I’m excited for The Hobbit film coming out this winter. Another Tolkien story with Peter Jackson at the helm? Sign me up.
What I’m not anticipating is the fact that this story, like several others series before it, will be broken up into a trio of films. THREE films for a book that is approximately 300 pages? One book from The Lord of the Rings series is three times the size of The Hobbit.
The film series will be completed in 2014, with the films subtitled An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and There and Back Again (2014). Jackson has secured some actors to revisit their roles from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy as well.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate presumed attention to details, but The Hobbit story can be told in one film. Maybe that’s blasphemous to bigger, more hardcore fans of Tolkien’s works, but I stand by it.
Presumably, the first hour of the film will just be Bilbo Baggins being bombarded with dwarves, and then they’ll do the dishes. “Oh, hey, Gandalf! Oh, hey, Fili, Kili. Howdy, Oin . . . yeah, hang your cloak on the coat rack. The coat rack is behind me. ‘Scuse me, my hobbit hole isn’t used to this many people. . . . Hi, Bombur, nice to meet ya!” The next hour will be them setting off and encountering trolls. The end.
Despite my grievances, I’ll still probably see the films. I can assume that they will be well done, and I’m a fan of the story (bonus: Martin Freeman playing Bilbo Baggins). This trend of breaking up blockbusters into several movies is getting a little tiresome, though. I think mostly everyone sees through the transparency of more films equals more premieres equals more money, but I can’t really come to protest it when I want to see it.
People hold these fantasy film series near and dear to their hearts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discussed a Harry Potter movie with someone who says, “Well, they left out my favorite part of the book” or “This part of the film was altered from the book, and I didn’t like how it was done.”
Here’s the thing: Books and movies are different media. It would be impossible to recreate every single part of a book into a film. There is a lot of internal feelings a character has that a writer can easily describe. This is why the idea of The Great Gatsby as a film always throws me off. Nick Carraway’s narration seems like it would be too difficult to translate to film, in my opinion.
Perhaps Jackson’s goal is not all about money, but about pleasing the fans as well. The Tolkien stories have a huge fan base, so maybe this is an attempt to meet fans’ standards. The thing is that people just really like to complain and people are hard to please.
Writers and movie-makers both have the job to tell a story, but they are equipped with different tools. We seekers of these media have to use different tools to consume them. I realize that altering a movie from a book is an assault on your imagination, but remember that the more we complain, the longer we might have to wait to see The Hobbit.