This month marks the first Hobbit film in a completely unnecessary trilogy by Peter Jackson, based off the epic tale by J.R. R. Tolkien. Honestly Jackson? Three films? I’m having a hard time adjusting to Hollywood’s new obsession with turning single books into two novels, starting with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (which made some sense), Breaking Dawn (which made absolutely no sense) and most recently the announcement that the prequels to the Lord of the Rings trilogy would be split into two parts.
I mostly see it as greed; executives know that these movies will make a substantial amount of money and the profits will pay off in the long run. But they put the audience in an awkward position, forcing us to watch every minute detail of the film come to life.
And that is what I fear for this Hobbit trilogy.
I love LOTR, I’ve been a fan since I picked up The Fellowship of the Ring when I was 10 years old and barely comprehended a single concept. I devoured the movies, going to see them all several times in theaters, even though I thought The Return of the King could have ended at least 30 minutes before it actually did.
See, that’s what scares me about this new Hollywood fad of including every detail into two/three movies. The difference between a novel and a film is that the filmmakers have to condense and eliminate miscellaneous details. These details add color to the novel, but most of the time, they are not necessary to the story-telling, and thus get removed. When I go to see a movie, I don’t go to watch a novel play out, I can read the book for that. Is it necessary to turn this novel into three films? It’s quite possibly the least known LOTR-centered book by Tolkien, if you ignore The Simarillion — of course Jackson didn’t really ignore that or other anthologies, the entire 3 movie is made up of indexes about Middle-Earth. It’s not well read, therefore, the notoriety stems from Jackson himself.
It will be interesting to see how these films play out; the book is long so there is enough material to fill 9 hours, but the real question will be is the material necessary?