With 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' now in theaters, marking a high point for this art form, we take a look back at some of the most incredible instances of motion-capture performances, and see how this art form has evolved.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
As you're probably aware by now, Stephen Colbert of 'The Colbert Report' (and formerly of 'The Daily Show') is a huge fan of 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit,' so when given the chance to make a cameo in Peter Jackson's latest installment in the franchise, the satirical late night host jumped right on it. And thanks to the awesome power of the internet, you can now peep his cameo in 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' without leaving the comfort of your home!
If it's set in Middle Earth, it's going to open at number one. That's common knowledge. The big question is always how big or how small it's going to open at number one. 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' did open at number one this weekend, but it's a number that's going to feel controversial for people who like to bicker about box office numbers. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it disappointing? Honestly, you could make a case for all of those.
There comes a time when we must stop kidding ourselves. These 'Hobbit' films – with 'The Desolation of Smaug' representing the shank of the trilogy – are not real movies. These are exploitation films for Tolkien nuts, for enthusiasts of the original 'Lord of the Rings' movies and for audiences so hungry for high fantasy they'll gobble up whatever is served to them and ask for seconds.
As someone who has sympathy, but not empathy, for those who have such proclivities, I can get why someone might come away liking this picture. But that is more of an involuntary reaction to exposure to certain elements, not the summation of a film. Listen, there's a grey-bearded wizard who warns in low tones about a place that sounds like “Doggledoor.” And there's someone referred to as “Thorin son of Thrain son of Thror.” I love that geekorama stuff more than most. It's hilarious, and I'll probably refer to my cat as “Thorin son of Thrain son of Thror” for the next week. But this movie doesn't cohere – there's no forward momentum, no character development, no story happening. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a fibber.
The Air New Zealand team has always taken pride in the fact that Peter Jackson filmed his 'Hobbit' and 'Lord of the Rings' trilogies in their homeland, but they've taken it one step further for 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.' While some of the trailers have refrained from showcasing the evil dragon in his full form, the airline has plastered him all over their new 'Hobbit'-themed plane.
'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' is now just over a month away, bringing back Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen and that bumbling band of dwarfs to continue their journey to face down the evil dragon Smaug. But who are the new warriors we'll meet along the way? If you still don't know your Tolkien mythology, Warner Bros. has released seven new 'The Hobbit 2' character posters.
We got our first real taste of Benedict Cumberbatch voicing the dragon Smaug in 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' trailers, but the star also used motion-capture technology to help bring the creature to life, which yielded some intense facial acting. 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' Extended Edition, to be released on Blu-ray and UltraViolet this November 5, includes footage of Cumberbatch in action, and we've got a preview for you.