Note: The following is an exact copy of a post I made about The Hobbit movies on www.lotrplaza.com on 1 February 2009. The project evolved considerably in the four years between this essay and the release of the first film, but I have left this page up since I find several of the predictions still hold weight.
I’m calling it. Based on what we know (several years in advance, yes), The Hobbit will be a disappointment. Maybe not to movie-goers or fans of PJ’s work, but to those of use who know and love TH the book, many from early childhood, it will disappoint. And unless PJ, GDT, etc. make some major changes to the tune they’ve been singing, it’s going to disappoint big time.
Let me explain. We all know that TH is a story about Bilbo Baggins, the reluctant hobbit hero who gets swept along on a great adventure, becomes a successful burglar, and helps his dwarf friends recover their ancient treasure. Bilbo also develops a lot on in the course of the story, even though he is 50 years old when it begins. TH was originally a children’s book, though it has many adult fans, and is consequentially fairly light-hearted, particularly in comparison to its sequel: LOTR. TH and LOTR are separate stories, and not that much alike.
LOTR is a grand epic, a history of mythic proportions. These qualities are one of the chief appeals of the book to its fans. PJ’s movies on the other hand are action flicks. This is not to disparage action flicks, but they are an entirely different genre from LOTR. The changes in LOTR from book to movie shouldn’t affect TH, as it is a separate story, but this doesn’t seem to be how it will play out.
Even though there is a new director (Guillermo del Toro), Peter Jackson will be Executive Producers, and his co-writers, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, will also be returning to help write TH. Furthermore, they seem intent on making TH not only a prequel to LOTR (rather than LOTR being the sequel), but they seem to want to make TH the movie in the image of LOTR the movie(s). Literally. Many of the actors from LOTR whose characters did not appear in TH – including Viggo Mortensen, Elijah Wood, and Dominic Monaghan – have expressed interest in reprising their roles.
‘But wait,” you may say. “You’ve forgotten – there is a bridge movie. All these LOTR actors are simply going to appear in the bridge.” That may be, but GDT (del Toro) has hinted that TH will take up both films, possibly with some additional material to tie it in with LOTR in the second film (see here). Rumors are rampant about what material may be used to tie in TH with LOTR – The White Council, Aragorn’s and Arwen’s early relationship, etc. – without pausing to think of a deeper issue: these two films (part of a single “narrativ”, according to GDT) will not be The Hobbit as we know it. If made in the manner discussed, it will be a largely fabricated conglomerate of storylines that really have nothing to do with each other. TH is separate from LOTR, but GDT seems to want just the opposite. This will not be The Hobbit, this will be “The Lord of the Rings Part –2” and “The Lord of the Rings Part –1”.
So I’m calling it. These movies will be major disappointments. Maybe they will be good as movies, though deviations from Tolkien’s works didn’t help LOTR. Set aside TH as you know it though – and Abandon all Hobbit ye who enter here.