Continuing with our look at what’s out there about WB’s panel full of monolithic films strutting their super-sized stuff, we move on to what could only be WB’s second-biggest film of the year in a year when Batman is happening… The Hobbit.
First let run down the 12 minutes of footage that was shown to the capacity-filled Hall H, which was shown in 2D at 24pfs. Jackson explained this decision before the Con began, hoping to put the focus on content rather than tech, since the choice would be there for consumers once the film hits theaters.
Here’s an idea of what they saw…
• “…the footage shown, a collection of full scenes as well as action clips, was packed with elves, giants, and Orlando Bloom as Legolas, all sights that more than enraptured the audience. (There was no Smaug, the dragon at the center of the book and movie, though.)”
• The footage apparently began in the familiar setting of Bilbo’s home, after the Dwarves have already arrived and are considering drafting him for the adventure. We get the set-up of why they’re going after Smaug’s gold, and it seems Gandalf pulls his deep-voiced, thunder-backed trick to convince the troupe that Bilbo is worthy.
Comedy and drama meet a little juxtaposition as a ridiculous dwarf contract for adventuring intimidates Biblo while Gandalf gets a very real warning that Biblo’s safety can’t be guaranteed.
• This scene was followed by a montage of vistas, creatures, weapons, and Gandalf entering a dark place to do battle with some kind of monster.
• Eventually the footage settles on Biblo and Gollum interacting inside the cave, with a bit of the riddles scene included.
• Gandalf and Galadrial share a scene in which they discuss Bilbo and Gandalf’s fears for the future. That was quickly followed by glimpses of Biblo finding the Ring and Gandalf beginning to pick up on changes in the Hobbit.
• Beyond that were many montage glimpses of battles, Legolas’ part in the film, trolls, and much more. Smaug was apparently absent from the footage, with PJ saying in the Behind-The-Scenes video blog that he won’t be added in for another year and a half…
• An audience question about female character got producer Phillipe Boyens to speak about Tauriel, Evangeline Lilly’s female elf that has been added for these films.
“We created her to bring that feminine energy,” Boyens said. “We believe it’s completely within the spirit of Tolkien. We didn’t want her to be a ploy.”
She also notes that ultimately Galadrial is the most powerful character in the Middle Earth of The Hobbit.
• Inevitably the tech stuff came up, but Jackson seems ready to punt the 48fps conversation to December when people can see the film as a whole. I wouldn’t expect any more 48fps screenings of mere portions of the film.
As for tech advances, he mentions the development of CGI miniatures (which have totally replaced live miniatures) as more freeing, and that digital shooting allows Gollum to be shot simultaneously with the other actors.
As for 3D, PJ found it easy to shoot natively in the format, and hopes it will drag kids away from their iPads. McKellan notes that it adds an epic, immersive quality that will accentuate the awe felt by a new generation of kids seeing these characters on the big screen for the first time.
• Discussing the tone of the film, PJ makes it pretty clear that his priority was adjusting the Hobbit material to fit the LOTR tone, and has done so by amping up the character arcs and including the additional Tolkien material that fills out the scarier stuff absent from the original novel. He notes that the touches of humor will keep things from being too dour, but that the two sets of films will match.
That wasn’t the only interesting bit from the latest behind-the-scenes diary they showed, which apparently featured a personalized Comic Con intro from the dwarves. I hope this doesn’t mean that was a CC exclusive. In any event, here are the new things from the video…
• More footage of Dwarves-in-barrels, with one getting dumped with fish up to his head.
• A forced-perspective set that made the dwarves and Biblo look tiny against a house’s furniture.
• A first look at Laketown and Stephen Fry as the Master of Laketown, with plenty of footage of the actors cutting up.
• Finally, a giant room of gold (unclear if it was Smaug’s or not).
Finally, Jackson responded to many questions about the possibility of a third film, which he has flatly denied before. This time around though, he took each question as a chance to mention all the extra footage he would like to shoot if the studio will allow it. He emphasizes it’s very early in the conversation and that it’s unclear what form that will take, but he very specifically doesn’t preclude a third film, so some big announcements could be in store next year…