Those Lord of the Rings fans who went there and back again to Comic-Con International were rewarded for their line-waiting devotion.
This past weekend Peter Jackson took to the Hall H stage with screenwriter Philippa Boyens and actors Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen (it should be noted he received a standing ovation), Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, and Elijah Wood, who was a surprise guest. The panel started with a showing of the latest behind-the-scenes video blog that Jackson has been faithfully providing fans via the official Facebook fan page. Then Jackson revealed a full 12 and a half minutes scenes from both parts of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey (out this December) and There and Back Again (December 2013). A detailed description of each scene revealed can be found at Cinemablend.com or on Entertainment Weekly’s Inside Movies site.
Several seemingly minor yet key announcements and decisions rolled out during the panel.
First, Jackson chose to avoid screening his clips using 3D and 48 frames per second, a decision most likely based on the mixed reaction he received when he did this at Cinema-Con; this may have been in his best interest as the scenes were welcomed far more openly than they were at the previous convention.
Also, Jackson noted that he had shot enough footage to create extended editions of the films or possibly produce a third film. The Internet has been filled with these speculations for the last few days, but Variety says otherwise. A studio representative said there was no “planned surprise,” and that “The plan was always for two” (Variety.com). Time will reveal how this pans out, but Jackson may have to just settle with some whopping extended editions.
A third announcement that should excite the women (or invoke the wrath of LotR die-hards) comes in the form of another female elf named Tauriel played by Evangeline Lilly. Philippa Boyens wanted more “feminine energy” in the films: “We believe it’s completely within the spirit of Tolkien” (Wall Street Journal). Come December, we’ll see whether or not this is true.
Finally, a fan questioned Jackson on his intentions for a Silmarillion movie. Entertainment Weekly reported that Jackson said he wouldn’t live long enough to pull it off, and he hinted that the Tolkien estate, owning the rights to the Silmarillion, does not like his movies (Entertainment Weekly). Despite being some of the biggest films of all time, The Lord of the Rings films do not always stay true to Tolkien’s books, and this has apparently been scorned by not only the books’ fans but also by the author’s estate itself. Here, too, is a situation that will undoubtedly unfold more clearly the closer we get to December.
Despite my chagrin at the inclusion of a previously unwritten female character (yes, I did just say that, and I support strong women in movies and everything), and my distaste for Jackson’s occasional twisting of Tolkien’s stories, I feel that audiences will have a lot to look forward to in terms of cinematography, acting, and yes, even script adaptation for the two Hobbit installments. The films previous to these have always provided pure entertainment, stunning visuals, powerful themes and messages, incredible scores, and unforgettable interpretations of long-loved characters (remember Ian McKellen’s standing ovation?). I don’t doubt that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again will meet these expectations, and frankly, I just want to see Smaug interpreted on the big screen.
If this article wasn’t enough for you, you can view the majority of the panel on YouTube. Though several users have already uploaded their videos, this one seems to be the best quality overall. Don’t expect to see the clips from the upcoming films; Comic-Con is very strict about not allowing attendees to videotape or post film clips. If you want to be that impatient, go google it yourself.
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