In the tradition of ScreenCrush series like You Think You Know Movies, You Think You Know TV, and Post Credits comes a brand new YouTube series: Top Five! Each week (or so; we’ve got a lot of other stuff going on), ScreenCrush editor and critic Matt Singer will count down a particular topic from the world of movies (and probably write these introductory posts in the third person).
Remember the Hobbit movies? Your butt certainly does. Although they weren’t as long as the Lord of the Rings movies, Peter Jackson’s second series of films set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth felt much longer. Each film could have stood to lose at least 30 minutes from its running time. Heck, the trilogy should’ve been two movies but that’s a conversation for another day. The point is that these already long movies have extended cuts and these extended cuts are returning to theaters this October.
Before Peter Jackson took the reigns of the franchise, Guillermo del Toro was supposed to direct The Hobbit, and planned to bring his friend and longtime collaborator Ron Perlman to voice the dragon Smaug. But financial problems and delays at MGM eventually forced del Toro from the project; after Peter Jackson, king of The Lord of the Rings, signed on to direct in his place, he replaced Perlman with Benedict Cumberbatch. That’s just one of the facts packed into the latest episode of You Think You Know Movies, which takes you on an unexpected journey behind the scenes of the first film in The Hobbit trilogy!
Thanks to his roles in the X-Men and Lord of the Rings franchises, Ian McKellen has become an iconic part of mainstream pop culture, earning him notoriety with geeky fans he may never have had if he’d stuck to theatre and more serious, prestige roles. And if Tom Cruise had his way, McKellen might not have taken those roles and become the pop culture icon he is today.
If you have a basement, chances are you keep things like boxes of old stuff, disintegrating furniture and various household items in it. If you have a cool basement, you might have some pinball machines or something down there. But Peter Jackson has the coolest basement of all: the director had Bag End, the home of Bilbo Baggins, installed beneath his home.
The film world lost one of its great artists on Monday when Andrew Lesnie, the cinematographer on all six of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies passed away following a sudden heart attack. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lesnie was 59 years old.
Today in “surely you jest” news, ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise director Peter Jackson has officially revealed where he stands on film franchises, blockbusters, and superhero movies. Although he’s been behind the wheel of two wildly successful film franchises for over a decade, it turns out that Jackson isn’t really a fan of the franchise mentality. And you definitely shouldn’t count on him to direct a Marvel movie anytime soon—or ever.
There seem to be two paths for monumentally popular pieces of art and entertainment once the initial excitement around them begins to wear off. Either they become a cultural touchstone, and become a part of the fabric of everyday communication, or they become a footnote, a piece of trivia relevant only as nostalgia and an occasional answer at bar trivia. I revisit Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy every few years, because I desperately want it to be the former and not the latter.
Both ‘The Colbert Report’ and ‘The Hobbit’ franchises will come to an end in the next few weeks, and given Stephen Colbert’s unabashed love for all things Tolkien, we’ve seen a great deal of cross-promotion. The latest might be the most impressive yet however, as Colbert interviews none other than the dragon Smaug himself, live on the set!
Having gone on an unexpected journey and endured the desolation of Smaug, Peter Jackson’s bloated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ finally comes to ‘The Battle of the Five Armies,’ which is less of a climax to this trilogy than a distended epilogue. After spending two movies and 330 minutes building up the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) as the ultimate antagonist, he’s eliminated from the story completely in the first ten minutes. He’s literally gone before the title appears onscreen.