Weta Creator Talks ‘Hobbit’ Visual Effects

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

The Hobbit Weta Weta Creator Talks Hobbit Visual Effects

One of the most important things about the much-loved Lord of the Rings trilogy and subsequently the upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit is the visual effects.

No surprise the wonderful Weta Digital (which handled visual effects on LOTR) is back for The Hobbit, and I’m sure with the advancement of special effects technology since “the trilogy” came out, The Hobbit visuals will look better than ever.

On the subject of The Hobbit‘s visual effects, The Associated Press recently caught up with Richard Taylor, creator and head of Weta and he spilled some info on what stage The Hobbit is currently at. Specifically, Taylor talks about what stage Weta is at with the film(s) and even why he thinks Peter Jackson decided to hand the director’s chair over to the brilliant Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy).

First off, Taylor gave a little bit of info on why Jackson may have passed directing duties on The Hobbit to del Toro, and what it’s like to work with the Mexican-born filmmaker:

“[Jackson probably passed it on] because he’s spent so long in Middle Earth … and probably felt a director such as Guillermo could bring something passionate and unique and original and new to the content for the sake of the fans.”

“It’s an absolute delight to be working with Guillermo Del Toro. We’ve all enjoyed his craft as seen in ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and the ‘Hellboy’ movies. His unique aesthetic and storytelling style brings a lovely aesthetic to the world and one we’re enjoying being part of.”

Peter Jackson with Guillermo del Toro

Moving on to The Hobbit itself, Taylor isn’t exactly sure when they’re going to start production (although Ian McKellen recently confirmed rumors it will start this summer):

“We’re just patiently waiting for it to begin. It’s been in early development for a while. I’m sure it will get going some time soon.”

Even if the film hasn’t started shooting yet, Weta has already started working on the effects, and Taylor says Weta has even begun designing the landscapes and characters. Fans of the look of the Lord of the Rings trilogy will be very glad to know that Weta plans on using a similar aesthetic in The Hobbit.

the hobbit gandalf elrond gollum Weta Creator Talks Hobbit Visual Effects

As far as the rumor of  The Hobbit being shot in 3D goes, Taylor said he doesn’t know for sure, but did have this to say about what technology Weta will be utilizing:

“Like any film, there will be an effort to utilize the tools that are available to us today to achieve visual images that will excite and intrigue an audience as we did try 10 years ago.”

I’m not a big fan of 3D and don’t like the idea of The Hobbit being done in that form. Having said that, if it does turn out to be in 3D then if Weta can utilize the technology in the same subtle way Avatar did, then it might turn out great.

I’m just glad, as a fan of how the LOTR characters looked, that they’re keeping things consistent on that front. That way The Hobbit Parts 1 and 2 can be viewed together with the LOTR movies without there being a stark contrast in how it looks, at least as far as the characters go (I’m interested to see how del Toro’s aesthetic affects the rest of the visuals).

the hobbit banner1 Weta Creator Talks Hobbit Visual Effects

What do you think of what Taylor has said: Glad that they’re keeping the look of the characters consistent in The Hobbit with LOTR? Would you like to see The Hobbit go the 3D route or is best left in two-dimensions?

As stated, it looks like The Hobbit is going to start shooting this June. As far as we know (possible delays aside) Part 1 will hit theaters in December, 2011 with Part 2 following a year later in December, 2012.

Sources: The Associated Press & Yahoo

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  1. That is great to hear, Richard Taylor and everyone at Weta do an amazing job. Since LOTR came out I feel Weta is the premiere visual effects company, usurping ILM's place.

  2. They need to hurry up start filming this movie already!

  3. I believe WETA did a large portion of the digital effects for Avatar

  4. Well I don't think we have to worry about whether we'll get “The Hobbit” in 2-D if they decide to go the 3-D route. Don't see it as an issue. I think what concerns me most is that someone like McKellen doesn't fall Ill or forbid the thought something worse. Though I guess we still want him to break a leg so to speak. :)

  5. I'd like to see Andy Serkis returning as Gollum, but yea, having Mckellen back as Gandalf would be fantastic, really does a presence to the role.

  6. The fact that ” Master ” , Peter Jackson, who directed all 3 previous Lord of the Rings, Epic movie sagas, and now knowing He will actively produce the future movie ” The Hobbit ” gives all movie lovers something really special and ( …. Precious ) to look forward to. As far as I'm concerned, ” The Fellowship of the Ring ” , ” The Two Towers ” , and ” The Return of the King ” , have already become all time movie classics! I've read the Tolkien books that were all fantastic stories in Middle Earth, and each of these directed Peter Jackson movies is no better than another, they were all ” Exceptional ” ! I am eager to obtain news as this movie goes into production, while it's being directed, and finally when the first of two movies premiers to all purist movie fans. Thank you Guillermo del Toro, and Peter Jackson for proceeding to provide Us with the prequel ” The Hobbit ” …. I eagerly await, ” Lights, Camera and Action ” ! …. Thank You……. jeraudiovideoclerk@yahoo.com

  7. The Hobbit in 3D could ruin the story by placing too much emphasis on action. The story does have some action in it but it's mostly about history and relationships. While there is a great deal of dimension in the relationships between characters I don't really see the point in visual 3D except to make a little more money off of those who are impressed by overrated effects.

  8. Yes, Weta were the lead VFX house for Avatar, and they did ALL of the shots involving the Avatars themselves (and about 80% of the movie overall).

  9. Darn it, i naively thought they would have the brains this time to hire ILM well back to mediocre effects