Can We Have More Movies, Please?

the-desolation-of-smaug-the-hobbit

Well, first we had the Lord of the Rings, and that was awesome. New Zealand was on the international map. Look at all their beautiful scenery. Peter Jackson’s affinity for this nation really helped to boost tourism and reputation. But that all kind of faded away in the years after Return of the King. However, Jackson decided to stretch out another one of Tolkien’s novels into three movies, this time going with the Hobbit. But, let’s face it: Although the exposure has been pretty cool, the last movie is now out, and New Zealand will once again fade from memory.

This is why we need another franchise and soon! Give us something good, Mr. Jackson. This entire genre is fantasy anyway. Who says you have to remain true to the Tolkien works? You can flesh it out and actually combine the two.

Who’s up for seeing a merging of the Hobbit and LOTR? Let’s have a three-part movie series where the stories overlap, the end of the Hobbit and the beginning of Frodo’s journey. Doesn’t that sound awesome? Give us some more Gandolf. Give us some more Orcs. And keep propping New Zealand up as an awesome place!

Welcome to the beautiful green screens of New Zealand

One of the biggest debates in science fiction is if the artificial can ever replace the natural. Can robots ever be as good as humans? Can a green screen ever be as good as the actual thing?

Well, the last one is more specific to movies off-late. It’s a good thing we have access to better CGI- it gives us better movies and makes them far less campy. But are these movies relying way too much on CGI rather than using the natural elements at their disposal?

With the release of the Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Peter Jackson has officially completed the second trilogy of films set in Middle Earth. Throughout the course of Lord of the Rings, Jackson made use of perspective shots and New Zealand’s naturally beautiful scenery to make the movie stand out. There was very little graphics, and this knowledge makes the movies feel so much better. Of course, this contributed towards New Zealand’s tourism too.

Lord of the Rings: Hobbitton

However, most of the Hobbit films were shot in CGI. Even though Jackson had already shot incredibly similar scenes without the use of green screens and computers before, he made the decision to not use forced perspectives or real-life tricks for the recent trilogy. How bad was the effect? Well, it reduced one of the lead characters to tears, and made the movies much less believable than the older trilogy.

The Hobbit Green Screen

So, where do we draw the line between the awe reality can inspire in us and the worlds our computers can generate?

Home grown…

I read with interest this week, that Kevin McCloud was in Auckland to launch a local version of his hugely successful British show Grand Designs.

Grand Designs to be built locally in New Zealand

While I applaud the impact of creating a local version of  a hit show such as this can have on the economy, versus just buying in overseas made versions – I can’t help but think we have enough of our own successful home grown talent that we could foster and nurture ensuring all the money is generated by New Zealand in New Zealand. I’m not for one minute saying we shouldn’t buy international hit shows, for one thing it brings diversity, but I am questioning the need for these franchise shows where we simply buy and replicate a format. As my previous post mentioned we are more than capable of creating home-grown shows, that are good enough to generate international interest.

For a local industry to thrive it needs money injected into it to produce talent and creativity. While a show such as Grand Designs will employ local staff giving training and experience, at the end of the day the profits will flow out of the country. Why not employ the same people in local productions that have a chance of being sold outside New Zealand – after all no one will buy a New Zealand version of an already internationally franchised show.