30 April 2012

Peter Jackson Defends 48fps ‘Hobbit’ Footage

Last week, Peter Jackson revealed ten minutes of unfinished footage from The Hobbit, shot at 48 frames per second, to folks at CinemaCon.

And the response was less than glowing. One critic described the footage as “jarring,” while others felt it looked “uncinematic” – more like a made-for-TV movie.

But while the audience seemed surprised by the footage, the director himself was not.

“It wasn't particularly surprising because it is something new," he told the Hollywood Reporter. “Ultimately, it is different in a positive way, especially for 3D, especially for epic films.”

Despite the criticism he has received, Jackson has defended the footage.

“Nobody is going to stop,” he told EW. “This technology is going to keep evolving. At first it’s unusual because you’ve never seen a movie like this before.… It’s literally a new experience, but you know, that doesn’t last the entire experience of the film; not by any stretch, after 10 minutes or so. That’s a different experience than if you see a fast-cutting montage at a technical presentation.… There can only ever be a real reaction, a truthful reaction, when people actually have a chance to see a complete narrative on a particular film.… You settle into it.”

Undeterred by the critics, he plans to continue filming The Hobbit films at 48fps.

“Advocating that we have to stick with what we know, I think is a slightly narrow-minded way of looking at things when as an industry we are facing declining audiences.”

"We have to find ways to make it more vibrant, more immersive - something that will encourage people to come back to the theatres for that experience.”

Fortunately, for those still deterred by the prospect of 48fps, Jackson has no plans to shoot the trailer in that style.

“The 48 frames is something you should experience with the entire film. A two-and-a-half minute trailer isn't enough time to adjust to the immersive quality.”

Mysterious Mist Draws Firefighters to Jackson’s Mansion

Firefighters were called to Sir Peter Jackson’s three-storey Wairarapa mansion after a fire alarm went off around 6 P.M. yesterday.  

According to Masterton fire station officer Garry Nielsen, responders found no sign of smoke or fire, but instead discovered an unknown mist that had been contained to one room.

"We ventilated it and it didn't come back, so we checked everything out. It didn't appear to be a problem, so whatever caused it, it stopped happening,'' he told APNZ, also stating that he was not concerned that they were unable to identify the mist.

 "We don't know what it was and that doesn't particularly concern us, because we occasionally get something that's unknown - electrical smells or something like that. That just seems to be just a blip.

 "We've got thermal imaging cameras, we've got different things, so we just make sure there isn't a risk of fire, and that's our job done.''

The 37ha property was purchased by Sir Peter Jackson and partner Fran Walsh in 1998. In addition to featuring a lake, railway, and castle, the house has since been transformed into a two-towered mansion, complete with an indoor pool and 100-seat cinema.

The couple were not home at the time.

28 April 2012

Middle-earth Network Meet-and-Greet in LOTRO

This past Thursday (April 26), the founders of the Middle-earth Network hosted an in-game meet and greet for any members on the Landroval server to attend. We all met up at the Bird and Baby Inn in Michel Delving to accompany Arwen to the Gates of Imladris.

(Click the images to enlarge)

Outside the Bird and Baby Inn

We had just reached the Brandywine Bridge in Bree when we had to stop and wait for those who had fallen behind. While we waited, several of us discussed the name and history of the bridge.

As you can see, we had a pretty good turnout, despite the last-minute advertising the day of the event. (And for whatever reason, I apparently didn't think it necessary to include screencaps from the Lone-lands.)

We decided to take a detour to the spot of Bilbo's trolls, where we all gathered for a few screenshots before continuing on our merry way.

25 April 2012

Register Now for One of Mythgard’s Summer Courses!

Three new exciting courses will be offered at the Mythgard Institute this summer:

Modern Fantasy – In this course, Mythgard’s president, Dr. Corey Olsen, will lead an examination of the work of some top fantasy writers (among them Peter Beagle, Ursula Le Guin, Neil Gaiman, and George RR Martin) with the course’s primary focus being on comparing each authors’ approach to fantasy, myth, and magic.

The Arthur Story: History, Mystery, Myth – This course, taught by Dr. Verlyn Flieger, will track the history of the legendary but mysterious king from the later 5th/early 6th century through 1500 years. Throughout the course, students will find many different – and often conflicting – versions of the story, which throughout its history has moved from folklore to romance to tragedy.

Elementary Latin I – Offered through Signum University and taught by Dr. Philip Walsh, Elementary Latin I is designed to offer students the basic elements of the language, placing an emphasis on grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.   

Registration is ongoing now, but don’t wait! The deadline is Monday, May 14. And these are three courses you don’t want to miss out on.

Not sure whether to take the course for MA credit or just for fun? Visit Mythgard’s Embark page to learn more about both options.

24 April 2012

DTG's Tolkien Seminar 2012

Tolkien Seminar 2012 poster by Anke Eissmann

Tolkien Seminar 2012

This weekend (April 27-29), the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena will be hosting the 9th Seminar of the Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft (DTG), with this year’s topic being Tolkien’s Influence on Fantasy. Started in 2004, the seminar has been held at various universities throughout the country with topics changing annually but each one placing an emphasis on the life of J.R.R. Tolkien as well as the influence his works have had on the development of fantasy. Contributions are in English as well as German and are usually published in Hither Shore, the society’s academic yearbook (which has received the German Fantasy Award twice in the category of secondary literature). Entry to the conference is free.

Contributions include:

• Guglielmo Spirito & Emanuele Rimoli: The Inner Consistency of Reality: J.R.R. Tolkien, Flannery O’Connor, Michael D. O’Brien and Jonathan Franzen
 • Anna Thayer: An Old Light Rekindled: Tolkien’s Influence on Fantasy
 • Olaf Keith: The Return of the Kings. Tolkien and the Fantasy Fiction of Tad Williams
 • Natalia Gonzalez de la Llana: LotR and Memorias de Idhun

For a full programme of events: www.seminar2012.kolbitar.de

About the DTG

The Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft e.V. is a non-profit organization which has amassed over 500 members since its establishment in 1997-98. The DTG organises regional Tolkien Days, the nationwide Tolkien Thing, an annual Tolkien Conference, and lectures, readings, and exhibitions all centering on the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien.  

For more information on the DTG: www.tolkiengesellschaft.de

19 April 2012

Battle of Helm’s Deep Named “Best Rain Scene in Movie History”

The Battle of Helm’s Deep in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers has been named the “best rain scene in movie history,” according to a recent poll by the UK DVD rental firm LOVEFiLM.

"With rainy April upon us once again, we thought it only fitting to look at how directors have used rain in our favourite films,” said Helen Cowley, editor of LOVEFiLM.

Over 2,000 people voted on the poll with 26% of the votes going to the Battle of Helm’s Deep.

Coming in at second place was the ending of Blade Runner (which received 18% of the votes), followed by The Shawshank Redemption’s climax in third(15%), Gene Kelly’s dance number in Singin’ in the Rain in fourth (14%), and the fight scene in Matrix Revolutions coming in at number five (8%).

Other notable entries included the Vietnam scene from Forrest Gump, the rowing boat scene from The Notebook, the final scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the upside-down kiss scene from Spider-Man, and the kiss scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Cowley added that, “Whether it's a trickle or a storm; providing a backdrop to an epic battle or a brief romantic encounter, rain scenes add something to our films that is far more enjoyable than getting caught without an umbrella in real life.”

18 April 2012

‘The Hobbit’ to Attract More Tourists than World Cup

Following the success of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, New Zealand became a hot spot for tourists. With the upcoming Hobbit films, New Zealand will likely see even more of an increase in tourism.  

George Hickton, a renowned expert on the tourism industry in New Zealand, recently acknowledged the highly-anticipated two part Hobbit film as being an amazing opportunity for attracting tourism – noting that the films will draw more people to visit New Zealand than the Rugby World Cup ever could, and that they will also generate more money and overseas earnings than the All Blacks winning the World Cup.

"One of the things we have to do is get to understand the psyche of people who want to come and see it," he said at a meeting of tourism figures in Hamilton last week. "This is bigger than [the Lord of the Rings]. You need to be actively aware of what it looks like, what the story is."

He also urged New Zealand businesses to "talk about Hobbits, put on hairy feet. Do whatever you can to make sure that when people come to this place that you absolutely embrace it, that you 'get it.""

11 April 2012

False Fire Alarm Offers Glimpse of Hobbit Set

Source: stuff.co.nz

While Sir Peter Jackson’s workers were enjoying a well-earned break for the Easter holiday, it seemed like the dragon Smaug may have been up to his old tricks.

Firefighters responded to an alarm on Saturday, and with the gates to the Miramar Hobbit set open, fans seized the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Middle-earth.

While security managed to block a Dominion Post photographer from taking pictures within the gates, two photos of the set have already surfaced online.

The photos depict an old house situated in front of a green screen.

While the Fire Service has signed a confidentiality agreement with Weta Workshop and Stone St Studios, Jackson’s spokesman, Matthew Dravitzki, said he believed the alarm to be a false one.

Sir Peter Jackson’s workers were scheduled to resume working yesterday.

07 April 2012

Coming Soon – New Tolkien Bio Comic

Photo: tflaw.com
Bluewater Productions has announced the publication of a new biography on J.R.R. Tolkien – in the form of a comic book. Scheduled for publication on May 30, this comic book will only be available through comic book stores.

Darren G. Davis, president at Bluewater, explains the reasoning behind this: “Like Gondor in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the comic book shop is slowly dying like many brick and mortar retailers. I love my comic book shop and by making this special issue exclusive to those retailers, it will hopefully get fans back in the store.”

He also warns that those interested should pre-order the book to ensure they get a copy.

“We are not doing a huge overprinting on this book. Most of these genre comic book biographies sell out quick like “The Cast of of Doctor Who” and “Stephen King.””

The comic, which will cost a mere $3.99, will delve into the background of J.R.R. Tolkien and show how his classic books – The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion – came into being. The authors of the comic, Michael Lent and Brian McCarthy, researched Tolkien’s life in the same detail they did on their earlier projects: Orbit: Stephen King and Orbit: Keith Richards.

”We’re definitely fans,” said artist Luis Chichón. “But we wanted to make sure readers get full measure of the man. That beyond his work in fantasy he was a fragile World War I veteran, well-respected philologist and university professor…all of which played a part in his creation of Middle Earth.”

If you’re interested, contact your local comic book store to pre-order!

04 April 2012

NZ’s Soaring Screen Industry

According to a Statistics New Zealand survey, which covered a span of twelve months, thirty-five feature films were made in the country in 2011.

Regional data in the survey defined Wellington as the country’s main base for film, with a vast majority of revenue for its screen industry business being in feature film work (which was worth more than $500 million in 2011).

Figures show how focused the film business is on activity surrounding Sir Peter Jackson’s interests, including Weta Workshop and his post-production house. Additionally, the period covered within the survey would have included preliminary work on his highly-anticipated Hobbit films.

Says Graeme Mason, chief executive of the New Zealand Film Commission, “These figures highlight the determination of those making local films and working on international productions to make great movies.” He adds that, “it also emphasises the importance of the sector's contribution to the New Zealand economy.”

While the survey shows fewer businesses taking part in the industry, about 180 of them earned over $1 million a year, which is eighteen more than in 2010.  

Total broadcasting industry revenue, which includes free-to-air and pay TV subscriptions, was up 7% (to $1.26 billion), representing 40% of the gross revenue for the whole screen industry.

Cinema exhibition revenue was up 6% to $163 million, due largely in part to higher charges on tickets to 3D movies.

The survey also revealed advertising to be up 4% (to $2.99 billion).

Sir Ian McKellen to Raise Money for Christchurch Theatre

Sir Ian McKellen is raising funds to help repair Christchurch’s Isaac Theatre Royal, which was damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes and has since remained closed due to structural issues.  All proceeds from McKellen’s performances will be donated to cover the building’s $500,000 policy excess and $5.5 million repair costs.

“The last time I was on stage in New Zealand was at the Isaac Theatre Royal in Waiting for Godot,” he said. “I love this beautiful old theatre and want to help restore it as soon as possible.”

According to McKellen, several props from his 2010 performance at the Isaac survived the earthquake.

"They've been preserved and they've survived the earthquake and that's very touching, and I suppose symbolic of something."

Already in New Zealand filming Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, McKellen will perform fourteen one-man shows across the country on weekends during the months of May and June.  

On June 2, he will perform in Christchurch’s Aurora Centre; in the show’s first half, he will discuss how he became involved with the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films and hold a question-and-answer session with the audience. In the second half, he will discuss the other plays and films he has involved himself with. As the show winds down, members of the audience will be invited to “play” dead French soldiers as McKellen delivers his final speech.

Each of his performances (chat, reminiscence, gossip, and performances) will be conceived in part by his audience.

“It's only me. No performing dogs, no hobbits. Just Ian McKellen. But the byline is with Tolkien, Shakespeare and you, you being the audience."

Tickets for Ian McKellen on Stage are $50 adults and $25 students/children (plus service fees) and will go on sale to the public beginning Friday, April 13. Additionally, signed posters and photos will be on sale.

For a listing of show dates, visit: Scoop.co.nz

For more on the Isaac Royal Theatre, visit their website