New Zealand Screening News I
Xoanon @ 8:16 pm EST
Ringer Spy TeeBee sends along this review of the Cannes footage from New Zealand!

OK, I attended the first New Zealand showing of the cannes footage last night at the Embassy theatre in Wellington. It was an invitation only event for people associated with the media, the LOTR production and the Embassy theatre development scheme. The event was geared up as a fund raiser for the the Embassy theatre restoration trust and backed by Peter Jackson and Newline Cinema. Anyway they had too many people turn and did two sittings. A "Mr Voice" type presenter handeled the show, firtsly covering the restoration of the Embassy and how much would be ready for the December 19th premier of LOTR. Then he outlined how members of the public could become "trustees" by buying one of three differant packages. The most appealing package was for $850 per annum for 3 years which included 1 seat to a black tie dinner prior to the opening night of LOTR, one seat at the premier benefit showing (which will be arranged and presented by Peter Jackson) on the 19th of Dec, 1 pass to 6 premiers of new movies per annum for three years (plus related cocktail evenings and galas) + 10 passes per annum to any movie. This isn't a bad deal with the opening night premier being worth the money on its own.

So after showing us a few old pictures of the embassy and some future pictures we came to the now well known Cannes footage. Now before I get into how I felt about this footage I have to let the readers know that I am also a big Star Wars fan. For several months before The Phantom Menace came out I got myself in such a tizz over that movie that my expectation level got to the point that I was telling everyone that this would be the best movie ever made, even before I saw it. So you can imagine that when I did finnally get to see it I was dissapointed about several aspects of the movie which have already been thrashed out on the web. I promised myself after that, that I wouldn't get into such a deluded state again. Well you know what, I have got myself like that again. You know its hard living just down the street from Weta Studios, having filming taking place in your neighbourhood, seeing stars walking around and having Peter Jackson living in the same street. Well with all these factors drawn in plus alot of over-the-top reviews on the net about the cannes footage I expected to be blown away.

So warning here folks: DONT SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS TO HIGH - YOU WILL BE DISSAPPOINTED. The footage was good but there were flaws, especially in the Moira Mines sequence. The opening shots of Hobbiton were very nice and the shrinking of the hobbits done very well and of course the details of the sets and costumes were fanastic. The council sequences looked good too but were too breif to make a judgement on. Which brings us to the Mines of Moira sequence. I dont know if it was the colour or the darkness but the whole sequence was like a blur, especially the battle with the cave troll where a state of confusion reigned. Very very busy, with the camera never locking into one sequence for too long. Its true that some of the fellowship CGI characters look slightly cartoonish when is close action with the cave troll. But I will put this down to an incomplete work where colour correction and "tweeking" of the special effects will improve the final outlook. Dont forget I am a fussy bastard and am heavily engrained with the whole LOTR concept - so my expectations are very high. The two people I was with thought it was the best film covergae they had ever seen - of course they had never read the books or seen any material on the movies prior to this showing. From their point of view it was breathtaking and they cant wait for Dec 19. From my point of view it has knoked me down a couple of pegs and brought some sort of reality to my own expectations. I am happy seeing the cannes footage. I now know what to expect and can comfortably go to the premier in the right frame of mind. For all you fanatical Rings fans: my advice is dont get overhyped with the the expectation - go along to see a good movie and make your own judgement if it is great. Dont go along to see a great movie because even if it is it will never live up to your wildest dreams. I expect to see something great - but if it is better than that then I will be very happy!

If this movie series does nothing else it will stamp New Zealand as a country everyone will want to visit. Stunning vistas, incredible backdrops and scenery and unspoiled lanscapes embed New Zealand as the most beautiful country in the world. For people like myself who live here, we take it for granted that the great outdoors are on our doorstep. LOTR will showcase New Zealands landscape like no movie has ever done before for any country. Some of the panoramic shots made me salivate at the mouth - and that is saying something because I have visited most of theses locals myself!

Enjoy the LOTR, have envy for us New Zealanders - and I hope, I really hope that this movie will live up to its promise.