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Saw RETURN OF THE KING. And I really, really liked it, although I didn't really, really like the first hour. Overall, I enjoyed the first two movies more, but don't get me wrong. I'm not comparing this to the awful Return of the Jedi, at all. I still loved it, and I can't wait to see the extended version.
The movie that actually caught me by surprise was PETER PAN. I really liked it a lot. It's so melancholy and bittersweet. Peter looked terrific (and was about 50/50 on the acting). Some things may have been a bit on the head, but it's Neverland, not Subtletyland. Just to be clear, I'm not saying it's a better movie than LOTR, but I thought the reviews of Pan were way harsh.
I had the opportunity to see both RETURN OF THE KING and PETER PAN on Christmas day. Excellent films that fulfilled my expectations and left me feeling quite content - despite the fact that I cried my eyes out during a few touching scenes (I'm such a sap). I look forward to purchasing the boxed set when it's released but I'm trying to stop myself from buying all of those irresistible marketing tie-ins like script-books, action figures, One Ring and sword replicas etc.
And PETER PAN holds a special place in my heart, as it was the very first story my mother ever read to me in bed as a child (I still have the tattered and faded book my mother read from, tucked away in my closet), and I grew up watching the televised stage production with Mary Martin as Peter (yes, I'm THAT old). I thought Jeremy Sumpter did an excellent job in the role of Peter, and Rachel Hurd-Wood was quite charming. I agree the critics were too harsh, but I also felt slightly uncomfortable with the not-so-subtle sexuality between Peter and Wendy, and the odd pedophilic vibe I got between Captain Hook and his delicious little prey, Wendy. But I still loved the film and will probably buy the DVD when it's released.
Greg, if you had Peter Jackson's 300 million plus budget and could make any movie you wanted, what would it be? A medieval epic (a la Gargoyles or Robin Hood), a modern-day drama (i.e. House of Sand and Fog) or a gritty, futuristic tale (Blade Runner, The Matrix)?
It might be hard to resist doing a Gargoyles movie. But if I REALLY had carte blanche, I think I'd do it in animation, not live-action.
Indeed, I have many pet projects I'd love to do in both Animation and live action. And frankly, I wouldn't need 300 million to do them. Carte blanche and fifteen million would allow me to make any animated movie I wanted.
As to the genre, I've got all sorts of notions in all sorts of genres. It's hard, in a vaccuum to pick out the one I'd do first.