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John Drew

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

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Now I also expect:

--Christopher Lee and Cate Blanchett to appear in a cutaway scene explaining what Gandalf was doing while he wasn't with the adventurers (including a 5 to 10 minute battle scene attacking Dol Guldur).

--John Rhys-Davies reuniting with his father Gloin at the Battle of Five Armies

--Viggo Mortensen in the background while Arwen greats Bilbo at Rivendell.

--The cat-eyed orc from Moria (or at least his cousin).

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I was of the opinion that Jackson might be OK to do The Hobbit if he could keep himself in check. But

Peter Chattaway's blog doesn't ecnourage me at all.

Yeesh. Why on earth would anybody want to turn The Hobbit into a mere prequel overloaded with nods to The Lord of the Rings? I mean, really. One of the whole points of The Lord of the Rings -- the films, I mean, not the books -- was that Frodo's adventure was "quite different" from the sorts of adventures that Bilbo had had. Frodo's adventure was much darker, less innocent, than the adventures that Bilbo had. So why would a film all about Bilbo's adventures want to shoehorn all this darker stuff in there?

I can understand the temptation from Jackson's side, but he needs to think about the story itself and how to do justice to that. All the LOTR back story would be fun, but it would surely wreck the narrative of The Hobbit itself.

Edited by Tony Watkins

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Viggo back? Dang, I was just kidding--didn't think he'd take me seriously! Maybe Jackson could add in the original fall of Osgiliath to the Witch King (including both Bean and Wenham)--so a flashback to a flashback only in the TTT:EE! See, this could help set the context for the wider movements going on that prompted Gandalf to spur Thorin's quest to get his gold--we all know that the only reason for Gandalf's involvement in "The Hobbit" was to eliminate Smaug as a threat on the Free People's northern flank.

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See, this could help set the context for the wider movements going on that prompted Gandalf to spur Thorin's quest to get his gold--we all know that the only reason for Gandalf's involvement in "The Hobbit" was to eliminate Smaug as a threat on the Free People's northern flank.

Hmm. Are you sure the motivation was entirely political? Both Gandlaf and Smaug have a long history - I wonder whether Gandalf and Sauron may have been at school together and raided a dragon's nest while egg-collecting, taking an egg out of which eventually hatched Smaug who was incensed at being taken away from his mother. Meanwhile, Sauron, having had his fingers burnt, turns into the school bully... Jackson could a trilogy of 3-hour films out of all this!

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Ann D.   

I just want to see the Riddle Game. The rest of it can go hang.

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Plankton   
Yeesh. Why on earth would anybody want to turn The Hobbit into a mere prequel overloaded with nods to The Lord of the Rings? I mean, really. One of the whole points of The Lord of the Rings -- the films, I mean, not the books -- was that Frodo's adventure was "quite different" from the sorts of adventures that Bilbo had had. Frodo's adventure was much darker, less innocent, than the adventures that Bilbo had. So why would a film all about Bilbo's adventures want to shoehorn all this darker stuff in there?

Precisely.

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Jeff   

Not sure I like the two-movie idea. Inevitably, the second film will drift away from Tolkien and into the realm of Hollywood speculation...do we really need films about obscure events that happened around the time of The Hobbit? I can see that getting monotonous and sort of pointless after a while...Then again, if PJ makes it, I know I'll still pay to see it. :)

The Hobbit really could fit into one three-hour movie, IMO.

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Heck, Rankin/Bass covered The Hobbit in 90 minutes, and, for all of its wince-worthy flaws, I still enjoy that version.

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I feel somewhat calmer about the two-film business now I know that the plan is not to split The Hobbit itself over two films.

I still worry that Jackson will be too heavy handed for it, but on the other hand I've come to think that I would prefer to have a consistency of approach across all the films rather than have someone else come along with a totally different style so that they don't feel connected.

The film of linking material has some appeal I've concluded. There's plenty of back-story from LOTR which would allow the two to be tied together nicely. The challenge there will be having a coherent enough narrative I suspect.

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ALFONZO CUARON!!

Anybody who can deliver A Little Princess, make The Prisoner of Azkaban into the best of the Potter films, and then can create a standard-setting sci-fi epic like Children of Men gets my vote.

I can't think of anybody better.

Del Toro can do fantasy brilliantly, but he's too dark. Gilliam's fighting to save his reputation after Brothers Grimm and Tideland. Spielberg? Forget it. Not his kind of thing. Andrew Adamson? Please, Lord, no.

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ALFONZO CUARON!!

Anybody who can deliver A Little Princess, make The Prisoner of Azkaban into the best of the Potter films, and then can create a standard-setting sci-fi epic like Children of Men gets my vote.

I can't think of anybody better.

Del Toro can do fantasy brilliantly, but he's too dark. Gilliam's fighting to save his reputation after Brothers Grimm and Tideland. Spielberg? Forget it. Not his kind of thing. Andrew Adamson? Please, Lord, no.

Good call. He'd get my vote.

Funny, when I first heard about Jackson making The Hobbit I wasn't thrilled at all, but the more I reflected on it the more I thought he should. And now I feel deeply disappointed.

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Peter Jackson wants to make The Hobbit.

But apparently, he won't be the one.

Quite a disingenuous little note from PJ. I'm shocked, shocked I say, that New Line is moving on to a new director after being sued by the LOTR oscar-winner for a larger portion of the profits.

I would have liked to have seen a PJ helmed Hobbit, but now I'm on pins and needles waiting for the soon-to-be announced Brett Ratner version! ;)

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Buckeye, that's a really scary thought, especially since X3 was such a huge hit.

But CinemaBlend has got the rumor mill started by saying they're hearing rumblings about Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

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I'm shocked, shocked I say, that New Line is moving on to a new director after being sued by the LOTR oscar-winner for a larger portion of the profits.

Don't be too shocked. The lawsuit over FOTR was filed while they were still in production on The Return of the King, as I recall. Jackson isn't suing for a "larger portion of the profits" -- he's suing over standard studio practices that hide profits and allow even blockbusters to be accounted as if they were financial failures (which allows them to stint on back-end payment). Jackson's contracts for TTT and ROTK were written differently specifically because of the irregularities over FOTR.

This is likely not the end of the story, either. Jackson understands the influence that the fanbase wields, and his letter is undoubtedly at attempt to embarass New Line into rethinking its position. OR -- the situation is being manipulated by New Line in order to get Jackson to publically admit that his desire to make The Hobbit is not about money, but about passion for the project, so that they can negotiate a lower fee.

Nothing is what it seems in the film business, laddies. Nothing. It's the nature of the beast, the grand illusion.

Edited by Greg Wright

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Studio Briefing reported today that Saul Zaentz is guaranteeing that Peter Jackson will make the film, if only because the rights revert to Zaentz next year and Zaentz is personally guaranteeing that Jackson can make the movie however he wants to make it, but when you check the website quoted by Studio Briefing, you discover that Zaentz said this at least a week ago -- well BEFORE Jackson said he was dropping the project.

I find this intriguing because, when Jackson wrote that letter explaining why he was dropping the project, he basically said that New Line was "committed" to making the film within a year, with or without him, because "New Line has a limited time option on the film rights they have obtained from Saul Zaentz (this has never been conveyed to us before)".

So it looks like Jackson wrote his letter AFTER Zaentz had publicly signalled that Jackson didn't NEED New Line Cinema in order to make this movie -- and both he and Zaentz could be gambling that New Line will be unable to make the movie WITHOUT them in the next twelve months. (I mean, sure, New Line could give the greenlight to a film version of The Hobbit, but would any of the LotR actors want to come back if Jackson was not on board? And who owns the digital code for Gollum, etc. -- Wingnut/Weta, or New Line? And how marketable would a Hobbit movie be WITHOUT any of those cast or crew members?)

(Or, hmmm, is it possible that New Line might make its own Hobbit movie next year, and then Zaentz and Jackson will go ahead and make ANOTHER one right away? Y'know, kind of like what Marvel is doing with that new film version of The Incredible Hulk?)

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The editors at TheOneRing.net have asked me to contribute a commentary about the Jackson-Hobbit controversy. When they publish my column, I'll add a link here.

In the meantime, I've come out with a "revised edition" of the LOTR coverage at Hollywood Jesus, spending nearly a week cleaning tidying up the 80+ webpages of reviews, interviews, commentary, and guest articles (including one from Jeffrey Overstreet) that I assembled over five years. There's literally over 200,000 words of unique content there -- and if folks are unfamiliar with my books on Tolkien and Jackson, a big chunk of the content is available at HJ -- plus artwork!!

I'm really very proud of the work I did at HJ during those years, and am very happy to offer this updated "edition" at the "New Look" Hollywood Jesus, though I no longer am on staff there. Highlights include Jeffrey's guest feature, the entire interview series, and my entire catalogue of 28 feature articles.

Check it out, and please comment here if you see fit.

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For New Line, an Identity Crisis

But the ill will has held up plans to make "The Hobbit." Without specifically saying he would not make the film with Mr. Jackson, Mr. Shaye made it plain that he had no interest in working with difficult filmmakers. "Some directors are impossible," he said. "Are there a few people I wouldn't work with? Yes, but I won't name names."

And he would not comment on reports in the news media that the "Spider-Man" director Sam Raimi had been asked to direct "The Hobbit." He said, however, that although there was no workable script yet for the film, he intended to release it in 2009.

New York Times, February 19

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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For those who might be interested, I delivered a lecture on the proposed Hobbit movie(s) this last weekend at the One Ring Celebration in Burbank this last weekend. It was titled: "The Hobbit: More Than Just a Fuzzy Children's Tale." A PDF of the detailed outline of my presentation is available online.

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