A decade ago, Peter Jackson’s phenomenal The Lord of the Rings trilogy secured its spot amongst the greatest of filmmaking achievements in cinema. Its epic scope, incredible attention to detail and many technical merits (not excluding Howard Shore’s stirring music of course) became the benchmark for not only the fantasy genre, but also great filmmaking in general. Satisfied with the success of his magnum opus, Jackson for some time has been avoiding the director’s chair for the inevitable adaptation of Tolkien’s other fantasy adventure, The Hobbit. But after years of production delays, and changes in management, fate made sure the project ended up in his hands regardless. It was a bold undertaking to say the least, and Jackson was certainly not leaving any stones unturned by experimenting with new 48 fps technology. Understandably, fans were a little nervous, and the decision to adapt such a small children’s tale into a trilogy sure wasn’t helping. Whether Jackson ultimately ended up extinguishing such fears however is up for debate.
The first film, entitled An Unexpected Journey, would present the beginning of modest Bilbo Baggins’ great adventure as he joins a company of 13 dwarves led by the vengeful Thorin Oakenshield to reclaim their homeland, Erebor, currently occupied by the vehement dragon Smaug. To say there were great expectations would be a massive understatement indeed, and considering the light-hearted nature of the source material, disappointment was inevitable. Despite success with audiences, critics were not so kind with this new trilogy, and perhaps with good reason. The film impresses visually, with its same high standard of acting, dazzling action sequences and impressive New Zealand vistas. But the final product is far from perfect. The bloated nature of the film owes itself to the poor pacing (the real adventure doesn’t get started till the second half), needless Tolkien fan-fiction and the strangely conflicting nature of the juxtaposition of both the comedy of the source material and the darker atmosphere of The Lord of the Rings. It’s an enjoyable feature, but a flawed one at that. Read the rest of this entry »
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
10 years! Its officially been 10 years snce the last official release of the Fellowship of the Ring in New Zealand (the film being released on December 19 in the US and December 10 in the UK).
10 years ago, the global movie population finally had full access to what they saw in excerpts of this trailer:
Perhaps not the best of trailers. But little did the audiences know that they were about to be exposed to the beginning of one of the greatest cinematic adventures (if not the greatest) ever followed in Hollywood. Read the rest of this entry »
Final Musings: Howard Shore delivers a magical score that is infused in French culture. The abundance of charming themes and the wealth of magical material puts this as arguably one of the best fantasy scores of the year. This is no Lord of the Rings, but it is a touching score with heart and soul in its innocence and childish whimsy. The heavy French elements may be deterring to some, but bear in mind that this is a score that requires time to appreciate. In the end, Howard Shore once again masterfully proves the extent of his versatility.
Brian Selznick’s 2008 historical fiction novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret may seem intimidating in its size, but it is really more pictures than words. Regardless, the novel’s touching story of a young boy who tries to understand his purpose in the world while wandering as an orphan in Paris’ infamous Gare Montparnasse has gained great levels of popularity amongst mainstream audiences. Inspired by the works and life events of early film pioneer Georges Méliès, the novel creatively portrays the narrative against a beautiful Parisian backdrop. Martin Scorcese’s 2011 film adaption of the novel would be his first 3D venture. Considering Scorcese had rarely done a family film (if ever) of such vibrant tone and childish whimsy, audiences took the 3D and the overbearingly buoyant nature of trailer as a sign dictating that the legendary director had finally sold out. However, Scorcese ended up proving that even when out of his comfort zone, he continues to maintain his excellent standards in filmmaking. This of course meant that critics loved it and by no means did the 3D hinder the great experience (unfortunately the same cannot be said of the majority of films these days). Arguably Scorcese’s most colourful film, the movie is a touching piece that is immersed in the man’s own childhood and premature fondness for films. Accompanying the film musically is the Academy Award winning composer Howard Shore who has emerged from the recurring collaboration between Scorcese and himself. Read the rest of this entry »