Peter Jackson has done the impossible in condensing a 1500-word battle into a three hour-movie, which has allowed him to cut back the planned four Hobbit movies into a mere trilogy. Many critics have assailed Mr. Jackson’s manhandling of Tolkien’s beloved source material as a blatant cash grab, but these movies are better viewed as a wealth transfer to the New Zealand special effects industry, which now accounts for 90% of the country’s GDP. But the Kiwis cannot handle another nine-year recession like the one they endured last decade between Lord of the Rings trilogies, and with the rights to The Silmarillion still held by Tolkien’s estate, the esteemed director has turned his sights elsewhere for material to prop up the motion-capture welfare state he has spawned on top of the once-proud nation.
Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers, Helm’s Deep: Using hundreds of hours of deleted footage and state-of-the-art computer graphics, Jackson has create the epic-battle movie to end all epic-battle movies, clocking in at an astounding 17 hours. All of the original special effects have been completely redone by hand twice, and new technology not available during the original filming has allowed for the generation of entire fight scenes generated with the push of a button.
The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug 2, Legend of Smaug’s Gold: Benedict Cumberbatch spent seven months sleeping in a motion-capture suit to provide the Weta Workshop animators with enough material to create the most realistic sleeping dragon ever put on film. Those petabytes of data have now been converted into an Oculus Rift game, where intrepid fans can examine the dwarvish gold hoard upon which the proud dragon dreams.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 1.5: Covering just the events of chapter 12 of the first book, the film follows Harry as he competes in the Christmas Break wizard chess tournament, which Slytherin has won for a unprecedented nine straight years. Harry must uncover the truth behind Slytherin’s edge before it is too late. As no one from the original cast agreed to return (except Tom Felton), the majority of the film is spliced-in scenes from the first eight movies.
Pirates of the Caribbean – Drink Up Me Hearties: During the filming of the original trilogy, Johnny Depp would go off drinking in full costume almost every night, and when Jerry Bruckheimer got wind of it, he had dozens of cameras installed in the St. Vincent bars to capture Depp in his most primal element. That footage has now been re-purposed by Jackson into a stand-alone prequel starring Depp and Captain Barbossa’s undead monkey, with Andy Serkis providing the motion capture for the monkey. Jackson is pitching it as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas meets Monkey Trouble.