Hob­bit pre­view gets fans fired up

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

If re­ac­tion to footage from The Hob­bit at Comic-Con is any in­di­ca­tion, Peter Jack­son has an­other cou­ple of block­busters on his hands.

The crowd at­tend­ing Jack­son’s Hob­bit pre­view at the fan con­ven­tion in San Diego went wild over a 12-minute reel the film-maker and his col­leagues screened.

Bro­ken into two films, The Hob­bit: An Un­ex­pected Jour­ney and The Hob­bit: There and Back Again, the 3- D epic is Jack­son’s pre­quel to his Lord of the Rings tril­ogy, whose fi­nale won 11 Academy Awards, in­clud­ing best pic­ture and di­rec­tor.

Lo­ca­tion film­ing for both films took place in Mata­mata.

An Un­ex­pected Jour­ney ar­rives in theatres on De­cem­ber 14, with There and Back Again fol­lows in De­cem­ber 2013.

The films are based on JRR Tolkien’s pre­quel novel, chron­i­cling how tiny hob­bit Bilbo Bag­gins (Martin Free­man) ac­quired the ring of power that causes all the ruckus in The Lord of the Rings, Jack­son’s three- part adaptation of Tolkien’s fan­tasy saga.

Along with Jack­son and Free­man, the panel from The Hob­bit at Comic- Con fea­tured Lord of the Rings costars Ian McKellen, who reprises his role as the wizard Gan­dalf, and Andy Serkis, who is back as twisted ring­keeper Gol­lum. Also on hand was Richard Ar­mitage, who plays the dwarf Thorin Oak­en­shield.

Jack­son showed 12 min­utes of footage that in­cluded a chillingly comic ex­change be­tween Bilbo and Gol­lum; a ten­der mo­ment be­tween McKellen’s Gan­dalf and Cate Blanchett, repris­ing her role as elf queen Gal­adriel; and the piv­otal mo­ment when Bilbo dis­cov­ers the ring.

A sur­prise guest was Eli­jah Wood, who starred as hob­bit Frodo Bag­gins in The Lord of the Rings.

Free­man

said

he never felt in­tim­i­dated as a new­comer to Jack­son’s team.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously, you can’t re­ally take in­tim­i­da­tion or pres­sure to work with you, be­cause you won’t do your best work,’’ Free­man said.

‘‘ And you won’t do your best play­ing, which is an ac­tor’s job.’’

Jack­son shot The Hob­bit in 3-D and at 48 frames a sec­ond, twice the speed that has been the stan­dard since the 1920s.

The higher frame rate al­lows for greater visual clar­ity, though it re­quires costly up­grades to dig­i­tal pro­jec­tors for cine­mas.

At the Cinema Con the­atre owner’s con­ven­tion in April, Jack­son got a mixed re­cep­tion for pre­view footage from The Hob­bit shown at 48 frames a sec­ond.

Some ob­servers thought the im­ages were too clear, so re­al­is­tic that it took away from the magic of the film medium.

At Comic-Con, Jack­son chose to show his footage at the tra­di­tional 24 frames a sec­ond, say­ing the best way to ex­pe­ri­ence the higher pro­jec­tion speed is by watch­ing an en­tire movie at 48 frames a sec­ond, not just ex­cerpts.

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