For a man who's just completed one of the biggest Hollywood franchises in history, Peter Jackson sure has a peculiar view of them.
Speaking with Moviefone, the director of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit -- a franchise totaling around 20 hours of film spread out over six gigantic movies, with the last three shot not just in 3D but in a brand-new and controversial format publicly known as "high frame rate" -- indicated that he's not happy with the way Hollywood produces blockbuster movies. Here's the quote:
"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 will always love The Lord of the Rings -- those movies hold a special place in my heart. But even if you like The Hobbit trilogy, you have to admit it's quite a different beast. The man who claims now to hate the Hollywood "blockbuster bandwagon," who thinks that technology has made the movie business "lose its way," turned a relatively short, fairly whimsical children's book into a solemn, heavy-handed, eight-hour, three-part slog, 90 percent of it done with CGI. He then slathered it unnecessarily with 3D and used it as his own personal experiment to try out the 48-frames-per-second shooting rate, which was almost universally panned by critics and ignored by audiences.
Do we sense a disconnect here?
He also offered up a sort-of defense for some of the long, long scenes that bloated the running time of The Hobbit, including the most infamous one from An Unexpected Journey:
"People are still bitter about the breakfast scene from the first movie. They say, 'It took so long.' Fair enough. But I always thought of these movies as a 7 hour film. So you look at it as, 'Why are we spending the first quarter of this movie at a dinner scene?' Where I’m thinking that it’s not the first quarter it’s actually 1/16th of a thing. We shoot them at the same time and obviously I can’t think of them as a single film, but I have to keep that structure in mind. That’s not really excuse for a long dinner scene, but still."
Perhaps after working in Middle-earth for the better part of two decades, Jackson is simply tired and this is his way of expressing his desire to take a nice, long break. He does indicate in the same interview that he's "absolutely happy to make smaller films" again -- like his early and brilliant Heavenly Creatures -- and plans to focus on movies about his native country, New Zealand.
I think that's a good thing. It'll give him a chance to clear his head -- and for us to clear ours -- and hopefully turn out some interesting, smaller-scale work. And if that doesn't pan out, I suppose he could always approach the Tolkien estate about doing The Silmarillion. Or not.