Jackson Goes Xbox

What an amazing, exciting, profitable thing all around: Peter Jackson is partnering with Microsoft to create at least two Xbox 360 video games, one of which will be based on Jackson’s upcoming Halo, under the aegis of a new outfit called Wingnut Interactive. I’m getting the chills just thinking about it. Jackson and close partners Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens will dream up the particulars together. Think of the joy, the jazz…the cultural adrenalin that will be felt from these games. Not to mention the truckloads of money to be earned.
I’m saying, in other words, that Jackson is perhaps better attuned or suited to the video-game creator mentality than that of a genuinely intriguing filmmaker, which is to say someone with an ability and/or willingness to hold back at times, to occasionally understate, to not always push the visual pizazz at level 10. Jackson always creates at an extremely showoffy, unsophisticated level, and I think this approach is more in synch with what gamers are looking for than what people who appreciate the sometimes more delicate chemistry that goes into making a truly fine film.
Water always finds its own level, and I think Jackson has just found — accepted — his.

22 thoughts on “Jackson Goes Xbox

  1. fnt on said:

    Jesus christ — after all the comments in the Sofia Coppola posts about you grinding axes way past their expiration point and you have to post this? Embarassing…

  2. How a man who whines like a kicked dog about being denied access by publicists to prerelease picture screenings after lashing out at moviemakers in language that barely rises above that of a sixth-grade classroom insult, can continue to bemoan his lot after penning such a pointlessly viputerative, ill-considered, ludditic comment as this is, gives new meaning to the word hubris.

  3. I’m sure Jackson is distraught at your withering use of sarcasm.
    Seriously, Jackson has a few flaws as a filmmaker – overuse of scores, that horrible jerky/blurry camera trick, an inability to judge running times (and he’s beginning to lose his standards when it comes to double dipping DVDs) – but only a cursory scan of any interview or video will see that he is one of the most genuinely curious, energetic, generous directors around. Hardly a worthy target as the antiChrist of movie-making. Oh, and his films are joyous, more often than not.
    And the more you bang on it, the more foolish you seem – not because you don’t have any valid points, but because, like most people who have a kernel of justification and no standards, you have decided the only thing to do with it is to puff it up, blow it up, and try to get the world to buy that your opinion means anything in the great scheme of things.
    Look forward to your trashing of Jackson’s The Lovely Bones and the next tuxedo he wears.

  4. Here, here. If Jackson is partnering with Microsoft, odds are he has enough power that this incessant, aimless bashing is not likely to do Jeff any good. Have you ever seen Kevin Costner’s meltdown in Tin Cup?

  5. Wells to Ian Sinclair: When you have a moment, please e-mail me the portion(s) of the piece I did the other day about screening shut-outs that contain the whining-like-a-kicked-dog mentality. I was trying to portray what things are like in the world I’m living in. Publicists have their moves just as journalists do. You don’t seem to be getting this column’s frequency. I don’t see things the way editorial staff of the Wall Street Journal does. If you were at a party and happened to meet me and ask whassup, what I wrote about the recent screening situation is what I would tell you. Get it? Is it seeping in at all? I’m just laying down what’s happening, how it seems to be playing out, what it may mean in the long run, and so on.
    Wells to Transmogrifier: I do have a valid point — my point is that Jackson is perhaps better attuned or suited to the video-game creator mentality than that of a genuinely intriguing filmmaker (which by my standards is a filmmaker with an ability and/or willingness to hold back at times, to occasionally understate, to not always push the visual pizazz at level 10). That’s what I meant by writing that water always finds its own level. Jackson creates at an extremely showoffy, unsophisticated level, and I think this approach is more in synch with what gamers are looking for than what people who appreciate the sometimes more delicate chemistry that goes into making a truly fine film. Is that specific enough for you? Do you need a couple of more pillows?

  6. Who else is having their posts deleted here? It seems Jeff is mighty sensitive about people bringing up that “open letter” concerning the pre-production on Evan Almighty, that he yanked down when everyone pointed out the movie was already in the can.

  7. Wells to the Sputtering Ragers: the main reason I don’t post more articles and items on this site is that 95% of the time (i.e, when I’m not so exhausted I’m unable to think straight) is that I take the time to express myself just so. I realize I’ve written stuff on rare occasions that has seemed very gut-like without the modification of sufficient meditation, and for those instances I’m sorry. The criteria I try to live by is to always try and say it with as much discipline, brevity and clarity as I can muster. And I am starting to get really pissed off at the ragers who just vomit out a few lines and then hit the post button…hah! I have worked all my life at trying to refine my abilities as a writer, and to read some of the stuff that comes in here feels to me like a kind of romper-room degradation. I guess I’ve invited anger into these postings, in a sense, because I let go with my own anger all the time, but nothing is worth saying unless you shape it and say it in just the right way. And there IS a right way…it’s in all of us. Writing without color or passion is obviously boring, but I think it’s fair to ask that some people out there try to think things through more fully before posting. The tone generated by some of the reader postings I’ve been reading by the haters has felt infantile to me at times. Being challenged and put down for sounding brusque or inarticulate on my part is a very good thing — it’s what makes these postings interesting because it tends to refine and at the same time expand upon what I wrote in the original piece/item. But I won’t let this site be befouled by responders who are 90% Jake LaMotta raging bile and 10% thoughtful. I try for at least a 70-30 blend myself, and it tends to sound better if I come up with an 80-20 or even a 90-10 in favor of searching/thoughtful. Maybe it’s because I’m getting really frazzled these days, but I know I’m starting to think about bouncing the LaMottas. I’ve already ejected one of them permanently — that raging pogostick provocateur Spam Dooley. I’m not trying to be Augusto Pinochet here — I’m just saying tone down the personal mudslinging, think it through and refine it before hitting the post button. Is that asking for so much?

  8. Fair enough, Jeff. I, for one, would have been much less pissy in my postings if you’d said something like that up-front, rather than just delete postings.

  9. Speaking as someone who has near-constant disagreements with Jeffrey on many subjects/levels/vibes, and also as, I think, the only person who has been chastised directly on these boards by the man (and very fairly, I might add), the one thing I’ve never understood are the cheap, drive-by, casually insulting posts about Wells’ talent or conviction as a writer.
    I disagree like hell with a lot of what he believes and thinks, but the one reason I continue to come to this site, and have for years and years, is the tightness, the smartness, the quality of writing. I thought that loosened up just a bit at the beginning of this blog-format (a bit angrier, a bit less forumlated at times), but I’ve noticed recently that even that little bit has been tightened back up.
    No one’s more annoyed sometimes by Jeff’s opinion or force of personality than I, but it’s one thing to challenge his opinions. To directly insult him as a writer or, yes, journalist, is not only bad taste, but I think flat out, 100%, unequivocably wrong.

  10. Wells says: “(which by my standards is a filmmaker with an ability and/or willingness to hold back at times, to occasionally understate…)” and “Jackson creates at an extremely showoffy, unsophisticated level, and I think this approach is more in synch with what gamers are looking for than what people who appreciate the sometimes more delicate chemistry that goes into making a truly fine film”
    The irony is that JW has praised films that are CGI-free but have the exact same characteristics. “Cinderella Man” anyone? Howard certainly shows no “ability and/or willingness to hold back at times, to occasionally understate” nor would I ever consider him someone remotely able to demonstrate a “more delicate chemistry that goes into making a truly fine film.” But JW still couldn’t rhapsodize enough about the hackneyed, beatific, male weepie because more than any particular stylistic touches, he’s a sucker for “manly” posturing that pretends to be genuine thematic explorations of masculine identity.
    “Kong” may have been an overlong mess, and LOTR may not be the end-all-be-all of fantasy filmmaking, but there’s still a ton more sophisticated craftsmanship in that trilogy than in the recent Superman drivel (again, praised by JW for its shallow “soulfullness”). Though he’ll deny it to high-heaven, he has obvious knee-jerk reactions that are almost insurmountable when it comes to fantasy genre flicks, especially ones that use (not indulge, but merely use) CG. Personally, I’m sick to death of the digital crutch most filmmakers use, but I’m still willing to admit that a crutch and a tool are different things, though you’d never know it from JW’s writing (which is usually quite good and readable–so no slams on him from me on this point).
    The other issue, of course, is that the Jackson blurb is a non-story, so for JW to come out with a “withering”–:roll eyes:–diatribe against him is not quixotic, just pathetic. You don’t like Jackson. We get it. We’ll hear all about it when his next movie comes out, I’m sure, and that’s fine. But until then, why bother? It just makes you come off as petty. And I’ll still give benefit of the doubt to a man who could make “Heavenly Creatures” (a film which Howard, or Ridley Scott, or any number of other directors could never be capable of), and so will a lot of others, much as that may drive you crazy in its “unreasonableness”.

  11. I think there’s another point to be made. Jackson may be undisciplined with respect to the length of his films, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard the accusation made that 100% of the money spent isn’t up on the screen. Like James Cameron, the man may have expensive tastes, but, at least to the fanboy types that hold these things sacred (and mostly to the filmgoing public at large), he delivers. You never heard someone, even Jeff, suggest that they pull the plug on King Kong, even after the budget shot past $200 mil. King Kong ultimately underperformed, but it wasn’t because Jackson didn’t pour every ounce of himself into the project.
    In light of all the fuss lately about Tom Cruise and Jim Carrey, I think that’s important.

  12. I’m with Jeff on this one… I bet if all of Hollywood had to go 2 full years without using CGI, we’d see some of the best movies in years, and more movies that would’ve been bad would end up being okay. I’m sick of the hacks who rely on this crap (not to say it can’t be used for good, but that’s rarely the case).

  13. Jeff,
    Maybe while you work to “refine your abilities as a writer”, you can refine that ability of spoiling major story points in the middle of your columns without warning. That is valid feedback about your writing you’ve never been willing to acknowledge or amend.
    And you let Spam Dooley get to you?
    You Pussy.

  14. Deleting cheap mudslinging is one thing, but deleting legitimate criticisms of sloppy fact-checking (Halo, Hannibal Rising, Evan Almighty) is another.

  15. “Deleting cheap mudslinging is one thing, but deleting legitimate criticisms of sloppy fact-checking (Halo, Hannibal Rising, Evan Almighty) is another.”
    Very damn true, that.

  16. Wells to Storymark and Boblaw: I have been recently guilty of sloppy fact-checking in the exact same sense that a tightrope walker balancing himself, a table, a chair and a plate of spaghetti 75 feet in the air is guilty of failing to properly wipe the tomato sauce off his chin after forking the spaghetti, twirling it and eating a mouthful.

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