This week CinemaCon was held in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace, with practically every big, upcoming genre movie making an appearance.
This includes Dark Shadows, Rock of Ages, Life of Pi, and of course The Dark Knight Rises, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which promise to be the most anticipated geek events of the year, along with The Avengers of course. There was even a Star Trek presence, with Chris Pine promoting Rise of the Guardians, the Dreamworks animation film where Pine provides the voice of Jack Frost.
Obviously the talk of the convention was Dark Knight and the Hobbit, and as initial reports are coming in, all may not be well in Middle Earth.
Both The Wrap and Deadline claimed the ten minutes of footage screened from the Hobbit didn’t go over all that well.
The headline on The Wrap announced: “Peter Jackson Debuts a Disappointing Hobbit at CinemaCon,” while Deadline also reported the footage received a “lukewarm response.”
According to The Wrap’s Brent Lang, “Peter Jackson hoped that an extended look at The Hobbit would convince the theater owners who flocked to CinemaCon this week that higher frame rates was the next revolution in film. Based on the roughly ten minutes he screened, The Lord of the Rings director may need to work on his pitch.”
Oddly enough, the 48 frames a second “made each scene too crisp, if that’s possible,” Lang continued. Still, the footage included “a chilling sequence with Gollum that showed that [Jackson] still has a knack for finding the narrative heart in J.R.R. Tolkein’s dense mythological landscape. If only it looked a little more like a movie.” Lang also reported it looked “more Spanish telenovela than Avatar,” while Deadline claimed it had more of a soap opera feel.
Of course, it should be noted that the footage is still incomplete, and was shown in somewhat of a rough form. Indeed, as Peter Jackson emphasized, like most other new technologies, it will take some time for audiences to get used to the fresh look of things.
Indeed, Steve Lisberger once told me Tron originally didn’t do all that well because there was too much new art for audiences to take in.
The other big cliffhanger of course is how The Dark Knight footage turned out. Both Deadline and The Wrap reported the film “shined” and “dazzled.” However, The Wrap pointed out that most of the Dark Knight footage had no real dialogue, and the footage was mostly action, with Batman fighting Bane, going up against Catwoman, and trying to save the city from plunging into insanity. As The Wrap reported, “Planes crash, football fields explode and heroes brood, all to great effect.”