Admittedly I felt a warm glow the first time I saw a trailer for The Hobbit, due in theaters this December. It was as though we were among old friends again, something familiar, very fine about the look of the preview, which captured the feeling of The Lord of the Rings so beautifully. Peter Jackson’s accomplishment with the The Lord of the Rings trilogy remains astonishing, as he brought each book to vivid life on the screen with incredible detail, love and depth. There were some complaints that Tom Bombadil, a major character in the books was deleted, but upon seeing the films, I did not miss him. The actors gave the film such incredible dramatic heft with their wonderful performances, so much so that we began to care for them rather deeply. There were tears when it seemed Gandalf, and then, Aragorn had perished, and genuine heartache as that gutsy old King died a terrible death. As Sam lifted Frodo onto his back to carry him to Mount Doom we began to understand the depth of the little hobbit’s fierce loyalty to his friend. Best of all, the moment that still gives me chills, when Aragorn turns to Gandalf and whispers, “for Frodo” becoming at that moment the King we all knew he could be.
Of course one of the most extraordinary scenes in the film happens near the end after the crowning of the King. As Aragorn moves through the crowd he comes to the four brave little hobbits, and they begin to bow to him. He stops them and says to them, “My friends, you bow to no one” and in turn bows to them, falling to his knees, which in turn the entire population of the reception follows in tribute of the heroes. It was a moment that has been forever seared into my mind, moving and strong, a King of enormous courage recognizing courage far greater than his own because the hobbits felt constant terror on this journey and overcame it for the greater good. Sure the films have moments of massive spectacle and brilliant visual effects, but it was the small, intimate moments that gave the pictures their heart and soul. I remember sitting in the theater after the credits had finished for The Return of the King (2003) and feeling very sad because it was over, there were no more The Lord of the Rings films to come. Jackson’s accomplishment is one of the greatest in the history of the cinema as he created the greatest trilogy ever put on the screen.
With The Lord of the Rings, Jackson was working from three thick books. With The Hobbit he is working from one, and not as long as any one of The Lord of the Rings novels at that!!
So what is this really about?
Can he truly make a trilogy out of a single volume or is this pure Hollywood economics? Sadly I believe it to be the latter and I mourn this event. Do they ever learn? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part I (2010) suffered from being the first of two films, as it was unspeakably dull. Even while watching it we understood the real muscle of the book was yet to come!! I will watch a long film, four hours if necessary as long as it is good, (Che (2009) was close to five hours!!) and they could have made one last, massive kick ass film rather than splitting into two. The same thing is happening with Twilight’s finale, but I don’t care about that series at all, they are simply bad movies, with grotesque performances towards which I feel no affinity…sorry fans.
I was looking forward to The Hobbit, and believed it had chances at the Academy Awards. Jackson is not a filmmaker to take lightly, which he has proven time and time again, but this move worries me deeply. Will the Academy honor the first film and then forget about the subsequent two or wait until the third and honor it? Or will they decide that the entire series has been honored with the previous movies and Jackson has been awarded more than his fair share? They began shooting the film with a script, so has that script been re-written? If so when did the film become a trilogy? And why?
We all know why.
Greed. Simple, pathetic greed. New Line wants another cash cow. I will go to see The Hobbit films, all three of them, and it is very likely I will admire them, but something has been lost now. The blatant cash grabs from the studio has made the films a little less precious to me. What a shame.