'Hobbit' director despairs of iPad movie-watchers
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
This film image released by Warner Bros., shows Ian McKellen as Gandalf in a scene from the fantasy adventure "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." AP Photo"The Hobbit" director Peter Jackson said Tuesday that the future of cinema lay in 3D spectaculars on supersize screens, and that he hated the idea of people watching his latest movie on an iPad.
Speaking alongside stars of the epic fantasy including Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen at a press conference in London, Jackson said filmmakers should embrace new technology to draw in "dwindling" cinema audiences.
"I think we should look at the technology that we have available and say, 'How can we make the experience more immersive, more magical, more spectacular?'" said Jackson, whose new film is a prequel to his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
"There is a degree of jeopardy at the moment with the film industry with all the alternative ways that people have to see movies now, right from their home entertainment systems down to an iPhone and an iPad," he added.
"I really hate the idea that I'm a director making a film for an iPad. That's kind of depressing. I think I would go and lie on a beach in Fiji and retire if I thought I was really doing that." Jackson used plenty of technological wizardry to recreate J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy for the screen, shooting it in 3D and using 48 frames per second -- double the normal amount -- to produce a less jerky picture.
But the superfast frame rate has divided critics, with some complaining that it makes the sumptuous landscapes of "Middle Earth" -- filmed in Jackson's native New Zealand -- look more like a computer game.
Jackson has defended the innovation, but he acknowledged on Tuesday that some new film technologies, such as 3D, needed to improve.
Producers have "vaguely talked about" re-releasing the hugely successful "Lord of the Rings" trilogy in 3D, he added.
But veteran British actor McKellen, reprising his role as the good wizard Gandalf for the first instalment of the new "Hobbit" trilogy, is less of a fan of certain special effects techniques.
The movie follows Gandalf, along with unlikely hero Freeman as the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, joining a band of dwarves in their quest to reclaim their lost kingdom from an evil dragon.
"The trouble with the dwarves is that despite what they are in real life they have to look smaller than me on the screen," McKellen told journalists.
He was often filmed in a completely different place from the dwarves in scenes that show them together -- which he complained was not at all "congenial to acting, which is about spontaneity".
But Jackson added that some of the techniques used to make the dwarves seem shorter than McKellen were more rudimentary. "A lot of what you see is Ian standing on a box," he revealed.