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Peter Jackson’s final installment in his Hobbit trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies, is finally in U.S. theaters. However, Peter Jackson isn’t only making waves for his final Middle-earth adventure. He’s also creating a bit of tension in the movie-making world for accusing modern movie makers of using too much technology.
Yep. You heard me correctly. Peter Jackson is calling out others for using too much technology. Here’s what he said in a recent interview with Movie Fone.
I don't really like the Hollywood blockbuster bandwagon that exists right now. The industry and the advent of all the technology, has kind of lost its way. It's become very franchise driven and superhero driven.
I’m not even sure where to start with this. Jackson has made his fortune by bringing a giant franchise to life. Even more than that, his latest endeavors with The Hobbit trilogy, love them or hate them, are stuffed to bursting with technology and special effects. The costs Jackson accrued to make this movie skyrocketed past what it cost to make The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Jackson has also managed to eke three long movies out of one of Tolkien's shortest works in The Hobbit. Beyond that, fans of the book will tell you that Jackson didn’t really focus on sticking closely to Tolkien's narrative, either.
I could go all book-nerd in your face, but let’s just stick to the topic at hand: Jackson’s criticism of the movie industry relying too heavily on special effects. Now certainly, a fantasy film will have to rely somewhat on the use of special effects. For instance, Jackson, sadly, cannot use an actual dragon for Smaug scenes. So while he can create a sort of dragon-rig on set, he’ll largely have to rely on special effects to bring Smaug to life. He also has had to do this with the character Gollum. Though the amazing Andy Serkis did actually perform Gollum’s actions while wearing a motion capture suit, the Gollum we see on screen is computer generated.
But let’s talk about other creatures from the film, like orcs, for instance. Here’s an image from a Lord of the Rings-era orc.
What you’re looking at there are men dressed as an orc. You’re looking at intricate, amazing makeup, and a group of guys who are probably burning up beneath pounds of latex and paint. Without the help of special effects, the orcs from the Lord of Rings films looked amazing, and very realistic. The actors were able to interact directly with an orc, rather than dealing with a green screen. There was something about the orc’s physical presence on the set that really added something special to those films.
Now let’s take a look at one of the Hobbit’s big antagonists, the White Orc (like I said, this is not the time nor the place to discuss the textual accuracy of including the White Orc in The Hobbit films).
That’s CG, baby. Now, you could argue that getting a human into any sort of suit to look like the White Orc wouldn’t do him justice. Fair enough. Let’s look at another creature from one of The Hobbit films.
Also CG, and I could go on. Now, before you say that I am just a movie snob, let’s not forget when Viggo Mortensen, Aragorn himself, called out Jackson’s The Hobbit films for their reliance on special effects. So it isn't just me noticing this.
Love it or hate it, Peter Jackson is a special effects guy. His movies are rife with special effects. So is the movie industry getting too cozy with franchise films and special effects? Perhaps. Is that a bad thing? That’s certainly something that can be debated among moviegoers and filmmakers. Does Peter Jackson have literally any room at all to call out other filmmakers for relying too heavily on CG and franchises? No freaking way.