Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Upcoming Film: The Hobbit

Rockin'? I think yes.

Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic, The Lord of the Rings, is one of the biggest successes in the history of film, both commercially and critically. His three-part masterpiece, including the Best Picture-winning Return of the King, will live forever as possibly the greatest movie trilogy of all time. At the very least, it will forever retain that spot in the hearts of nerds like me. Keeping that in mind, it seems hard to believe that a movie version of The Hobbit, Tolkien’s prequel (well, okay. It’s not actually a prequel) to The Lord of the Rings, would be difficult to get off the ground. And yet, that’s just what’s happening.

A lot of this can be blamed on the huge financial troubles of MGM, which has also led to the postponement of another James Bond movie. Since MGM holds a large portion of the rights to The Hobbit, it’s essentially impossible to greenlight the filming until they get out of debt. That could happen anytime; tomorrow or ten years from now seem equally probable.

Seriously. Grade-A.
Serious rumors about The Hobbit began as early as 2006, and have only gotten slightly more reliable over the years. They began with Peter Jackson’s inability to direct due to a lawsuit with New Line Cinema over merchandising rights. Finally, after over a year of that, they came to an agreement and Jackson said he would be a co-executive producer on a potential Hobbit film. It didn’t take long for Ian McKellen (Gandalf, for all you uneducated masses) to agree to reprise his role in the prequel. Over the next two years, until early 2010, the big announcements were that Mexican director Guillermo del Toro (director of Pan’s Labyrinth and grade-A badass) would direct and that it would be split into two films. All sorts of justifications were given for the latter announcement, but let’s be honest: they just want more money. And then, in March of this year, Ian McKellen announced that The Hobbit would begin shooting in July. Naturally, two months later Guillermo del Toro announced that the movie still wasn’t actually greenlit because of MGM’s debt, and just as importantly, that he was dropping off the project. What started as a three year project had turned into six years, and he wasn’t prepared for that kind of commitment. Following that, MGM and Warner Bros. tried REALLY HARD to get Peter Jackson to direct, resorting to underhanded methods such as offering up names like David Dobkin (Fred Claus) to direct. Don’t worry, that nauseous feeling just means you have a soul.

Come June, and there’s still no director, but apparently a Jackson-backed push to get Neill Blomkamp (District 9) to do it. Less than a week after that bit of news, Jackson was officially named as the new director. Hobbit enthusiasts cheered, knowing that their trusted director of everything Middle-Earth was on the case, until about two weeks later when Ian McKellen said he wouldn’t wait around forever for the movie to happen. It’s hard to blame the guy, what with the production studio not having enough money to go see a movie, let alone fund one. Fortunately he hasn’t dropped out yet, going as far as to say a week or two ago that filming is rescheduled to start shooting in January of 2011 now that Spyglass Entertainment has started their takeover of MGM.

Too soon?
Yeah, too soon...
Although it may lack the epic force of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit has great potential for a movie. Stupid decisions, such as splitting a 272 page book into two movies, could easily take that potential and destroy it in the same fashion as The Last Airbender (if not to the same horrifying extent). With a stable director (del Toro would have been perfect, although it's hard to go wrong with Jackson), a solid cast (Ian McKellen must reprise his role as Gandalf), and most importantly, a studio not about to go under, The Hobbit could easily be another commercial and critical hit. There's absolutely no way it will ever compare to The Lord of the Rings, hence Jackson's hesitance to step back into the director's role, but that doesn't mean it can't be great. Of course, judging by how things have gone so far, there's not a lot of reason to think it will be.

Count me among the skeptics.

Ocean sheep,


  1. out of curiosity are you ever going to post Chimes direct stuff here? like how much did you change for that?

  2. I don't think there will be any total duplicates, but there isn't a whole lot of difference between this and the Chimes one. This one is a tad more silly, but not much.


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