Tag: tolkien

High Tech Hobbit

On top of the general buzz about Peter Jackson’s latest Middle Earth project The Hobbit, slated to be released in December, film geeks and insiders are chattering about the way Jackson is filming the legendary Tolkien story:

The four-day [CineEurope 2012] conference, aimed primarily at European theater operators, kicked off with exhibitors and distributors hearing that the filmmaker’s decision to shoot his fourth J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation using 48 frames per second rather than the current 24 fps (25 in some parts of Europe) will cost them more. Still, exhibitors have largely signaled that they want to show the hotly anticipated movie.

Filming at that quick a frame rate will bring out much richer detail and color to the movie, so long as your local theater has the proper equipment to show it at that frame rate. And it is in this “last mile” of the content delivery where things break down.

Many local theaters can’t handle this frame rate, although the big studios like Sony and Warner Bros are rapidly upgrading theaters they own. The movie studio will have to distribute multiple versions of the film to accommodate all theaters that can’t handle this. And while filmmaking at the higher FPS rate may be a big deal in Hollywood (i.e the movie industry) however I have to wonder how big a deal this really is to the general marketplace?

I would argue that today’s theater user experience is not materially better than watching it from your couch on your big screen TV. So will the opportunity to watch a movie like The Hobbit at a higher frame rate and quality of picture really drive a materially significant attendance lift in the general marketplace? I am skeptical.

But movie theaters and the studios will have to come up with something. The relevance of the movie theater is tied to their ability to deliver a far superior film consumption experience (and I don’t mean by the amazingly annoying and overpriced trend of delivering fried food to my seat). And as we all know, that is under intense pressure as the once exclusive distribution channels (i.e movie theaters) are no longer so, with so many folks consuming media in multiple form factors (HDTV, iPads, Netflix, Hulu, etc.).

Tarnished (LOT) Rings

The process that the Nobel Prize committee goes through in evaluating candidates for their renowned awards has always been a bit of a black hole. A little window into that process was revealed recently when, per tradition, the documentation and notes from the comittee’s thinking is released to the public 50 years after the award is made.

Back in 1961, J.R.R. Tolkien and his Lord of the Rings epic were nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature but the Nobel committee felt his work was “second rate prose”. In addition to Tolkien, the Nobel committee dismissed the works of Robert Frost, EM Forster and other not to shabby writers.

The prose of Tolkien, who was nominated by his friend and fellow fantasy author CS Lewis, “has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality”, wrote jury member Anders Sterling. Frost, on the other hand, was dismissed because of his “advanced age” – he was 86 at the time – with the jury deciding the American poet’s years were “a fundamental obstacle, which the committee regretfully found it necessary to state”. Forster was also ruled out for his age “ a consideration that no longer bothers the jury, which awarded the prize to the 87-year-old Doris Lessing in 2007 with Sterling calling the author “a shadow of his former self, with long lost spiritual health”.

Nobel committee, the Eye of Sauron is upon you.

Via The Guardian (UK).

Lord of the Rings

Wow, what an ending to a fantastic set of movies! The Director Peter Jackson outdid himself with this set of epics. It made Star Wars look like a second rate “B” film. In fact, looking at both movies you could see how Star Wars was influenced by the Toliken story. I think Entertianment Weekly said it best:

Even more moving is the realization that epics end. Perhaps the greatest tribute we can pay to [Peter] Jackson, his cast, and his creative team is this: Nine hours later, they’ve left us wanting more.

The last installment of the J.R.R. Toliken story, The Lord of the Rings:The Return of the King was just a fantastic ending to the trilogy of movies. Personally, I really preferred LOTR: The Two Towers because it really got to the heart of the trilogy’s story, and the the Battle of Helms Deep was just one of most amazing battle sequences I have ever seen. I actually went to see the re-releases of LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring and LOTR:The Two Towers the week prior to the release of LOTR:The Return of the King. The re-releases had additional footage (the “director’s cut”) so that was an additional bonus. The Tolkien trilogy could not have been adapted for film any better. Jackson was true to the story, the writing, and the overall feel of Tolkien’s style. I think they should produce “The Hobbit” and while there are other Tolkien stories about Middle Earth post LOTR, I don’t think they would be as wildly popular as these movies. I can’t wait for the full set of DVD’s to come to market so I can add them to my collection.