The release of The Hobbit is one which Tolkien fans have been awaiting since the release of The Return of the King. The Lord of the Rings trilogy attained a monumental acclaim rarely been seen in cinematic history. Echoes of the seventeen-time Academy Award winning trilogy remain to this day, and there must be a question on all fans lips; can The Hobbit reproduce the illustrious, monumental quality of the original Lord of the Rings films. The latter arguably captured the imagery of the J.R.R Tolkien novels in visual form to an utter tee. The style, cinematography and visual effects (an astonishing 2,730 in total were used in the LOTR) are likely to be the same, but a prominent discrepancy in the story telling of the two series’ is that the Lord of the Rings was a trilogy of films based on a trilogy of books, whereas The Hobbit is a single short novel, which has been fleshed out into a film series.
The prolonged exposition of the tale has attracted questions about how the classic fantasy tale will be told. Critics have asked if director Peter Jackson has extended the portrayal of the book into three films because of his sparse output (with only King Kong and The Lovely Bones being his only notable releases in the last few years) since the release of The Return of the King in 2003. This critique may be debatable when you keep in mind his work as a producer on District 9, The Adventures of Tintin and the documentary film West of Memphis. Another reason behind the trio decision could be that Jackson plans to add more content into the context, a detail that would suggest this is that characters not aforementioned in the original novel will be making appearances in the cinematic format. Fan favourite Legolas (Orlando Bloom) will be making an appearance in the final instalment There and Back Again. Also, Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) will be present in all three chapters.
‘The third film will likely play a part in linking The Hobbit trilogy to The Lord of the Rings, in order to make a nicely rounded, all encompassing story. It may also draw on content from other Tolkien works such as The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales. Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy 1 & 2) was originally signed up to direct The Hobbit in 2008, but he pulled out of the role. He continued to help with the writing of the script, but in 2010 he also pulled out of that too, due to ongoing delays. His departure led to what seemed to be the obvious choice from the beginning, and Peter Jackson was set to direct the film. Jackson has recalled favourites such as the legendary Ian Mckellan and Christopher Lee to reprise their roles as Gandalf, and Saruman the White respectively. He has also brought in new faces that include such names as Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, War Horse) to play/voice Smaug the dragon and The Necromancer, and Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who, Dracula) to play another member of the wizard council, Radagast the Brown. All eyes will unequivocally be on the lead character of the trilogy Bilbo Baggins portrayed by Martin Freeman (Sherlock, The Office, Love Actually), a role in which Jackson was so adamant that Freeman was the right and only man for the job that he re-scheduled the shooting of the movie to accommodate Freeman so he could finish his obligations to play Watson in BBC favourite Sherlock.
If there is anyone who can acquire the hearts of the audience with another Tolkien trilogy illustration, it’s Peter Jackson.
By James Jackson