The Hobbit

41 pages of documents on the “toxic nonsense” that nearly scuppered The Hobbit shoot in New Zealand have been released. Fascinating reading on how untrammelled special interests can derail film investment with serious effects. You can access the full story here.


District 9

Having trashed the lack of thought (and science) in Terminator Salvation, I was more than pleasantly surprised to come across this new South African SciFi movie District 9.

Based on a creepy short film called Alive in Joburg, it’s produced by Peter Jackson (yes, he of Lord of the Rings fame) and features a clever story about the arrival and integration of aliens in South Africa. In this case, these are non-human alien aliens – but there’s a lot of apartheid in there, and a lot about the disturbing attacks on refugees last year. It looks like it might – finally! – be the kind of South African story that works without a lot of messages and finger wagging and point scoring. Hurrah.

The movie itself doesn’t open until later this year, but viral campaign is running and the website’s gone live – offering a witty, multi-layered introduction to the origins, sociology, physiology and hardware/technology of the “non-human” aliens that are the focus of the film….. the kind of pre-production and respect for its audience that Terminator Salvation seemed to disdain.

Look out for signs reading “BUS BENCHES FOR HUMANS ONLY” at a bus stop near you……