The appeal of the Grand Adventure is clear and incontestable: the epic scale; the sense of mystery and adventure; the thrill of discovering what challenge, adversary, or ally awaits around the next bend. Thing is, the whole point of the exercise is to reach an ultimate goal, and that’s where Peter Jackson’s HOBBIT movies — both of them, to date — have been having problems. Picking up where the previous film, AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, left off, THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, seeks to continue the J.R.R. Tolkien tale of a band of dwarfs, key among them Thorin (Richard Armitage) and Kili (Aidan Turner) — aided and abetted by the hobbit Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) — as they challenge the fearsome dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) and attempt to reclaim their kingdom, but gets so lost in its tangents, side-histories, and ancillary characters that it manages to botch even the key confrontation promised in the title.
Once again, the Cinefantastique Online trio of Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons diverge widely in their opinions of how well this second installment manages to deliver its ambitious tale, leading to an energetic and thought-provoking discussion. Click on the player to hear the show.
It’s wasted youth weekend at the Spotlight. Beabetterbooktalker.com‘s Andrea Lipinski joins Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons to first cast a wary eye at the teen fantasy film, THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES, finding little enrichment in its melange of demon hunters, vampires, werewolves, and CW caliber lead actors. Then the panel splits opinions on THE WORLD’S END, the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost comedy in which a group of friends reunite to complete a pub crawl started in their teen years, only to have it derailed by an invasion of robots. Finally, Steve and Larry give their thoughts on the home-invasion horror film YOU’RE NEXT, which has absolutely nothing to do with stated theme, but, hey, life just isn’t convenient like that. Plus, what’s not coming to theaters next week.
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG gets new elves and rampaging orcs… Steel yourself for more MAN OF STEEL… Let’s go looking for the ALIEN UPRISING…
From the luxurious Cinefantastique Online studios in NYC, Dan Persons brings you up-to-date on what’s happening in the world of genre media.
The journey will be long, the challenges daunting, the popcorn very likely stale. But that doesn’t matter now — the grand epic that is the three-part, film adaptation of THE HOBBIT is upon us with the release of the first installment: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY. Having braved the onslaught of orcs, goblins, and restless eight-year-0lds, beabetterbooktalker.com‘s Andrea Lipinski joins Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons to discuss whether director Peter Jackson has taken what started as a compact, nimble fantasy tale and managed to elaborate on it in a way that will make audiences eager to sign on for all three films. They also delve into the film’s introduction of High Frame Rate (HFR) projection technology, and explore what effect the process has on the viewing experience.
Also: What’s coming to theaters next week.
Empire Magazine has posted two new pictures from THE HOBBIT of Martin Freeman (SHERLOCK) as Bilbo Baggins and Sir Ian McKellen (X-MEN) as a younger Gandalf.
The site also quotes director Peter Jackson regarding the company of dwarves’ attitudes towards their companions on their quest: “They don’t know what to make of Gandalf, they think Bilbo is a wuss, and Elrond a prissy headmaster type.”
Entertainment Weekly featured the first picture released of Martin Freeman (SHERLOCK) as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
They quote Jackson as saying Freeman: “…Fits the ears, and he’s got some very nice feet. I think he’s got the biggest hobbit feet we’ve had so far. They’re a little bit hard to walk in, but he’s managed to figure out the perfect hobbit gait.”
According to Deadline, Andy Serkis (KING KONG) will reprise his voice and motion capture artist tole of Gollum for the 2-part film version of THE HOBBIT.
He joins Martin Freeman (THE HITCHIKERS GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE) as Bilbo Baggins, along with Cate Blanchett as Galadriel and Elijah Wood — who is apparently to appear as Frodo. This makes sense in the light of the fact that Ian Holm is said to be in talks to return for an appearance as the older Bilbo.
Still working out deals to reprise their LORD OF THE RINGS roles are Ian McKellen (Gandolph), Christopher Lee as Saruman, and possibly Orlando Bloom as the elven prince Legolas.
Perhaps the character appearances are part of the explanation of why it’s necessary to make a two-part film. J.R.R. Tolkien’s story may be too big to play out comfortably in a single film, but not quite long enough to justify two movies without additional scenes.
According to The One Ring , Woods’ role as Frodo can be explained as the character reading of the events in the “Red Book of Westmarch”, which chronicles the events of The Hobbit -Or- There and Back Again, suggesting a framing story.
The article reiterates that THE HOBBIT is being made by Peter Jackson as a c0production between Warner Brothers Pictures and MGM, though due to MGM’s bankruptcy and continuing internal problems, it is being financed by completely by Warner Brothers Pictures, who will have World-wide distribution rights.
Here’s a look at the announced cast for Peter Jackson’s THE HOBBIT. According to Time.Com, Martin Freeman (THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE) will play the lead role of Bilbo Baggins.
The site quotes Peter Jackson as saying of Freeman: “He is intelligent, funny, surprising and brave — exactly like Bilbo, and I feel incredibly proud to be able to announce that he is our Hobbit.”
Richard Armitage, who played Guy of Gisbourne in the BBC’s ROBIN HOOD, will portray Thorin Oakenshield, leader of the dwarves.
Rounding out the fellowship, Aidan Turner (BEING HUMAN) will play Kili, Rob Kazinsky (EASTENDERS) Fili, Graham McTavish is set as Dwalin.
John Callen has the part of Oin, Stephen Hunter as Bombur, Mark Hadlow (MEET THE FEEBLES) cast in the role of Dori, and Peter Hambleton as Gloin. UPDATE: Sylvester McCoy (DOCTOR WHO) is due to sign as Radagast the Brown Wizard (via Bleeding Cool).
It’s assumed that Sir Ian McKellen is still signed to reprise his role of Gandalf the Grey from THE LORD OF THE RINGS in the new, two film J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation.
Negotiations between Warner Brothers (now financing THE HOBBIT) were to take place in New Zealand this week, to determine if the project will stay in the country or depart for another location after trouble with the actors union, NZ Equity regarding extras and related issues.