Next week sees the last, major genre film debut of the year with the release of THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY in glorious 3D and an innovative high frame-rate (HFR) projection system (advance word: bring Dramamine). The film marks the beginning of a new film franchise based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic tales of Middle Earth, but of course it isn’t the first time director Peter Jackson has visited the realm of elves, orcs, and humble, fun-loving hobbits. So while the film industry took this weekend to rally its strength by observing a moratorium in genre film debuts, Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons take a look back at the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, and weigh whether, a decade later, this is a world worth revisiting.
Plus: Dan gives his capsule verdict of BAD KIDS GO TO HELL, and what’s coming to theaters next week (can you guess?). SPECIAL FUN TECHNICAL NOTE: Did you know listening to podcasts in which the audio occasionally, randomly skips makes you more popular? It’s true! Find out for yourself by listening to this show, and just see how many New Years parties you’re invited to. (TRANSLATION: Our audio software screwed up. It doesn’t really mess up the show, but we apologize and will be better next week.)
Time to close the year off with some rip-roarin’ adventure, so why not throw in a little, continental flair in the process? Steven Spielberg has decided to take that route, and make his debut in the animation field, with THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN, a cg-animated film using AVATAR’s performance-capture process and based on the charmingly audacious comic books by the artist Hergé. Starting with a mysterious message found in a model boat and spinning out into grandiose tapestry of action that includes pirate raids, fictional Arabian kingdoms, motorcycle chases, and talented opera singers, the story takes the classic boy reporter/detective (performed and voiced by Jamie Bell) and gives him the kind of adrenaline-filled exploits that only Spielberg can orchestrate.
Click on the player to hear the press conference featuring Steven Spielberg (who fields most of the questions), producer Kathleen Kennedy, stars Bell and Nick Frost, and WETA effects master Joe Letteri.
Startling the studios, startling the critics, and startling its delighted audiences, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES has arrived to prove that a reboot — in the hands of a skilled director and inspired writers, actors and effects artists — does not necessarily need to serve as Exhibit One in the case for the film industry’s creative bankruptcy. Join theofantastique.com‘s John W. Morehead and Cinefantastique Online’s Lawrence French and Dan Persons as they explore how the latest retooling of a moribund franchise has become the most bracing film of the summer, discuss some emotional nuances director Rupert Wyatt uses to bring depth to the fantasy, celebrate Andy Serkis’ work as our new simian overlord, and sift over some notable glitches in the scenario.
Also: Some thoughts on the revelation that Steven Sodherbergh is directing second unit sequences for THE HUNGER GAMES; and what’s coming to theaters and home video.
According to Variety the PLANT OF THE APES prequel, RISE OF THE APES, is still happening and Twentieth Century Fox have settled on a June 24th, 2011 release date. The studio have also secured a director, Rupert Wyatt (THE ESCAPIST, BIRDSONG), and plan to work with WETA Digital to create for the first time CGI, instead of make-up assisted, apes.
RISE OF THE APES is apparently an origins story, aimed at rebooting the franchise for audiences unfamiliar with the older films and is set in present-day San Francisco. The film is a, “reality-based cautionary tale, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy”. Wyatt will be directing the film from a script by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa (THE RELIC, EYE FOR AN EYE), who also are producing with Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark.
Not much about this new entry in the series sounds promising. Using CGI to create the apes sounds like a terrible idea as computer generated apes will never look as real or convincing as actors dressed up in make-up. Wyatt’s directorial début, THE ESCAPIST, was a great film but will the script from the people that brought us THE RELIC be up to scratch? It’s unlikely to say the least. Few of the sequels to the original PLANET OF THE APES were any good and Burton’s remake made plenty of money but was a terrible film nonetheless.
You make your own mind up when RISE OF THE APES is released on the 24th of June next year.