Even with Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen, I’m still not looking forward to The Hobbit
Posted by:Brad Sturdivant
After the rousing success of the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, some fans started asking for Peter Jackson to make Tolkien’s other Middle Earth book, ‘The Hobbit’, into a movie that would rival the greatness of the LOTR trilogy. Even then, I couldn’t count myself in the camp that actually wanted to see ‘The Hobbit’ turned into a movie. I should probably also point out that as much as I loved the LOTR trilogy, I don’t think they’re the greatest movies ever made, or even the greatest trilogy. They’re great films, but some people go nuts for them. And I know it’s against popular opinion, but I still don’t see THE HOBBIT coming close to the success of the LOTR trilogy.
We don’t get anything new with ‘The Hobbit’. Part of what made LOTR so great was that every scene was something we hadn’t seen before. Just the idea of turning a classic fantasy novel into a well-made motion picture was something foreign in today’s Hollywood. Throw in the special effects from stunts as simple as showing hobbits consistently shorter than everyone else (in my opinion, the most impressive effect in the trilogy as it has been done so poorly in the past) or the incredible battles in TWO TOWERS and each film and each scene was an achievement in filmmaking. So where does The Hobbit go from there? The stunts and effects have been used and the surprise of creating a new world has already been revealed. Also, don’t forget that even if you haven’t read the book, if you’ve seen the LOTR trilogy, you know how THE HOBBIT is going to end. I’m sure Jackson has some other tricks up his sleeve, but the basic “wow” factor of LOTR is over.
As much as we all love the LOTR books, can anyone really say that they loved ‘The Hobbit’ nearly as much? Before the movies came out, people would refer to the trilogy and then as an afterthought, say something like “Tolkien also wrote ‘The Hobbit’, but it’s not as good…”. That’s not necessarily a slam to ‘The Hobbit’, it’s more of a compliment to the LOTR trilogy. The point is that there’s a reason Jackson made the LOTR films first and then went back to ‘The Hobbit’ as an afterthought. I’m also concerned that Peter Jackson didn’t even want to direct THE HOBBIT. Yes, he’s on board now and everything is coming up roses, but Jackson fought for a long time to avoid making the movies himself. He’s professional enough to not let that take away from his work on the film, but I can’t help but question if he has the same passion for ‘The Hobbit’ as he did for LOTR
Finally, there’s Martin Freeman, who has won the coveted role of Bilbo Baggins in the prequel and will be the main star of the films. Again, I might be going against popular opinion, but I’m not a fan of Martin Freeman. I couldn’t stand the British version of ‘The Office’ and he was the glaring problem in THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. I find him to be annoying and I question whether he has the range to pull off the character. James McAvoy was rumored to be the favorite to play Bilbo since RETURN OF THE KING came out and that would have been great casting. Maybe Martin will surprise me and knock the role out of the park, but I think we would have been better off with McAvoy in the lead role.
Overall, I just have this “blah” feeling about the movie. It’s kind of like the saying you can never go home. Because when you’ve been away for a while and then go back, everything looks the same, even though you’re different. I think that’s what Peter Jackson is going to run into when he travels back to Middle Earth.