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Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Hobbit trilogy-a good thing?

By J. R. Wagner

Yes, I figured it is time to throw my hat into the ring now that my Google alerts for 'The Hobbit' topped 140 hits since sometime this morning.  Late? Of course, I'm a writer, not a journalist.

That being said, I have as much right as every fan of Tolkien to express an opinion on the matter as we all share ownership in the work -that is to say, we've all grown up loving The Hobbit.  Who wouldn't?  

So, the latest news found in a dizzying number of places is about breaking The Hobbit films into three rather than two.  Far too many film reporters and bloggers have quickly formulated the opinion that this is nothing more than Pete Jackson's quest for more money.  I suspect many of these 'journalists' have taken such an unyielding stance simply for more page hits.

Based on Jackson's handling of The Lord of The Rings (LOTR) trilogy we can make some assumptions about The Hobbit trilogy.

First, the extended editions of LOTR have a combined 122 minutes of extra footage not shown in theaters.  Jackson went to monumental lengths to film as much content as possible from the books, managed to get 178 minutes, 179 minutes and 201 minutes for Fellowship, Towers and Return of the King ON SCREEN and still had an additional 122 minutes of usable footage for the extended DVD's.  Is this the action of a man in it just for the pay-day?

Jackson's directing history: Before LOTR the biggest film he directed was Meet the Feebles.  Remember that film? Neither do I. Other films included Bad Taste and Dead Alive -not exactly your top-end directorial resume. Jackson took a HUGE risk with LOTR and still, before ever knowing whether Fellowship of the Ring would be profitable, Jackson managed to film an extra 30 minutes of footage. That's 17% of the entire length. 

Simply taking on such a monumental task as writing the screenplay for LOTR (Jackson wrote all three) when such a dedicated and passionate following would be scrutinizing his every word is an accomplishment and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who believes Jackson did a poor job of novel to screenplay conversion.

Okay, I understand that there were three LOTR books and three LOTR films. There is only one The Hobbit and three films? 458 pages in Fellowship, 398 in Towers and 340 in Return (not counting the appendices) the Hobbit has 305 pages.

Where is all this content coming from?  Well, the appendices would provide much of the content but I imagine Jackson will be writing much of the filler content himself -possibly with the help of Tolkien's other works from Middle Earth.

The bottom line is we, the people, can speculate all we want about Jackson, the production studio and everyone else who has a hand in the pot's motivation for adding a third film.  What irritates me is that so many people jump so fast to draw their own conclusions without ever even seeing the first film.  I suppose, as the ever-wise Mr. Ammoncourt said,

Everyone's in such a bloody hurry to say what they want to say that they don't even take the time to consider if they should actually say it.

Is it wrong of me to quote my own book?  Oh well.

I'm excited for the films! Bring 'em on!


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