If “The Lord Of the Rings” movies were universally beloved with Peter Jackson sweeping the Oscars for “Return Of The King” as a kind of “well done” overall achievement award, then his “Hobbit” films thus far have received possibly the opposite response (or at least a far more divisive one). Jackson’s predisposition for CGI seems to have taken over from practical effects and not only have fans noticed.
In interview with the Telegraph today, “The Lord Of The Rings” star himself Viggo Mortensen threw some shade Jackson’s way, echoing a similar sentiment and throwing a little diss at the ‘Hobbit’ films as well.
Turns out Mortensen likes “The Fellowship of the Ring” largely because it was shot in one go. “It was very confusing, we were going at such a pace, and they had so many units shooting, it was really insane. But it’s true that the first script was better organized,” he said. “Also, Peter was always a geek in terms of technology but, once he had the means to do it, and the evolution of the technology really took off, he never looked back.”
Mortensen then suggests as the first movie took off, the sequels started to lose touch with the original’s organic quality. “In the first movie, yes, there’s Rivendell, and Mordor, but there’s sort of an organic quality to it, actors acting with each other, and real landscapes; it’s grittier. The second movie already started ballooning, for my taste, and then by the third one, there were a lot of special effects. It was grandiose, and all that, but whatever was subtle, in the first movie, gradually got lost in the second and third. Now with The Hobbit, one and two, it’s like that to the power of 10.”
Ouch. So no invite back to the “The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies”? There’s been rumors that Jackson is planning “surprises” for his final film, which leads everyone to believe that’s going to mean more cameos from characters from “The Lord Of The Rings” series, but Mortensen has already suggested he wasn’t interested from the beginning. In fact, Mortensen turned down Jackson and returning as Aragorn a long time ago (last summer to be exact).
But wait, all “The Lord Of The Rings” movies were shot all at once, how did “Two Towers” and “Return Of The King” balloon as the actor suggested? Well, actually once ‘Fellowship’ took off, Jackson was allowed to go back and do extensive reshoots.
“Anybody who says they knew it was going to be the success it was, I don’t think it’s really true,” he said. “They didn’t have an inkling until they showed 20 minutes in Cannes, in May of 2001. They were in a lot of trouble, and Peter had spent a lot. Officially, he could say that he was finished in December 2000 — he’d shot all three films in the trilogy — but really the second and third ones were a mess. It was very sloppy — it just wasn’t done at all. It needed massive reshoots, which we did, year after year. But he would have never been given the extra money to do those if the first one hadn’t been a huge success. The second and third ones would have been straight to video.”
Youch. OK, yes, safe to say do not expect to see Aragorn in the last one, as much as you’d like to see that happening. That said, Mortensen does couch his comments in the end saying the industry enables this kind of bigger and bigger approach to the point that it’s easy to lose sight of what makes the source material. And it’s hard to scale back.
“Peter, I was sure he would do another intimately scaled film like ‘Heavenly Creatures,’ maybe with this project about New Zealanders in the First World War he wanted to make. But then he did ‘King Kong.’ And then he did ‘The Lovely Bones’ — and I thought that would be his smaller movie. But the problem is, he did it on a $90 million budget. That should have been a $15 million movie,” Mortensen said. “The special effects thing, the genie, was out of the bottle, and it has him. And he’s happy, I think…” [HT/Collider]