5 Reasons Why Hobbit Mania Is Taking Over Middle-Earth … Again

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Can Peter Jackson recapture the magic of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth more than ten years after the debut of Fellowship of the Ring? If the enthusiastic fan reaction at the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Jackson’s hometown of Wellington, New Zealand is any indication, Hobbit Mania is about to set the world on fire … again.

The Hobbit Controversy

Despite being one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2012, the making of The Hobbit has been mired in controversy. After nearly two years of pre-production, Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) announced he was no longer directing the prequels to the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. During production, disputes with the actors union over employment laws almost caused the movie to be filmed overseas.

In April 2012, early footage of The Hobbit sparked a heated debate over the use of 48 frames per second technology versus the standard 24 fps. At the world premiere, animal activists called for a boycott of the film and held posters saying “3 horses died for this film” and “Middle Earth unexpected cruelty” after allegations that more than 20 animals were killed in the movie’s production.

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5 Reasons Why Hobbit Mania Is Taking Over Middle Earth … Again

Bringing The Hobbit to the big screen has been a battle in and of itself for director Peter Jackson. Through the turmoil and controversy, the one thing that will continue to endure is J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy classic and the legacy of the Hobbit. If you are not already excited, here are some reasons why you are about to be infected with Hobbit Mania!:

Continue Reading for a Spoiler Free Discussion of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

• “Why Did I Ever Leave My Hobbit-Hole!”

One of my fondest cinematic moments is in Fellowship of the Ring, when Frodo and fellow hobbits hide under tree roots narrowly avoiding detection by a Ringwraith and the entire Mines of Moria sequence. The spirit of adventure and fantastical wonder was perfectly executed in Fellowship which to a certain degree was diminished in the war centric story of the Two Towers. Through the eyes of sheltered hobbit Bilbo Baggins, his unexpected journey brings us back to that feeling of amazement, reverence and whimsical humor. Published over 75 years ago, the dangers Bilbo encounters in The Hobbit are more than fantasy adventures, they are based on mythology and fairy tales, long forgotten in our modern age.

• An Unexpected Party

The Hobbit introduces a new cast of endearing characters as well as some returning familiar faces from Lord of the Rings trilogy. Sir Ian McKellan reprises his Oscar nominated role as Gandalf, the wise and wily wizard. In the titular role, Martin Freeman’s versatility is vital in portraying Bilbo’s evolving characterization from a reluctant pint-sized adventurer to quick thinking courageous hero with a flair for comedic timing. As much as this is Bilbo’s story, the dwarves may steal this movie even more so than the way Gimli charmed audiences in LoTR (“No one tosses a dwarf!”).

•  “What Has It Got In Its Pocketses?”

Re-watching the behind the scenes featurettes from the Two Towers, made me appreciate how Andy Serkis put his entire body, voice and soul into his character. Serkis threw himself on rocks, crawled around on his knees and slobbered incessantly.  Co-star Sean Astin (Sam Gamgee), admittedly at first, did not recognize Serkis as a fellow actor because his character was computer generated. Of course, Astin has gone on to endlessly praise Serkis for his devotion and intensity. After watching the LOTR, I read the The Hobbit and was surprised how I was able to quickly solve many of the riddles in the dark before Bilbo. I soon realized I had actually read The Hobbit many years ago in elementary school.

The-Hobbit-The-Desolation-of-Smaug-Barrel-Riding1

• Barrels Out of Bond to A Warm Welcome

Due to the financial crisis of MGM at the time, many projects such as James Bond’s Skyfall and The Hobbit were left in limbo; one of the reasons why original director Del Toro abandoned ship. Although Del Toro’s artistic vision and creature designs in Pan’s Labyrinth was brilliantly haunting, the silver lining is the return of Peter Jackson to the director’s chair, which will bring a cohesive vision of Middle Earth, from LOTR to The Hobbit Trilogy.

In an interview, Jackson revealed that almost all of Del Toro’s work had to be scrapped. “I looked at his designs and I said the only person who can make a Guillermo Del Toro movie is Guillermo.  It shouldn’t be me. I can’t put my head into somebody else’s idea — I have to generate it from the beginning.” Jackson also added, “There were some things he did that I thought were pretty cool and I’ve taken bits of pieces of his stuff — kind of altering it and changing it as I saw it. But the film was largely redesigned.”

I wonder who is going to steal the movie?

I wonder who is going to steal the movie?

• “There Is More In You of Good Than You Know”

Like the Hunger Games and Twilight Saga franchises which added an additional movie, The Hobbit expanded from a two-part sequel to a trilogy. Some weary eyed fans cited it as blatant cash grabbing or stretching out the story like butter scraped over too much bread.  However, incorporating material from the appendices such as the Tale of Aragon and Arwen in LOTR was touching and added depth to these characters. Further, there’s a lot of intriguing history, battles and side stories, including Gandalf’s, that might not otherwise come to light on the silver screen.

In an excerpt from Peter Jackson’s Facebook he states, “The richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.”

The Hobbit Movie Titles & Release Dates

In a joint announcement from Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM, “The final film in Peter Jackson’s trilogy adaptation of The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, now titled The Hobbit: There and Back Again, will be released on Dec 17, 2014 (USA). The title of the second installment in the franchise will be The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and the film will be released on December 13, 2013. The first film in the trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, opens this holiday season, on December 14, 2012.”

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Posted on December 4, 2012, in Movies, Preview and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. That was a fantastical journey into the making of the movie and beyond. Was tickled by Jackson’s “the only person who can make a Guillermo Del Toro movie is Guillermo”! How true! I am also an animal lover and I hope those deaths were accidental. That said, how many cows, pigs, chickens and fish are being saved by the minders?

    • I was curious what Del Toro was up to since leaving the Hobbit then I saw the trailer to Pacific Rim which looks like a fun Giant Monsters vs Giant Robot movie. Thanks for commenting and supporting this blog!

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