Tag Archive: Peter Jackson


The Adventures of TintinThe Adventures of Tintin – 3D

Studio: Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures
Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Toby Jones
Rating: Rating System!Rating System!Rating System!/ 5 Handbags

I wanted to love this movie. I really, Really, *REALLY* wanted to love this movie. I had seen the mixed reviews, but I was hopeful. I figured The Adventures of Tintin might have been too European for North American tastes. But no, I was wrong. It wasn’t a *GREAT* movie. It was a good movie, don’t get me wrong, it’s not horrible, but the magic just wasn’t there.

You have to understand, I grew up on Hergé (Les aventures de Tintin), Goscinny and Uderzo (Astérix et Obélix), Peyo (Les Schtroumpfs) and Chaulet  and Craenhals (Les 4 As) – yes, I read them in French. As a matter of fact, I remember getting in fights because some idiot guy would try to take them away from me. Girls weren’t supposed to be interested in such things, at least not good Catholic school girls.

A black eye and a bloody nose took care of that misconception.

At any rate, I was really looking forward to sharing this movie with my kidlets, particularly 5 year old Goober who loves all things pirates.

The movie starts out with a clever conceit, a young man in a market place is having a portait done of himself. Oh look, it’s Hergé and he’s drawn Tintin in cartoon form. Yes, how cute, chuckles all around.

Tintin thanks the artist for the drawing and begins to meander through the crowd, spotting an old model ship, which he buys from the salesperson for half the asking price. This sets off a bidding war between two men who simply *must* have the model. Tintin politely, but firmly declines, taking his model ship home with him. The result is an escalating series of episodes involving dire warnings, break-ins, shootings, kidnappings, a car chase, cows, break-outs, escapes and plane crashes.

So why is it all so boring?

Yes! You heard me! BORING!

*SIGH* Unfortunately, I have to lay all this at the feet of Thomson and Thompson, the two incompetent detectives from Scotland Yard. The Thom(p)sons are in “hot pursuit of a wily pickpocket named Silk, and their escapades interrupts  the flow of the mystery swirling around Tintin and his new friend Capitain Haddock. While the interlude works well in the book, and is quite entertaining, it only slows down the action in the movie. And while those familiar with The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackam’s Treasure are probably happy to see a familiar face, to those who have had limited exposure to Tintin’s universe would probably find the action horribly, horribly contrived. Omitting The Thom(p)sons would be akin to an act of heresy, however I’m sure that the entire plot device could be wrapped up in such a way as to not drag down the action all the while allowing Thomson and Thompson the opportunity to make an appearance in Bagghar in time to save the day.

Once this thread is dealt with, the pacing of the movie improves exponentially. When you finally get the back story of what happened between Captain Haddock’s ancestor, Sir Francis  and Red Rackam does the movie finally pick up steam and move to a satisfying conclusion. The sea battle between the Unicorn and Red Rackam’s ship is definitely worth the price of 3D admission and is as thrilling as any I’ve ever seen.

Technically the film is gorgeous, everything from the color palette, to the design details are, in a word, sumptuous. Nothing has been overlooked, including the scene wipes which rank up there with my favorites from Brotherhood of the Wolf and Highlander. The world that these characters inhabit is so rich and exquisitely rendered that you feel you can reach out and really touch what’s on the screen.

As great as the 3D and CGI are, The Adventures of Tintin does suffer for the technology on occasion. There are a couple of scenes in the movie that I swear are included only because the movie is shot in 3D. I HATE that. 3D should serve the story and enhance the experience, not the other way around. If at any point in a movie, the viewer is taken out of the story to think: “Oh hey! Cool 3D effect”, the director has failed as a story teller. Thankfully,  this only happens briefly once or twice in the movie, but it is an unfortunate faut pas.

The truth of the matter is I can sit back and nitpick this movie to death, but it won’t change the fact that Goober, my little 5 year-old adrenaline junkie sat through the entire 107 minute runtime. Once The Adventures of Tintin was over, he walked out of the theater proclaiming: “This is the best movie ever!” and is now curled up, snug and cozy in his bed with a copy of The Secret of the Unicorn tucked under his pillow where he thinks I won’t find it.

And at the end of the day that’s probably all that Peter Jackson and Steven Speilburg are going to care about.

Me too for all it matters.

Bob Anderson

RIP: 1922-2012

There is no doubt that sword fighting can be a vicious, brutal form of combat. The damage a blade can do to an unprotected body is staggering. It’s dangerous regardless of which side of the weapon you’re on.

It’s also sexy as hell.

Thrust and parry, lunge and retreat, en guard, riposte all combined to make a sword fight as graceful as it was deadly; a beautiful balance between strength, grace, steel and flesh.

No one knew this better than Bob Anderson, Hollywood’s sword fighting virtuoso who passed away yesterday at the age of 89.

After retiring from competitive fencing in 1952, Bob started working as a stunt man in Hollywood movies, where his first job was to stage fights and coach Errol Flinn in The Master of Ballantrae . Over the years, he became the most sought after fight coordinator and sword master in Hollywood, working continuously for six decades on some of the most notable films of all times including the James Bond films From Russia with Love, Die Another Day, Highlander, The Princess Bride, The Mask of Zorro, the Star Wars Trilogy and Lord of the Rings.

A quiet man, it was years before his true contribution to the Star Wars films was fully known. For years it was believed that he merely coached and choreographed the fight scenes for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. In fact, Anderson was performing in those fight scenes, a fact that George Lucas wanted buried for fear it would adversely affect David Prowses career. The deception did not sit well with actor Mark Hamill, who finally revealed the truth in a Starlog interview in 1983:

“It was always supposed to be a secret, but I finally told (director) George (Lucas) I didn’t think it was fair any more. Bob worked so bloody hard that he deserves some recognition. It’s ridiculous to preserve the myth that it’s all done by one man.”

According to Leon Hill, Anderson’s assistant:

“David Prowse wasn’t very good with a sword and Bob couldn’t get him to do the moves. Fortunately Bob could just don the costume and do it himself.”

Anderson’s best work was arguably done on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Not only did he train the actors and choreograph the fight scenes he also developed individual fighting styles for each of the cultures of Middle Earth based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s descriptions in the text. His genius is seen most notably in the Weathertop sequence from The Fellowship of the Ring, where Aragorn fights his first battle against the Ringwraiths. Remember that this was Viggo Mortensen’s first day of shooting, only arriving in New Zealand a few days before. It is a testament to Bob Anderson’s skill as both a choreographer and teacher (and Viggo as a student) that they were able to pull off the scene as amazingly well as they did with so little preparation.

I first became a fan of Anderson’s after seeing the movie Highlander, although I didn’t know it at the time. After seeing the battles between Christopher Lambert and Clancy Brown, I walked away wanting to be able to do that; to dance with a blade whirling around me. It was so fluid and beautiful and I was left in awe.

Rest well Bob. Thank you for the amazing legacy. Think I’m going to download Reclaiming the Blade from Netflix tonight.

CRAP!

TheOneRing.net has net has announced that Guillermo del Toro has pulled out of The Hobbit!!

Guillermo Del Toro has left Hobbiton!“In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming “The Hobbit,” I am faced with the hardest decision of my life”, says Guillermo. “After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures. I remain grateful to Peter, Fran and Philippa Boyens, New Line and Warner Brothers and to all my crew in New Zealand. I’ve been privileged to work in one of the greatest countries on earth with some of the best people ever in our craft and my life will be forever changed. The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project. Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wlsh the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be first in line to see the finished product. I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director”.

I don’t know if you were paying attention, but last week there were a bunch of drama surrounding whether The Hobbit has been greenlit or not, whether it was going to be in 3D or not. It now seems like it’s going to be living in Production Development Hell for a while longer even though  Warner Bros. has scheduled the first movie for release in December 2012.

It’s really unfortunate that del Toro couldn’t hold out any longer, and I can’t blame him. The financial clusterfuck at MGM must be driving everyone crazy. At least he’s still working on the script.

The question becomes, who does Peter Jackson get to direct the movie? Is he going to do it himself? Is there another director out there who can carry such a content heavy, visually stylized movie?

UPDATE: EW is reporting the Peter Jackson is not able to direct due to other commitments:

So who could take Del Toro’s place? Not Jackson. “As for Peter directing,” writes Kamins from New Zealand, “that’s not something he can consider at this time as he has other commitments to other projects. But make no mistake, Peter and Fran’s commitment to the franchise is total and will do everything necessary to protect the films and the investment made by New Line, [parent company] Warner Bros. and MGM.”

The HobbitLots of reports floating around regarding the release date of The Hobbit – Part 1. MTV is claiming that we won’t be having many meetings until December 2013, while Reuters is saying that no, the party is expected to happen in December of 2012.

The confusion can be traced back to an earlier report in the Wall Street Journal that IMAX and Warner Bros. have inked a deal to release 20 movies between now and 2013. Fifteen films, such as the new Superman, Batman and Dark Shadows (directed by Tim Burton, how cool is that?) do not have firm release dates as of yet. The remaining five – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 1 & 2, Happy Feet 2, and The Hobbit, all are locked into their dates.  In The Hobbit’s case, it was slated for a December 2013 release.

Well, I guess someone forgot to mention that there are two Hobbit movies coming out and the One Ring.net confirms that the first installment will indeed be coming out in December 2012.

Well, that is a little disappointing as most fans were expecting to see the movie sometime in 2011.

Peter Jackson What was disturbing me was news that Peter Jackson had just completed the second script, and handed it in for approval last week. He even mentioned in interviews that the two movies aren’t even greenlit yet. Seems the financial strife over at MGM is throwing a monkey wrench into the proceedings. Based on the announcement today from Warner Bros., it would be hard not to conclude that the movies have indeed secured financing and are slated to begin production soon.

PHEW!

And hopefully this means we’ll get some solid casting information coming down the pike. We all know Ian McKellan is coming back, so it remains to be seen who else will be rounding out the cast (James McAvoy as Bilbo, my precioussssss!)

Ian McKellen as Gandalf the GreyI love Ian McKellen.  There’s just something so affable about him.  He’s like that uncle who would always sneak you some candy two minutes before dinner was served just because your mother expressly forbid it.

At any rate, Sir Ian posted on his website that principle shooting on The Hobbit will begin sometime in July, pushed back from the June start that had been previously reported.

THE HOBBIT’s, two films, start shooting in New Zealand in July.  Filming will take over a year. Casting in Los Angeles, New York City and London has started.  The script too proceeds.  The first draft is crammed with old and new friends, again on a quest in Middle Earth.

The director Guillermo del Toro is now living in Wellington, close to the Jacksons’ and the studio in Miramar.

I’m so excited!  Hopefully the reference to old friends means that we’ll see Cate Blanchett, Viggo Mortensen and Hugo Weaving reprising their roles. None of these are confirmed according to IMDB. Neither is the involvement of perennial Del Toro favorites Ron Perlman and Doug Jones, although both would be awesome wherever they are cast (Perlman as Thorin? Please? Pretty please with cheese on top?)

At any rate, pop by Sir Ian’s website when you get the chance.  It’s a great read.