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!
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.
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.
So, where do we draw the line between the awe reality can inspire in us and the worlds our computers can generate?
You might have seen the trailer for the third installment of the Hobbit movies, if not you can see it here. I cannot hide that I am slightly excited by the prospects of this movie and also the discussions that will come up around it. Does the movie deviate too much from Tolkien’s books? Have they picked the right locations in our beautiful New Zealand country side? Are the battles epic and the computer tricks novel enough?
One discussion that has come up around this franchise sometimes but never really made front page is a social one. While many orcs, the evil and brutal grounddwelling creatures fighting for the bad side, are computer generated, some are played by real people. And these real actors are nearly all Maori. The argument is, apparently, that the tall and wide shouldered physique of the Maori men lends itself to Tolkien’s description of the orcs.
However, I find this rather troublesome. Here we are in the 21st century and we fiddle around with the very 19th century idea of native people being simple and brutish, ‘naturally’ suitable to play nasty creatures running around with clubs. If I remember the books correctly, Tolkien described dwarves as strong chested, broad guys with dark skin. Why not cast a Maori as one of the dwarves? How tall the actor is should not play a role in a movie that is centred on hobbits.