Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Peter Jackson's HOBBIT

Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Peter Jackson's HOBBIT

So, after three years of back-and-forthness, the news is now official: Peter Jackson will be making a film of THE HOBBIT.


Indeed, two films. New Line and MGM finally agreed to a split of the largess that is likely to result, and somehow New Line and Jackson have resolved their acrimonious dispute (no doubt more details on this will be forthcoming in good time). Production starts sometime in 2009, with the first part to hit theaters in 2010 and the second to follow a year later in 2011. Given the tradition set down by the LotR films, I strongly suspect their release dates will be the week before Christmas in each case.
What's not yet clear is whether Jackson will be directing or merely producing.

The news that it'll be two films is interesting, but not unexpected. And it raises the interesting question: where would the best place be to divide the story? This is obviously something I had to give a lot of thought to when we realized THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT wouldn't all fit into one volume. In the end, I went with ending Vol. I with their departure from Lake Town, so that all the scenes at the Lonely Mountain were gathered together in the second volume. But if I were Jackson, I'd place the break between the two films somewhat earlier, with Bilbo's first glimpse of The Lonely Mountain at the very beginning of Chapter X: "The Lonely Mountain! Bilbo had come far and through many adventures to see it, and now he did not like the look of it in the least" (THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT page 241). --For me, that strikes just the right sort of ominous note in switching gears between the journey out and the problem confronting the characters when they finally arrive.

Three years. A long time to wait, but it'll fly by quickly in a constant stream of speculation, news releases, teasers, and the like. Here's hoping they do a good job, keep to Tolkien's story, and in the end produce something as impressive as the LotR films. We'll hope, and we'll see.

--John R.

current reading: Philip Larkin, FURTHER REQUIREMENTS. (reviews, broadcasts, &c.)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Call for Errata

So, I have a chance to make a few corrections for the next printing of the English edition of THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT. I'm going through and compiling a list of all the ones I know about; if you've come across an error or omission, or what you think might be one, please let me know within the next day or two.
--John R

Hummingbird Wars

So, a few weeks ago I finally managed to figure out a way to hang the hummingbird feeder off the balcony rail, rather than having it on a branch of the tree out back. This also has the advantage of moving it away from the suet feeder, which attracts much larger birds. And we were happy to see that it didn't take long for the hummingbird to find its new spot. In fact, we see it much more often now than before, since it's just outside the kitchen window. But we also quickly noticed that we have at least three different hummingbirds coming to the same feeder, and that two of them were squabbling over it. Since I'd heard hummingbirds are highly territorial, it seemed a good idea to buy a second feeder just like the first, which I hung on the opposite end of the same dowel supporting the first feeder -- that is, about four feet away.
Not far enough, I'm now realizing. Today we saw two hummingbirds fighting over the same feeder. It was an amazing sight: they dive-bombed each other, dashed about back and forth, and I think in a few case deliberately bumped into each other. It was like to angry giant bees going at it, or baby stirges; I even imagined that the other birds were staying safely out of the way as they whizzed by. So, in the interests of peace and harmony, this afternoon I rigged up another dowel and moved the second feeder to the other end of the balcony. Perhaps fifteen or twenty feet will be enough room that they can share. We'll soon know: the third hummingbird, the one not involved in today's acrobatics, came up while I was setting up the newer feeder in its new place. Nice to find that they don't consider me a threat -- I was actually within about two feet of it at one point -- though this may just mean they know I'm old and slow (as indeed are all humans, by hummingbird standards).
So, we'll see how it goes. We're committed now to seeing all three (and any others that may come by) through the winter; no abandoning a bird feeder after it's too late for the birds to head south! At least having it off the balcony will make it easier to check on each morning: last year the feeder sometimes froze and we'd have the sad sight of a hummingbird buzzing around it, unable to break through to the nectar inside (usually a quick poke with a nail through the feeding tube wd do the trick). Though have to confess it still throws me to see hummingbirds in the air when there's snow on the ground . . .