Tag Archives: peter jackson

Some Reactions to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

I have published my review of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” on Xenite.Org. I was not very pleased with the movie.

We have a forum discussion where you can share your thoughts about “Desolation of Smaug” on SF-Fandom.
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Mike Mahaffey for Bilbo in ‘The Hobbit’

Does Mike Mahaffey look like a hobbit to you? He sure does to me.

Mike Mahaffey is a real actor (I just linked to his IMDB listing) and it seems he wants to play Bilbo Baggins in “The Hobbit”.

That would be the role of a lifetime, as I’m sure Elijah Wood could tell you.

So, what do you think? Should Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro be calling Mahaffey once “The Hobbit” is greenlighted?

Let’s hope so.

Good luck, Mike!

Peter Jackson talks about “The Hobbit”

This excerpt was published by The Examiner on August 10, about 8 days before MarketSaw published the rumor that Peter Jackson wants to direct a 3rd “Hobbit” film. I just think the interview is interesting enough that I should say something here (even though it’s not longer hot news).

Here is an excerpt from the interview that concerns “The Hobbit”. I have excised some portions of Peter’s comments because you really should visit the site and read the full interview:

…I know you’re probably going to have a lot of questions about “The Hobbit.” …

…We’re about three or four weeks away of delivering our first draft of the first movie to Warner Bros., because the film’s not greenlit yet. You know, we have to submit a script, the studio has to read the script and like it. …

… I just want to be able to say … we haven’t gotten to the stage where we can offer anybody a role yet …. So we’re still three or four weeks away from delivering that draft. Then we can start the process of the budget. Probably in about two months is when we’re going we’ll be able to start to offer people roles. So despite everything you might have read and all the gossip and everything else, literally, honestly, [we] have not offered anyone a role in this film at this stage.

We are doing two [“Hobbit”] movies, just to clarify … because one of the things that is interesting, as you know, is that [J.R.R.] Tolkein wrote “The Hobbit” first in 1936, and then about 20 years later, he published “The Lord of the Rings.” And he expanded and developed the world of Middle Earth way bigger and larger and more detailed than he knew about when he wrote “The Hobbit,” ….

But one of the things we were really excited about when we got to thinking about [doing “The Hobbit” movie] is we can take that expanded information that he developed later on and we can apply it to “The Hobbit” and make it fuller and more epic and put “The Hobbit” in the context of the greater activity that is happening in Middle Earth at that time. To do all that, we figured that we needed two epic films to be able to really tell that story … I just wanted to clear a couple of things up.

Read the full article here.

Now, let me point out that Peter Jackson and his writing team almost completely rewrote the history of Middle-earth for the LoTR movies. In their very slimmed down version of Middle-earth history, there was no long line of kings in Gondor — it was ruled by Stewards all along. And Arnor and its subsequent division into three smaller kingdoms also was transformed into a realm that vanished completely upon Isildur’s death.

How much the very abbreviated history Peter and his co-writers went with could affect their “Hobbit” extensions I don’t know. To be honest, they are probably free to invent any new history they want (because the license from the Tolkien Estate really doesn’t allow them to use all the canonical history but neglects to forbid creating new history).

Is this important? Don’t mistake what I’m writing here for Tolkien Purist doom-and-gloom. Rather, I think we should all look for some surprises in whatever material Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro decide should be included in the backstory for “The Hobbit” (and any third “bridge” movie that may appear).

It’s probably safe to assume that faithfulness to the books died many deaths long ago. There were some elements of Peter’s movies that I felt were more faithful to the books than many other fans (including the spirit of Arwen’s character, but that’s a whole different topic). Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro will extend Peter’s Middle-earth in ways Tolkien did not foresee. And I think that as long as people enjoy the movies that should be okay.

Would I love to see a completely faithful adaptation of the Tolkien stories? Absolutely. And I think all the arguments about how the books are too long have long since been proven to be nonsense. Clearly, people don’t want their favorite film franchises to vanish into the woodwork. You could easily bring six “Lord of the Rings” movies to the big screen.

The continuity issues could probably be resolved in various ways. I don’t believe it’s necessary to follow every character all the way through every movie. But a little rearrangement could probably handle that objection, too.

Still that’s just wishful thinking. We have the movies we have and I am looking forward to seeing what Guillermo del Toro brings to the silver screen. He has some large boots to fill, but I’m confident he is up to the task.

Rumor: Peter Jackson to direct 3rd Hobbit movie

First of all, sorry for not posting much lately. I’ve just been very busy at work and a little under the weather at home.

Anyway, tonight I stumbled across this rumor which suggests that Peter Jackson and trying to persuade Guillermo del Toro to go along with Peter directing a third Hobbit film, one that supposedly bridges the stories between the books (covering material contained in the LoTR appendices).

I don’t know whether to believe the rumor or not. It’s just as likely to be debunked within a day or two as to be confirmed in a month or six.

Keep an eye on Xenite’s Hobbit Movies News site for more information — it may show up in the headlines there before I can share it here.

Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince

So I saw “Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince” (the movie) just now and I liked it. Yes, they cut out about 2/3 of the book but I think that was to be expected. After all, the story is rather long and convoluted and there are many details the reader is expected to keep track of.

Most of those details, by the way, appear to have been left out of the movie, which runs for about 2-1/2 hours. I’m not sure of why the writers chose to focus so much on the kids’ relationships and leave out so many important points, such as the memories Dumbledore showed Harry about Tom Riddle’s family and valuable items associated with Hogwarts. Dumbledore’s exposition about Riddle’s psyche added a great deal to the written story but it is nowhere to be found in the movie.

This is, of course, a classic example of how difficult it can be to bring a complex story to the silver screen. Because there was so much angst and drama going on with the kids (Draco struggling to complete his mission, the conflict between Draco and Harry, Harry and Ginny getting together, Ron and Hermione getting together, etc.) the writers seem to feel the story would move forward better by following their sub-plots than by hanging on Dumbledore’s every word.

And perhaps the special effects budget just did not allow for all the time traveling memory mining.

I think they gave Horace Slughorn sufficient screen time to show that he was important to the story but his character has a little more depth than the movie was able to convey. By the same token, the kids in the Slug Club came across as little more than scene dressing. I think the intention was to elevate Harry above all the interesting family connections that Slughorn’s kids could bring to the table, but in doing so one of the more convoluted (and, in my opinion, interesting) clues about the whole mystery behind Voldemort’s power was sacrificed.

But then the needs of a screenwriter are different from the needs of a novelist. People generally watch a movie all the way through, once they start watching it. They may not get everything the first time through, but the story has to make sense. In a book you have to assume the reader will put it down for a few hours, perhaps a few days or even weeks at a time. The author is expected to subtly (or blatantly) remind the reader of significant points. I’ve read some books that rushed through a story so much they lost me when reintroducing characters or subplots that had received relatively little attention.

This is why we feel so much loss when we see a good book translated into a movie. The movie just does not need all that exposition, and “Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince” follows the rule of thumb that less is better. It’s also extremely long for a movie.

All that said, some of my favorite points were touched upon briefly: we got to see Ollivander’s shop again — I missed seeing him return in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, as I thought he was a really interesting character. We also got to see George and Fred Weasley’s magic shop in Diagon Alley, and that was really only because Harry’s trick on the train needed some explaining. Perhaps that part of the story was altered to ensure that George and Fred were included in the movie.

I was also pleased to see Remus and Tonks together, but that was one relationship that needed more exposition in the books and didn’t receive any in the movies — poof! They’re a couple and be sure not to miss the line where she says, “Sweety”.

One thing we noticed was that everyone looked older except Dumbledore. The kids looked older, McGonagall looked older, the Weasley parents looked older — the story is taking its toll on the characters. Frankly, this is something you really don’t see in most movie franchises. Time is marching on. You almost get a sense of that in “Star Wars” but the problem with the Star Wars franchise is that it picks up in the middle of the story, reaches the end, and then backs up to show you the beginning. That’s just really odd.

So, to sum up, I’ll be sure to see this movie in the theaters again. Oh yeah, the special effects were pretty good. They definitely put some thought into all the Gollum clones — I mean, the Inferi guarding Voldemort’s cave. Okay, I let the Peter Jackson reference out of the bag. I’m not sure of why they felt compelled to make their Inferi look like Gollum, but there you have it.

More discussion in SF-Fandom’s Harry Potter Forum.

Peter Jackson to appear at ComicCon

Peter Jackson has finally cleared his schedule so that he can appear at the next ComicCon and face the fans over his “Lord of the Rings”, “King Kong”, and “Hobbit” movies. I’m sure he’ll receive an enthusiastic reception.

I found the item about his upcoming appearance in the New York Times.

Learn more about Comic Con 2009 on their official Web site. The convention will be held July 23 – 26 in San Diego.

I will be attending MERP Con V in Spokane, WA that weekend. Oh well.


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