves but is now the residence of one very large and very dangerous dragon, Smaug. The story is a familiar one thanks to a source novel from J.R.R. Tolkien that hasn’t left print since its publication in 1937 and continued success as one of literature’s finest fantasy adventures for young readers. It’s reached the screen previously in animated form, and its sequel, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, conquered multiplexes a decade ago with wondrous adaptations by director Peter Jackson. Jackson returns with co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens to bring The Hobbit to the big screen across two (or three) feature films. Why a 310 page novel needs more than one film when the trilogy’s 1571 collective pages worked beautifully across just three movies is anyone’s guess, but you can’t argue with accountants apparently. Also returning are a few cast members and characters from the trilogy, some […]

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
SXSW 2014
Game of Thrones reviews
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3