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.)


Hyarion said...

Hello John :) I'm still rather excited about the news and am looking forward to more information, hopefully we can see a film that does justice to The Hobbit. You mentioned splitting up The Hobbit for the films, which was my first thought as well, however here is the quote from the press release:

"MGM and New Line will co-finance and co-distribute two films, “The Hobbit” and a sequel to “The Hobbit.”"

This seems to imply they are looking to make two films, one about The Hobbit, and another about the events after The Hobbit but before The Fellowship of the Ring. This was something Peter Jackson had mentioned earlier. My best guess would be focusing on Aragorn hunting for Gollum. Below is an interesting link, although the authenticity of it is questionable:

Hyarion said...

The above link seems to be cut off.
Here it is.

It definitely sounds interesting, but whatever the second film is, it sounds like PJ will have to make up a lot of non-canon material...

Indiana Douche said...

It's good news that some is trying to make it live action. But I'm not sure how I feel about people making stuff up just to make a movie so that they can have Aragorn in it.

It seems that The Hobbit itself presents enough for two movies. I would think that a good place to split the movies would be either just before or just when the Goblins/Wargs attack.

I also heard a rumor that Sam Raimi is going to direct it/them. Now, to me, this is a gigantic mistake. The story requires some subtlety and I don't think Raimi has any (at least none seen in the Spiderman movies).

And then there's the issue of the screenplay and whatever changes they might make. If anyone saw the stage play of The Hobbit, they made some, what I considered to be, gratuitous changes to more closely link the story to The Lord Of The Rings, specifically they mentioned Sauron and the Rings Of Power and identified Bilbo's ring as such. I don't feel the story needs that much of a link. Bilbo, Gollum, Elrond and Gandalf are link enough, I think.

But all in all, it's good news that Jackson is associated with the project. I hope that they can convince McKellan to return. I did read that he wants to do it. I also saw that Ian Holm agreeds that he's way too old to play Bilbo, so they have to find someone else for that role.

Unknown said...

I would make the break at Beorn's. The escape from the Misty Mountains on eagleback is obviously a dramatic opportunity; and it's at this point, as I recall, that Gandalf drops the bombshell that he's leaving the Dwarves and Bilbo.

Unknown said...

Specifically - - here's an off-the-cuff outline of the book:

Introductions of Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves
The trolls
Rivendell (here I hope they find a good way to deal with the Tra-la-la-la-lally
stuff, which might simply be to omit it and substitute some appropriate original
The storm giants, the Misty Mountains, the goblins, and Gollum
Pursuit by the goblins on Wargs; the Eagles
Mirkwood - - there will be no forgiveness for the moviemakers if they bungle the
atmosphere here; the spiders; the banqueting Forest King
Captives of the Wood-Elves
The Mountain - - the Thrush; Durin's Day
The Five Armies
Homeward bound

So I think one can contend well for the break in the two movies at Beorn's. However, your suggestion of making the break at the first sight of the Lonely Mountain is the one I would bet on. It makes excellent sense.

Come to think of it, that might be a good reason NOT to bet on it. Okay, they make the break as Arwen frees the captives from the Elf-King.

Philip Lowe said...

Dear Mr Rateliff,
Many thanks for your industrious work on The Hobbit. May I suggest/add a comment on your section on the author's voice? on p57 of HOTHpt1 you allude to a real irritation of mine! Namely "it burst out like the whistle of an engine coming out of a tunnel". Given Tolkien's vision I've long thought it's a repulsive intrusion of 20th century technology into Middle Earth. Although Humphrey Carpenter suggests that reading Welsh names on trains gave him linguistic inspiration I feel this simile really doesn't sit well in the Shire. I'm reminded of the impugnations of Saruman's introduction of industry to Isengard and the black chimneys Sam sees in Galadriel's mirror. I'm from Birmingham - not far from where Tolkien lived and regard pre-industrial Hall Green as the Shire itself. I think this insertion of trains at the beginning of the work is a small flounder on the path to asteadier, grander style!

Yours truly

Philip Lowe, MA(Oxon)

Unknown said...

Philip Lowe, that's a good point. For a long time I have taken The Hobbit to be a "translation" from supposed Middle-earth records that is more free than LOTR. In that way I make allowances for the author's voice and anachronisms like that.

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