Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hobbit Movie

  Word has come down that the Hobbit has finally wound it's way through development hell and is now on schedule to be made, with Peter Jackson back at the helm.

  I have to come out and say I'm not too sure.  If I had my way, they would take the old Rankin-Bass Hobbit and run it through the Hewlett-Packard to add some much needed frames of animation.  I'd redo some of the songs to remove the excess folksiness, and redraw the wood elves, the cat-toad goblins, and especially Smaug.  

  It's not that I don't trust Jackson.  I could barely contain myself from standing up in the theater and shouting "THAT IS THE SHIRE!" When I saw The Fellowship of the Ring.  It was good, but there was also something lacking.  

  It may have been the source material.  When I finished reading LOTR, I put the final book down and thought "Whew.  That's over."  I got the feeling Tolkien was thinking the same thing.  It started out well; the section between the beginning of the book and I want to kill-O, Tom Bombadil-O was a very richly detailed fantasy road trip.  By the end, it was resembling a freshman college paper: the one where you are halfway done with no end in sight and you are doing your very best to cut corners and bring the whole thing to some sort of finish.

  I never felt that way about "The Hobbit".  It's one of my very favorite books.  It's also a children's book, and I wonder if Peter Jackson can give it a separate look and feel to enable it to be its own movie. 

  Perhaps what is missing is a sense of wonder.  There is a section in "The Hobbit" where the party is stuck in a storm and the giants come out to play, tossing rocks at each other as the rain and lightning rage around them.  It's a great scene which shows off Tolkien's ability to insert myth and mystery into his work, and that sense of the unknown never showed up in the LOTR movies.  It's a shame, because Jackson did action so very well.

   It makes me wonder what John Boorman would have done with the property.  


  1. If you think reading all of LOTR was a chore, you should try reading The Silmarillion. It is the entire history of Middle Earth and Hobbit + LOTR takes up less than a chapter in the book.

  2. I read it and liked it! Reading "A Tolkien Bestiary" by David Day first was a real advantage, because it had maps, a timeline, who's who, and good stuff like that to help the reader orient himself. Having to create that stuff from scratch in your mind is a huge chore, and I understand why so many find it unreadable. The stories themselves are Tolkien at his best, and if "Beren and Luthien" were made into a film, it would be a license to print money.