The leather gauntlets are off and the swords are drawn! Viggo Mortensen of Aragorn fame has been publicly slating Peter Jackson's directing.
Mortensen clearly missed the memo that Jackson is a global treasure for his work on Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, which might explain why the actor was absent from [The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey](movie:21016).
In an interview with the British newspaper, The Telegraph, Mortensen was candid about his opinions of Jackson's overenthusiastic use of CGI.
The Danish-American actor gave The Fellowship of the Ring his blessings, largely because it was shot in one huge push. He explained that he thought the movie was superior because;
It was very confusing, we were going at such a pace, and they had so many units shooting, it was really insane. But it’s true that the first script was better organized
He then went on to shoot some seriously shade about Jackson's love of CGI. The actor told interviewers that;
Peter was always a geek in terms of technology but, once he had the means to do it, and the evolution of the technology really took off, he never looked back
Mortensen then went on to suggest (not so subtly) that the sequels started to lose touch with the originals gritty, organic qualities and implied that it was all downhill from there. He explained that;
In the first movie, yes, there’s Rivendell, and Mordor, but there’s sort of an organic quality to it, actors acting with each other, and real landscapes; it’s grittier. The second movie already started ballooning, for my taste, and then by the third one, there were a lot of special effects. It was grandiose, and all that, but whatever was subtle, in the first movie, gradually got lost in the second and third. Now with The Hobbit, one and two, it’s like that to the power of 10
Talk about hitting it where it hurts...
There has been speculation that Jackson is planning some surprise cameos from Lord of the Rings actors in [The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies](movie:512312), but my guess is Mortensen definitely won't be getting an invite. The star has always suggested that he wasn't interested in reprising his role, but now it seems certain there is little chance of him getting back on the horse.
As all Lord of the Rings fans worth their salt will know, there are some holes in Mortensen's argument. For a start, all of the Lord of the Rings movie were shot in one epic chunk.
Apparently it was the endless re-shoots that really got Mortensen's hackles up and caused the movies to 'balloon'. He went on to deliver yet more shady comments to the newspaper by saying;
The second and third ones were a mess. It was very sloppy — it just wasn’t done at all. It needed massive reshoots, which we did, year after year. But he (Jackson) would have never been given the extra money to do those if the first one hadn't been a huge success. The second and third ones would have been straight to video
So, there you have it.
You can't get a more damning critique of deigning the latter films in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as straight to video fodder.
Is Mortensen bitter, or is there some truth in what he has to say about Peter Jackson's direction?