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Tag: Peter Jackson (21-30 of 30)

'King Kong 360 3-D': On the scene of Universal Studios' newest ride

King-Kong-3dIt think it was the giant 3-D spider that put me over the top.

On Tuesday, I joined a small gaggle of invited press and VIPs at the official unveiling of Universal Studios Hollywood’s King Kong 360 3-D, the replacement for the old, animatronic studio tour Kong attraction, which was decimated in a fire two years ago. The brainchild of director Peter Jackson, the new Kong experience unfolds on two massive parabolic 3-D screens that wrap around either side of the Universal Studios Tour tram cars, inside a custom-built soundstage. Before you enter, Jackson appears on the TVs mounted inside each of the tram cars and tells you to put on your 3-D glasses (which you hopefully haven’t dropped somewhere along the line of the studio tour up until that point). Then your tour guide rolls the tram cars inside, and after plunging into eerie almost-total darkness, the screens suddenly light up, and boom, you’re back on Skull Island — i.e. the Skull Island from Jackson’s 2005 King Kong. READ FULL STORY

Peter Jackson may direct 'The Hobbit'? Now we’re Tolkien!

Peter-JacksonImage Credit: Don Arnold/WireImage.comLet’s face it, Guillermo del Toro was a perfect choice to direct The Hobbit. Boundlessly creative and visually distinctive, del Toro would have been able to give the Lord of the Rings prequel a different tone from the epic triptych, while remaining true to its spirit. But it was just not to be. He left the project two years into a five-year sentence, and the best thing for us to do was to move on and not cry over spilt mead. And now, news that producer Peter Jackson is in negotiations to return to Middle Earth and direct the two-part film himself makes me think there’s no reason to cry after all.

When they say that he’s “in talks,” I can really only picture Jackson alone in a conference room, occasionally switching chairs, an argument brewing between his director-self and producer-self over remuneration and percentage of profits. Personally, I hope the two of them come to an agreement soon, because it would absolutely be a mutually beneficial arrangement. Producer Jackson gets one of the best fantasy directors around, one not only with an intimate knowledge of the LOTR universe but also of this particular production, and Director Jackson gets a chance to return to his Academy Award-sweeping roots after the hiccup that was The Lovely Bones. Everybody wins.

Including the audience. With Jackson replacing del Toro, and not some unknown interloper, we at least have a sense of what to expect. There’s no slinking fear that the final product might end up something like this. The real question is how much of del Toro’s two years of design and pre-production work Jackson will incorporate into his Hobbit, should he take the job. It would be fascinating to see a melding of these two different styles of fantasy film-making: Del Toro’s bulbous, inventive menagerie inhabiting Jackson’s epic, sweeping vistas.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Excited at the prospect of Jackson retaking the reins? Is there anyone out there who actually thinks that this isn’t great news?

King Kong charges into Universal Studios -- in 3-D! -- in this exclusive first look

kong-dino-tramWhen an accidental fire torched a large section of the famed Universal Studios backlot in 2008, the giant animatronic King Kong that had terrorized countless visitors on the famed studio tram tour in Los Angeles was one of the most high-profile burn victims. But with the old-school jumbo gorilla reduced to a charred hunk of plaster and metal, director Peter Jackson lept at the opportunity to re-make the King Kong attraction in the image of his 2005 behemoth movie remake, replete with as much state-of-the-art technology as possible.

The result is King Kong 360 3-D, opening at Universal Studios Hollywood July 1. READ FULL STORY

'Hobbit': Del Toro's explanation just leaves us with more questions

deltoroImage Credit: Nick Wall/WireImage.comA week after Guillermo Del Toro’s announcement that he was stepping down from directing The Hobbit, the filmmaker has returned to Lord of the Rings fansite TheOneRing.net to provide a longer explanation for why he left the crazy-high-anticipated project. The problem is that his explanation leaned more on you-gotta-read-between-the-lines vagueness than here’s-what’s-going-down specifics, and like the finale of Lost, it’s left me with as many questions as satisfying answers.

“I’ve developed films for years and I have shot many a movie on location,” Del Toro posted to TheOneRing’s message boards yesterday, “but rarely do you relocate for such a massive amount of time, especially when you have to do major ironclad agreements to put in deep freeze other contractual obligations with multiple studios….So — while the cited delays, contractual complexities or obstacles, cannot be attributed to a single event or entity — you will simply have to believe that they were of sufficient complexity and severity to lead to the current situation. Trust me on this…leaving [New Zealand] and the Hobbit crew is extremely painful.”

While it’s clear that Del Toro became frustrated with having to put all of his other projects “in deep freeze” while working on The Hobbit, I’m left to wonder when he realized that was going to be a problem. READ FULL STORY

Why Guillermo del Toro left 'The Hobbit' -- and Peter Jackson will not replace him as director

Jackson-Hobbit_320.jpg Image Credit: Barry King/FilmMagic.com; Kristian Dowling/WireImage.comOver the last four years, there has scarcely been another project in Hollywood that has been more highly anticipated — and has weathered more back-room corporate wrangling — than The Hobbit. So when filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) announced today that he was dropping out of directing the two films planned for J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary preamble to The Lord of the Rings, the news served as both a shock to fans and yet another possible casualty in the sad ongoing saga of MGM Studios.

As Del Toro (pictured, right) and The Hobbit producer Peter Jackson (pictured, left) explained to LOTR fansite TheOneRing.net, the two Hobbit films are still slated for release in Dec. 2012 and Dec. 2013. And Del Toro is still collaborating on the screenplay with Jackson and his LOTR co-screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. But why did Del Toro walk away from one of the most highly coveted director’s chairs in modern cinema? And who could possibly step in to replace him? (Read on for why it won’t be Peter Jackson.) READ FULL STORY

Critics down on 'Lovely Bones,' but swoon for star Saoirse Ronan

The Lovely Bones has finally made it into theaters — well, three theaters; it’s in limited release until Christmas. It opened strong, pulling in $116,000 for a per-screen average of just under $39,000. If the movie, an adaptation of Alice Sebold’s bestseller, holds up over the coming weeks, it’ll be thanks to the many, many fans of the novel, and to the legions of die-hard devotees of director Peter Jackson.

Because Bones certainly won’t be benefiting from an abundance of critical love. For the first time since his days of making gross-out, low-budget wonders like Meet the Feebles, Jackson earned a round of reviews that were lukewarm at best, scathing at worst. The most widespread gripe? That the Oscar-sweeping Lord of the Rings guru indulged too much in CGI at the expense of emotion and consistent storytelling. (See EW’s review by Lisa Schwarzbaum here).

But even the harshest reviews (like Variety’s — ouch!) have pointed out at least one positive: the brilliance of lead actress Saoirse Ronan (above, with costar Rose McIver). The New York Times applauded her “unnerving self-assurance and winning vivacity,” while The Los Angeles Times went even further, arguing that Jackson’s “best move by far was casting young Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, Oscar-nominated for her compelling role in Atonement, as the murdered Susie Salmon. An enormously gifted performer, Ronan is the only element of the film that is exactly as it should be, bringing naturalness, honesty and radiance to the part of a young woman just on the cusp of life.” Click on over to The Hollywood Reporter, Newsweek, and Slate, where you’ll find similar adulation for Ronan.

I’ll leave it to Dave Karger to ponder whether Ronan’s got enough critical affection to snag an Oscar nom. I’m hoping she will. She’s a prodigiously talented actress and a cool kid to boot, mercifully devoid of any of that weird, overly precious kid-actor stuff that plagues so many youngsters in Hollywood. (Maybe it’s ’cause she lives in her native Ireland, a good 6,000 miles away from the ego-inflating bubble of Tinseltown?) Plus, she can spoof Britney Spears as well as any SNL-er. Don’t believe me? Check out the embedded clip below. It’s from Amy Heckerling’s I Could Never Be Your Women, which she shot when she was barely out of elementary school.

Awesome, right?

So are you pulling for young Ms. Ronan, PopWatchers? What about Mr. Jackson? Do you love him enough to ignore reviews? Will you see The Lovely Bones?

'Fellowship of the Ring' at Radio City Music Hall: High-class geekery

lord-of-the-rings_l1Last night, NYC’s Radio City Music Hall played host to a screening of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. Which would’ve been awesome enough by itself, given that Radio City is a fantastic place to see a film, and I haven’t seen Fellowship on a big screen since its initial 2001 release. But what made it super special was that Howard Shore’s score was performed, live, by a 300-person orchestra, along with a massive choir. READ FULL STORY

'District 9' sequel seems inevitable

district-9-sequel_lLike lots of you, I saw District 9 this weekend, and while I was not quite as gung-ho about it as everyone else seemed to be, there’s no way around the fact that D9 is destined for a sequel, ASAP. The rest of this post contains spoilers, so if you don’t know your prawns from your pieholes, perhaps save this to read at a later date. READ FULL STORY

Here's what the 'Halo' movie would've looked like, if the 'District 9' director had his way

As rumors float around the Internet about Steven Spielberg’s interest in making a movie based on Microsoft’s massive Halo videogame series, it’s worth taking a look back at what Neill Blomkamp — the director of the full-of-awesome District 9, and Peter Jackson’s handpicked choice to shoot the long-aborted Halo flick — would’ve done with the material. Lucky for us, the seven-minute short Blomkamp made to show what it’d look like is still online…

Not that I don’t think Spielberg could work magic with HaloSaving Private Ryan meets War of the Worlds comes to mind — but Blomkamp seems to have had it all figured out.

What do you think? Spielberg or Blomkamp? Or neither? Heck, should there even be a Halo movie, or is it best left on a gaming platform?

Which of Peter Jackson's plethora of upcoming projects are you most excited for?

Dam-Busters_lIt’s hard to believe that the last time we had a big-screen feature from Peter Jackson was his masterful take on the classic King Kong in 2005. Now, thankfully, mercifully, he’s back, this time as producer for what could be this summer’s biggest hit, the alien flick District 9.

So what can we look forward to in the coming months (and years) from Jackson? There’s the trailer for The Lovely Bones now available to watch/weep at on the Internet, and it’s hard not to have a little bias (heck, it’s atop our Must List) towards this winter’s highly anticipated adaptation of Alice Sebold’s cherished novel. However, the afterlife drama, starring Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz, is hardly the only thing on writer/director/producer/Renaissance Man Peter Jackson’s agenda. He’s also teamed up with Steven Spielberg for the animated feature The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (expected to hit U.S. theaters in late 2011), based on the internationally beloved comic strip, featuring the voices of, Daniel Craig and Jamie Bell, among others. There’s also the Jackson-produced remake (possibly in 3-D!) of the 1955 British World War II film The Dam Busters and a little project you may have heard ofcalled The Hobbit (Jackson let us in on the progress of the movies at this year’s Comic-Con).

So, PopWatchers, which of Jackson’s forthcoming features are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the poll below, and don’t forget, for more behind-the-scenes scoop on this summer’s hottest flick, District 9, pick up this week’s EW!

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